Everything you wanted to know about Indians but were afraid to ask Young readers edition

Anton Treuer

Book - 2021

A "book of questions and answers for Native and non-Native young readers alike. Ranging from 'Why is there such a fuss about nonnative people wearing Indian costumes for Halloween?' to 'Why is it called a traditional Indian fry bread taco?' to 'What's it like for Natives who don't look Native?' to 'Why are Indians so often imagined rather than understood?' and beyond, [this book] does exactly what its title says for young readers"--Publisher marketing.

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Montclair : Levine Querido 2021.
Main Author
Anton Treuer (author)
Young readers edition
Item Description
"Based on the [adult-level] book [of the same name] ... published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012"--Copyright page.
"This is an Arthur A. Levine book"--Copyright page.
Physical Description
xv, 383 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Includes filmography and bibliographical references (pages 352-355) and index.
  • Terminology
  • History
  • Religion, culture, & identity
  • Powwow
  • Tribal languages
  • Politics
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Social activism
  • Perspectives: coming to terms and future directions
  • Finding ways to make a difference.
Review by Booklist Review

Academic and Ojibwe author Treuer here adapts his 2012 adult title for young readers. Using a question-and-answer format arranged thematically (Terminology; History; Religion, Culture, and Identity; Powwow; Tribal Languages; Politics; Economics; Education; Social Activism; and Perspectives), he answers general queries ("What is the real story of Columbus?"), explains the more obscure ("What are allotments?"), and details sensitive inquiries ("What is Indian time?"). The arrangement allows for reading cover-to-cover or for researching specific topics; the writing is clear and concise, frequently augmented with personal examples. Treuer is careful to distinguish between facts and his opinions, often citing sources for his views. He doesn't sugarcoat the often-difficult history of Indigenous-settler relations, but neither does he scold, instead asking readers to acknowledge past mistakes and make better choices in the future. Appended with recommended reading and notes and illustrated with black-and-white photos (some archival, some personal), this is a thoughtful look at a complex subject that will be useful for both Indigenous and non--Indigenous readers and a welcome addition to most libraries.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up--"Indians. We are so often imagined, but so infrequently well understood," Treuer's opening sentence reads. As a Princeton-educated, Ojibwe professor with "one foot in the wigwam and one in the ivory tower," Treuer "cannot speak for all Indians," but he's ready with "specific rather than generic answers." This young readers adaptation is certainly rare in that it expands on Treuer's 2012 original, growing from approximately 120 to 200 Q&As. Treuer also takes the mic, making his narrating debut. Composed, eloquent, courteous, Treuer is an ideal, safe guide through all manner of topics, from the difficult, inane, nuanced, to downright racist. A single quibble: Georgetown was not named for George Washington, but most likely King George II (GW was still a teen when Georgetown was founded in 1751). VERDICT "Guilt for Whites and anger for Indians [does] nothing to make the world a better place." Treuer wisely, empathically, brilliantly gets the conversation going.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

This adaptation of Ojibwe author Treuer's adult title uses the same question-and-answer format as the original. The well-laid-out topics include terminology; history; religion, culture, and identity; tribal languages; and education. Each section contains at least seven questions (others contain many more), which are listed in the table of contents for quick access. Some of the questions -- "Why do Indians have long hair?" "Do Indians live in tipis?" -- might be asked by a young reader. Others -- "What is sovereignty?" "What is clouded title?" -- would likely be new concepts, since they aren't often taught in school. A broad audience will be able to relate to, and appreciate, the "social activism" concerns. In the introduction, Treuer states that the answers to some of the questions are his own views, and he encourages readers to seek the perspectives of other Native Americans. This would be a good resource for readers to begin learning about Native American histories, lives, and cultures. Extensive recommended reading and notes, along with an index, provide resources for deeper understanding of the concepts presented. Photos throughout add context and vitality to the information provided. Nicholl Denice Montgomery July/August 2021 p.145(c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A plainspoken cultural guide for Natives and non-Natives alike. This collection of short essays about Native Americans is comprehensive, equitable, and generous. Structured around questions that distinguished scholar Treuer (Ojibwe) encounters in his public talks, the book addresses a range of topics: sovereignty, politics, language, music, religion, gender and sexuality, and more. Responses to founding events in America's history help counteract missing Native perspectives in school curricula. Written with a clear desire to heal misunderstandings and do away with stereotypes, the book uses photographs and anecdotes to illustrate the author's lessons. This edition adapted for teens is also updated, with coverage of current events, including the Covington Catholic High School scandal at the Lincoln Memorial, the Black Lives Matters movement, the Dakota Access Pipeline protest, progress with removing Native sports team mascots, and the Covid-19 pandemic. The author's tone is thoughtful as he asks readers to engage with challenging subjects: "All human beings have dark chapters in their personal histories. And all nations have dark chapters in theirs. Nobody should be stuck in shame. However, it is important for all countries and all individuals to examine dark chapters in order to learn from them and prevent them from reoccurring." While driven by facts, the book becomes personal whenever elements of the author's life peek through, giving readers a sense of his character and the commitment he brings to his work. Wise, well-researched, and not to be missed. (recommended reading, notes, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.