The Board of the Association for Library Service to Children voted unanimously on Saturday to rename the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award as the Children's Literature Legacy Award due to the author's portrayal of Native Americans and African Americans in her books. "Only Indians lived there", The Washington Post reported.
Wilder was the first to win the award in 1954, when she was in her late 80s and nearing the end of her life.
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The association made a decision to remove Wilder's name from the award because her works include "expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC's core values".
Some Wilder scholars have expressed discontent about the removal of her name, saying it would be better to understand her works in context in order to teach children about historical attitudes.
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Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) as a schoolteacher, 1887. Previously, the organization had noted the "anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments" in Wilder's writing. In 1998, an 8-year-old girl on the Upper Sioux Reservation was so disturbed after hearing her teacher read the statement aloud in class that she went home crying, leading her mother to unsuccessfully petition the school district to ban the book from its curriculum. More than once, her neighbors repeat that infamous slur, the only good Indian is a dead Indian. The racial content in her books "should be discussed in our modern perspective and addressed directly", the group said, "rather than hidden or avoided".
While acknowledging the series' popularity and its significant place in the history of children's literature, the ALSC board said that Wilder's characterizations of minorities have hurt many people.
"Each generation revises the literary canon", she wrote. She wrote that they smelled of skunk, had hard, glittering eyes and came constantly to the little house demanding food and tobacco. Fraser stated that Wilder's work "vividly, unforgettably ... still tells truths about white settlement, homesteading and the violent appropriation of Indian land and culture".
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