American Indians In Children’s Literature (AICL): 12/9/07 – 12/16/07

Cloud Bed 1

Turner, Ann, Sitting Bull Remembers, illustrated by Wendell Minor. The written text of Sitting Bull Remembers is vaguely similar to Eve Bunting’s awful Cheyenne Again, when a Cheyenne youngster with the infamous Carlisle Indian Industrial School allures a ledger book and, in his heart, is home again. Here, “Sitting Bull,” incarcerated at an unnamed place that’s probably Fort Randall, remembers his life of freedom. I close my eyes and am home again… The name of the revered Hunkpapa visionary, philosopher and war leader was Tatanka Iotanka. When he autographed picture postcards during his gigs with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, he signed his name “Sitting Bull,” and his signatory pictograph shows a buffalo bull sitting on his haunches. Although he’s got become referred to as “Sitting Bull,” that has been not how he described himself. Tatanka Iotanka had not been a “chief,” even though whites called him that, and his individuals were not the “Sioux,” even though whites called them that.

India Royale Age

American Indians In Children's Literature (AICL): 12/9/07 - 12/16/07

Turner’s historical note by the end on the book is filled with inaccuracies. Tatanka Iotanka was beloved by his people and respected by his enemies. As Doris Seale wrote about another writer of another book coping with exactly the same people and once period, “Assigning thoughts, feelings and motivations to 1 biographee is risky business, particularly when writing about a person who essentially inhabited another universe.” Achieving this in an image book is doubly risky, because fewer words need to tell a more substantial story, and pictures need to convey a more substantial meaning. There aren’t way too many individuals who can successfully bring this off, and Turner and Minor can’t either. The issues these were unable to-or unwilling to-deal with include cultural markers they don’t recognize, but apparently think they certainly. A good example: Turner’s “Sitting Bull” narrates an episode to show towards the young reader the key attribute of generosity.

Another hunter lost his horse early inside the chase. Minor’s painting here shows a solitary Sitting Bull shooting a solitary buffalo. Neither text nor painting contains any internal logic. Where, one might ask, may be the remaining hunting party? Where, one may also ask, may be the remaining herd? And what the heck, one would almost certainly ask, did Sitting Bull do with another two buffalo? Eat them himself? He would’ve needed to be very hungry. Minor’s art integrates double-page watercolor and gouache paintings with two-dimensional colored pencil ledger-style illustrations. Although some from the pictographs have already been copied almost exactly from Sitting Bull’s visual autobiography (see, for example, counting first coup at age fourteen), others are outrageously flawed. For example, the pictograph representing Sitting Bull’s vision prior to the Custer fight of “blue soldiers riding ugly into our village” came straight beyond Turner’s and Minor’s imaginations, instead of Sitting Bull’s experience.

Sitting Bull actually recounted his vision of “soldiers falling ugly into camp” as something special through the Creator, who told him, “I offer you these, since they haven’t any ears.” Minor’s painting of Sitting Bull sitting alone by using an ammo box and holding a Calf Pipe is extracted from an image of him with Seen-by-the-Nation, the elder of his two wives, if they were prisoners at Fort Randall in 1882. And Minor’s representation of the monarch butterfly perched on Sitting Bull’s hat both on the cover and the initial interior spread (implying which it has some spiritual significance, perhaps a spirit guide?) was actually a dead butterfly pinned to his hatband in the well-known portrait. There’s more exactly like this, in word and picture. Turner’s “Sitting Bull” is incredulous in the “noise and smoke and greed” in the white people. “I really do not understand such ways,” he says. “They’re not just how with the Sioux.” And elsewhere, he asks, “How could they break their word with regard to a yellow rock? ” Tatanka Iotanka was a military genious including a diplomat aswell. He had not been ignorant and he had not been blindsided from the means of the enemy. It really is doubtful that Tatanka Iotanka ever felt sorry for himself. Which is doubly doubtful he could have disrespected elders in this manner. Yet this dreadful dirge-like account of his life continues through this story. But Sitting Bull’s voice is Turner’s voice. It’s clear she doesn’t know any thing about Sitting Bull or anything concerning the land he and his people inhabited and fought to help keep.