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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Tucson schools bans books by Native American authors (include Buffy Sainte Marie)

TUCSON -- Outrage was the response to the news that Tucson schools has banned books, including "Rethinking Columbus," with an essay by award-winning Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko, who lives in Tucson, and works by Buffy Sainte Marie, Winona LaDuke, Leonard Peltier and Rigoberta Menchu.

The decision to ban Chicano and Native American books follows the 4 to 1 vote on Tuesday by the Tucson Unified School District board to succumb to the State of Arizona, and forbid Mexican American Studies, rather than fight the state decision.

The banned book, "Rethinking Columbus," includes work by many Native Americans, as Debbie Reese reports, the book includes:

Suzan Shown Harjo's "We Have No Reason to Celebrate"
Buffy Sainte-Marie's "My Country, 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying"
Joseph Bruchac's "A Friend of the Indians"
Cornel Pewewardy's "A Barbie-Doll Pocahontas"
N. Scott Momaday's "The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee"
Michael Dorris's "Why I'm Not Thankful for Thanksgiving"
Leslie Marmon's "Ceremony"
Wendy Rose's "Three Thousand Dollar Death Song"
Winona LaDuke's "To the Women of the World: Our Future, Our Responsibility"
The now banned reading list of the Tucson schools' Mexican American Studies includes two books by Native American author Sherman Alexie and a book of poetry by O'odham poet Ofelia Zepeda.
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"My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying" is Buffy Sainte-Marie's statement-in-song about Indian affairs.


"My point in the song is that the American people haven't been given a fair share at learning the true history of the American Indian. They know neither the state of poverty that the Indians are in now nor how it got to be that way. I try to tell the side of the story that's left out of the history books, that can only be found in the documents, the archives and in the memories of the Indians themselves."


12 comments:

Indians and Cowboys Rodeo News said...

Such true words;and true words many who are not Native American have ever heard.Tell them Buffy.

RP said...

This song was played in my house when I was in nursery school--though it took me about 38 years to realize it. When I stumbled onto this song on YouTube in '09, some of the lyrics popped right back into my mind after being dormant for decades. I suddenly had specific memories of what I was doing while this song was being played. Even though it's very sad and upsetting, it makes me happy in one sense: I was exposed to these issues at such a young age.

RP said...

Regarding the issues of racism and censorship in Arizona, I decided months ago to avoid spending any money in that state and have encouraged others to do the same (though I don't think many have listened to me).

GoldenRule4Everyone said...

US Citizens (and people from other countries too) need to become very alert and stay up-to-date on the very negative direction our country is heading. This has been going on for quite a while, but has not had enough people standing up and voicing their displeasure at what is happening. Let's all make our voices heard. Hiding historical facts is not good! And hiding anything, no matter what it is about (with the exception of a little bit of very critical info that protects this country from terrorists etc), is not good. Government, and education, is trying to turn the citizens into robots that only know whatever the government and education people want them to know. Uh.....sound familiar anyone? Make your voices heard. Post true information anywhere you can get it visible to the public. And no, they aren't going to like what I just said. Parents, perhaps you should step up and buy copies of every censored book and add it to your family library, then make sure your kids read those books (and you should read all the books too).

Anonymous said...

And Galileo's Dialogue was banned too. In the end, the truth will set people free. They will find the books..you can't ban truth.

Nancy Willis said...

I remember this song - seeing this video - when I was a teen. I brought this album into my parents' house and my Cherokee/Northern Irish father played it over and over because he could relate from his own life. Thank you Ms. Sainte-Marie for posting the video - it brings great tears to my eyes to see how far we *haven't* come since you wrote this statement - especially with what's happened in Arizona. Your words still have the power of Truth. Yes, it is important to continue the fight and not give in to the evil powers-that-be. Creator is watching.

Gordon Guy Chamberlain said...

To every act their is a push back against censorship and injustice. Those who have acted with such disregard will face ridicule, and questions as to who deluded them into believing others cultures have not participated in creating America. They will face legal challenges and calls of racist values. Let the push back begin

A Friend said...

The "Land of the Free"???

PJ Reed said...

The reality is, Arizona's state government is arguably the most recent such administration in recent American history. Myriad issues relating to systematic suppression of minority grounded cultural expressions have arisen in the last 10 years or so, most markedly following the election of Jan Brewer, but in consistency with Arizona's far broader history in this context. As such, Native groups will do well to establish something along the lines of a "Take Back Arizona" campaign in cooperation with other identified minorities, inc. w/respect SB-1070, etc, designed to address and bring an end to the endemic corruption of Arizona's state infrastructure. PJ Reed, author "The Arizona State Hospital and Patient Abuse" (blogspot.com)

PJ Reed said...

The reality is, Arizona's state government is arguably the most recent such administration in recent American history. Myriad issues relating to systematic suppression of minority grounded cultural expressions have arisen in the last 10 years or so, most markedly following the election of Jan Brewer, but in consistency with Arizona's far broader history in this context. As such, Native groups will do well to establish something along the lines of a "Take Back Arizona" campaign in cooperation with other identified minorities, inc. w/respect SB-1070, etc, designed to address and bring an end to the endemic corruption of Arizona's state infrastructure. PJ Reed, author "The Arizona State Hospital and Patient Abuse" (blogspot.com)

leonora said...

I think I will now buy RETHINKING COLUMBUS!

stan said...

As a Canadian, I am hoping that this book is required reading in all Canadian schools~~ if not,then it should be!
I have recently purchased it myself ,& hope that it will always be available for all ! It is factual, in truth & should be available internationally !