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ERIC Number: EJ776626
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jan
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-0360-9170
Proceed with Caution: Using Native American Folktales in the Classroom
Reese, Debbie
Language Arts, v84 n3 p245-256 Jan 2007
Traditional stories include myths, legends, and folktales rooted in the oral storytelling traditions of a given people. Through story, people pass their religious beliefs, customs, history, lifestyle, language, values, and the places they hold sacred from one generation to the next. As such, stories and their telling are more than simple entertainment. They matter--in significant ways--to the well-being of the communities from which they originate. Thus, storytelling is a means of passing along information, but it does not mean there is only one correct version of any given story. During a telling, listeners can speak up if they feel an important fact or detail was omitted, or want to offer a different version of the story. In this way, the people seek or arrive at a communal truth rather than an absolute truth. A storyteller may revise a story according to his or her own interpretation, or according to the knowledge of the audience, but in order for it to be acceptable to the group from which the story originated, it should remain true to the spirit and content of the original. The author, in her years as an elementary school teacher, was often disappointed in the ways that American Indians are portrayed in children's books. Thus, to counter flawed representations found throughout popular culture and the media, she draws on her identity as a woman from the Nambe Pueblo to help teachers select children's books that are realistic in their presentation of Native peoples, as well as factually, historically, and culturally accurate. In this article, she discusses the findings of her comparative analysis of two children's picture-book retellings: "Turkey Girl" by Penny Pollock and "Dragonfly's Tale" by Kristina Rodanas. (Contains 1 footnote.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A