'Little House On The Prairie' Author's Name Removed From Book Award

Controversy The board voted unanimously to remove Wilder's name at their annual meeting over the weekend due to her anti-black and anti Native writings

'Little House On The Prairie' Author's Name Removed From Book Award

Wilder is known for her eight-volume "Little House on the Prairie" series, released from 1932-1943, which detailed her childhood in a pioneer family.

After months of deliberation, the organization behind a prestigious book award has chose to remove the name of author Laura Ingalls Wilder because of her portrayal of Native Americans.

The ALSC said that the Little House on the Prairie books which were written in the 1930s and 1940s include "expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC's core values". Among the offending passages are characters who say things like "the only good Indian is a dead Indian", and depictions of men wearing blackface as part of performances. "Only Indians lived there", Wilder wrote. It said, "The award was created in 1954 when an understanding of the message it sends to people of color, specifically American Indians and those of African descent, was not recognized".

"We stand by our board's consensus position that the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder, though encumbered with the perspectives of racism that were representative of her time and place, also includes overwhelmingly positive contributions to children's literature that have touched generations past and will reach into the future", the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association (LIWLRA) said in response to the news. They responded to the offended reader, saying they couldn't believe that in all the years people had been reading Little House on the Prairie (about 20 years at that time), no one had caught the implication that Native Americans are not people. Previously, the organization had noted the "anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments" in Wilder's writing.

Harper's in 1953 made a decision to change "people" to "settlers" but other criticisms focused on her depictions of Native Americans and some African Americans.

A number of commentators disagreed with the change, with one, history and economics author Lori Ann LaRocco, saying Wilder "inspired me to be an author and to be fearless". As the critic Ann Romines wrote, "Indians become a code for everything that seems to threaten the settled, white life she wants for her daughters".

Still, Caroline Fraser, author of Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, argued that the racial insensitivity in Wilder's book shouldn't mean that children shouldn't read it. The ALSC says Wilder's work continues to be published and read but her "legacy is complex" and "not universally embraced".

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