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Laura Elizabeth Ingalls is born in “the little house in the Big Woods” outside of Pepin, Wisconsin. Her lively retelling of experiences from her childhood in the historical fiction series helped shape the popular idea of the American frontier. At this time, she began using the androgynous pseudonym A. J. Wilder to give her work more credibility among male readers. Pa is portrayed as being slightly more accepting of the Indians. And of course every treaty the U.S. Government made with Native Americans was never upheld. We cannot forget these books were written in a time where this was the norm. The Treaty of 1825 established the Osage Diminished Reserve, a section of land about 50 miles wide and 125 miles long in what is now south-central and southeast Kansas. Little House in the Big Woods kicked off the series in 1932 and Farmer Boy, an account of Manly's childhood in New York state, followed in 1933. As Amy Fatzinger writes in her dissertation Indians in the House, Wilder raises “a great issue that was still problematic in the 1930s, when Little House on the Prairie was written and remains so today: the Euro-American preemption of lands occupied by Native Americans.” And, Wilder uses the voice of 7-year-old Laura to do so. I have their handwritten marriage certificate from 1860 in Brown County. He freely cut logs to build a house, hunted wild game for food and furs, dug a well and broke the land for farming. The newspapers were full of graphic accounts of what was then referred to as the “Minnesota Massacre.” Undoubtedly Ma had read these accounts. How can we help children develop an understanding of the historical perspective in Little House on the Prairie? The government had not paid them what was owed due to the great debt incurred by the Civil War and hunting was becoming scarce due to the settlement of the western frontier. What do readers need to know when reading Little House on the Prairie? Home School in the Woods provides hands-on resources to help teach history in a more engaging way, from lap books and notebooking pages to 3D projects, mapping, timelines, recipes, radio theatre and more. The “Little House” books were well received by the reading public and critics alike; their warm, truthful portrayal of a life made picturesque by its very … Few musicians remain as beloved and revered as the late Bob Marley, whose music continues to inspire and influence music, fashion, politics and culture around the world. The following two tabs change content below. My Pa and brothers went out with the rest of the settlers…Ma made a sharp sound in her throat, and Mrs. Scott stopped. Finally, an article about the 1862 Sioux Uprising and how it relates to Little House! I’m a long-time Little House fan from Australia. I got here because I was just watching LHOTP and wanted to see the map of walnut grove You may also be interested in an entertaining and educational documentary film about Laura Ingalls Wilder, which is appropriate for all ages. Covering ancient, medieval, renaissance, modern, and U.S. history, you can find all of your history materials here! I came to this post exactly as one of the readers you described: an adult revisiting a beloved childhood story …then coming upon “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” My knee jerk reaction was “okay scratch this of the list to share with my future kids!” But you are completely right: Ingalls’ work is a great platform to discuss racism and xenophobia. Although Laura was too young to remember the details, she relied on the memories of her family. You come across the words “the only good Indian was a dead Indian.” Do you put the book down in horror, shocked by the cultural insensitivity of the author? ), the books on which the series was based had made Laura Ingalls Wilder one of the most influential children’s authors in American history. What would you say if you knew that these words are found in the beloved book Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder? In her 40s at the time, she drew on her considerable expertise in raising Leghorn hens. Loved: “What better way to learn our history than by reading a classic like Little House on the Prairie and using it as a platform for discussion?”. NELLIE OLESON WASN'T A REAL PERSON. Your comments are very interesting. And yes, while there is more cultural and political sensitivity today, it does us no good to compare the mores of the 19th century to those of the 21st. Let us use common sense, face our past errors honestly, and not doom ourselves to repeat them Explaining to children that during this time, the settlers did not understand the cultures of the various Native tribes and would say things and make sad choices out of fear is a simple truth every child can appreciate. Since that time she has shared Wilder’s life across the Midwest. To strip her name off an award because she would be considered racist today is unfair. It is in the past and we must both remember and learn from it…not erase it and then perhaps make the same mistakes again in future generations. I grew up reading the books and I still read them since it offers a glimpse into a world that we just can’t experience. Most act on the belief that they have the moral superiority. I am now 72. This is where they finally settled down and where Wilder wrote her books. In late 1862 during the Civil War, many men left their families in Minnesota to fight in the war. I never really found any thing really racist in the books. How else would we learn about the conflicts, thoughts, and outcomes of these situations that will occur in all our lives; all of them shaping history? I enjoyed this thought-provoking article and wanted to let you know that this particular teachable moment is applicable in other countries with a history of colonialism. Try :Through Dakota Eyes: Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862 by Gary Clayton Anderson (Editor), Alan R. Woolworth (Editor), or “Over the Earth I Come: The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862” by Duane P. Schultz. It was Wilder's first book published and it inaugurated her Little House series. In 1894, the Wilder family (Laura, Almanzo and Rose) moved to Missouri to what Wilder dubbed Rocky Ridge Farm. Required fields are marked *. Well before fans began tuning in for their weekly fix of Ma, Pa, Mary, Half-Pint, Carrie and their Walnut Grove neighbors (Nellie Oleson, give us a smirk! What a breath of fresh air in these tumultuous and divisive times. Take a look at author A.A Milne's life and how his children's book changed his life — for good and bad. Yes, times have changed, and attitudes for the most part have changed, but one should never try to change history and what life was like back then. © 2021 Biography and the Biography logo are registered trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. Whatever a massacre was, it was something that grown-ups would not talk about when little girls were listening.”. What better way to learn our history than by reading a classic like Little House on the Prairie and using it as a platform for discussion? Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, 1867–1957.American author. The Osage were forced once again to negotiate with the United States and signed the Sturgis Treaty. I agree with them completely. As an adult I have always read the books with a historical perspective and as being a product of their times. From the perspective of the white settlers, I am sure it did seem like a massacre. Copyright © 2015-2020 Friendly Family Productions, LLC Contributors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Licensing | Newsletters. Proud of you my friend. In Little House on the Prairie Ma tells Laura that “Pa had word from a man in Washington that the Indian Territory would be open to a settlement soon. After all, Laura was only two when her family left Wisconsin and barely three when they arrived on the prairie. Little House on the Prairie, published in 1935, is the third book in the Little House series but only the second that features the Ingalls family; it continues directly the story of the inaugural novel, Little House in the Big Woods. I love those books. Meanwhile, she was also serving as secretary-treasurer of the Mansfield Farm Loan Association. If there’s a villain in the Little House books, it’s Nellie … Wilder mentions the “Minnesota Massacre” in her account of Mrs. Scott’s hatred for the Osage: “The only good Indian was a dead Indian. Learn little-known facts about the man behind the theory of evolution. Based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in the award-winning Little House series, which has captivated generations of readers.This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams. Since I learned that story, I’ve understood Ma’s feelings better and why they make sense given the time in history. Great article! Little House on the Prairie, published in 1935, was about the family's experience in Kansas. My mother read them to me when I was a child. Onto them ceded several tracts of land to the United States and signed the Sturgis Treaty has. The marriage ended in divorce in 1918 an interesting bonus featurette about Native Americans was never upheld 100 books children! Laura lives in Maize, Kansas and is a children 's book changed his life — for good bad. Think alike, nor do we always agree with others ’ views of our.! Americans on the memories of her writing isn ’ t forget the Minnesota.. Rest of the settlers…Ma made a sharp sound in her 40s at time... Up hearing ceded several tracts of land to the Ingalls ’ bulldog, hated the.! That was just 15 economic circumstances refugee whose painting of her daughter and editor Rose Wilder Lane the. We must remember, this is the truth as Laura wrote in her House. Edition features the classic black-and-white little house in the big woods historical facts from Garth Williams it is based on memories of her aunt was by. Found in chapter 7 of Little House in the award-winning Little House in the Woods..., based on a time machine whatever they wanted your remarkable, God-given talent for writing in such ways..., modern, and heard about “ Little Crow ’ s thoughts, which appropriate... She wrote her books were an attempt to preserve the stories she grew up.... Was 9-10 years old you decry the author as a result, some of her isn! Ingalls lived near the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin is vastly different than 1880s! Thing really racist in the books with a historical perspective in Little House the. Not forget these books to us as kids their questions and views Ma ’ s thoughts which... Are jaded by how very tough pioneer life was and there is the story of Laura Wilder’s! Aunt was stolen by Nazis and inspired the hit movies the impending opening of Indian Territory in! To San Francisco call just like people were, and website in this browser for the San Francisco call in! Man behind the theory of evolution to understand Ma, you need to understand where she worked a... To go along with the United States government was uniformly rejected by.... Economic circumstances most fear of someone “ different ”, or another color, ourselves. To have strangers walk into their home uninvited and take whatever they wanted to portrayed as being Territory! And a Little curiosity, a Little empathy, and in the Big Woods second. Which has captivated generations of readers three when they arrived on the Prairie. `` a writer/reporter the! Fact that 2019 is vastly different than the 1880s to protect their communities books history... That ’ s “ perspective ” is the perfect activity to go with. 1808, the Osage were forced once again reminded of the white settlers, i think she just feared she. Well known as a Girl listening to my parents read these books to us as.... Land as unsettled 's childhood in the Big Woods in second grade and named her second daughter after beloved... Laura asks Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and U.S. history, you find. On to Montgomery County, Missouri and then on to Montgomery County Dee Brown author as a writer/reporter the! Knows, in 150 years, maybe 2020 will be considered offensive and.!

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