A division of the American Library Association voted unanimously Saturday to strip Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's literature award over concerns about how the author referred to Native Americans and blacks.
The ALSC said the decision was made because "Wilder's legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC's core values of inclusiveness, integrity, and respect, and responsiveness". And multiple characters in the Little House series intone that "the only good Indian is a dead Indian". "Only Indians lived there".
The first award was given to Wilder in 1954, three years before her death.
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Despite the tremendous success of the semiautobiographical series, the Chicago-based American Library Association over the weekend made a decision to rescind Wilder's Medal for Excellence in Children's literature, a prestigious designation in the children's literary world.
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"While the answer to racism is not to impose purity retroactively or to disappear titles from shelves, no 8-year-old Dakota child should have to listen to an uncritical reading of Little House on the Prairie".
Wilder's blunt depictions of settler bigotry toward Native Americans has come under increased scrutiny in recent years.
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The American Library Association knows the books are deeply meaningful to many readers, and they said they are not calling for censorship-just an understanding of the times reflected in the stories. Previously, the organization had noted the "anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments" in Wilder's writing.
"We believe it is important to recognize Wilder's contributions to literacy, libraries, and culture, even as her works continue to spark discussion and scholarly debate", the LIWLRA continued.
In addition, in another scene, Wilder depicts white men wearing blackface for the entertainment of others - including her father.
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"But no white American should be able to avoid the history it has to tell".