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US Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name stripped from children’s book award over ‘Little House’ depictions of Native Americans

16:15  25 june  2018
16:15  25 june  2018 Source:   msn.com

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Laura Ingalls Wilder was on the brink of having an award named in her honor, from the Association for Library Service to Children , when in 1952 a reader complained to the publisher of “ Little House on the Prairie” about what the reader found to be a deeply offensive statement about Native Americans .

Laura Ingalls Wilder was on the brink of having an award named in her honor, from the Association for Library Service to Children , when in 1952 a reader complained to the publisher of “ Little House on the Prairie” about what the reader found to be a deeply offensive statement about Native Americans .

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Laura Ingalls Wilder was on the brink of having an award named in her honor, from the Association for Library Service to Children, when in 1952 a reader complained to the publisher of “Little House on the Prairie” about what the reader found to be a deeply offensive statement about Native Americans.

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The reader pointed specifically to the book’s opening chapter, “Going West.” The 1935 tale of a pioneering family seeking unvarnished, unoccupied land opens with a character named Pa, modeled after Wilder’s own father, who tells of his desire to go “where the wild animals lived without being afraid.” Where “the land was level, and there were no trees.”

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Laura Ingalls Wilder , the author of the famed Little House on the Prairie books , has had her name removed from a prestigious children ’ s book award over concerns of her depictions of black and Indigenous Americans . Wilder , who lived from 1867 to 1957, published eight of the family-friendly

Laura Ingalls Wilder was on the brink of having an award named in her honor, from the Association for Library Service to Children , when in 1952 a reader complained to the publisher of " Little House on the Prairie" about what the reader found to be a deeply offensive statement about Native Americans .

And where “there were no people. Only Indians lived there.”

The editor at Harper’s who received the reader’s complaint wrote back saying it was “unbelievable” to her that not a single person at Harper’s ever noticed, for nearly 20 years, that the sentence appeared to imply that Native Americans were not people, according to a 2007 biography of Wilder by Pamela Smith Hill.

Yet Harper’s decision in 1953 to change “people” to “settlers” in the offending sentence did little to quell the critics in later decades, who began describing Wilder’s depictions of Native Americans and some African Americans — and her story lines evoking white settlers’ Manifest Destiny beliefs — as racist.

Now, after years of complaints, the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, says it voted Saturday to strip Wilder’s name from the award.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder ' s " Little House on the Prairie" books are a staple of countless American childhoods . The tales are so ingrained in the traditions "Changing the name of the award , or ending the award and establishing a new award , does not prohibit access to Wilder ' s works or suppress

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award is now officially the Children ’ s Literature Legacy Award , the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) They’re also racist, riddled with depictions of American Indians as violent “savages” and with minstrel shows. The tension between the increasingly

The decision makes Wilder the latest target of efforts to purge from the cultural landscape symbols that honor historical figures who owned slaves, espoused racist views or engaged in racist practices. Statues and flags have been removed and highways renamed across the country. Coats of arms and building names have been changed or are the object of protests to get them changed. Columbus Day is now Indigenous Peoples’ Day in some places.

In its decision to remove Wilder’s name from the award, the library association had cited “anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments in her work” when it announced the review of Wilder’s award in February. The award, reserved for authors or illustrators who have made “significant and lasting contribution to children’s literature,” will no longer be called the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. It’s now the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder ' s name removed from book award over racism concerns. Read more. Another academic, Debbie Reese, whose focus is the representation of Native Americans in children ’ s books , responded to the ALA’s decision: “ Wilder ’ s depictions of African Americans and Native people are

Image caption A photograph of Wilder in 1887 while she worked as a schoolteacher. The US Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has removed Laura Ingalls Wilder ' s name from one of its awards over racist views and language. The association had received complaints for years

“This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness,” the association said in a statement on its website.

Wilder was the first to win the award in 1954, when she was in her late 80s and nearing the end of her life.

Until her death in 1957, she was beloved for the semi-autobiographical “Little House” children’s books, fictionalized versions of her family’s adventures traveling the Western frontier in their covered wagon and their encounters with Native Americans.

Born just after the Civil War in 1867 and having lived through both the Panic of 1893 and the Great Depression in the 1930s, Wilder once acknowledged that “in my own life I represented a whole period of American history.”

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But by the same measure, critics say, her family’s intrusion on Native American lands, particularly in “Little House on the Prairie,” represented a whole period of abuse against tribes across the United States, justified by white settlers’ belief that Native Americans didn’t count as settlers on their own land.

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The American Library Association has removed author Laura Ingalls Wilder ' s name from a major children ' s book award because of her portral of blacks and Native Americans in " Little House on The first award was given to Wilder in 1954. The ALSC says Wilder ’ s work continues to be published

Ms. Wilder ’ s books , particularly the “ Little House ” series based on her childhood in a settler family, have remained popular since The honor, formerly the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award , is now named the Children ’ s Literature Legacy Award . The award , distributed to just 23 people over more than six

The book includes multiple statements from characters saying, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” In 1998, an 8-year-old girl on the Upper Sioux Reservation was so disturbed after hearing her teacher read the statement aloud in class that she went home crying, leading her mother to unsuccessfully petition the school district to ban the book from its curriculum.

Elsewhere in the book, Osage tribe members are sometimes depicted as animalistic, notes the critic Philip Heldrich: In one scene, Wilder describes them as wearing a “leather thong” with “the furry skin of a small animal” hanging down in front, making “harsh sounds” and having “bold and fierce” faces with “black eyes.” Although Laura’s father espouses a more tolerant view of Native Americans, his description of a “good Indian” is one who is “no common trash.”

The character who is Laura Ingalls’s mother, Caroline Ingalls, is not subtle in her hatred of Native Americans, saying repeatedly that she doesn’t like them before she has even encountered them. As the critic Ann Romines wrote, “Indians become a code for everything that seems to threaten the settled, white life she wants for her daughters.”

In addition, in another scene, Wilder depicts white men wearing blackface for the entertainment of others — including her father.

Still, Caroline Fraser, author of “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder,” argued that the racial insensitivity in Wilder’s book shouldn’t mean that children shouldn’t read it.

In a March column for The Washington Post, after the association announced that it was considering stripping Wilder’s name from the award, Fraser argued that the library association “evokes the anodyne view of literature” that it has fought against, and that no book, “including the Bible, has ever been ‘universally embraced.’ ”

“Each generation revises the literary canon. While the answer to racism is not to impose purity retroactively or to disappear titles from shelves, no 8-year-old Dakota child should have to listen to an uncritical reading of ‘Little House on the Prairie,” she wrote.

“But no white American should be able to avoid the history it has to tell.”

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