As far as George Bates was concerned, “the only good Indian was a dead Indian”. Yet, his wife was always nagging him with the words of that blasted do-gooder, Atticus, from To Kill A Mocking Bird:”You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
That was how he found himself spending a week out in Cherokee territory, sleeping in a tee pee and mingling with their people.
However, George was a slow learner. Had to be taught a lesson instead.
As an Australian who has never been to America, I found it difficult to grapple with the Native American theme in this week’s prompt. From where I sit, it seems that Native Americans are largely invisible and it’s very rare that you see Native Americans on TV or discussed as part of the political process. This has concerned me for some time and aroused my curiosity. I had to do a fair amount of reading tonight before these ideas started peculating through. I was quite shocked to read that “the only good Indian was a dead Indian” is line from Laura inglus Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie.
I read in Wikipaedia:
“An important moment concerning Wilder’s depiction of Native Americans occurred in 1998, when an eight year old girl read Little House on the Prairie in her elementary school class. The novel contains the line, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”; and this caused the girl great distress. Her mother, Waziyatawin Angela Cavender Wilson, a member of the Wahpetunwan Dakota nation, challenged the school on its use of the book in the classroom. This prompted the American Library Association to investigate and ultimately change the name of the Wilder Award, an award named after Laura Ingalls Wilder, to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. This award is given to books that have made a large impact on children’s literature in America.”
I knew none of this before so feel I’ve learned quite a lot tonight.
This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields, where we write up to 100 words to a provided photo prompt. PHOTO PROMPT © Renee Heath.