Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask: Young Readers Edition
Ojibwe author and professor Anton Treuer has taken his 2012 book for adults, Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask, and reconfigured it for young readers. For this comprehensive edition, Treuer uses the opportunity to update information and expand topics, "with a lot more information on social activism and current events."
"I do not claim to represent 'the Native view'... My responses reflect the views of one Native person, and they have to be read with this understanding," Treuer begins. It is his intent to create in this book a safe space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth alike to find answers, reach understanding and combat racism. The first section discusses terminology: "What general terms are most appropriate for talking about North America's first people?" Treuer offers an engaging discussion of the different terms used in the United States. "The problem," he says, is that in the United States, unlike in Canada, "there is no established inclusive process" and so "terminology is not settled." Treuer, who uses "Indian," "Native," "Indigenous" and "Native American" throughout, makes a recommendation: "As much as possible... use the terms each tribe uses for self-reference."
Treuer brings this level of detail and absorbing discussion to every question asked in the book, whether it be about terminology or racist stereotypes. The breadth of topics covered is astounding; perhaps even more impressive that the book, which could easily be workmanlike, is a diverting read. Caregivers, teachers and librarians would be well-served to have Treuer's work within reach. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness