Indigenous and Ignored

Research for this post made me sad. The group I WANTED to highlight today was the Native American/American Indian group (Both terms popped up, not sure which is better/less offensive. Apologies in advance). I looked and looked and there just aren’t many awards out there for authors of this group OR for books that accurately portray this population. At the same time, many of our most beloved children’s books are rife with stereotypes and mis-information. (as much as I love them, there are parts of the Little House books that are definitely NOT easy to explain to today’s children).

A HUGELY helpful and informative website was Cynthia Leitich Smith’s site, which I’ve linked to before for all the state awards. It is fabulous for several reasons, one of which are the annotated bibliographies. If she has a book listed as Highly Recommended in the Native American Category, I would not hesitate to recommend it. And, while not an award, per se, it’s a great starting point.

Writer of the Year from Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers– This is an international group dedicated to supporting Native authors throughout the Americas, North & South. I couldn’t find any information about the actual award/process on their site, but they appear to be doing a phenomenal job encouraging education, writing, and development of future writers. If you know of a winner’s list or how these are selected, PLEASE let me know and I’ll add it in.

NEA Native American Book List– Again, this isn’t an award, but is an annotated bibliography produced by the NEA (National Educator’s Association) divided by grade level. There was no information about WHY they chose these books, but it’s an interesting list from an interesting group. (that’s an issue for a whole different post/blog/rant)

The Lacapa Spirit Prize– I couldn’t find any information for this award Post 2008, or criteria etc. Here’s what I found on the website:

Named for Michael Lacapa, children’s book illustrator and writer who died in 2005, the award honors the legacy of his artistic vision and talent for storytelling. This prize acknowledges great books for children that best embody the spirit of the peoples, culture and natural landscape of the Southwest. Books published in the two years prior to the award are eligible for consideration.

The American Indian Youth Literature Awards– this is definitely the most traditionally structured award I found, sponsored by the American Indian Library association. From their website:

The American Indian Library Association announces the establishment of its American Indian Youth Literature Award. The children’s book award was created as a way to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Potential award winning titles will be nominated and selected by members of the award jury, which is composed of seven members of AILA, elected by the membership. Each juror may nominate titles in each category that represent the best in American Indian books for children and youth. Books selected to receive the award will present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts. Additional information about the award and criteria used to evaluate books can be found here.

And finally, there is the First Nation Communities Read Award given in Canada. I couldn’t find any information about the award, but HERE is a list of winners on Goodreads. 

 As always, if you know something I don’t know, Please add a comment so I can update the post! Read on!

Plug for the day:

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2 Comments on “Indigenous and Ignored”

  1. kclever says:

    Did you ever read Solar Storms? It’s about three generations of Native American women in upper Minnesota. There are some beautiful lines in there!


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