Independence Day: The Oyate Perspective

I'm an immigrant living the dream, overflowing with gratitude for my opportunities in this amazing country. But I can't help wondering how America's celebration of Independence Day affects descendants of the original inhabitants who used to populate this place from sea to shining sea.

Imagine, for a minute, the "Americanization" of my native India. Picture brown-skinned descendants of indigenous peoples relegated to small, impoverished corners of the land, struggling to keep their languages alive. What would it be like for those of us with roots in India's ancient civilizations to watch white descendants of colonists celebrating a relatively recent anniversary of "independence" from Great Britain?

Still with me? Then head over to Oyate, which calls itself "a Native organization working to see that our lives and histories are portrayed honestly, and so that all people will know our stories belong to us." Especially of interest on the Fire Escape is Oyate's list of worst children's books about Native people. The anti-bias evaluations make you think twice about any story depicting marginalized peoples. Finally, here's a shout out to Loriene Roy, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, who will serve in 2007-2008 as president of the American Library Association.

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