State and national education initiatives require significant changes for public schools beginning at the earliest grade levels and within all content areas. Two relevant changes are the increase of non-fiction in English/language arts and the mandate for diverse texts within history/social studies. History-based trade books are a logical resource for both curricula. Teachers must rely on their discretion when selecting trade books because the initiatives do not provide curricular support. Research indicates trade books’ cultural representation and historical representation are inconsistent, yet there is a need for further research as just over a dozen empirical studies have been completed. This study examines how Native Americans are historically and culturally represented within children’s literature. It juxtaposes findings for trade books intended for primary-level and intermediate-level elementary students. Important findings include the absence of tribal names, omission of historical connections with European colonists and American citizens, an apparent decline recent publications of trade books centered on Native Americans, and a robust representation of distinct cultural traits. Teachers are offered suggestions for instructional procedures and in selection of supplementary primary sources to assist in balancing the misrepresentations.
Bickford, John Holden and Knoechel, Lori A.
"The Historical Representation of Native Americans within Primary- and Intermediate-Level Trade Books,"
The Councilor: A Journal of the Social Studies: Vol. 78
, Article 4.
Available at: http://thekeep.eiu.edu/the_councilor/vol78/iss2/4
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