Friday, April 29, 2011

North Country: The Making of Minnesota- by Mary Lethert Wingerd 448 pgs

"In North Country: The Making of Minnesota, Mary Lethert Wingerd unlocks the complex origins of the state—origins that have often been ignored in favor of legend and a far more benign narrative of immigration, settlement, and cultural exchange. Moving from the earliest years of contact between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of the western Great Lakes region to the era of French and British influence during the fur trade and beyond, Wingerd charts how for two centuries prior to official statehood Native people and Europeans in the region maintained a hesitant, largely cobeneficial relationship."

*at over 400+ pages this text would be a helpful reference to accompany other books by native authors on MN history.  Many MN standards could use this text as a compare/contrast-many primary sources.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lana's Lakota Moons -by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve 127 pgs

"This contemporary story about two Lakota girls and their Laotian friend illuminates for children and adults the Lakota meaning of family, friendship, life, and death. In the Lakota way, Lana and her cousin Lori are like sisters, growing up together under the caring eyes of an extended family of parents and grandparents. Also like sisters, they have their share of squabbles and fights, but when they meet a new girl at school who has recently arrived from Laos, they are drawn closer by their shared friendship, their discoveries about cultural differences, and their experience with loss. Throughout the book, the grandparents teach the "sisters" Lakota traditions (click here to see MN history of Lakota) and beliefs while explaining the meaning of them to the reader."

Children of the Indian Boarding Schools- by Holly Littlefield (Picture the American Past series) 48 pgs

"In this book that is part of the "Picture the American Past" series, Littlefield describes the physical, emotional and cultural horrors these relocated children faced, the strategies they used to survive and how today's schools are working to preserve the culture. Each page is filled with monochromatic historical pictures and few words. Though simple in sentence structure, these books don't ignore harsh facts and they choose poignant quotes from children to illustrate situations.
In 1879, the United States government began to take Indian children from their families and reservations and place them in boarding schools where they would learn English and Christianity. In many cases, the parents of these children had no choice but to comply with the government officials"
Indian Boarding schools in MN include: Pipestone and Morris.
**this is a developementally appropriate book for younger elementary kids, however, it does not delve deep enough into the true sadness of these Native children being separated from their homes, families, and ultimately their culture.  A good place to start teaching about boarding schools, but please be sure to focus on these realities mentioned**

MN Lang Art standard    use these naratives of the childrens' experience of Indian Boarding schools with another text-one written by a Native person.  Show, through compare/contrast the language and word choice, that this text seems to gloss over the pain and trauma of boarding schools.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Sacred Harvest: Ojibway Wild Rice Gathering- by Gordon Regguinti 48 pgs

Glen Jackson, Jr., an eleven-year-old Ojibway Indian in northern Minnesota, goes with his father to harvest wild rice, the sacred food of his people

Ininatig's Gift of Sugar: Traditional Native Sugarmaking- by Laura Waterman Wittstock 44 pgs

Describes how Indians have relied on the sugar maple tree for food and tells how an Anishinabe Indian in Minnesota continues his people's traditions by teaching students to tap the trees and make maple sugar.

Through Dakota Eyes: Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862- by Gary Clayton Anderson (Editors) G. Anderson, Alan R. Woolworth 328 pgs

This collection of thirty-six narratives presents the Dakota Indians' experiences during a conflict previously known chiefly from the viewpoints of non-Indians.

A good resource for the 1862 US -Dakota War.  SO MUCH information here!  Great for Social Studies teachers to use!


While the Locust Slept: A Memoir by Peter Razor 200 pgs

"Peter Razor chronicles his survival of abuse and bigotry at the State Public School at Owatonna in the 1930s and the brutal farm indenture that followed. Disclosing his story through flashbacks and relying on research from his own case files, Razor pieces together the shattered fragments of his boyhood into a memoir
This debut draws on personal memories and official records to track Razor's painful yet triumphant years as a ward of the state of Minnesota. At 15, having endured prejudice, isolation, neglect and terrible physical abuse by the staff, he was sent to work for a local farmer. Via a series of detailed flashbacks, Razor recounts his oppressive childhood."

*Some mature content*  It will be helpful to aid secondary students through the chapters as there are flashbacks intermingled throughout the text, and might be confusing for kids if they don't understand that the author is switching between his time at the State School in his youth and his time as a farm hand in his older teen years.

Ojibway Heritage- by Basil Johnston 171 pgs

"Ojibway mythology is as rich in meaning, as broad, as deep, and as innately appealing as the mythologies of Greece, Rome, and other Western civilizations. In Ojibway Heritage Basil Johnston introduces his people's ceremonies, rituals, songs, dances, prayers, arid legends. Conveying the sense of wonder and mystery at the heart of the Ojibway experience, Johnston describes the creation of the universe, followed by that of plants and animals and human beings, and the paths taken by the latter. These stories are to be read, enjoyed, and freely interpreted. Their authorship is perhaps most properly attributed to the tribal storytellers who have carried on the oral tradition that Johnston records and preserves in this book."

Rising Voices- by Arlene Hirschfelder, Beverly R. Singer 125 pgs

"Through more than 60 poems and essays, contemporary Native American children and young adults share their feelings about themselves, their people and their land. While some selections in this anthology are reverent in tone, revealing a deep respect for nature, family and tradition, other writings emerge as protests against prejudice and oppression."  These poems, stories, songs, and essays cover a span of over 100 years--1887-1990

This would be a good starting point in a poetry unit for secondary Language Arts classes and also to use as templates for the 6+1 Traits.

MN Lang Arts standards: can be used for many standards.  Choose a piece, all of which are written by Native people, and compare/contrast to a textbook.  For example, use poem on pg 93 to contrast a textbook definition of the experience at Indian Boarding schools.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Do All Indians Live in Tipis?: 101 Questions and Answers from the National Museum of the American Indian 224 pgs

Introduction by Wilma Mankiller -"As the title implies, many Americans are still surprisingly misinformed with regard to Native American cultures. This highly accessible and informative book aims to dispel some of the major myths and stereotypes still surrounding Native people in the United States and Canada. By no means claiming to be comprehensive, the straightforward questions were compiled from actual phone calls, emails, letters, and in-person visits to a major branch of the National Museum of the American Indian. The Native American writers who answered them did so concisely with hints of humor and an abundance of research and experience."

*some topics referring to MN-mound building, dream catchers, native dwellings and food, popular myths, and Indian gaming-Great resource book.  One of my new favorite nonfiction texts to recommend to anyone!  Just GET a copy!!  This text could be used for most of the MN standards!

The Ojibwe -by Michelle Levine 56 pgs

The Ojibwe people originally grew crops, gathered wild rice, and tapped maple trees for their sap.  The chapters include:  Beginnings, Ojibwe Lifeways, European Arrivals, Life in Modern Times.  This book's reading level is at about 3-4th grade.  A very accessable nonfiction book.

Sister Nations: Native American Women Writing on Community: by Heid E. Erdrich (and various other editor) 230 pgs

"This text includes some fiction and a few essays, the majority of this collection presents poetry. All of the contributions are written by Native American women and in some way reflect on the relations of women to their community. The writings reflect on transformation in the female experience, the theme of inner strength, reactions to stereotypes and simplified images, or love."

*some mature content*
*various writers, not all MN specific*

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sacagawea -by: Lise Erdrich, Julie Buffalohead (Illustrator) 32pgs

Lise Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain band of Plains-Ojibway, and artist Buffalohead, who is of Ponca heritage, retell the story of the famous Shoshone woman.  A great timeline and map of the expedition's route are included (maybe start with the timeline and map at the end as background information for your students). 
A good extension after reading this book would be to make connections in writing responses: How would you feel if you were taken from your family?, What can you infer about the character traits of Sacagawea?, etc.