SAIL . SPRING 2004 . VOL. 16, NO. 1 Guy W. Jones and Sally Moomaw. Lessons from Turtle Island: Native Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms. St. Paul: Redleaf, 2002. 175 pp. Kathleen Godfrey A curricular staple of many elementary and preschool classrooms is a unit devoted to American Indians in which children research a tribe, customs, architecture, or historical events, creating art projects like the diorama of an Indian village. Although teachers often intend for such units to enliven children's interest in Native peoples, the reality is that these activities generally reinforce stereotypes and encourage misinformation about contemporary indigenous Americans. The authors of Lessons from Turtle Island, Guy Jones (Hunkpapa Lakota) and Sally Moomaw have collaborated to educate teachers of young children about how to integrate Native books and themes into their curriculum, suggesting alternatives to the ubiquitous "Indian unit." They argue that all children will benefit from a curriculum that treats ethnic minorities and the dominant culture in similar ways, that pairs picture books about everyday themes inhabited by Native characters with books representing other ethnic groups. According to Jones and Moomaw, non-Native children will thereby learn that American Indians live lives similar to their own, possessing
Studies in American Indian Literatures – University of Nebraska Press
Published: May 4, 2004
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