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Book Co-Written By UC Author Builds Learning,
Breaks Down Stereotypes of Native Americans

Date: Oct. 9, 2002
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Archive: General News

A University of Cincinnati early childhood education specialist says it was her own experience in the classroom that led to the creation of a book to expose teachers of young children to curriculum about Native American cultures. The book, Lessons from Turtle Island is written by Sally Moomaw and Native American co-author Guy W. Jones, a Hunkpapa Lakota. photo of book cover

Lessons from Turtle Island, published by Redleaf Press ($29.95), addresses concerns about how Native Americans are portrayed in early childhood classrooms, including negative stereotypes, inaccurate information or being totally ignored in classroom planning for young children. For example, Moomaw says that well-meaning teachers who encourage children to wear headdresses or make Indian necklaces, especially around Thanksgiving, are unknowingly showing insensitivity toward Native Americans. "Native peoples do not consider making headdresses or using feathers in 'Indian' projects to be acceptable," write the co-authors, who explain that many symbols -- feathers, pipes and dances -- are considered sacred.

"When I became aware of the gaps in my own knowledge of Native American peoples and their history, I was just appalled," says Moomaw. She says her exploration of Native cultures, and her eagerness to include the Native American experience in materials in the classroom, led to her partnership with Guy W. Jones, one of the founders of the Miami Valley Council for Native Americans, based in Dayton, Ohio.

Lessons from Turtle Island has guidelines and resource lists for teachers as they plan multicultural activities for the classroom. The writers say the book's cross-cultural themes focusing on children, home, family, community and the environment, will be of interest to parents as well as educators.

Moomaw and Jones will sign copies of Lessons from Turtle Island from 1-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion.


 
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