November 28, 2008

A school full of stereotypical Indians

96 Little IndiansNinety-six little American Indians filled the media center at Corbin Primary school this past Friday to finish their learning units about Native Americans. For the past two weeks Mrs. Lanham’s, Mrs. Lewallen’s, Mrs. Pietrowski’s and Mrs. Stidham’s kindergarten students have been learning all about Native Americans—how they made clothes; how they made tools; what kind of food they ate; the meaning of the symbols that they used; and most importantly, the importance of Native American culture in our history.

Knowing the importance of providing this age group with the chance to not only hear, but to touch and see what they teach, teachers gave students with different learning styles the ability to take in and appreciate all their instruction.

The learning units invited a Native American to the school so students could see that American Indians are not just characters read about in books, but people who helped start many customs that continue today.

The units on Native Americans came full circle on Friday when teachers invited two guest speakers, Tom Jones, a Native American Cherokee Indian and president of the Kentucky Native American Indian Council (KNAIC), and Donny Ellison, member of the KNAIC.

The guest speakers were greeted by the 96 eager students dressed in American Indian vest replicas, created using paper grocery bags donated by Falls Road Kroger, complete with Native American symbols. Jones and Ellison talked to students about the history of Native American Indians in this area and how many of us have Native American ancestors.
Comment:  I wonder if the two Kentucky Indians were enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe? I'm guessing not, since Kentucky doesn't have any recognized tribes.

I hope they were actual Indians according to the definition I gave. I'd hate to think that two wannabes with Cherokee princesses in their background lectured the students.

I raise the question because dressing up as phony generic Indians is a bad idea even if two real Indians gave it their tacit blessing. Rather than explaining how some Indians wore fringed vests, for instance, they could've explained how most Indians didn't wear fringed vests.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're only talking about this because white people are the one ones doing it. You, sir, are racist.