THE PIONEERS DID NOT JUST PUSH THE INDIANS ONTO RESERVATIONS

 

This is a beautiful re-imagination of the worst man-made natural disaster in the United States.*

 

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It was well reviewed and well received.

 

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The illustrations are simple, yet rich, and the colors, deeply saturated. The prose, sparse, yet, powerful and poignant. 

 

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But then, this historical note…

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“PIONEERS FROM THE SETTLED, EASTERN UNITED STATES CAME TO THE PLAINS IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.  BY 1876, THEY HAD PUSHED THE INDIANS INTO RESERVATIONS AND SLAUGHTERED MILLIONS OF BISON. RANCHERS AND CATTLE REPLACED THE INDIANS AND BUFFALO.”

Why the watering down? 

     

     According to the Equal Justice Initiative, the non-profit organization that provides advocacy, research and education on “communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment.”:

     About 15 million Native American people were living in North America when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492. The “Indian Wars” and massacres devastated the indigenous peoples. Fewer than 238,000 Native Americans remained by the end of the 19th Century. 

     Don Brown is an award winning author of historical non-fiction; of which this book is considered and; that is listed “for older readers”, students between ages of twelve to fifteen.  I wonder as he was writing that paragraph, did he hesitate for a moment, to think about what words to use.  Words to accurately capture the historical reality that the “settling” of the U.S.  resulted in the genocide of Indigenous Peoples across the Americas.

     Native older readers know the truth.  White older readers can handle the truth.   If we do not tell the truth of the U.S.’s brutal history, who then, are we protecting?

 
* All images from “The Dust Bowl” can be found on Amazon.com.

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