Melissa Gilbert, Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy & Research Association Respond to Wilder Award Name Change

The actress, who played Laura Ingalls Wilder on television, shares her research on the Ingalls family and opinion on the decision.
Melissa Gilbert, the actress who played Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie, wrote about the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) decision to change the name of the Wilder Award to the Children's Literature Legacy Award—and the accusations of racism against the Ingalls family, particularly Laura's mother, Caroline—with a post on her Facebook page that "included a link to a news story on the ALSC decision. Calling this a "teachable moment," Gilbert writes that Caroline and others were prejudiced and feared the Native Americans who "fought brutally," before saying they were fighting back against atrocities committed upon them. She stressed the importance of discussing this history so not to repeat it. Meanwhile, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy & Research Association has responded as well. "We stand by our board’s consensus position that the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder, though encumbered with the perspectives of racism that were representative of her time and place, also includes overwhelmingly positive contributions to children’s literature that have touched generations past and will reach into the future," the organization wrote in a letter to its members on its website. "We believe it is not beneficial to the body of literature to sweep away her name as though the perspectives in her books never existed. Those perspectives are teaching moments to show generations to come how the past was and how we, as a society, must move forward with a more inclusive and diverse perspective."   Read Gilbert's full post:
In my research for the musical and another Laura project I’m working on I’ve found it’s true. Caroline and many others were prejudiced against native Americans and people of color because they didn’t know or experience time around them. They were also very afraid of them. The native Americans particularly because they fought brutally. But let’s face it. We invaded their country, slaughtered thousands of them and stole their land. They fought back. It’s time for us to own that. In my opinion we need to have open discussions about historical atrocities to ensure they aren’t repeated. Especially in the current climate where a despotic dictator holds sway over so many people in our country. He feeds on people’s fears and hatred so wherever possible it’s incumbent on us to show people who we were and who we don’t ever want to be again. It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this but it’s a teachable moment.
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Maria Martin

Cant erase history for those today no matter how hard we try. Most countries are founded upon stolen land and defeated groups, that was the way life was. Darwinism at its finest. ALSC should focus more energy into programs that expand the mind of children instead of sugar coating the past.

Posted : Jun 30, 2018 07:57