Teaching Indigenous History to Kids

“‘Remember the green,’ he says. ‘When you see the growing plants, know we are all connected to each other and to the Earth.'”

Remembering Green by Lisa Gammon Olson

When I reflect on my childhood, I can still remember the excitement I felt walking into the library. I remember begging my mom to let me read “just one more chapter” before bedtime. As I got a little older, I would sit by my night light and strain my eyes to read the words on the page. Stories are important to us even before we can fully grasp their meaning. The books we read when we’re young shape who we are. Now more than ever before, young kids have diverse stories to choose from. I love that young kids will have protagonists that look, act, and feel like them. Reading is a tool that can teach the future generation to become more mindful and empathetic. I felt hopeful when I learned about Remembering Green: An Ojibwe Girl’s Tale by Lisa Gammon Olson because it presents an opportunity for young kids to learn about history through the perspective of a Native American girl.

Remembering Green is the fourth book in a series called Tales from American Herstory. Wenonah is a young Ojibwe girl from the Lac du Flambeau tribe. Set in the early 20th century, Wenonah is forced to attend an Indian Residential School where Native Americans must conform to look and act like white Americans. In school, she is forced to change her appearance and speak English every day. Even her name is changed. Feeling discouraged and very sad, she turns to her Nimishoomis. Her great grandfather offers words of wisdom to help her overcome adversity. Ultimately, it will be her responsibility to remember her heritage and carry their traditions on for future generations.

Lisa Gammon Olson has created a unique story that pays homage to the Lac du Flambeau tribe. As a young kid, I certainly didn’t have any knowledge about Native American history or the ways that public school was used as a method for forced assimilation. This book makes it easy for kids to understand what Native Americans experienced at the hands of the US government and shows the resilience of Native American tribes. Along with the important history lesson, the illustrations by Lauren Rutledge are warm and beautiful. Little ones that don’t know how to read yet will love looking at the pictures of Wenonah and her grandfather surrounded by beautiful trees and butterflies. It is never too soon for children to grapple with the truth of our discriminatory past. I know I would have found it so valuable to read a story like Remembering Green when I was growing up.

Remembering Green was released earlier this week by an indie publishing company called Eifrig Publishing. Support small businesses and buy the book directly from their website: https://www.eifrigpublishing.com/collections/new-releases/products/remembering-green-an-ojibwe-girls-tale

If you would like to support this book in other ways, Eifrig Publishing is doing a wonderful Kickstarter campaign. Check out the great rewards or donate to help get copies of Remembering Green in public libraries and schools: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eifrigpublishing/remembering-green-an-ojibwe-girls-tale?ref=nav_search&result=project&term=remembering%20

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