Illustration by Arthur Manuelito, 12, for “How I Got Over My Dream” by Diane Dubose, 11.
Published in Stone Soup, March/April 1989.
A note from Sarah Ainsworth
This week, a serious subject.
At the Museum of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, I was fortunate enough to see a powerful exhibit called There is Truth Here: Creativity and Resilience in Children’s Art from Indian Residential and Day Schools.
This is a chapter of North American history that doesn’t get talked about very often. In the Indian residential schools in both the United States and Canada, indigenous children who were taken from their families were forcibly assimilated to Eurocentric traditions. The goal of the schools was to take away the children’s indigenous culture and traditions. These children were not allowed to speak in their native languages or practice their traditional religions. The results of these “schools” were devastating and continue to affect indigenous communities today.
This exhibit showcases the artwork that indigenous children created during their time in these institutions. It is thought-provoking and heartbreaking. The work is a reminder of the importance of creative expression as an outlet for children.
Here are just a few of the pieces that stood out to me:
You can see more of the works in the show, and find out more about them and the lives of the artists, at the Legacy Art Gallery in Victoria website.
I am certainly no expert on this subject, but I am trying to learn more about it. I encourage you to also seek out information if you are interested. Here is a list of books on the subject of residential schools. Please, if you read one and have any thoughts, consider submitting a review to Stone Soup.
Until next time,
Raising funds to reach kids in marginalized communities
Part of Stone Soup’s mission has always been to try our best to reach children living in marginalized communities and help them use the power of their creativity to share their worlds and experiences with others. This week’s story from the archives is one from a special Navajo issue that Stone Soup published in 1989. The stories, art, and poetry in that issue—and other work published in the late 1980s in regular issues of Stone Soup—were by children living on reservations, some of whom attended boarding schools. Those stories touch on some of the elements mentioned above, such as the children having two names (a secret Navajo one and the English one used in the outside world), and the division between their home and boarding-school lives.
When we moved out of our office two years ago, we found a box of that special issue in our storeroom. Still wrapped tightly in the plastic the printer packed them in all those decades ago, they are in great condition! We held on to them, knowing that we should do something more with them than send them for recycling, but not quite sure what that something was.
Now, inspired by Sarah’s visit to that exhibition, we know what we want to do with them. We want to sell them to the readers of our newsletter and dedicate all the money we raise to our programs for reaching marginalized kids, wherever they are.
This is your chance to get a pristine, vintage copy of Stone Soup and help us dedicate additional funds to our programs reaching out to kids living in challenging circumstances. We have 60 copies available; at $15 per copy, if we sell them all we’ll raise $900. We promise we will devote all the money raised to finding new ways to seek out and support the harder-to-reach Stone Soup readers and contributors of today and tomorrow.
You can buy your copies of the Stone Soup March/April 1989 Special Navajo Issue here in our online store.
If you would rather make a donation—or if you would like to make a donation in addition to your purchase—you can do that here.
Thank you, as always, for your support. We will report back in the newsletter on how much we raise, and what we achieve with the funds.
Highlights from the past week online
Don’t miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com.
“Strikingly, not once in the book did the author give away any character’s feelings in a single word, but painstakingly described physical actions: staring at shoes, standing straighter, bouncing on toes. More than once, I had to stop reading and consult my knowledge of human body language—what are people feeling when they avoid someone’s gaze?”
Abhi reflects on the feeling of love and shares a poem on the subject:
“As we all know, love truly cannot be explained well. While some people find love as a relationship between two or more, others see it differently. I personally find love to be having an awesome time with someone, and just enjoying life.”
What do you think love means?
From Stone Soup
How I Got Over My Dream
By Diane Dubose, age 11, New Mexico
Illustrated by Arthur Manuelito, age 12, New Mexico
One warm sunny afternoon in November I was sitting at my desk reading a library book about gorillas. I was looking at the gorillas when Kathleen, my cousin-sister, said, “Diane, why are you looking at that picture?”
I said, “I’m just looking at it.” Then I said, “That gorilla looks big and scary. I only like orangutans and chimpanzees. They are small and they’re not mean.”
It was three-thirty, time to go to the dorm. The students walked down the hallway heading for Dorm Two. That is where I live Monday through Friday because I am a Navajo girl and I live way out on the Navajo Reservation. I live out too far to go to a public school so I go to a boarding school. I started going to boarding school when I was very young and I don't really like it. I miss my family and I look forward to going home every Friday afternoon.
I said happily, “Kathleen, let's go to the canteen after we eat supper.”
Kathleen said, “O.K.”
I looked up and I thought that I saw a giant hairy gorilla in front of me. It was like a dream but I was awake. I was scared and I ran behind Kathleen.
Kathleen just started laughing. I think she thought that I was playing with her.
I peeked from behind Kathleen’s shoulder and the terrible gorilla was showing his teeth and beating on his broad chest. My heart was racing and my hands began to sweat. Suddenly I felt a chill and I shuddered in panic.
Kathleen, feeling my hands tremble on her shoulders, said, “What's wrong?”
I answered, “I’m scared.”
She said, “What are you scared of? There is no one in front of us."
Then I looked up again and the gorilla was gone. I thought to myself, It was there!
Kathleen was looking at me funny. She said, “What’s wrong with you? Are you crazy?”
I didn’t want her to think that I was crazy so I said, “Let’s hurry and go to the dorm.”
After a few hours it was shower time. There were about twelve of us girls in the shower. Their being there didn't bother me because I was used to it. At home I used to take showers with my sisters. The girls were laughing and giggling. They were throwing the soap and washcloths around. I just smiled at them because I thought they were just being silly. Then I joined in and laughed and giggled. I forgot all about seeing the gorilla. I got out of the shower after I washed. I got my clean clothes and put them on. I felt a lot better.
That night at eight-fifteen the dorm aid, Mrs. Capitan, came and said, “It’s time to go to bed.” She turned the lights off and I got scared. I remembered seeing the gorilla. I was suddenly scared to go to bed. I tried to go to sleep but I kept getting up. I kept feeling that someone was watching me. I was shaking and my eyes were wide open. I kept looking around in the dark but I didn't see anything. I drew the blanket up under my chin and I finally went to sleep. When I went to sleep it was almost morning. I kept dreaming about the angry gorilla.
The next day was a fine day. The night was scary and I was happy that it was daylight again. It was Thursday and I would be going home Friday and everything would be O.K. . . . ./more
Stone Soup’s advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.