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Ecoindigenism – Indigenous people and ecological awareness

January 11, 2012

One of the persistent images associated with Indigenous peoples in children’s literature is ecological awareness, or what Sissons (2005) calls ‘‘ecoindigenism’’ (p. 23). This theme, far from being only a recent phenomenon, is continuous with the image of the Indigenous person as in harmony with nature. From it have grown activities around ‘‘playing Indian’’ (Deloria, 1998; Francis, 1992). It is not that this image of connection to the earth does not carry some truth (Alfred, 2000); rather, as Mendoza and Reese point out, certain images are taken to be more truthful than others because they accord with certain White constructions of what an ‘‘Indigenous’’ story is supposed to sound like.” (68)

Ref: (blue, bold emphasis mine) Teresa Strong-Wilson (2008) ‘Turtles All the Way: Simulacra and Resistance to Simulacra in Indigenous Teachers’ Discussion of Indigenous Children’s Literature’  Children’s Literature in Education 39: 53-74

Quoted: Sissons, J. (2005). First peoples: Indigenous cultures and their futures. London: Reaktion.

Deloria, P. J. (1998). Playing Indian. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press.

Francis, D. (1992). The imaginary Indian: The image of the Indian in Canadian culture. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press.

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