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Old 08-27-2005, 08:00 PM   #1
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Book portrays Indians as savages and squaws

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FROM: INDIANZ.COM WEBSITE

_http://64.62.196.98/News/2005/009959.asp_
(http://64.62.196.98/News/2005/009959.asp)

Column: Book portrays Indians as savages and squaws
Tuesday, August 23, 2005


(http://64.62.196.98/my.asp?url=http:.../indianzbookst) "A few increasingly outspoken Indians in Indiana, joined
by a researcher in the Loyal Shawnee tribe in Kansas, have turned their wrath
on Columbus and Hoosier writer James Alexander Thom. The Owen County author
is nationally known for his Indian-related historical novels.
Thom's account misrepresents and even maligns Indians, said Debra Haza. She
is a Columbus resident who serves on the city's cultural diversity committee
and is a member of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.
"We are portrayed as savages and squaws. An Indian man is described as
having a snakelike appearance. He (Thom) has all these misconceptions going
through her (Mary Ingles') head," she said."
Get the Story:
_Ruth Holladay: Hoosier's popular book is insensitive, Indians say _
(http://64.62.196.98/my.asp?url=http:...ticle?AID=/200
50823/COLUMNISTS02/508230412/1006/NEWS01) (The Indianpolis Star 8/23)

Copyright © 2000-2005 Indianz.Com
================================================== ==============

FROM: THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR NEWSPAPER

_http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050823/COLUMNISTS02/5082
30412/1006/NEWS01_
(http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dl...12/1006/NEWS01)

August 23, 2005

Hoosier's popular book is insensitive, Indians say

We may have moved on, more or less, regarding the National Collegiate
Athletic Association's decision to ban teams with American Indian mascots and
monikers from participating in championship games.
But get ready for the next controversy.
A few increasingly outspoken Indians in Indiana, joined by a researcher in
the Loyal Shawnee tribe in Kansas, have turned their wrath on Columbus and
Hoosier writer James Alexander Thom. The Owen County author is nationally known
for his Indian-related historical novels.
Columbus, in southwestern Bartholomew County, is taking heat for choosing
Thom's "Follow the River" as its first-ever community read. The irony is that
the city prides itself on cultural awareness and diversity -- it has held an
annual Ethnic Fest since 1984 and is home to 17 Japanese companies.
The novel is also well-credentialed -- a heavily researched, fictional
account of the true story of Mary Ingles' capture by Shawnee Indians in 1755 in
Virginia and her survival and eventual escape, told from the white woman's
perspective.
The book enjoys a solid fan base. Sales have remained decent since its
publication in 1980. This year, in another tribute to Thom, it was chosen by West
Virginia for its "One Book/One West Virginia" reading program.
So with all those pluses, where's the problem?
That's what is vital to understand -- especially in Indiana, where the
state's 38,700 American Indians are too often ignored.
Thom's account misrepresents and even maligns Indians, said Debra Haza. She
is a Columbus resident who serves on the city's cultural diversity committee
and is a member of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.
"We are portrayed as savages and squaws. An Indian man is described as
having a snakelike appearance. He (Thom) has all these misconceptions going
through her (Mary Ingles') head," she said.
"I am not saying I want the book banned," Haza said. "But I think it was a
mistake that it was chosen by the community of Columbus for the entire city to
read and is presented as gospel."
Keely Squirrel Denning is a Loyal Shawnee Indian in Salina, Kan., who
carefully guards Shawnee history and reputation. She read about the flap on an
Indian Web site and contacted Haza, the city's mayor and two of the four
committee members who chose the book, among others.
Denning's objections include Thom's liberal use of the word squaw -- as
offensive as any racial slur, she said. Denning also objects to a scene in which
a Shawnee man mocks a pregnant woman. That, she said, would never have
happened since the Shawnee look up to women and consider birth a great feat.
Susan Mercer is a Columbus librarian and one of those who chose the book.
She is sorry that ill will is brewing and hopes the concerns can be addressed
when Thom talks about his work Oct. 18. "My mission here in life is not to
inflame, upset, offend, outrage or hurt people," she said.
Thom is a little more testy about what he called "whiners," but he said he
is "very sensitive to the feelings of native people."
A wise course, since they are likewise very sensitive to what he writes
about them.
Ruth Holladay's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. You can reach
her at (317) 444-6405 or via e-mail at _ruth.holladay@indystar.com_
(mailto:ruth.holladay@indystar.com)
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Old 08-27-2005, 08:45 PM   #2
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The Creator said, "A foreign race of white people will come, who will become your friends. You should treat them well."

The Creator sure had a strange sense of humor!

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Old 08-28-2005, 09:25 AM   #3
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good cause, poor choice for a book.
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