A common question I’ve received on this blog since writing about indigenous people in textbooks comes from parents and teachers: what are good resources on indigenous history suitable for children? Unfortunately I don’t have many recommendations of my own, but I thought I would pass along some links to good places to look for those who want to improve the education kids get on indigenous issues.
One great place to look is the blog of Debbie Reese (Nambe Pueblo), American Indians in Children’s Literature. She reviews tons of books, and while the number of terrible resources is often overwhelming, she helpfully provides a page where you can find lists of books that are great.
The other central place to look is Oyate, a fantastic organization that reviews and publishes books featuring indigenous people. Their website has a section that reviews books, as well as a resources section including selections from their book How to Tell the Difference: A Guide for Evaluating Children’s Books for Anti-Indian Bias. For teachers, I would also highly recommend Oyate’s book A Broken Flute, an enormous guide that reviews hundreds of books. More than that, it includes essays and poems from indigenous people (including children!) about their experiences with schooling and the effects of poor treatment of indigenous people in literature. It’s well worth taking a look at if you get the chance.
Overall, I would strongly encourage anyone who wants to better educate children or themself to look at Oyate’s post on evaluating books and its additional criteria. These guides will help you develop a sense for what is appropriate and respectful, and what is not.