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View Full Version : Am I being too "PC"? (Enrichment Program Question)



Stacey B
11-02-2011, 12:03 AM
On Tuesdays my ds is in an enrichment program through a local school district. It's been great so far, giving him all those things being an only child can't do (like games in gym and music class). Well today when I picked him up he wanted to sing me the new song he learned. These were the lyrics (approximately): "Indian Maiden grinding your corn, [something about the autumn light on her hair], Indian Maiden so beautiful, and one other line that I can't remember.

So to me this seems completely inappropriate and racist a song. I tried to explain to ds why I didn't like the song, but at 5 he only told me that he liked it and so did the rest of his class. Should I say something?

Stella M
11-02-2011, 12:23 AM
Yes. I would.

coloradoalice
11-02-2011, 12:40 AM
I'd maybe ask the teacher about the song and what the words are, who the author is and what the context was. The lines you remember don't seem racist to me but I think the context and intention of the song is important and might change my opinion.

Stella M
11-02-2011, 02:03 AM
To me it sounds like one of the paternalistic songs we sang at school in the 70's about aboriginal people.

But yeah, maybe it is some harvest type thing I guess. Still.

Jackielyn
11-02-2011, 02:57 AM
My husband is part Native American and he absolutely despises being called an "indian" He always corrects it. I would say something...

lakshmi
11-02-2011, 03:04 AM
My husband is part Native American and he absolutely despises being called an "indian" He always corrects it. I would say something...
Interesting. The Indians I knew in NM all seemed to like being called Indian. Now I am really confused.

I wouldn't say anything to the teacher. Seems like she can be racist if she wants to, not really your problem, choosing to put your kid there and all. That is the problem with groups and stuff. You get a lot that you didn't bargain for. And it opens up the dialog for stuff like racism and stereotypes. And how what one person thinks is okay, another one doesn't.

And there is so much complaining done at school like stuff that the teachers pussyfoot around and say, "oh yes, oh my,no intentions, etc." then do what they want.

Jackielyn
11-02-2011, 05:09 AM
Interesting. The Indians I knew in NM all seemed to like being called Indian. Now I am really confused.

I wouldn't say anything to the teacher. Seems like she can be racist if she wants to, not really your problem, choosing to put your kid there and all. That is the problem with groups and stuff. You get a lot that you didn't bargain for. And it opens up the dialog for stuff like racism and stereotypes. And how what one person thinks is okay, another one doesn't.

And there is so much complaining done at school like stuff that the teachers pussyfoot around and say, "oh yes, oh my,no intentions, etc." then do what they want.

We are from south Dakota and dh is part Sioux...maybe different tribes feel differently? I do agree with you though, choosing to have your child take part and all.

zcat
11-02-2011, 08:13 AM
My dh is Native American and his family and tribe do use the word Indian sometimes. I think they would prefer to be called by the name of their individual tribe rather than Indian or Native American so I wouldn't go around calling people Indians.

I don't think the song lyrics seem particularly racist or offensively stereotyped from what was posted here. What part seems offensive to you? Is it the use of the word Indian or the image of a beautiful native woman grinding corn?

Most modern NA women are not sitting around grinding corn these days but historically it would have been a common and important Fall activity for many tribes. There are NA songs about grinding corn.
I guess I would ask for the lyrics and in what manner they were presented to the children before calling it racist and inappropriate.

dbmamaz
11-02-2011, 09:16 AM
I had 2 ppl of native american backgrounds get in to a little tiff on a fb post of mine, but it was because I'd announced i was going to some pocahontas reinactment event, and a local freind said her mom was making 'squaw' costumes for her girls for the event. Well, the first person said the word squaw is offensive and dressing up is offensive. THe second one agreed about the word squaw, but said she wasnt sure about the dressing up part, she lets her boys dress up for whatever time period they are studying, but maybe she's a bad indian to ask . . . i definitely was suprised to see her refer to herself as an indian. I think she's actually from canada maybe? but i'm not sure.

i wouldnt stress too much about it, but if you want to learn more accurate things about indians, find natives in your area and see what activities they offer up to the public - several ppl said they went to pow wows (some w alternative spellings) last month. There are websites where you can learn more about native cultures - http://oyate.org/ was one I had bookmarked.

but 5 is young to understand the difference between the idealized fairy tale version of history and the brutal truth, imo.

MarkInMD
11-02-2011, 09:26 AM
Not that being 1/8 Cherokee makes me an authority on all things Native American, but I personally don't find this particular lyric that bad compared to some others that are out there. The whole Indian vs. Native American thing seems to be a highly personal choice, as I've read books where authors self-identify as one or the other. It's all up to you whether it bothers you or not, of course, because it's how you feel. To me, it's innocuous from what you've described.

Teri
11-02-2011, 09:44 AM
Could this be related to Thanksgiving?

Mum
11-02-2011, 10:15 AM
I'd say something to the teacher. Re-enforcing stereo-types at a young age is half the problem, IMO. Maybe don't make a BiG deal about it, but I would nicely point out my concerns in a way that would keep her defenses on low. Then it's up to her to decide what to do. A lot of people just don't think about it.

Mum
11-02-2011, 10:22 AM
Ooh! And maybe if it is Thanksgiving-related, make up a second verse to share. Something like, "Pilgrim boy, spreading deadly germs, no sun reflecting off your buttons cause your sect wears wooden ones not brass...". :p

Stacey B
11-02-2011, 10:32 AM
I don't think the song lyrics seem particularly racist or offensively stereotyped from what was posted here. What part seems offensive to you? Is it the use of the word Indian or the image of a beautiful native woman grinding corn?

It's all of it together, especially the beautiful Indian Maiden part rolled together that gets to me. I taught in Northern New Mexico where a quarter of the teachers were Navajo and and over a third of the students were so it seems like a dated and awful stereotype to me.

I understand that it is a Thanksgiving song but I don't want to sit passively by while my son gets these images of other cultures, and women. I think instead of talking to the teacher I might start talking to him about the real story of Thanksgiving and who all the people involved were. A little about early settlers, a little about the people already living here, a little about religious persecution (we've already talked about this because my family is Jewish and we've talked about why we live in this country not Belarus or Poland).

I guess this brings up one of the reasons that we do homeschool, we want to give ds a more balanced view of the world than the one he would get in school. It's funny when I was teaching there I taught a unit on South America, the other teachers didn't like that I did a unit on the disappeared in Dictatorships.

farrarwilliams
11-02-2011, 10:43 AM
The "Indian maiden" part is what rubs me the wrong way... Like others, I've heard different things from different groups about what term for first peoples is really the "best" term - the Smithsonian museum went with "American Indian" so I tend to use that, but none of them are especially satisfying to me. I wish we were like Canada where "First Nations" is in much more common usage, but we're not. I used to try that one out and people just were confused.

But as it's not as bad as many things, I might not make a huge stink. Instead, I would just make an effort to read or look at some other, more diverse, less stereotypical resources about American Indians. We just wrapped up a unit on American Indians before diving into American history and we found SO many good picture books. As we went, we read myths and legends along with books like the If You Lived With the... series from Scholastic and mapped out which tribes we had read about. We also read The Birchbark House and that was a good hit with my kids. I was a little worried because it starts slow, but they got really into it.


Ooh! And maybe if it is Thanksgiving-related, make up a second verse to share. Something like, "Pilgrim boy, spreading deadly germs, no sun reflecting off your buttons cause your sect wears wooden ones not brass...". :p

:_laugh:

Stacey B
11-02-2011, 10:53 AM
we found SO many good picture books. As we went, we read myths and legends along with books like the If You Lived With the... series from Scholastic and mapped out which tribes we had read about.

If you remember what where some of the picture book names, I'd love use them.

I think you're right about not saying anything, instead I'm going to use this as a direction to go in our learning.

farrarwilliams
11-02-2011, 11:00 AM
I had a blog post (http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/native-american-books/) with a few of the ones we found especially useful or really liked. But I think it was just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. We had so many books out and I didn't even list everything we enjoyed and I didn't even look that hard, honestly. I just pulled what I saw at the library in the folklore and mythology section (um... Dewey... the 390's, I think???)

ETA: Woohoo! My Dewey isn't too rusty! 398 is folklore.

Amanadoo
11-02-2011, 12:27 PM
I think that I am too dense to understand the problem. [Which is a non-point because I do see that the OP has made up her mind as to how to move forward.] The only song of any genre that I can think of that glorifies ugly women (ie, NON-beautiful//fair maidens) is that catchy old tune : If you want to happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife//From my particular point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you! Because other men won't look at her and, you know, ugly women can COOK.

*groan*, anyway...

Most songs talk about pretty ladies, right? And grinding corn is something people do. Is there a subtle subtext I am missing? Should I assume that the song is really about the dehumanization and inevitable rape of native women by white conquerors?

Busygoddess
11-02-2011, 01:14 PM
In addition to checking out books of myths, look for some books of Native poetry, as well. By that I mean poetry by Natives, not just about Natives. Dancing Teepee and When the Rain Sings were good ones, we liked those. A Rainbow at Night is a beautiful book of artwork by Navajo children depicting things from their lives, their heritage, and their tribal stories. Look for books written from the Native point of view, especially when looking for books on the history.

This (http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/lit_resources/diversity/native_am/native_then/native_then_nonfic.html) site would be a good starting point in getting some book titles to look for, fiction, nonfiction, novels you could do as read alouds, and picture books. Our library doesn't have Birchbark House, so we haven't read that one. We have done a few read alouds of novels by Joseph Bruchac, we also read The Education of Little Tree as a read aloud. I highly recommend that one.

As for the whole Indian vs Native American vs American Indian debate, it really is a personal choice. If you know the tribe(s) of the person you are speaking of, use that. If you don't know the tribe, that's trickier. Some prefer Indian or American Indian. Some prefer Native American. Some prefer Native Peoples or First Nations. Most Natives refer to Natives as 'The People' in their tribal tongue. Choose which you are comfortable with & use it, unless in regards to someone who has a different preference and has made that know to you.

Depending on how much you want to do for this study, you could expose him to some Native music. Carlos Nakai plays the most beautiful music on the NA flute.

Just be careful with any projects that you decide to do. Some may be seen as racist and purporting stereotypes. I personally see 'dressing up' as being a really bad idea & would stay away from it. Unless you have a different outfit for each tribe, dressing up would generalize all tribes, from all regions, which is seriously wrong. However, doing something like studying all the different types of housing and then allowing your child to choose one to build would be fine.

Sorry, I kind of rambled on here. I hope some of this is helpful.

lakshmi
11-02-2011, 02:47 PM
My dh is Native American and his family and tribe do use the word Indian sometimes. I think they would prefer to be called by the name of their individual tribe rather than Indian or Native American so I wouldn't go around calling people Indians.

Maybe this is why I don't remember. I would typically say Pueblo as in Zuni or Taos or whatever or Navajo. And the I knew of some Indian guys in a speed metal band who were referred to as Indian. But not Indian Maidens. LOL...

All Thanksgiving programs at school bother me. It all seems a little skewed.

Lak001
11-02-2011, 03:14 PM
When dd was in public school, all kindergartners were divided into two groups, one was the Pilgrims, and the other Indians. This was all in preparation for Thanks-giving Holidays. Then they would have a stage-play before Thank-giving where the "Pilgrims" and "Indians" all went up on stage dressed up in their respective costumes, and sang some songs about turkey :_no: , and hug each other saying they were all like friends and family.

Now, i was fuming, literally :explode: Because they were taught that Pilgrims treated Indians nicely, they became friends, and so the Indians shared their food with Pilgrims which is why the Pilgrims gave them Thanks. Even though the story was well intended, they(meaning the public school teachers) conveniently forgot to mention how the Pilgrims later went on to massacre those same Indians who shared food with them, and without whose co-operation they would not have made it. Why can't public school lay the facts straight? The kids grow up misinformed, and I realize( after having lived in the US for 13 years) that many Americans don't have their facts straight about what happened to Native Indians.

And yes, I met a lady who was a Native American, and she said she despised being called so, and preferred to be rather called an Indian.

ETA: i realized that may be it was not relevant for Thanks-giving Holidays, which is all the public school cared about. Not the actual historical facts.

Mum
11-02-2011, 03:31 PM
I think that I am too dense to understand the problem. [Which is a non-point because I do see that the OP has made up her mind as to how to move forward.] The only song of any genre that I can think of that glorifies ugly women (ie, NON-beautiful//fair maidens) is that catchy old tune : If you want to happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife//From my particular point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you! Because other men won't look at her and, you know, ugly women can COOK.

*groan*, anyway...

Most songs talk about pretty ladies, right? And grinding corn is something people do. Is there a subtle subtext I am missing? Should I assume that the song is really about the dehumanization and inevitable rape of native women by white conquerors?

Maybe look at it this way - if you were an Irish American would you like all the children you grow up with to assume that in your spare time you like to grow potatoes and dance a jig all day cause that's what all little Irish girls do and that's where their value is?

BTW, that is one of the funniest songs! "I saw your wife the other day... And she was uuuuuugly!"

Lak001
11-02-2011, 03:36 PM
http://www.manataka.org/page269.html

A more factual version of thanks-giving, for kids especially. They should teach this to the public school teachers first.

lakshmi
11-02-2011, 03:52 PM
Maybe look at it this way - if you were an Irish American would you like all the children you grow up with to assume that in your spare time you like to grow potatoes and dance a jig all day cause that's what all little Irish girls do and that's where their value is?

oh and you forgot Kiss!! and drink Beer!!! But ya gotta start somewhere.......with the learning.

Mum
11-02-2011, 04:23 PM
oh and you forgot Kiss!! and drink Beer!!! But ya gotta start somewhere.......with the learning.

Lol! And shamrocks! We can't get enough shamrocks. We put them all over our green garters.

Stacey B
11-02-2011, 04:29 PM
http://www.manataka.org/page269.html

A more factual version of thanks-giving, for kids especially. They should teach this to the public school teachers first.

Thanks for this. Up until now we have actually focused the holiday more as one of harvest and family not talking about the history of it at all.

hockeymom
11-02-2011, 04:42 PM
When we lived in Canada, DS's grade 1 teacher taught the class about the Pilgrims, in respect to Canadian Thanksgiving. When I questioned her on how the Pilgrims were relevant to Canadian history she just waved me off and nonchalantly replied that "all North American history is the same". Say what?!

Jackielyn
11-02-2011, 05:01 PM
Lol! And shamrocks! We can't get enough shamrocks. We put them all over our green garters.

And the leprechauns and the pot'o gold! :) I like the discussion! This has given me a starting off point for history this month!

lakshmi
11-02-2011, 05:02 PM
And the leprechauns and the pot'o gold! :) I like the discussion! This has given me a starting off point for history this month!
What Native Irish Americanisms in Canada?

Jackielyn
11-02-2011, 05:17 PM
What Native Irish Americanisms in Canada?

Dontcha know, eh?

ETA: Tried to sound Irish and Canadian...instead it just sounds like I'm sterotyping Canadians...my bad...

farrarwilliams
11-02-2011, 05:30 PM
Our whole myth-making in regards to Thanksgiving is really interesting to me... there's so many different pieces to it, lies and false stories repeated, and then myth-making this story of cooperation between Indians and settlers - a cooperation that was real, but all too brief.

On the subject of Thanksgiving... there's also the picture book Thank You, Sarah, about the creation of Thanksgiving as a modern holiday. But it doesn't have much to do with American Indians in that context. Just saying.

Busygoddess
11-02-2011, 05:35 PM
Native Circle (http://www.nativecircle.com/) is a good site for some info from the Native point of view. If you click on "We are Still Here' you'll find info on Thanksgiving, Native contributions, etc.

Riceball_Mommy
11-02-2011, 08:07 PM
A few things, I really like the idea of putting some good research into a costume based based of a Native American tribe. I personally think it is fine to dress up in traditional garb from another culture as long as you are doing so respectfully, and especially if you put proper research behind it.

As for what Lak just said, sort of in the same vein as that, the "This is America, speak English" group aggravates me to no end, because not only were there many diverse languages before the English language was heard in this country, many states were formed around people who either still spoke the languages of the native people, Spanish settlers or French settlers. Also another argument for a different time.
It is terrible also to many that many cultural traditions are being lost and have been lost because the powerful minority thought they knew more destroyed a whole way of life.

raegan
11-02-2011, 08:08 PM
If there are decent museums nearby, there *should* be accurately preserved and catalogued artifacts from various tribal cultures. I happen to live in Kansas City, home to a decent NA population and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The Nelson has some amazing displays of various tribes, grouped by geography, and even offers specific tours (one for littles, one for older kids/adults) discussing the artifacts and relevance. I've tried to impart NA awareness from pretty much birth, but it was that (permanent) exhibit and the first floor of the Field Museum in Chicago that drove home the point of DIVERSITY among indigenous peoples. (Neither mine nor dh's family is officially NA, but my dad ingrained NA values in me from early in my childhood, and it was the only value set that resonated with me; I just want my children to have a similar values base. And I may be "enough" Peoria-Kaskaskia that I could join the Nation if I show my family tree. Which would be cool, but I'm lazy.) ETA: the KC metro is also home to the Shawnee Indian Mission, wherein tribal children were stripped of all pride and practice, if not memory, of their Plains Indian culture. It was actually one of the most hostile "schools" set up in the West. We've discussed how kids weren't allowed to use their given names or speak their native (and only known) language and had their hair cut to look like the white settlers. We have yet to go to the Mission--mostly because the thought of setting foot there makes me ill, and I need to get my brain in a place where I can handle it. (same experience I had at the Holocaust Memorial in DC and a traveling exhibit of Hiroshima and Nagasaki)

As to the OP--if it's through "a local school district," I understand that to mean PUBLIC school. If it were a private school or program, that would be one thing, but the fact is that it borrows its authority and legitimacy from its status as a public institution. As such, it must serve *all* people, and depending on context (and I can't really imagine a NA song with those words, so can't imagine an "okay" context), it fails to do that. Add to that the fact that you're in CO--home to a significant NA population, and it's not unlike institutional stereotyping of any other ethnicity or culture, and causes harm in that way. No matter how benign it feels, sounds, looks, smells, or tastes--formalized, institutional stereotyping harms people. It harms everyone because it robs everyone of truth and diversity of experience, but it harms the stereotyped even more egregiously. (See Ellison's "Invisible Man") ...so obviously, I'd point out the discrepancy in respect of cultures. I don't think "PC" should be as negatively considered as it is in our society. :/

All that said, the next month is likely to be really rough in terms of NA-stereotyping. :(

Thanks for the "real story" link...and I second the Oyate website.

Busygoddess
11-02-2011, 08:26 PM
A few things, I really like the idea of putting some good research into a costume based based of a Native American tribe. I personally think it is fine to dress up in traditional garb from another culture as long as you are doing so respectfully, and especially if you put proper research behind it.

As for what Lak just said, sort of in the same vein as that, the "This is America, speak English" group aggravates me to no end, because not only were there many diverse languages before the English language was heard in this country, many states were formed around people who either still spoke the languages of the native people, Spanish settlers or French settlers. Also another argument for a different time.
It is terrible also to many that many cultural traditions are being lost and have been lost because the powerful minority thought they knew more destroyed a whole way of life.

If the person would be doing accurate tribal clothing from each tribe they studied, that would be one thing. However, most do a generalized 'this is how ALL natives dressed' outfit which usually most resembles a rip-off of the attire of Plains Indians. Just like when many people cover Indian housing, they really only cover the tipi and maybe wigwam. That is wrong. That is generalizing many tribes, from many regions, ranging from Alaska & Canada down throughout the U.S. and into Mexico, as if they all were identical and the tribes are interchangeable. Even doing a well researched outfit of just one tribe is still wrong, unless you are descended from that tribe, because it still does not even begin to address any other tribe.

As for the 'This is America, speak English' thing, I kind of see both sides of that. The people of the U.S. need to get over their ridiculous aversion to becoming a multi-lingual nation. However, it is rude & naive to move to a country, with no intent to learn the common language, with the assumption that the people there should learn your language to communicate with you. Seriously, if you were moving to France, wouldn't you plan to learn French?

Riceball_Mommy
11-02-2011, 08:43 PM
I do agree that if you are moving to a new country you should learn the common language I am trying to address though that there are parts of the country where they have spoken either French or Spanish since the country formed around them, no one really thinks of them. I did have a teacher in college that was 2nd or 3rd generation of her family in this country. She said for her family coming over here and learning to speak English was a source of pride.
I also think that if I want to move to a part of the US where French/Spanish is spoken predominately I should learn to speak French/Spanish.

Lak001
11-02-2011, 08:57 PM
The British came to India and implanted English. The British ruled us for a good couple of centuries, and guess who ended up learning whose language? Yeah, that's what happened wherever the British went. They didn't learn the indeginous languages. They worked it the other way round.

farrarwilliams
11-02-2011, 08:57 PM
If the person would be doing accurate tribal clothing from each tribe they studied, that would be one thing. However, most do a generalized 'this is how ALL natives dressed' outfit which usually most resembles a rip-off of the attire of Plains Indians. Just like when many people cover Indian housing, they really only cover the tipi and maybe wigwam. That is wrong. That is generalizing many tribes, from many regions, ranging from Alaska & Canada down throughout the U.S. and into Mexico, as if they all were identical and the tribes are interchangeable. Even doing a well researched outfit of just one tribe is still wrong, unless you are descended from that tribe, because it still does not even begin to address any other tribe.



Okay, so forgive me if I misunderstand or have completely gone about things the wrong way, but as we approached doing our American Indians unit, I tried really hard to emphasize what particular group we were looking at - which tribe the legend we were reading came from, which tribe we were reading about for history, which tribe was in the painting we saw, and so forth. I had the book More Than Moccasins, which has craft projects and we did a few things and as we did them, I tried to point out which tribe things came from and one of the reasons I liked that book was because it spelled that out for almost every project. Mostly, I just let the kids pick a few things. So, for example, BalletBoy wanted to make a stick dice game he saw in the book that came from the Pomo Indians, so I made the connection to a picture book we had read, I helped him find where they lived on a map, etc. But that was the only native game we made from the book. It seems like what you're saying is that's wrong because it didn't address all the tribes. But then, we don't have time to make a dozen games. Even if we did, we wouldn't have time to make hundreds and represent *every* tribe. I see how usually costume in particular is terribly homogenized and offensively done so it may be a particular issue, but I'm having trouble groking what's wrong with a well-researched specific costume (or living structure or game or art object or whatever) as part of a wider unit study.

This also just touches on how hard it is to study a living culture, especially one that has been oppressed historically. When you do ancient Egypt with your kids, honestly, you can dress up, paint pictures, make models and do whatever the *** you want and not worry. But I think a lot of us would like to do similar sorts of projects with young kids about Native American cultures, because we would like to place the same sort of value on them - but it's so fraught with issues. And we genuinely don't want to co-opt or misrepresent, but we still want to have cute crafts, dress up costumes and so forth for our little ones.

And sometimes it feels to me like it doesn't matter what you do, someone will find it offensive. One of the books we used, I went back after and saw a review of it where it called out a couple of (small, but still there) errors, which, well, sucks. But then it called the art offensive. Look, this was not Aunt Jemima art. It wasn't stereotypical clothes either. The reviewer just didn't like the plain modernistic style and didn't think it looked good. But then the critique becomes that if an American Indian reviewer doesn't like the art, it's "offensive." That's just hard to stomach. It makes one feel like if an American Indian saw the picture your kid drew after reading about the Trail of Tears or something and didn't like his stick figures, that you've just turned your kid into a racist somehow. So... you know, why even try? Better to not even touch those issues. But that's obviously not the right response either. Sigh.

I read an article awhile back... I wish I could find it. It had a funny title. Something like "Awkward Conversations with White People about Race" and the gist was that you just have to plow through and do it, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Sigh.

farrarwilliams
11-02-2011, 09:00 PM
The British came to India and implanted English. The British ruled us for a good couple of centuries, and guess who ended up learning whose language? Yeah, that's what happened wherever the British went. They didn't learn the indeginous languages. They worked it the other way round.

Sort of an aside, but I read once that some languages, like English and Spanish (and Chinese), may be "killer" languages. They steamroll other languages because there's something about them that makes them more adoptable - something beyond just the oppressive force of the people who spoke them.

Lak001
11-02-2011, 09:17 PM
Sort of an aside, but I read once that some languages, like English and Spanish (and Chinese), may be "killer" languages. They steamroll other languages because there's something about them that makes them more adoptable - something beyond just the oppressive force of the people who spoke them.
Maybe there is an ease to English that other languages don't have in them. Indian language has too many consonants, and it can be very confusing. Probably the British tried and gave up.
It actually was a boon for India to have English introduced as a mainstream language in schools. There were more benefits than I'll effects of it.

Busygoddess
11-02-2011, 09:24 PM
Okay, so forgive me if I misunderstand or have completely gone about things the wrong way, but as we approached doing our American Indians unit, I tried really hard to emphasize what particular group we were looking at - which tribe the legend we were reading came from, which tribe we were reading about for history, which tribe was in the painting we saw, and so forth. I had the book More Than Moccasins, which has craft projects and we did a few things and as we did them, I tried to point out which tribe things came from and one of the reasons I liked that book was because it spelled that out for almost every project. Mostly, I just let the kids pick a few things. So, for example, BalletBoy wanted to make a stick dice game he saw in the book that came from the Pomo Indians, so I made the connection to a picture book we had read, I helped him find where they lived on a map, etc. But that was the only native game we made from the book. It seems like what you're saying is that's wrong because it didn't address all the tribes. But then, we don't have time to make a dozen games. Even if we did, we wouldn't have time to make hundreds and represent *every* tribe. I see how usually costume in particular is terribly homogenized and offensively done so it may be a particular issue, but I'm having trouble groking what's wrong with a well-researched specific costume (or living structure or game or art object or whatever) as part of a wider unit study.

This also just touches on how hard it is to study a living culture, especially one that has been oppressed historically. When you do ancient Egypt with your kids, honestly, you can dress up, paint pictures, make models and do whatever the *** you want and not worry. But I think a lot of us would like to do similar sorts of projects with young kids about Native American cultures, because we would like to place the same sort of value on them - but it's so fraught with issues. And we genuinely don't want to co-opt or misrepresent, but we still want to have cute crafts, dress up costumes and so forth for our little ones.

And sometimes it feels to me like it doesn't matter what you do, someone will find it offensive. One of the books we used, I went back after and saw a review of it where it called out a couple of (small, but still there) errors, which, well, sucks. But then it called the art offensive. Look, this was not Aunt Jemima art. It wasn't stereotypical clothes either. The reviewer just didn't like the plain modernistic style and didn't think it looked good. But then the critique becomes that if an American Indian reviewer doesn't like the art, it's "offensive." That's just hard to stomach. It makes one feel like if an American Indian saw the picture your kid drew after reading about the Trail of Tears or something and didn't like his stick figures, that you've just turned your kid into a racist somehow. So... you know, why even try? Better to not even touch those issues. But that's obviously not the right response either. Sigh.

I read an article awhile back... I wish I could find it. It had a funny title. Something like "Awkward Conversations with White People about Race" and the gist was that you just have to plow through and do it, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Sigh.

I didn't specifically mean that you would have to do the same project for all tribes, but that the projects should not generalize all tribes as the same & each tribe should hold equal weight in the study. If you're going to make an outfit for one tribe, the clothing of other tribes/tribal regions should at least be discussed so that the child understands that the outfit you made was not typical for all tribes. It's not so much about doing the exact same thing for each tribe you study, but putting in the same effort for each tribe and making sure that the child knows not to generalize all tribes. Putting huge amounts of effort into researching & recreating the apparel of one tribe, while not putting in that same level of effort into projects done for the other tribes you study, makes no sense unless that tribe is your heritage (therefore holding more importance to you personally). It's also about making sure that tribes from all of the different regions are represented, not necessarily trying to cover all the different tribes.

Gabriela
11-02-2011, 10:16 PM
I think it would be a good habit for all of us to call tribes or cultures by their original names. Indian is from India, right?
People feel differently about this because the trend hasn't reached everywhere yet, and not everyone is in agreement.
In my country, it is offensive to call the native groups "indian".
I'm very sensitive about this kind of thing, and was always criticizing my son's old school for this.
Many times, the teacher's hadn't even stopped to think about it. I think it's worth mentioning.
I run a school, and had a teacher sing a similar song, also with the word indian referring to Native Americans,
I since wrote up a whole set of PC rules. I'm still getting used to some of them myself.

raegan
11-02-2011, 10:18 PM
I don't buy it. That means that by studying Plains Indians for a co-op last spring (because those are the tribes/cultures where we live), we committed some sort of egregious error by omitting tribes originating from everywhere else in the country? We discussed they "why" of the Plains traditions in relation to the geography and history--and why their culture grew differently from other tribal groupings. But according to your argument, we still completely failed. :/

farrarwilliams
11-02-2011, 11:35 PM
Yes, I also feel funny... as a kid we often did more about the Cherokee for example, but I always assumed that was because they lived in Georgia and NC where I grew up. Kids in NY learn a lot more about the Iroquois and the Algonquin, again, for the same reason. I understand that the curriculum in California includes specific tribes, as does the curriculum in other states. Is that not okay? I always think that's more desirable than having a unit on "Indians."

One of the things I really struggle with is the presentation at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. They have so many amazing things. The building the beautiful. The food is amazing (seriously, I know that sounds weird, but if you're ever in DC, it's THE place to eat on the Mall). But there's so little contextualization. The one that is most confusing to me is a HUGE wall of spear points and arrowheads. Some of them are OLD. Like, 10,000 years old. Some are new, like a hundred years old. They're from all over the country and even from Canada and Mexico. They're all mixed together. There's nothing to explain the cross-cultural stuff - why they all, to the untrained eye, look so much alike. There's nothing to explain the different materials. There's nothing to explain how different cultures used and made them. Why designs changed over time. You can find out the age and in most cases what tribe each is from, but it's not easily accessible. It's on a computer and you have to look it up. Doesn't *that* homogenize American Indians? Yet American Indians themselves had a huge say in the design and presentation of the materials in the building, so obviously they endorsed this presentation.

raegan
11-03-2011, 12:35 AM
Yes, I also feel funny... as a kid we often did more about the Cherokee for example, but I always assumed that was because they lived in Georgia and NC where I grew up. Kids in NY learn a lot more about the Iroquois and the Algonquin, again, for the same reason. I understand that the curriculum in California includes specific tribes, as does the curriculum in other states. Is that not okay? I always think that's more desirable than having a unit on "Indians."

One of the things I really struggle with is the presentation at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. They have so many amazing things. The building the beautiful. The food is amazing (seriously, I know that sounds weird, but if you're ever in DC, it's THE place to eat on the Mall). But there's so little contextualization. The one that is most confusing to me is a HUGE wall of spear points and arrowheads. Some of them are OLD. Like, 10,000 years old. Some are new, like a hundred years old. They're from all over the country and even from Canada and Mexico. They're all mixed together. There's nothing to explain the cross-cultural stuff - why they all, to the untrained eye, look so much alike. There's nothing to explain the different materials. There's nothing to explain how different cultures used and made them. Why designs changed over time. You can find out the age and in most cases what tribe each is from, but it's not easily accessible. It's on a computer and you have to look it up. Doesn't *that* homogenize American Indians? Yet American Indians themselves had a huge say in the design and presentation of the materials in the building, so obviously they endorsed this presentation.

wow, that's an unfortunate lack of organization. :( Have you ever been to the Field Museum? The entire first floor* is set up as a walk through time and place, visiting each significant indigenous culture. Uber-contextualization & such an easily understandable setup. The weapons make sense in context--that's what my survivalist kid gravitated toward--whereas it would seem like an unnecessary display of violence had they all been grouped together. A specific type of bow with various specialized arrow tips on display next to that culture's cradle board? Made perfect sense. If anyone's not been, GO!

*okay, now that I remember, there is Sue in the middle of the first floor, as well as an exhibit area right next to the entrance which hosts rotating exhibits. (it was women's shoes through history when we visited.)

farrarwilliams
11-03-2011, 12:39 AM
I've never been to the Field Museum. I've never really properly done Chicago actually, though I would really like to some day.

zcat
11-03-2011, 10:44 AM
It's all of it together, especially the beautiful Indian Maiden part rolled together that gets to me. I taught in Northern New Mexico where a quarter of the teachers were Navajo and and over a third of the students were so it seems like a dated and awful stereotype to me.

I understand that it is a Thanksgiving song but I don't want to sit passively by while my son gets these images of other cultures, and women. I think instead of talking to the teacher I might start talking to him about the real story of Thanksgiving and who all the people involved were. A little about early settlers, a little about the people already living here, a little about religious persecution (we've already talked about this because my family is Jewish and we've talked about why we live in this country not Belarus or Poland).

I guess this brings up one of the reasons that we do homeschool, we want to give ds a more balanced view of the world than the one he would get in school. It's funny when I was teaching there I taught a unit on South America, the other teachers didn't like that I did a unit on the disappeared in Dictatorships.

I do get annoyed that children are taught only about Native American's as one tribe lived a couple hundred years ago and that they all look alike. It makes a diverse living people like a fairytale to kids.

I don't think it is necessarily bad to present a NA women historically grinding corn. It would have been a common task for women to prepare and preserve food and corn was a staple food for many tribes.
http://www.wampanoagtribe.net/Pages/Wampanoag_Education/corn
If it is a Thanksgiving study I would study the specific tribes the Europeans encountered and talk about their past and present day life. http://www.wampanoagtribe.net/Pages/Wampanoag_WebDocs/history_culture
For a first Thanksgiving book I might read Squanto's Journey by Joseph Bruchac.
Oyate has a list of books they recommend for Thanksgiving. http://oyate.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53&Itemid=69

I would try to get non-Thanksgiving books by NA authors.
I like other non-Thanksgiving books by Joseph Bruchac such as Children of The Longhouse. http://josephbruchac.com/
The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich is also a good historical book.
Jingle Dancer is a positive book about a modern NA family. http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2004/07/jingle-dancer.html
For an older child or an adult I think Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King was a good read.

Greenmother
11-03-2011, 11:58 AM
I had 2 ppl of native american backgrounds get in to a little tiff on a fb post of mine, but it was because I'd announced i was going to some pocahontas reinactment event, and a local freind said her mom was making 'squaw' costumes for her girls for the event. Well, the first person said the word squaw is offensive and dressing up is offensive. THe second one agreed about the word squaw, but said she wasnt sure about the dressing up part, she lets her boys dress up for whatever time period they are studying, but maybe she's a bad indian to ask . . . i definitely was suprised to see her refer to herself as an indian. I think she's actually from canada maybe? but i'm not sure.

i wouldnt stress too much about it, but if you want to learn more accurate things about indians, find natives in your area and see what activities they offer up to the public - several ppl said they went to pow wows (some w alternative spellings) last month. There are websites where you can learn more about native cultures - http://oyate.org/ was one I had bookmarked.

but 5 is young to understand the difference between the idealized fairy tale version of history and the brutal truth, imo.


The word Squaw is like using a rude word for Vagina. It is not a good word to refer to any girl or woman. But many people did not know that. We were taught that in public school by a Kiowa Woman who was a guest speaker who lectured on Oklahoma History and Native Peoples in middle school.

A lot of landmarks have been renamed because they were called "Squaw Mountain" or Squaw lake, etc., but really it is a bad word. :( To me it is the same as when male sailors called female sailors, *Split Tails.

Some have tried to turn this into a PC battle, but ick! Whatever. I won't use that word and I get very upset if people use that word in front of my kids.

I don't have anything to add to the original post. Context would be important. Seeing how the Natives caught colonists digging up corpses and eating them during bad winters, though, it's no wonder they felt so sorry for the colonists [at first], though considering what the Spaniards did to Natives even before the English got there, its miraculous that they didn't kill colonists all on sight.

The colonists were not equipped to survive those winters and didn't know the local food sources. Many were incapable of growing crops that could sustain them through the winter. It wasn't unusual for colonists to raid Native Stores of grain and dried meat and then burn villages in the height of winter. That would be a slow painful death sentence via starvation and exposure.

Busygoddess
11-03-2011, 12:25 PM
I don't buy it. That means that by studying Plains Indians for a co-op last spring (because those are the tribes/cultures where we live), we committed some sort of egregious error by omitting tribes originating from everywhere else in the country? We discussed they "why" of the Plains traditions in relation to the geography and history--and why their culture grew differently from other tribal groupings. But according to your argument, we still completely failed. :/

If they will be learning about the other regions at another time, it's fine. However, if that study is the extent of Native American History that they will be studying, I don't feel it is sufficient.

I don't seem to be doing a very good job of explaining my view on this. Maybe it's being sick all week. Maybe it's just one of those days where words are getting lost between my brain & my fingers. I don't know. Maybe this will help:

You wouldn't study just Ancient Rome and feel that was enough to consider the Ancients done. You wouldn't study Judaism and decide that's all that's needed for World Religions because all religions are pretty much the same. You wouldn't cover the History or Geography of just your state. So, why is it different when it comes to studying Native American History? People are fine with glazing over all tribes as if they are one. People are fine with covering just one tribe or region. People are fine with doing a 2 week study and saying that they've 'covered' Native American History, even when they normally do quite in-depth History studies. Native Americans are not one culture. Each tribe has its own History, religion, culture, traditions, etc. Each tribe is a living, breathing entity and should be given the respect of being treated that way.

Now, of course, all of this is just my own opinion, and the only family impacted by my opinion is mine. Between wanting to give my kids as in-depth & complete understanding of History as possible, wanting my kids to really know about their heritage, and my personal belief of what constitutes an excellent education, this topic is really important to me and I sometimes get a bit carried away. So, with that in mind, I'm bowing out of this conversation before I offend anyone else.

Amanadoo
11-03-2011, 01:00 PM
I really do see the point, but the Native American experience is//was soooo varied, that it would be impossible to cover them all with the average child. Especially when we're talking about young children. If it is a special interest for an older child, then yes, of course. But I think it's enough for most kids to be made to understand that there are/were different native cultures influenced by their own local climate (so they would of course wear different things), spiritual beliefs, food et cetera...

Most of the planet was at one time peopled by smaller individual nations and cultures. Even today in Africa, South America and the Middle East (and obviously among the native nations of the US) people still think of themselves in terms of their tribe more so than their country or government. You simply HAVE to have a general sort of foundational understanding of that. You can't become an expert on every single existing tribal allegiance in the world.

Stacey B
11-03-2011, 01:20 PM
So I have a bunch of thought about this stuff but my parents are showing up tomorrow and I have lots of cleaning to do, I'll write more later. For now I just wanted to say that this conversation has been so interesting to me, I love hearing other opinions.

Greenmother
11-03-2011, 04:03 PM
Here is a book that might interest adults and advanced readers: Playing Indian by Prof Deloria. http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Indian-Yale-Historical-Publications/dp/0300080670/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320350359&sr=8-1

It shows the process of Eurocentric appropriations of Native culture as they simultaneously attempted to end all Native Cultures. Sort of like what the Gaels did to the Picts, and the Romans to the Gaels. Think of it as a form of cultural cannibalism. One culture engulfs another, effectively committing genocide or at least cultural genocide. The most favored qualities of that culture are kept by the dominant group, and appropriated as a sort of weird Totemic Trophy. In a very strange way, appropriating or co-opting the collective spiritual power of the culture[s] being invaded and exterminated.

Think of it as Perseus killing Medusa, and instead of erasing her image forever, he appropriates her power, as her head [the most powerful part of her arsenal] and places it on his shield. Showing the world and future combatants, that they might battle the one who defeated Medusa, but also they have to overcome the her power, that is now his.

Of course Natives would object to this. They are still alive, and many are sill cohesive, intact cultures. So it's sort of like trying to steal the shoes off a corpse, only... They are not really dead. Very ghoulish behavior all the way around if you ask me.

farrarwilliams
11-03-2011, 04:34 PM
If they will be learning about the other regions at another time, it's fine. However, if that study is the extent of Native American History that they will be studying, I don't feel it is sufficient.

clip

So, with that in mind, I'm bowing out of this conversation before I offend anyone else.

I guess I just wonder when "not sufficient" begins to equal "offensive." I mean, spending months on the American colonies and a week on a single Native American tribe probably does cross that border. But there are things we didn't cover in ancient history very well... I don't know.

I just wanted to say I feel like I was disagreeing with you or maybe questioning because I felt like I want to do it "right" but don't always know how to discern what that means, but I didn't find anything you said offensive. I was really interested to hear your perspective.


Here is a book that might interest adults and advanced readers: Playing Indian by Prof Deloria. http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Indian-Yale-Historical-Publications/dp/0300080670/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320350359&sr=8-1

I've heard of this book. I feel like I get it (though maybe I'm completely wrong about that)... but then when it comes time to do the same sort of craft activities one did when we studied ancient China or India (two other living cultures) then there's all this history of evil crafts ruining it. You can be a privileged white kid making faux kente cloth with construction paper weaving or doing faux Chinese calligraphy with black watercolors, but it's hard to do the same sorts of things for Native Americans because kids (and adults) have been doing it wrong and for the wrong reasons for so long.

Greenmother
11-03-2011, 07:30 PM
527 Nations at last count occupied this country alone. Not counting S. America, Central America or Canada. They had complex trade routes, some which became our modern highways. Some had extensive and complex civilizations, including permanent living areas and agriculture. They communicated and traded with each other as well as making war on each other and intermarrying.

Honestly people make the same mistakes in Celtic Cultural Studies. They think that the Celts in Ireland or Scotland represent all Celts everywhere, or those are the only places to find Celts, not realizing the massive, intermittent migrations of Indo-European Culture that created the Celtic Diaspora over eons. So that all Celts are romanticized through the lens of the British Isles exclusively. Ignoring that these were autonomous independent groups with their own unique religious beliefs, traditions, territories and identities. Sometimes there were overlapping motifs, but that seems to be a difficult concept for many lay people to grasp.

For instance, this belief that Triglav is Donnar, is Thundr, is Thor, is Taranis. Yes and no. It depends on when, and who and where. This habit of making Romanized equations can help in understanding very simplified versions of culture, but it often heavily glosses over the nuances and realizing the unique identities of the people being studied, whether they be Native Americans, or Ancient Europeans or anyone for that matter.

lakshmi
11-03-2011, 11:50 PM
Now I am confused. Why does everyone compare the Native Americans to Irish? lol

The great thing about faux unschooling is that I don't have to do any studying of any of these things if my kids aren't interested....LOL..

dbmamaz
11-03-2011, 11:57 PM
Yeah, i'm still wondering if I'm supposed to just not talk about any of the first peoples if I cant take the time to meaningfully study all 527. I dont even like history, i just want to give my kids a general understanding of what came before. and maybe we'll get around to a vague understanding of what is now.

Greenmother
11-04-2011, 11:47 AM
I didn't compare Natives to the Irish.

I compared common mistakes made when studying diverse peoples. Oversimplification of the study of Indo-Europeans and Celts, to the Oversimplification of the study of Native Americans.

All Celts are not Irish.
All Natives are not Sioux.
All Greeks are not Athenian
etc., and so on.

However due to the size of the subjects-matter, often one or two groups are chosen for times sake, as representative of these meta-cultures. And this is digested by the student and leads many to inadvertently assume that all Greeks are Athenians, All Native Americans are Sioux, and all Celts are Irish.

TamaraNC
11-04-2011, 12:52 PM
Now I am confused. Why does everyone compare the Native Americans to Irish? lol

The great thing about faux unschooling is that I don't have to do any studying of any of these things if my kids aren't interested....LOL..

I read an interesting paper in grad school that argued that Europeans took their beliefs and prejudices about the Irish and translated them directly to the native peoples they encountered in the New World. There were sources that showed Europeans saying that they had dealt with the barbaric Irish in a certain, specific way, so they were going to try it with the New World barbarians as well. It was a compelling argument, actually. I was sold. Wish I could find the reference, but it's not in my typed notes.

Lak001
11-04-2011, 08:25 PM
It is very very difficult to cover all the different native American nations because of its diversities and complex sub-cultures involved. It's akin to learning about all the diverse groups and subcultures of the Indian subcontinent. Oversimplification is inevitable, and it's ok if you get the gist of it, and respect the complexity the culture poses to the learner. If they(our kids) wanna grow up and involve themselves more in studying all the different nations, that's great. At least the parent is successful cultivating that interest in their child. Which is what matters. Sow the seeds of knowledge, and feed the curiosity within.

Greenmother
11-04-2011, 08:26 PM
Wow, TamaraNC that paper sounds interesting.

I could see some surface similarities between some of the Eastern Seaboard tribes and the Irish and Scotch, but how deep those similarities went--I really couldn't tell you. But that doesn't make them "just alike" by any stretch of the imagination. I could probably find similarities between a lot of different tribal cultures in various parts of the world. It might reveal commonalities or even universal motifs, but using one group's system as a template for another is academically risky to say the least, and I doubt you will win any fans with any modern descendents of those peoples.

Certainly what the English government/culture did to the Scots and Irish on the isles in order to wipe out their old tribal and clan systems is very similar to the actions taken against the Natives.

Lak001
11-04-2011, 08:43 PM
Wow, TamaraNC that paper sounds interesting.

I could see some surface similarities between some of the Eastern Seaboard tribes and the Irish and Scotch, but how deep those similarities went--I really couldn't tell you. But that doesn't make them "just alike" by any stretch of the imagination. I could probably find similarities between a lot of different tribal cultures in various parts of the world. It might reveal commonalities or even universal motifs, but using one group's system as a template for another is academically risky to say the least, and I doubt you will win any fans with any modern descendents of those peoples.

Certainly what the English government/culture did to the Scots and Irish on the isles in order to wipe out their old tribal and clan systems is very similar to the actions taken against the Natives.

Very true. You will end up offending somebody or the other if you tried drawing similarities, even though in reality a lot of cultures did share a lot in common. I can find so many similarities between Druids, and their Indian counterparts called rishis. They dressed similarly, had similar rituals performed. Does that mean they were alike? Probably not, but definitely had shared ideas somehow.
I wish I could time travel, go back in time and see how it happened that cultures, continentally apart, shared so much in common.

Stella M
11-04-2011, 09:57 PM
See, this is why unschooling is so good. Because your child may have only an interest in a particular clan or tribe and you can support that interest without getting into messy issues of what you are presenting to the child as an authority/teaching figure.

I think it's totally valid for one of my children to choose to research the Eora, the original inhabitants of the Sydney basin,for example, and the Eora people only, whereas it wouldn't be OK for me to teach them about the Eora and then say 'Ok, we've done indigenous culture.'

Jeni
11-06-2011, 12:04 PM
When dd was in public school, all kindergartners were divided into two groups, one was the Pilgrims, and the other Indians. This was all in preparation for Thanks-giving Holidays. Then they would have a stage-play before Thank-giving where the "Pilgrims" and "Indians" all went up on stage dressed up in their respective costumes, and sang some songs about turkey :_no: , and hug each other saying they were all like friends and family.

Now, i was fuming, literally :explode: Because they were taught that Pilgrims treated Indians nicely, they became friends, and so the Indians shared their food with Pilgrims which is why the Pilgrims gave them Thanks. Even though the story was well intended, they(meaning the public school teachers) conveniently forgot to mention how the Pilgrims later went on to massacre those same Indians who shared food with them, and without whose co-operation they would not have made it. Why can't public school lay the facts straight? The kids grow up misinformed, and I realize( after having lived in the US for 13 years) that many Americans don't have their facts straight about what happened to Native Indians.

And yes, I met a lady who was a Native American, and she said she despised being called so, and preferred to be rather called an Indian.

ETA: i realized that may be it was not relevant for Thanks-giving Holidays, which is all the public school cared about. Not the actual historical facts.

Honestly I was well into adulthood, and homeschooling before I heard otherwise regarding the Thanksgiving story. You never know, the teachers might not actually know any better. It may be taught now, but I know that in the 80's and 90's it was still the traditional story. The notion that the Pilgrims and Indians didn't get along (or that Columbus wasn't all he was cracked up to be, or that the Betsy Ross story was a total fabrication, or the Civil War wasn't only about freeing the slaves) wasn't something that was taught. I wouldn't be surprised that many people who grew up with the same education never learned any different, unless they were interested in looking further into the topic.

As for the OP, I am really surprised the school would allow the teacher to teach that song. While I don't find it offensive in the least, schools have banned songs for less. Maybe instead of complaining about it though, you could come up with an few alternative songs about the subject and offer it to the teacher.

Lou
11-06-2011, 02:10 PM
Doesn't seem racist to me...I'm all for singing songs the way they were written, it's history in song form...if it is offensive to you, then you could explain history to your son. Explain why some people don't refer to them as "Indians" anymore, or if you prefer teach why they are called "Native Americans" now...

...Appreciate his lovely voice (because at this point that is what is important to him) We don't have to emlinate everything we don't agree with. If we try then there is bound to be someone out there trying to eliminate something that is important to us.

SIDE NOTE: I had a friend in college that was Black...I say "Black" because that is what she wanted to be...she hated the "African American" title. She was raised to be proud of being Black...so she was totally offended if someone referred to her as "African American" She told one guy in our class that she would prefer to be called a Nigga (not be be confused with Nigger) over African American...

PS Thanksgiving tale...same as the song...it's history, teach it as factual history, but don't change the story...(IF your children are of an age to 'get it'...otherwise wait until they are older....similar to teaching children about HELL...some Christians wait until later, so the kids only hear the lovely heaven parts and then later hear the hell parts...where other Christians teach hell from the get go...depends on your personal take and what you think your kid can handle...can he handle turkey day where the pilgrims and indians were friendly or can he handle the bloody scene yet???

coloradoalice
11-06-2011, 08:57 PM
Interesting opinions about education aside....... I'm interested if the OP has talked to the teacher about this or has any more information about the song.