Current Representations of American Indians in Children’s Publishing – A refreshingly in-depth analysis of the state of Native American authors, manuscripts, and accurately diverse characterizations in children’s and YA literature. And the fact that Native American Heritage Month coincides with U.S. Thanksgiving, and all of the awful stereotypes about early encounters between indigenous and European groups, doesn’t exactly help. However, new books by Joseph Bruchac, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Robbie Robertson (the musician!), S.D. Nelson, and Sherman Alexie, among others, are encouraging. In many ways, though, it’s a matter of education and of actively creating opportunities for that education to occur:
While some editors cited the “pipeline” problem, limited manuscripts from Native authors or non-Native authors that are well-done and well-researched may not be the only impediment to increasing the number of books representing indigenous people. A systemic ignorance of topics of concern to some American Indians – including tribal sovereignty, accurate and inclusive history, and a sensitivity to sacred religious beliefs and practices – perpetuates false representations of Native people, and keeps stereotypes in place, building walls between Native and non-Native populations. Overwhelmingly, those who spoke with PW suggested actively attempting to dismantle these walls, by connecting via resources and social media. However, many of the editors, and Reese as well, pointed to a lack of basic information leading to this ignorance, which indicates a problem: that U.S. citizens are not actively or accurately educated about Native American history and culture, despite the fact that entire, diverse nations of American Indians are geographically located throughout this shared continent. Dispelling ignorance in schools might be the first place to start. – Publishers Weekly
Why Wild Turkeys Hate the Wild – Turkeys, which have become synonymous with U.S. Thanksgiving, were actually over-hunted by Europeans, so that by the middle of the 19th century, they were virtually absent from Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts. This was not unusual, of course – European settlers made a significant dent in the populations of many different animals, from squirrels to deer. Wild turkeys, however, which had flourished in the Massachusetts forest, have been particularly adaptable, so much so that they are now more comfortable as city dwellers. I like the way Yoni Applebaum discusses this evolution in the context of boundaries between “civilization” and “wilderness,” as in, those differences are largely artificial and obscure the fact that both spaces are “different agricultural landscapes, each optimized for a different purpose.” And it was only a matter of time before the turkeys figured out that more human activity meant fewer natural predators and more forgeable resources for them:
The turkeys looked around at the forests. They provided safety and shelter, but were otherwise uninviting. Food was scarce; the undergrowth was dense. But adjacent to the forests was abundant open cropland, where farmers thoughtfully spread manure, there for the taking. By the time researchers arrived to study the birds a decade later, the turkeys were spending almost two-thirds of their diurnal feeding time on the cropland. The turkeys that figured out how to thrive in tandem with human activity were dramatically more likely to survive tough winters than those who stuck to the woods.
Slowly, they migrated eastward across the state, adapting at every stage to new environments. They learned to forage in the exurbs. To find seeds and grubs in the suburbs. And finally, to thrive in cities like Boston. In some places, they are now so abundant and aggressive that they have become public nuisances.- The Atlantic
Gratitude on the Brain – Despite all of the warped history and myth surrounding Thanksgiving, the holiday remains a good time to pause for little while and focus on being thankful. An activity that apparently has some positive affects on the brain and on happiness and satisfaction levels (and, by the same token, uses quite a few areas of the brain). — Scientific American
Father And Son Take The Same Photo For 27 Years – Family, of course, is the other theme of Thanksgiving, and this photo series is a lovely reminder of that, especially given the long and obviously close relationship between this father and son. — Huffington Post Canada