presenter: In Daniel Boone, Indians are described differently as savages, demons, “rats in the night,” “ravens in the woods,” “cat-eyed,” and “doomed like the buffalo.” White skin or white racial identity is often portrayed as superior to other races, for example: “The great landlords demanded expensive land titles and brought slave labor so it was a shame for a white man to work with his own hands” (p. 25). The author’s description of the causes and nature of Native American / settler conflicts during the mid-18th to early 19th centuries is problematic and historically inaccurate. The violent scenes in this book (and there are many), are quite shocking, especially considering it was published for children. And the illustrations visually embody all of these themes, with a drawing of a sambo-like figure accompanying a barge trip on the river. Although this book is an interesting historical marker and can certainly serve as a springboard for a mature discussion of the ways in which American border history, the treatment of Indians and racial identity were considered at the time of publication of this book, the mission of the children’s space of our public library should not be held. I try to direct our collection more towards diversity, equality and inclusion, and this title does not fit that goal.
Holly: It’s in a public library’s youth collection, and it’s definitely not the best place for it!