Bias in Curricula Native American Essay

Pages: 3 (995 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Native Americans

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
All of the Indian characters are grunting savages. The time period, place and tribes involved are unknown, and the storyline is rather dark. Other legends use terms such as "squaw," "papoose," "chief," and "redskin." Wardrobe descriptions are always of beads, feathers, and buckskin and there is often vanishing Indian concept at play -- Native Americans are portrayed as a soon-to-be-extinct species, with no place or existence as human beings in contemporary America. In one story, animals "become" Indians simply by carrying bows and arrows or dressing the part in Indian clothing. In another children "play Indian" as if "Indian" was a role that one could assume as one can dress up like doctors or cowboys or baseball players. By comparison, it would be very politically incorrect to imply animals and children can dress up as African- Americans or "play Italian."

Often characters are only successful if they abandon traditional ways in favor of those of white or mainstream society. White figures are depicted as a sort of social worker or teacher capable of presenting the remedies need to the dilemma encountered. Perhaps one of the worst things about this compilation of stories is that they have the power to make a Native American child feel embarrassed or ashamed of his or her heritage. Further, the reader is led to believe that all Indian legends are the same. The themes do not vary much at all. Illustrations consist of pictographs and cave paintings that seem to have no relation to the stories. The assertion that this represents an accurate tribal history fails to convince and ultimately is not related to the overall context of the book or adventures and situations the characters encounter.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Essay on Bias in Curricula Native American Assignment

This work is one of the reasons why children search libraries for information regarding "Indians" instead of seeking tribal details on the Lakota or the Oneida or the Choctaw. Interestingly, this treatment of Native Americans is also further built into Western library systems used in schools. The Dewey Decimal Classification system itself marginalizes American Indian abstracts by placing them in the past (in the history section) and separate from the whole of human knowledge (Olsen, 2001). Most libraries omit major Native American concepts, lack specificity, fail to organize Native American material in logical ways, and at times use offensive or outdated terminology. This all reveals a perceived lack of relevance and a lack of recognition of American Indian nations. Not only does it hinder the access of Indian materials to all users, it, like the abstracts in question, reinforce to the outside world the stereotypes that American Indians are part of the past and do not contribute relevant knowledge to contemporary society.

References

Banks, L.R. (2005). The Indian in the cupboard. New York: Random House/Listening Library.

Olson, H.A. (2001). Classification or organization: What's the difference? Knowledge

Organization 28(1), 1-3.

Phillips, W.S. (1963). Indian Campfire Tales: Legends about the Ways of Animals and Men. New York:… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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