Book award drops Laura Ingalls Wilder's name over her lack of 'inclusiveness'

Big name Former first lady Michelle Obama opened the annual ALA conference with a speech last week

But by the same measure, critics say, her family's intrusion on Native American lands, particularly in "Little House on the Prairie", represented a whole period of abuse against tribes across America, justified by white settlers' belief that Native Americans didn't count as settlers on their own land.

Over the weekend, the Association for Library Service to Children voted unanimously to remove the author's name from a prestigious award given to lasting children's books and rename the honor "The Children's Literature Legacy Award". Most notably, the repeated injection of the racist adage, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian", has been sharply criticized. "Only Indians lived there".

The first award ever was given to Wilder in 1954.

The award's name has since been changed to the Children's Literature Legacy Award.

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.

Laura Ingalls Wilder is one of the best-known children's authors.

In "Little House on the Prairie", Wilder wrote, "Their Faces were bold and fierce and bad". Wilder herself called the word choice a "stupid blunder" in 1952, saying "Of course Indians are people and I did not mean to imply they were not". The semi-autobiographical books followed the trials and tribulations of her real-life family, the Ingalls, as they survived pioneer life in the American West. The tales are so ingrained in the traditions of children's literature that it may be easy to forget or overlook that Wilder, who wrote the books in the 1930s and 40s, depicts Native Americans as inhuman and inconsequential. 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 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", she wrote. The characters of "Pa" and "Ma" are frequently furious and fearful of Indians, which while realistic to a point, certainly doesn't tell the entire story of history.

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