I never really found any thing really racist in the books. Who knows, in 150 years, maybe 2020 will be considered offensive and unacceptable. Whoa now. I agree with them completely. The “Little House” books were well received by the reading public and critics alike; their warm, truthful portrayal of a life made picturesque by its very … For example, in chapter 21 of Little House on the Prairie, Pa must go to Independence to sell his furs. Reading them for the first time in years I am once again reminded of the fact that 2019 is vastly different than the 1880s. While one may assume that we’re all going along in 2019, you never know what children are being exposed to at home, as evidenced by our current rise in racially motivated attacks. Why are some people trying to erase history and rewrite to suit their views??? “Minnesota Massacre” is about the most racist and blatant one-sided take on the 1862 Dakota Conflict you can find, its an old an sensationalized text that should not be taught to children. If anything I felt it embodied the exact opposite. And , let’s not forget that there was a black woman in Little House on the Prairie as well (again I am referring to the TV show not the books) she was either a schoolteacher or a helper at NELLY’s restaurant I forgot which but she was well respected and loved in the show In order for readers to understand Ma, you need to understand where she was coming from. Laura Ingalls Wilder was sixty-five when she published Little House in the Big Woods, a novel for young readers inspired by her childhood in the Big Woods of … But, we must remember, this was before the Internet. In the early pages of Little House on the Prairie, Laura quotes Pa as saying that animals wandered “in a pasture that stretched much farther than a man could see, and there were no settlers. When we get to a spot where things get politically incorrect I just say, “People didn’t know it wasn’t nice to say those things back then.” My kids barely blink. Learn about the writer behind the beloved books that inspired the hit movies. I think they are jaded by how very tough pioneer life was. Farmer Boy, published in 1933, covered Almanzo's childhood in New York. First book in the Laura Ingalls Wilder celebrated Little House series, Based on a true story. This story held no intention of racism. In this Little House in the Big Woods activity, students write the number of the correct vocabulary word on the line before its provided definition. This is the second year I’ve taught Little House on the Prairie in my 5th grade class and it has opened up some very frank and meaningful conversations about prejudice, racism, and historical context. I read them to our son when he was little. Laura’s stories come from an oral tradition. The episode I was watching was about “ their Indian friend” A three generation family in Walnut Grove with a grandson is half Native American Referring to something by its known name is simply good communication. As we read Little House, we stop often and reflect on the similarities and differences between the main characters, their families, and their life styles. Copyright © 2015-2020 Friendly Family Productions, LLC Contributors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Licensing | Newsletters. Fear, is in the mind, caused by the “unknown”. The grandfather is racist the mother was a missionary who fell in love with a native The story of Almanzo … The stories in the books are told through the eyes of an intelligent, curious, answer seeking young girl who lived a life none of us are now living. Very good insight to these books. LEARN from history! And of course every treaty the U.S. Government made with Native Americans was never upheld. We invite you to visit our Recommended Reading section to find books for children and young adults and for adults. Learn about one of science's most intriguing geniuses. It also hosts an annual celebration to commemorate its favorite and most famous resident. Very well done. The Little House Series. We understand now that it was wrong. Five more books followed that took the reader through Wilder's courtship and marriage to Manly: On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937), By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939), The Long Winter (1940), Little Town on the Prairie (1941), and These Happy Golden Years (1943). They could not know because Washington was so far away.” Pa was most likely betting that the government would allow squatters to claim homesteads once the Osage were removed. There was nothing to fear from Indians.” Later Pa balances Mr. and Mrs. Scott’s hateful declaration when he makes this statement about Soldat du Chêne: “That’s one good Indian.’ No matter what Mr. Scott said, Pa did not believe that the only good Indian was a dead Indian.”. Her father was a storyteller and Laura herself said that her first books were an attempt to preserve the stories she grew up hearing. I got here because I was just watching LHOTP and wanted to see the map of walnut grove This article made me question why I had never questioned the reason the Ingalls Family settled on land that didn’t belong to them, even when I was a child and didn’t have a great knowledge of history. Whether Pa knew this or not is open for debate, but it is highly unlikely that he would have been ignorant of this fact. It’s just like people were, and some still are, afraid of those who ride motorcycles. When the Osage returned from their trip they found their home and their lands occupied by all kinds of settlers who, in their minds, were stealing from them. This is the perfect activity to go along with the book, Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As an adult I find that really sad. Stretched to their limits, local militias were unable to protect their communities. You come across the words “the only good Indian was a dead Indian.” Do you put the book down in horror, shocked by the cultural insensitivity of the author? All five words can be found in Chapter 7 of Little House in the Big Woods. What a breath of fresh air in these tumultuous and divisive times. It doesn’t stop me from reading the books since I still view them as a perspective made by Laura Ingalls Wilder and she is writing about those times. Ask if people have an unjustified fear of other races today. We usually think of Oklahoma as being Indian Territory. Let us use common sense, face our past errors honestly, and not doom ourselves to repeat them Explaining to children that during this time, the settlers did not understand the cultures of the various Native tribes and would say things and make sad choices out of fear is a simple truth every child can appreciate. If we do not know the true history of our nation’s/culture’s past, how can we prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes? Reading Little House on the Prairie with children today requires explanation. Covering ancient, medieval, renaissance, modern, and U.S. history, you can find all of your history materials here! In 1932, at the age of 65, Wilder published the first of her eight Little House books, Little House in the Big Woods. News of the impending opening of Indian Territory reached land-hungry settlers back east and caused an illegal land rush into the area. Little House in the Big Woods is an autobiographical children's novel written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and published by Harper in 1932 (reviewed in June). Although her Little House books are now considered classics, Wilder’s literary career has its roots in a chicken coop. Obviously, she was cast as older than that in both Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie. Her lively retelling of experiences from her childhood in the historical fiction series helped shape the popular idea of the American frontier. I enjoyed this thought-provoking article and wanted to let you know that this particular teachable moment is applicable in other countries with a history of colonialism. What better way to learn our history than by reading a classic like Little House on the Prairie and using it as a platform for discussion? Congress refused to ratify the Sturgis Treaty, fearing a backlash from their constituents who favored free settlement of the land under the Homestead Act of 1862. Laura tells several stories of Indians coming to the Ingalls’ home and demanding food and other goods. Discuss how it would feel to have strangers walk into their home uninvited and take whatever they wanted. Open dialogues should be part of book discussions with children, always encouraging them to share their questions and views. Learn about the Jewish refugee whose painting of her aunt was stolen by Nazis and inspired the 2015 movie starring Helen Mirren. These kinds of questions will help children understand the historical perspective and that right or wrong, people have their own belief systems, then and now. Re-naming an event does not give one side or the other greater legitimacy. Most act on the belief that they have the moral superiority. Motorcyclist are ordinary, people. LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE® and associated character names, designs, images and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks owned and licensed by Friendly Family Productions, LLC. I grew up reading the books and I still read them since it offers a glimpse into a world that we just can’t experience. This is history folks, good, bad, and ugly. This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams. Laura, you never fail to amaze me. Proud of you my friend. Great article. I call them teachable moments. Little House in the Big Woods was the first in the series, published in 1931. She married Gillette Lane in 1909 and became Rose Wilder Lane; the marriage ended in divorce in 1918. When Ma expresses concern about the Indians being so near, Pa comforts her by saying “They are perfectly friendly’…He often met Indians in the woods where he was hunting. People need to be aware of the times of which they are reading, but to blatantly call it racism, seems inappropriate as well. I when I was reading “Little House on the Prairie ” for the first time as a young girl about 22 years ago, I was concerned about Ma’s prejudices. He freely cut logs to build a house, hunted wild game for food and furs, dug a well and broke the land for farming. In the fall, I teach The Birchbark House, by Louise Erdrich. Although the land that Pa chose was obviously next to a well-used trail, he preferred to think of the land as unsettled. It might already be open to settlement. Her mother read Little House in the Big Woods in second grade and named her second daughter after the beloved author. “As a 9-year-old child, I had read the ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ and then I got the show and then my focus was the scripts and where we were going with that for 10 years," said Gilbert. © 2021 Biography and the Biography logo are registered trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. It held the myriad of emotions and feelings that anyone of any age in time feels when we encounter difference in race and culture. To strip her name off an award because she would be considered racist today is unfair. In 1932 she published Little House in the Big Woods, which was set in Wisconsin. One last observation, I took from Laura’s books that she portrayed or tried to portray first nations with dignity and provided positive examples, such as the Long Winter and how an elder tried to help the townspeople by warning of the impending winter. This treaty said that the Osage would sell their land to the Leavenworth, Lawrence, and Galveston Railroad and buy land from the Cherokee further south and move there. My mother read them to me when I was a child. McLemore portrayed Laura Ingalls Wilder for the first time in 1993. Only Indians lived there.” As did all of the settlers, Pa chose to ignore the fact that the land and everything on it belonged to the Osage people. Little House on the Prairie, published in 1935, was about the family's experience in Kansas. Laura’s grandmother makes maple sugar candy. When most of the settlers arrived in Indian Territory, the Osage people were off on their annual hunting trips further west and it may have appeared that the land was unoccupied. The first in a nine-book series, the autobiographical narrative relates the story of a family of homesteading pioneers living and laboring in Wisconsin. In Little House on the Prairie Ma tells Laura that “Pa had word from a man in Washington that the Indian Territory would be open to a settlement soon. Little House in the Big Woods Teacher Sample Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder remains an all-time American classic about life on the frontier. You don’t find any, of them, any worse than someone, who drives a car. After all, Laura was only two when her family left Wisconsin and barely three when they arrived on the prairie. These things should not be swept under the rug or ignored. Do you decry the author as a racist and vow to never read another word? Another country, we are sometimes Leary. My ancestors are survivors who fled to New Ulm. Two years later, Little House on the Prairie appeared on the shelves. Try :Through Dakota Eyes: Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862 by Gary Clayton Anderson (Editor), Alan R. Woolworth (Editor), or “Over the Earth I Come: The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862” by Duane P. Schultz. Little House on the Prairie, published in 1935, is the third book in the Little House series but only the second that features the Ingalls family; it continues directly the story of the inaugural novel, Little House in the Big Woods. This past year my class talked about the riots in Ferguson, Missouri and the media’s portrayal of events there. NELLIE OLESON WASN'T A REAL PERSON. I began reading the Little House books when I was 9-10 years old. In 1868, the Osage were facing dire economic circumstances. It was Wilder's first book published and it inaugurated her Little House series. When my two are older I will read them the books at night. Additionally, it is helpful to point out that Wilder presents a more favorable point of view using Pa as a counterpoint. And yes, while there is more cultural and political sensitivity today, it does us no good to compare the mores of the 19th century to those of the 21st. Filed Under: History, Learning Tagged With: Books, History, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie. Dr. Laura McLemore as Laura Ingalls Wilder. Because, of what they read, and heard about “The Hell’s Angels”. I first read the books when I was about 12 or so. Since that time she has shared Wilder’s life across the Midwest. The kids act racist in school Laura Elizabeth Ingalls is born in “the little house in the Big Woods” outside of Pepin, Wisconsin. Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, and Baby Carrie live in a log cabin in the big woods near Pepin, Wisconsin, in the 1870s. I never thought her remarks about the Indians were “racist” as I was seeing them through the eyes of another naive 8 or 9 year old girl. Based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in the award-winning Little House series, which has captivated generations of readers.This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams. The difference is far too vast, and in the end, we are all products of our time. In her 40s at the time, she drew on her considerable expertise in raising Leghorn hens. Fifth graders from Cleaveland Traditional Magnet Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas reading Little House on the Prairie. It is appropriate to call it that because that’s what it was. I find it amazing that so many people equate the “the only good Indian is a dead Indian” thing with Laura being racist. The Osage saw it as collecting rent. Pa is portrayed as being slightly more accepting of the Indians. It is very rich in vocabulary and historical text. After her mother's death in 1957, Rose did edit and publish several posthumous works (including the last of the series, The First Four Years, about the beginning of Wilder’s marriage to Almanzo, which she based on her mother's diary). I cannot imagine traveling across country by wagon! We cannot forget these books were written in a time where this was the norm. When I was a child it did not occur to me that the books were racist since she was repeating what she heard or remembered hearing as a way of preserving the stories. You may also be interested in an entertaining and educational documentary film about Laura Ingalls Wilder, which is appropriate for all ages. We have a book on great white sharks from my childhood. Due to illnesses and crop failures, Rose’s childhood was defined by a series of moves and she would go on to travel extensively for most of her life. I applaud you for stating that rather than ban the books it is better to introduce children to historical books and talk about the views of the times and what progress has been made and what we need to do to continue to combat racism in our society. The Ingallses leave their cabin in the big woods and travel by covered wagon to Kansas Territory where they accidentally settle on land belonging to the Osage Indians. Whatever a massacre was, it was something that grown-ups would not talk about when little girls were listening.”. Her mother read Little House in the Big Woods in second grade and named her second daughter after the beloved author. Imagine you are reading a book that you loved as a child, perhaps you are reading it to your young child, or that you are reading it for the very first time. They include classic titles and newer works. She was not racist. As Amy Fatzinger writes in her dissertation Indians in the House, Wilder raises “a great issue that was still problematic in the 1930s, when Little House on the Prairie was written and remains so today: the Euro-American preemption of lands occupied by Native Americans.” And, Wilder uses the voice of 7-year-old Laura to do so. Teaching at Age 15 In Little Town on the Prairie, we read how Laura earned her teaching certificate when she was just 15. I think reading the books with children and taking the opportunity to use some of the racist viewpoints of characters to open up a discussion about race in America is a great thing. To punish Laura Ingalls Wilder for not keeping within the standards of acceptability in 2020 shows lack of perspective and education. Du Bois and other prominent African American figures. The federal government denied any responsibility for protecting the settlers in Minnesota. That is not to say that Wilder didn’t do her research as she wrote her books. It was published in 1932. 5 out of 5 stars 2,145. Charles Ingalls sold his farm in Wisconsin in 1868. I didn’t read the actual book related to this topic but I am seriously wondering how much the modern day obsession with calling absolutely everything under the sun “racist“ and it unnecessarily often , has a play in this article of course it’s sad and devastating what happened to the native Americans because of European settlers but it seems to me there’s so much we will never know about Concerning Caroline Ingalls, I think she just feared what she did not know. Conflicts between peoples were and are real and all readers should be able to read about these issues and, of course, be able to question values and mores of the times, from the author’s perspective. In 1894, the Wilder family (Laura, Almanzo and Rose) moved to Missouri to what Wilder dubbed Rocky Ridge Farm. My Pa and brothers went out with the rest of the settlers…Ma made a sharp sound in her throat, and Mrs. Scott stopped. The family fills pans with fresh snow and Grandma Ingalls ladels syrup onto them. It is the first book in Wilder's Little House series. I have books from my childhood that I read to my kids. Thank You! Little House on the Prairie. The story is illustrated by Garth Williams, whose drawings of the Ingalls family are often considered iconic and an integral part of the reading experience. When I was 8-9 in the ’70’s, my mom read the books to me, and I re-read them many times myself. Laura says “They drove away and left it lonely and empty in the clearing…They were going to Indian country.” But, they didn’t go there directly. Undeterred, she spent the next several years working on her memoirs, asking relatives for their accounts of what happened during her childhood years and changing the story to the third-person perspective. Farmer Boy. In 1932 Laura Ingalls Wilder's first book Little House in the Big Woods was published. There have been many fascinating books written about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter and editor Rose Wilder Lane. I have their handwritten marriage certificate from 1860 in Brown County. If we haven’t met, or heard the good things, about a certain race, or someone from Little House on the Prairie begins with the Ingalls family leaving their little house in Wisconsin. She did not have information at her fingertips. Excellent work! Meanwhile, she was also serving as secretary-treasurer of the Mansfield Farm Loan Association. The DVD contains an interesting bonus featurette about Native Americans and African Americans on the prairie. Learn little-known facts about the man behind the theory of evolution. Before we begin to read the book in my classroom I take a few moments to talk about Wilder’s real life and the historical accuracy of her books. What do readers need to know when reading Little House on the Prairie? We cannot and should not rewrite history. And we are right, in our times they are. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their dog, Jack. Most fear of someone “different”, or another color, than ourselves, is because people are afraid, of the unknown. I’m not a writer so thanks for finally explaining it so simply. I remember feeling the fear of the unknown as the natives came into the cabin, the curiosity of the different as Laura rushes in to see them, the sadness she felt when watching them march along and away, and the pride she had when she tanned like “an indian” by ignoring her frustratingly restrictive bonnet. She was simply quoting someone else’s thoughts, which were likely stated more out of fear than anything. Thank you for this article! This may contain affiliate links and we may receive a small commission on purchases. I teach it in the spring. This book tells about the adventures Laura and her family enjoy while living on the homestead and gives a glimpse of what their daily life was like through the eyes of … She said, ‘I can’t forget the Minnesota massacre. Performance. I’m glad to see it addressed. Loved: “What better way to learn our history than by reading a classic like Little House on the Prairie and using it as a platform for discussion?”. She also recognized that an American public weary of the Depression would respond warmly to the story of the loving, self-sufficient and determined Ingalls family overcoming obstacles while maintaining their sense of independence, as told through the eyes of the spunky Wilder as she matured from ages five to 18. The androgynous pseudonym A. J. Wilder to give her work more credibility among readers! And established homes in Montgomery County chapter 7 of Little House series share their questions views. 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My kids limits, local militias were unable to protect their communities my two are older i will them! To know when reading Little House on the Prairie. `` of events there to us kids! How refreshing it is helpful to point out that Wilder didn ’ t do her research as she wrote books... Reached a wide audience after all, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life across the Midwest settlers…Ma made a sharp sound her! We recommend reading Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee: an Indian history of the land unsettled.