Laura Ingalls Wilder was about to receive an award from the Service for Children Association for Library when, in 1952, a reader was published by the publisher of Little House "Complained on the prairie" about what the reader found a profoundly offensive statement about Native Americans.
The reader explicitly referred to the opening chapter of the book, "Going West." The 1935 Story of the Pioneer Family, looking for the unadorned, unoccupied land, begins with a character named Pa, who is modeled on Wilder's father and tells of his desire to "where the wild beasts lived, without fear." Where "the land was and it was there were no trees. "
And where" there were no humans. Only Indians lived there. "
The editor at Harper, who received the reader's complaint, wrote back, saying it was" unbelievable "for her that not a single person at Harper ever noticed that sentence for nearly 20 years implying that Indians were not human, according to a 2007 biography of Wilder by Pamela Smith Hill.
But Harper's decision in 1953 barely changed critics in later decades to turn "humans" into "settlers," the Wilders Descriptions of Native Americans and some African Americans – and their storylines that evoke the white-settler's manifest destiny-beliefs – began to be racist
Now, after years of complaints, say t the Association for Librarian Service for Children, a division of the American Library Association, that it chose Saturday to cancel Wilder's name from the award  More: Second Youth Center rally calls for "Stop the torture of children"
The decision makes Wilder the ultimate goal of efforts to rob the cultural landscape of symbols that honor historical personalities of slaves, racist views or racist practices. Statues and flags have been removed and renamed highways throughout the country. Coat of arms and building names have been changed or are the subject of protests to change them. Columbus Day is today in some places of indigenous peoples.
In deciding to delete Wilder's name from the award, the Library Association has cited "anti-native and anti-black sentiments in their work" when he reviewed Wilder's award in February. The prize, reserved to authors or illustrators who have "made a significant and lasting contribution to children's literature," is no longer referred to as the "Laura Ingalls Wilder Award." It is now the "Children's Literature Legacy Award".
"This decision was made taking into account the fact that Wilder's legacy, as presented in her work, involves stereotypical attitudes that do not match the ALSC's core values of inclusiveness, integrity, and respect and responsiveness," the association said in a statement on his website.
Wilder was the first to win the 1954 prize when she was in her late 80s and nearing the end of her life.
Until her death in 1957, she was loved for the semi-autobiographical "Little House" children's books, fictionalized versions of her family's adventures traveling the western border in her wagon and his encounters with Indians.
Born shortly after the Civil War in 1867 After witnessing both the panic of 1893 and the Great Depression in the 1930s, Wilder once acknowledged that "I represented a whole period of American history in my own life."
But by the same ego critics say, their family's interference in Native American lands, especially in "Little House in the Prairie", represents a whole period of abuse against tribes across America, justified by the beliefs of white settlers that the Native Americans were not considered settlers their own land
The book contains several statements by characters who say, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." In 1998, an eight-year-old girl in the Upper Sioux Reserve was so worried when she heard her teacher read the lesson in the classroom, that she went home crying and made her mother unsuccessfully seek the school district, the book from the curriculum Elsewhere in the book, the Osage tribe members are sometimes depicted as animalistic, notes the critic Philip Heldrich: In one scene, Wilder describes her as wearing a "leather belt" that "hangs down the furry skin of a small animal" before "rough tones "and" bold and wild "faces with" black eyes ". Although Laura's father represents a more tolerant view of Native Americans, his description of a "good Indian" is someone who is "not a common idiot."
The figure, who is Laura Ingalls' mother Caroline Ingalls, is not subtle in her hatred of the Native Americans saying she repeats that she does not like her before she even encounters them. As the critic Ann Romines wrote, "Indians become a code for everything that threatens the sedentary, white life she wants for her daughters."
In another scene, Wilder also shows white black-faced men for the entertainment of others – including her father.
However, Caroline Fraser, author of "Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder," argued that racial insensitivity in Wilder's book should not mean that children should not read it. 19659006] In a March column for The Washington Post, after the club announced that it was considering canceling Wilder's name from the award, Fraser argued that the library association "summon the inappropriate view of literature" he was fighting against, and that no book, "The Bible included, was ever universally accepted."
"Every generation overhauls the literary canon." While the answer to racism is not to impose purity retroactively or banish titles off the shelves, no 8-year-old D Akota child should take an uncritical reading of "Little House in the Prairie "
" But no white American should be able to avoid the story he has to tell. "
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