Thursday, June 2, 2011

OYATE: An Invaluable Resource for Non-Biased Native American Books

I have come across a wonderful website that I refer to whenever I am considering reading a book about Native Americans to the kids. It is called
OYATE. Here is their Mission Statement:
Our Mission
Oyate means “The People.” We are a Native American/American Indian advocacy and education organization that serves The People. We review children’s literature and advocate for Native Americans/American Indians to be portrayed with historical accuracy, cultural appropriateness and without anti-Indian bias and stereotypes. We teach others to do the same.

I don't want to perpetuate the typical stereotypes and myths about Native Americans. There are a lot of books out there that do this. Two invaluable resources to help you determine if a book is an authentic portrayal of Native Americans are Oyate's articles How To Tell The Difference - A Guide for Evaluating Children's Books for Anti-Indian Bias, and OYATE Criteria for Evaluating Books. If I am uncertain about a particular book, I enter the author's name or the title of the book under their catalog to see if they carry it. If it is listed on their website, then I can be pretty sure it is non-biased. If you are ever curious about the truth behind Thanksgiving, or want to know what this "Holiday" means from the Native American perspective, go to their resource section and read Deconstructing the Myths of the "First Thanksgiving".

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