Teaching Kids All About Those Savages

Indian How bookThe Indian How Book
1975 (original copyright 1931)

The author of today’s post was considered to be the expert on Native American culture in the early 20th century. Is his work worth studying? Probably. Is it an appropriate choice for a public library youth nonfiction collection? Not even close. The cringe-worthy comments laced throughout the book negate any positives that might be included in actual discussion of how to do a particular craft. In addition, the author fails to adequately distinguish the unique cultures and more or less lumps all natives under the umbrella of “Indian.”

The publishers of this 1975 reprint were evidently concerned at the author’s discussion of the smell of particular races of people to add a footnote to remind folks that this statement is not scientifically valid (see last picture below). Youth wanting to learn more about native culture can do way better than this outdated book from the 1930s.


back cover

how Indians made things courtship how Indians treated women how Indians smelled


  1. Perhaps if the author’s work is so welll-regarded, someone has used it as the basis of something more up-to-date and respectful.

  2. I honestly can’t believe that anyone ever asked how come Indians no longer grow feathers in their hair.

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