ERIC Number: ED437229
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Reference Count: N/A
A Critical Review of Ann Rinaldi's "My Heart Is on the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, A Sioux Girl, Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania, 1880."
Reese, Debby; Slapin, Beverly; Landis, Barb; Atleo, Marlene; Caldwell, Naomi; Mendoza, Jean; Miranda, Deborah; Rose, La Vera; Smith, Cynthia
This paper critically reviews the book, "My Heart Is On the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux Girl, Carlisle Indian School, 1800." The review begins with a profile of Captain Richard Henry Pratt who founded the Carlisle (Pennsylvania) Indian Industrial School in 1879. Pratt's philosophy was to "kill the Indian and save the man." Statements from former students describe life at the school as a horrific experience in which Indian children were forced to cut their hair, replace traditional clothing with military uniforms, and speak English. Children were also stripped of their Indian names, a source of cultural pride and identity. Despite all the documented horrors, the book casts the school in a positive light through the eyes of the main character, Nannie Little Rose. The review contends that from a literary perspective, the book lacks consistency and logic; as a work of historical fiction, it has many factual errors; and as a work of multicultural literature, it lacks authenticity. For example, throughout the book Nannie Little Rose uses the phrase "my heart is on the ground" whenever she is sad or upset. In its original form this statement conveys the strength and courage of Indian women, but in the context of the book, it trivializes the Indian belief system. Many other examples show how the book lacks historical accuracy and cultural authenticity and is replete with stereotypical language and treatment of girls and women. The review suggests that this book adds to the great body of misinformation about Native life and epitomizes the lack of sensitivity and respect that has come to characterize the vast majority of children's books about Native Americans. (LP)
Descriptors: Acculturation, American Indian Education, American Indian History, Boarding Schools, Book Reviews, Books, Childrens Literature, Educational History, Elementary Secondary Education, Federal Indian Relationship, Literary Criticism, Sioux (Tribe), Stereotypes, Student Experience
(choose "Books to Avoid").
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Book/Product Reviews
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A