little house on the prairie controversy

The Sioux Uprising or Dakota Wars resulted in the looting and burning of homesteads and the killing of white settlers in the area, including women and children. Come in to read, write, review, and interact with other fans. These books explore different areas of Wilder’s life and work, often bringing new and unexpected interpretations to a wide range of topics. The very thought of Indians made her blood run cold. When I was 8-9 in the ’70’s, my mom read the books to me, and I re-read them many times myself. But in the 1970s, the debate about the books’ intentions was far in the future. Today, the Little House books are not without controversy for their racially charged references to Native Americans and African Americans. It might already be open to settlement. Your email address will not be published. This series featured characters and places from the book series, but took drastic creative liberty with the story telling (as should be expected from a television show). We can explain this to children as we read the books. She was not racist. 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 Only Indians lived there.' Written by a fine education. We cannot and should not rewrite history. Although in her novel, Little House on the Prairie, and Pioneer Girl memoir, Ingalls Wilder portrayed their departure as being prompted by rumors of eviction, she also noted that her parents needed to recover their Wisconsin land because the buyer had not paid the … I cannot imagine traveling across country by wagon! ... Award Controversy. 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. 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. I find it appalling that people fail to understand cultural relativism and how it may be used to better understand history and the interaction of cultures. Charles Ingalls sold his farm in Wisconsin in 1868. I have the whole collection of Little House on the Prairie books. Re-naming an event does not give one side or the other greater legitimacy. LEARN from history! I have their handwritten marriage certificate from 1860 in Brown County. In an article with the jarring title “Little Squatter on the Osage Diminished Reserve”, Francis Kaye states “Wilder, writing as honestly as she knew how, spun a tale that, because of her very decency, makes ‘ethnic cleansing’ appear palatable.”. Whether Pa knew this or not is open for debate, but it is highly unlikely that he would have been ignorant of this fact. 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. When you think of Little House on the Prairie, you normally wouldn’t think of Missouri or racism. Who knows, in 150 years, maybe 2020 will be considered offensive and unacceptable. When I read historical fiction and non-fiction, I am enjoying a journey on a time machine. 5. Under the provisions of earlier treaties, the Osage had the right to charge squatters rent if they wanted to. 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.”. You don’t find any, of them, any worse than someone, who drives a car. We certainly enjoyed the TV show. Little House on the Prairie. Filed Under: History, Learning Tagged With: Books, History, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie. In 2017, a school district in Mississippi decided to pull Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ from its curriculum. An educator since 1983, Laura McLemore was destined to a lifelong love of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The Ingalls family was part of the wave of squatters or illegal settlers who entered and established homes in Montgomery County. Laura asks Ma, “Why don’t you like Indians, Ma…This is Indian country, isn’t it? Open dialogues should be part of book discussions with children, always encouraging them to share their questions and views. 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. 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. 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. The difference is far too vast, and in the end, we are all products of our time. Since that time she has shared Wilder’s life across the Midwest. Despite the fact that Laura Ingalls Wilder gives us a important historical look at social perspectives through this book, it is still considered bad. Historical Perspective or Racism in Little House on the Prairie. We have a book on great white sharks from my childhood. The newspapers were full of graphic accounts of what was then referred to as the “Minnesota Massacre.” Undoubtedly Ma had read these accounts. All if it was cold blooded murder! Motorcyclist are ordinary, people. In late 1862 during the Civil War, many men left their families in Minnesota to fight in the war. The mega-popular book series was famously made into an equally popular TV series by NBC which aired from 1974-1983. Pa is portrayed as being slightly more accepting of the Indians. The government had not paid them what was owed due to the great debt incurred by the Civil War and hunting was becoming scarce due to the settlement of the western frontier. After all, Laura was only two when her family left Wisconsin and barely three when they arrived on the prairie. Laura, this is a wonderful response to the racism in the books. These things should not be swept under the rug or ignored. You use your remarkable, God-given talent for writing in such interesting ways. Since I learned that story, I’ve understood Ma’s feelings better and why they make sense given the time in history. This book is considered off limits now because of its treatment of American Indians (the Osage figure prominently in the story). Ma was terrified of these visits. The Indians in the area saw this as an opportunity to retake land that they felt belonged to them. Thank You! He freely cut logs to build a house, hunted wild game for food and furs, dug a well and broke the land for farming. Unfortunately, in a rush to complete her chores, Ma accidentally scratches her leg on some baling wire. I came to this post exactly as one of the readers you described: an adult revisiting a beloved childhood story …then coming upon “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” My knee jerk reaction was “okay scratch this of the list to share with my future kids!” But you are completely right: Ingalls’ work is a great platform to discuss racism and xenophobia. I am not going to attempt to give a complete history of the Osage people or the sad legacy of the systematic removal of Native Americans by the government of the United States. Why are some people trying to erase history and rewrite to suit their views??? Few people today realize, and perhaps Laura herself didn’t know, that a section of Kansas was once called Indian Territory. While the controversy over Wilder’s work has existed for over 20 years, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ is not the only classic novel that has faced a harsh re-appraisal in modern, politically correct America. Teachers should do this. Photo Credit: Getty Images: Bettmann/ Contributor *This piece was originally published on February 15th, 2019. Wilder mentions the “Minnesota Massacre” in her account of Mrs. Scott’s hatred for the Osage: “The only good Indian was a dead Indian. The Osage were forced once again to negotiate with the United States and signed the Sturgis Treaty. 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. Liberal use of the ‘N word’ saw Mark Twain’s ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ banned in a Philadelphia high school in 2015. 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. 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. Little House on the Prairie begins with the Ingalls family leaving their little house in Wisconsin. Read RT Privacy policy to find out more. While the controversy over Wilder’s work has existed for over 20 years, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ is not the only classic novel that has faced a … We may feel today, given our 21st-century sensitivity, that Ma was wrong to fear the Osage or that Mr. and Mrs. Scott were racist. News of the impending opening of Indian Territory reached land-hungry settlers back east and caused an illegal land rush into the area. Referring to something by its known name is simply good communication. This past year my class talked about the riots in Ferguson, Missouri and the media’s portrayal of events there. There is the truth as Laura wrote in her books and there is the truth of her real life. I agree with them completely. Wilder lived in rural Missouri, far away from libraries or universities with large reference sections. This is history folks, good, bad, and ugly. However, it seems that the original book series which the show was based on, was banned in a few schools under the claim that it contained some underlying controversial content. But, we must remember, this was before the Internet. The Ingles family welcome and embrace the native boy and his mother with open arms These are just a few of the more notable depictions of corporal punishment on the small screen. 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? Little House explored many different themes including frequently portrayed ones of adoption, alcoholism, faith, poverty, blindness, and prejudice of all types, including racism. Laura, as an adult, ran for Tax Collector and lost. 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. 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. A Matter of Faith (Season 2 Episode 15) Not wanting to delay the family camping trip, Ma sends Pa off with the girls, promising to join them later. Thank you for this article! Karen Grassle: Rumors and Controversy/Scandal. Maxine Waters calls on restaurants, gas stations to boo Trump admin. This is why it is important to be present when our children are reading things that may not reflect our own values. The American Civil Liberties Union at one point got involved, and threatened the school board with a lawsuit. The following two tabs change content below. His Hair Was Naturally Gray. NBCU Photo Bank/ Getty Dr. Laura McLemore as Laura Ingalls Wilder. I suggest we talk about whether Ma’s fears were justified. The kids act racist in school I already knew that was just what had happened. The grandfather is racist the mother was a missionary who fell in love with a native The word ‘n**ger’ is used 48 times in the novel, as Lee sought to convey the social attitudes of the time. Another country, we are sometimes Leary. Most act on the belief that they have the moral superiority. Autres temps, autres mœurs. 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. I’m a long-time Little House fan from Australia.

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