November is Native American month, and with all the images that are inundating our students about “pilgrims and indians,” I have been so pleased to find some Native American and First Nations authors and illustrators who can give students a more authentic view of what their cultures are all about, both in the past and present. Talking to students about what Native American life is like now is crucially important, because if you ask most kids, they think that “Indians must be really old,” because they think they only lived long ago. Stories like Bow Wow Pow Wow show Native Americans wearing contemporary clothes, riding in pickup trucks, and doing things that kids can relate to, which can help lessen the impression that they are all still living in teepees wearing loincloths today.
If you’d like to learn more the American Indians in Children’s Literature website is an incredible resource. Reading their reviews of supposedly authentic Native American voices is really helpful to ensure I am not propagating stereotypes to the best of my ability.