Day 242: the complications of being American and Indian

A box of new books delivered to our front door before 10am. (Yay amazon prime!) No time for hairbrushing or finding shirts with all this reading to be done.
We decided the other day we might take a summer vacation (which translates more to a long weekend road trip) and then we discovered that we need to do it in a couple days since the end of next week is already about the only free weekend we have before summer is over. Also we have this unfortunate situation where it seems like we have to be working all the time and still have no money so we can't do a real vacation. I'm thinking we might drive over to South Dakota since we could possibly make an interesting short trip out of it & we've never taken the kids that direction. 

I ordered a handful of books about Crazy Horse, The Battle of Little Bighorn, Custer and the Black Hills at different levels from picture books to adult nonfiction since I didn't think any of my kids really knew much about the history of the area. I was surprised at how excited all the kids were this morning as they all sorted through the books to find the ones they could read. The little boys looked at picture books on their own and then the older kids read to them. Azia had a chapter book she read more than half of before taking a break. Zoran had a picture book with historical photos and drawings and he read the whole thing himself with just a little help to sound out some new words. Israel told me the book I handed him had an awful lot of pages and then he reenacted a long scene from Night at the Museum rather than open it.  I had no idea what he was talking about. Good thing I have access to google:
Of course this is only a small excerpt of the show I got. 

When I told Israel that based on what I'd just seen that movie didn't seem totally relevant to the important parts of the history and I thought reading the Stephen Ambrose book I gave him would be more interesting he said well actually, Watching Little Big Man would probably be more interesting. And then he began reenacting scenes from that movie. And then I stopped arguing with him because it's possible he was right, since I hadn't read the book I was giving him either.

Once the little kids started reading their books they had all sorts of really thoughtful questions. Most of them I didn't answer, but it was really interesting to listen to them try. All of them (eight kids whose ages range from 2-9) are various combinations of Indian and white, and they couldn't figure out which side they should be on or who was "right" or who were the "good guys" in the stories they were reading.  They know soldiers and have family members who have fought for the US. They know they are Indian and identified with the tribes they were reading about. But they were picking up on things that were wrong on both sides of the battles and the awfulness of any war. At one point Zoran read a page in his book and then looked at a sketch of the battleground. Then he just paused and said, "Who had to clean up all the bodies?" I told him I didn't know what happened after that particular battle. He just looked back at his book and shook his head, "Someone did. Someone had to do it."

Heavy stuff for a six-year-old. Probably should have just let them watch Night at the Museum, but I love how these kids impress me almost every day with how thoughtful they are.

And on an only loosely connected tangent, it drives me crazy how so incredibly disinterested all my kids are in school when I know they enjoy learning.

1 comment:

  1. Life can be confusing when you're little and trying to sort out your identities. Sounds like you've got a good boy there--my most intense child is also my most sensitive one.