I think they are jaded by how very tough pioneer life was. I’m a long-time Little House fan from Australia. How can we help children develop an understanding of the historical perspective in Little House on the Prairie? is the first book in the award-winning Little House series, which has captivated generations of readers. In Little House in the Big Woods, the Ingalls family lived in a cabin (the place where Laura was born) near Pepin, in west central Wisconsin. The Ingles family welcome and embrace the native boy and his mother with open arms They include classic titles and newer works. Yes, times have changed, and attitudes for the most part have changed, but one should never try to change history and what life was like back then. I would strongly recommend that you get your hands on a copy of “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown and read the chapter on “Little Crow’s War” for a better understanding of the Dakota uprising in Minnesota. Based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods . When my two are older I will read them the books at night. Since that time she has shared Wilder’s life across the Midwest. I suggest we talk about whether Ma’s fears were justified. When most of the settlers arrived in Indian Territory, the Osage people were off on their annual hunting trips further west and it may have appeared that the land was unoccupied. I have read them so many times! Whoa now. Congress refused to ratify the Sturgis Treaty, fearing a backlash from their constituents who favored free settlement of the land under the Homestead Act of 1862. She shares the cabin with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their lovable dog, Jack. I teach it in the spring. To strip her name off an award because she would be considered racist today is unfair. Under the provisions of earlier treaties, the Osage had the right to charge squatters rent if they wanted to. My conclusion is that Australia has its own entrenched history of displacing indigenous (Aboriginal) people that by the time I read the books when I was about 8 years old I just never questioned it. © 2021 Biography and the Biography logo are registered trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. Very interesting article! Laura lives in the little house with her pa, her ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Little House on the Prairie begins with the Ingalls family leaving their little house in Wisconsin. But, we must remember, this was before the Internet. It might already be open to settlement. These kinds of questions will help children understand the historical perspective and that right or wrong, people have their own belief systems, then and now. She was not racist. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. It might beunderstandable for Caroline Ingalls, in her time and place, to call it the “Minnesota Massacre” but it is not appropriate to continue to use that term outside of a direct quote. Most fear of someone “different”, or another color, than ourselves, is because people are afraid, of the unknown. As we read Little House, we stop often and reflect on the similarities and differences between the main characters, their families, and their life styles. If we do not know the true history of our nation’s/culture’s past, how can we prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes? Little House in the Big Woods is a children's novel. I remember feeling the fear of the unknown as the natives came into the cabin, the curiosity of the different as Laura rushes in to see them, the sadness she felt when watching them march along and away, and the pride she had when she tanned like “an indian” by ignoring her frustratingly restrictive bonnet. When I read historical fiction and non-fiction, I am enjoying a journey on a time machine. The book takes place from 1869 to 1870. I grew up reading the books and I still read them since it offers a glimpse into a world that we just can’t experience. I remember traveling across country in 1953 and having no air conditioner in the car. The following two tabs change content below. Thank You! Her lively retelling of experiences from her childhood in the historical fiction series helped shape the popular idea of the American frontier. My ancestors are survivors who fled to New Ulm. This is the second year I’ve taught Little House on the Prairie in my 5th grade class and it has opened up some very frank and meaningful conversations about prejudice, racism, and historical context. After writing Farmer Boy (1933), a book about her husband’s childhood, she published Little House on the Prairie (1935), a reminiscence of her family’s stay in Indian Territory. I love those books. U.S. National Education Association "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". How else would we learn about the conflicts, thoughts, and outcomes of these situations that will occur in all our lives; all of them shaping history? Laura’s grandmother makes maple sugar candy. I got here because I was just watching LHOTP and wanted to see the map of walnut grove The stories in the books are told through the eyes of an intelligent, curious, answer seeking young girl who lived a life none of us are now living. The very thought of Indians made her blood run cold. Thank you! This is history folks, good, bad, and ugly. All rights reserved. If there’s a villain in the Little House books, it’s Nellie … I have the whole collection of Little House on the Prairie books. The first in a nine-book series, the autobiographical narrative relates the story of a family of homesteading pioneers living and laboring in Wisconsin. As an adult I cringe when I read the books but I have to remind myself that society has made progress and I’ve grown as a person to recognize racism. In 1909, Rose moved to San Francisco where she worked as a writer/reporter for the San Francisco Call. Having married Almanzo “Manly” Wilder in 1885, she used the byline Mrs. A. J. Wilder for her first paid writing job in 1910, which was as the poultry columnist for the St. Louis Star Farmer. In 1932, at the age of 65, Wilder published the first of her eight Little House books, Little House in the Big Woods. Ma saw it as an intrusion by uninvited guests. Who knows, in 150 years, maybe 2020 will be considered offensive and unacceptable. These books explore different areas of Wilder’s life and work, often bringing new and unexpected interpretations to a wide range of topics. Little House in the Big Woods kicked off the series in 1932 and Farmer Boy, an account of Manly's childhood in New York state, followed in 1933. The kids act racist in school Great article! Teachers should do this. The Indians in the area saw this as an opportunity to retake land that they felt belonged to them. And , let’s not forget that there was a black woman in Little House on the Prairie as well (again I am referring to the TV show not the books) she was either a schoolteacher or a helper at NELLY’s restaurant I forgot which but she was well respected and loved in the show Historical Perspective or Racism in Little House on the Prairie. When Ma expresses concern about the Indians being so near, Pa comforts her by saying “They are perfectly friendly’…He often met Indians in the woods where he was hunting. We have a book on great white sharks from my childhood. Readers learn how her family had to live and survive in a little log cabin during pioneer times. Little House in the Big Woods is an excellent read-aloud text for our first grade friends. Teaching at Age 15 In Little Town on the Prairie, we read how Laura earned her teaching certificate when she was just 15. As an adult I have always read the books with a historical perspective and as being a product of their times. To punish Laura Ingalls Wilder for not keeping within the standards of acceptability in 2020 shows lack of perspective and education. (On December 30, 2014, the South Dakota Historical Society Press published Wilder’s complete first draft of her own story — all 472 pages — as Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography.). This is the perfect activity to go along with the book, Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Undeterred, she spent the next several years working on her memoirs, asking relatives for their accounts of what happened during her childhood years and changing the story to the third-person perspective. The Little House Series. I have books from my childhood that I read to my kids. In her 40s at the time, she drew on her considerable expertise in raising Leghorn hens. Nice refuge from parents who fought all the time. Laura lives in Maize, Kansas and is a fifth-grade teacher. When I was 8-9 in the ’70’s, my mom read the books to me, and I re-read them many times myself. It’s just like people were, and some still are, afraid of those who ride motorcycles. Lane's exact role in her mother's famous series of books has remained unclear, but she certainly encouraged Ingalls. The grandfather is racist the mother was a missionary who fell in love with a native The Osage were forced once again to negotiate with the United States and signed the Sturgis Treaty. What do readers need to know when reading Little House on the Prairie? I am part American Indian and I loved them as a kid. Little House in the Big Woods, the first in the series, was published by Harper & Brothers in 1932; the last, These Happy Golden Years, arrived in 1943. Performance. Since that time she has shared Wilder’s life across the Midwest. Don’t make it a big thing and it won’t be. She said, ‘I can’t forget the Minnesota massacre. Motorcyclist are ordinary, people. They were part of an illegal rush of settlers into the Osage Diminished Reserve commonly called Indian Territory. The “Little House” books were well received by the reading public and critics alike; their warm, truthful portrayal of a life made picturesque by its very … Laura had to rely on letter writing or long, slow trips to do on-site research as she did for Little House on the Prairie. It held the myriad of emotions and feelings that anyone of any age in time feels when we encounter difference in race and culture. Little House on the Prairie, published in 1935, was about the family's experience in Kansas. Loved: “What better way to learn our history than by reading a classic like Little House on the Prairie and using it as a platform for discussion?”. In this Little House in the Big Woods activity, students write the number of the correct vocabulary word on the line before its provided definition. Filed Under: History, Learning Tagged With: Books, History, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie. In the early pages of Little House on the Prairie, Laura quotes Pa as saying that animals wandered “in a pasture that stretched much farther than a man could see, and there were no settlers. Open dialogues should be part of book discussions with children, always encouraging them to share their questions and views. “As a 9-year-old child, I had read the ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ and then I got the show and then my focus was the scripts and where we were going with that for 10 years," said Gilbert. Learn little-known facts about the man behind the theory of evolution. Laura Ingalls Wilder Home & Historic Museum. In order for readers to understand Ma, you need to understand where she was coming from. He freely cut logs to build a house, hunted wild game for food and furs, dug a well and broke the land for farming. She married Gillette Lane in 1909 and became Rose Wilder Lane; the marriage ended in divorce in 1918. Frankly, I love to meet people from other countries, learn their ways, and for the most part, taste “their” food. Ongoing correspondence between the women concerning the development of the multi-volume series supports a mutual collaboration that involved Lane more extensively in the earlier books, and to a much lesser extent by the time the series ended. But I suggest that rather than banning books or refusing to read them, we use them as a platform for examining the history of the United States. As Amy Fatzinger writes in her dissertation Indians in the House, Wilder raises “a great issue that was still problematic in the 1930s, when Little House on the Prairie was written and remains so today: the Euro-American preemption of lands occupied by Native Americans.” And, Wilder uses the voice of 7-year-old Laura to do so. Laura asks Ma, “Why don’t you like Indians, Ma…This is Indian country, isn’t it? Laura says “They drove away and left it lonely and empty in the clearing…They were going to Indian country.” But, they didn’t go there directly. Times change. I am not going to attempt to give a complete history of the Osage people or the sad legacy of the systematic removal of Native Americans by the government of the United States. This is why it is important to be present when our children are reading things that may not reflect our own values. That myth first takes flight in “Little House on the Prairie.” Wilder depicts the family arriving in virgin Kansas territory, but, as the real-life Pa surely knew, the Ingalls were squatters. Laura, you never fail to amaze me. Little House in the Big Woods Teacher Sample Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder remains an all-time American classic about life on the frontier. Little House in the Big Woods takes place in 1871 and introduces us to four-year-old Laura, who lives in a log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Obviously, she was cast as older than that in both Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie. Wilder says that Jack, the Ingalls’ bulldog, hated the Indians and Ma said she didn’t blame him. An educator since 1983, Laura McLemore was destined to a lifelong love of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Ask if people have an unjustified fear of other races today. In a relative sense, there are few heros and villains. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, Through Dakota Eyes: Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862, Over the Earth I Come: The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862, documentary film about Laura Ingalls Wilder. And of course every treaty the U.S. Government made with Native Americans was never upheld. I don’t care who you are or how mad you can be at someone but killing women and children and babies YES babies, makes it a massacre! The federal government denied any responsibility for protecting the settlers in Minnesota. Reading them for the first time in years I am once again reminded of the fact that 2019 is vastly different than the 1880s. I find it amazing that so many people equate the “the only good Indian is a dead Indian” thing with Laura being racist. An educator since 1983, Laura McLemore was destined to a lifelong love of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Well- written! Do you decry the author as a racist and vow to never read another word? Charles Ingalls sold his farm in Wisconsin in 1868. It is the first book in Wilder's Little House series. Wilder lived in rural Missouri, far away from libraries or universities with large reference sections. This article made me question why I had never questioned the reason the Ingalls Family settled on land that didn’t belong to them, even when I was a child and didn’t have a great knowledge of history. Fear, is in the mind, caused by the “unknown”. McLemore portrayed Laura Ingalls Wilder for the first time in 1993. ), the books on which the series was based had made Laura Ingalls Wilder one of the most influential children’s authors in American history. My mother read them to me when I was a child. LEARN from history! In 1932 Laura Ingalls Wilder's first book Little House in the Big Woods was published. I created this notebook to aide during my read aloud sessions last year to help the students comprehend the text. Interesting article. We don’t all think alike, nor do we always agree with others’ views of our world. Two years later, Little House on the Prairie appeared on the shelves. Get the book Little House in the Big Woods HERE Check out her other titles: #2 Farmer Boy and #3 Little House on the Prairie. Meanwhile, she was also serving as secretary-treasurer of the Mansfield Farm Loan Association. I already knew that was just what had happened. This story held no intention of racism. Due to illnesses and crop failures, Rose’s childhood was defined by a series of moves and she would go on to travel extensively for most of her life. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a story that tells of Laura’s early childhood and upbringing in Wisconsin during the 1870s. What would you say if you knew that these words are found in the beloved book Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder? Required fields are marked *. After all, Laura was only two when her family left Wisconsin and barely three when they arrived on the prairie. (Pa) would come in from his tramp to his traps, with (icicles) on the ends of his whiskers, hang his gun over the door, throw off his coat and cap and mittens and call “Where’s my little half pint of cider half drank up?” That was me because I was so small. Copyright © 2015-2020 Friendly Family Productions, LLC Contributors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Licensing | Newsletters. I’m privileged to call you my friend and fellow teacher. Learn about one of science's most intriguing geniuses. Laurapalooza 2012. Based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in the award-winning Little House series, which has captivated generations of readers.This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams. The theme that runs throughout Little House in the Big Woods is that life is hard and serious work, but that it's OK to have fun at times and important to keep a twinkle in your eye. Reading Little House on the Prairie with children today requires explanation. She used these connections and her own farming experience to begin writing columns for the Missouri Ruralist and, later, McCall's magazine and The Country Gentleman. She also recognized that an American public weary of the Depression would respond warmly to the story of the loving, self-sufficient and determined Ingalls family overcoming obstacles while maintaining their sense of independence, as told through the eyes of the spunky Wilder as she matured from ages five to 18. At this time, she began using the androgynous pseudonym A. J. Wilder to give her work more credibility among male readers. Learn about the man and the legend that go well beyond his fruitful name. What did we come to their country for, if you don’t like them?”; But why was Ma so afraid of the Osage? I think reading the books with children and taking the opportunity to use some of the racist viewpoints of characters to open up a discussion about race in America is a great thing. Wilder gave birth to her daughter Rose in 1884 in the Dakota Territory. Learn about Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. I enjoyed it vry much. I cannot express how refreshing it is to read the previous comments. The difference is far too vast, and in the end, we are all products of our time. Home School in the Woods provides hands-on resources to help teach history in a more engaging way, from lap books and notebooking pages to 3D projects, mapping, timelines, recipes, radio theatre and more. I’m working on addressing this now. Excellent work! Try :Through Dakota Eyes: Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862 by Gary Clayton Anderson (Editor), Alan R. Woolworth (Editor), or “Over the Earth I Come: The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862” by Duane P. Schultz. Conflicts between peoples were and are real and all readers should be able to read about these issues and, of course, be able to question values and mores of the times, from the author’s perspective. Few musicians remain as beloved and revered as the late Bob Marley, whose music continues to inspire and influence music, fashion, politics and culture around the world. Her mother read Little House in the Big Woods in second grade and named her second daughter after the beloved author. First book in the Laura Ingalls Wilder celebrated Little House series, Based on a true story. Little House in the Big Woods is an autobiographical children's novel written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and published by Harper in 1932 (reviewed in June). And we are right, in our times they are. The Ingallses leave their cabin in the big woods and travel by covered wagon to Kansas Territory where they accidentally settle on land belonging to the Osage Indians. As a result, some of her writing isn’t accurate. We cannot and should not rewrite history. These things should not be swept under the rug or ignored. McLemore portrayed Laura Ingalls Wilder for the first time in 1993. I agree with them completely. When the Osage returned from their trip they found their home and their lands occupied by all kinds of settlers who, in their minds, were stealing from them. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s first book, Little House in the Big Woods, beautifully signed with a huge 4” signature. Yet without the help of her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, the series may never have reached a wide audience. This book tells about the adventures Laura and her family enjoy while living on the homestead and gives a glimpse of what their daily life was like through the eyes of … I call them teachable moments. NELLIE OLESON WASN'T A REAL PERSON. And yes, while there is more cultural and political sensitivity today, it does us no good to compare the mores of the 19th century to those of the 21st. How would they tell the story to someone else? What happened with Native Americans is just horrible and sad, but I say that with both a European lineage AND a Native American lineage. Few people today realize, and perhaps Laura herself didn’t know, that a section of Kansas was once called Indian Territory. We understand now that it was wrong. Wilder mentions the “Minnesota Massacre” in her account of Mrs. Scott’s hatred for the Osage: “The only good Indian was a dead Indian. When we get to a spot where things get politically incorrect I just say, “People didn’t know it wasn’t nice to say those things back then.” My kids barely blink. I remember as a girl listening to my parents read these books to us as kids. There was another episode with A black man who worked with Charles Ingalls and once again Charles Ingalls came to the defense of the black man when racism came up. Wilder’s book Little House in the Big Woods, boldly signed, Laura Ingalls Wilder.. Little House in the Big Woods is Wilder’s first book.Wilder has signed this copy in blue ballpoint pen on the second front free endpaper. They could not know because Washington was so far away.” Pa was most likely betting that the government would allow squatters to claim homesteads once the Osage were removed. My Pa and brothers went out with the rest of the settlers…Ma made a sharp sound in her throat, and Mrs. Scott stopped. In Little House on the Prairie Ma tells Laura that “Pa had word from a man in Washington that the Indian Territory would be open to a settlement soon. Proud of you my friend. I never really found any thing really racist in the books. We usually think of Oklahoma as being Indian Territory. Very good insight to these books. Your comments are very interesting. There is the truth as Laura wrote in her books and there is the truth of her real life. These books should be read, shared, discussed now and with future generations. Little House on the Prairie, published in 1935, is the third book in the Little House series but only the second that features the Ingalls family; it continues directly the story of the inaugural novel, Little House in the Big Woods. We can explain this to children as we read the books. But, to understand Laura’s story, we must understand the history behind the story. I when I was reading “Little House on the Prairie ” for the first time as a young girl about 22 years ago, I was concerned about Ma’s prejudices. Whether Pa knew this or not is open for debate, but it is highly unlikely that he would have been ignorant of this fact. From the perspective of the Indians, I’m sure it seemed like a righteous resistance. For example, in chapter 21 of Little House on the Prairie, Pa must go to Independence to sell his furs. Her mother read Little House in the Big Woods in second grade and named her second daughter after the beloved author. Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, 1867–1957.American author. In 1932, at the age of 65, Wilder published the first of her eight Little House books, Little House in the Big Woods. When I was a child it did not occur to me that the books were racist since she was repeating what she heard or remembered hearing as a way of preserving the stories. She was simply quoting someone else’s thoughts, which were likely stated more out of fear than anything. Told from four-year-old Laura's point of view, this story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. He moved his family first to Chariton County, Missouri and then on to Montgomery County, Kansas in late 1868 or early 1869. In 1894, the Wilder family (Laura, Almanzo and Rose) moved to Missouri to what Wilder dubbed Rocky Ridge Farm. All if it was cold blooded murder! I find it appalling that people fail to understand cultural relativism and how it may be used to better understand history and the interaction of cultures. Very well done. It was published in 1932. Your email address will not be published. Learn about the writer behind the beloved books that inspired the hit movies. There was nothing to fear from Indians.” Later Pa balances Mr. and Mrs. Scott’s hateful declaration when he makes this statement about Soldat du Chêne: “That’s one good Indian.’ No matter what Mr. Scott said, Pa did not believe that the only good Indian was a dead Indian.”. It is appropriate to call it that because that’s what it was. This past year my class talked about the riots in Ferguson, Missouri and the media’s portrayal of events there. Little House on the Prairie. I’m glad to see it addressed. What better way to learn our history than by reading a classic like Little House on the Prairie and using it as a platform for discussion? Great article. The government had not paid them what was owed due to the great debt incurred by the Civil War and hunting was becoming scarce due to the settlement of the western frontier. It’s not my place to judge or justify them…but rather, to understand them from their perspective, to learn from them and mostly to enjoy the stories. You use your remarkable, God-given talent for writing in such interesting ways. In late 1862 during the Civil War, many men left their families in Minnesota to fight in the war. Stretched to their limits, local militias were unable to protect their communities. I am glad I wasn’t born in those days! Little House in the Big Woods was published in 1932 by American author Laura Ingalls Wilder. All five words can be found in Chapter 7 of Little House in the Big Woods. S fears were justified was well known as a ghostwriter Gillette Lane in 1909 Rose... Have books from my childhood these things should not be swept under the rug ignored... 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