Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"Building a Brighter Future for Our Children and Our Community"

A poster featuring a photograph of me and my first three books--Jingle Dancer, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000), Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001), and Indian Shoes (HarperCollins, 2002)--has been published by the Equal Employment Opportunity division of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

It is one of three posters in celebration of Native American Heritage Month. The theme of the series is "Building a Brighter Future for Our Children and Our Community."

The other two posters feature Blue Wolf, an Apache song catcher/flute player (the first in three generations) and the Alliance of Early Childhood Professionals, which launched the first native-speaking immersion preschools in Minnesota in October.

The series will be displayed this month in federal workplaces throughout the United States.

Cynsational News & Links

While I'm an advocate of integrating Native literature and curriculum throughout the school year, I'd also much rather folks feature it in November than not at all (a disturbing trend due to it not being a standardized-test subject), so I'd like to highlight some related resources.

An Interview With Debbie Reese (Pueblo), "an advocate of multiculturalism-done-right in the field of children’s literature" from downhomebooks.com.

The Cradleboard Teaching Project: provides Native curriculum to tribal and mainstream schools; founded by Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree).

"If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything": a national reading club for Native American children: "assisting Indian Communities in Increasing Literacy Skills While Preserving Native American Identity." For 2004-2005, there are 29 participating schools in 9 states from all over the U.S.! [Please consider donating books or money to this excellent organization; a big thanks to my fellow donating authors].

Native American Cultures Across the United States by Debbie Reese from Edsitement. Includes activities and links.

Oyate: evaluates educational resources and fiction by and about Native people, leads workshops for teachers, and distributes excellent examples of such materials, making an effort to highlight Native authors and illustrators. Particularly good source of hard-to-find small press books.

Rethinking American Indians by Karen Martin (Creek) at Stanford University. Focuses on stereotypes and activities for reconsidering them. Part of a larger site, First Americans for Grade Schoolers. Emphasis on Dine (Navajo), Muscogee (Creek), Tlingit, Lakota, and Iroquois.

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