The Best Children’s Books for the Whole Family to Learn About the Termination Policy

If you haven’t read my post “How To Approach Thanksgiving Without the False Narrative”, it may help establish more of a stage for this. Plus, it is packed with links to great resources.

Basically though, Native Americans were never respected and continue to experience pains inflicted by a government that has taken their lands and relocated so many of them. To allow the “Thanksgiving story” to plant an idea that all was well after feasting with the pilgrims and making truces is harmful to future relationships between the government and indigenous people.

What is the Termination Policy?

From 1953-1964 109 tribes were terminated and federal responsibility and jurisdiction were turned over to state governments. Approximately 2,500,000 acres of trust land was removed from protected status and 12,000 Native Americans lost tribal affiliation. The lands were sold to non-Indians the tribes lost official recognition by the U.S. government.


No amount of statistics or historical text can make you understand what any of that means though. I don’t claim to get it. But if you want to really feel what that termination policy did to people, you’ll have to turn to children’s books.

Where can I find a list of reliable book sources?

Dr Deb Reese from American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) gives great recommendations from her personal (she is tribally enrolled at Nambe Owingeh) and professional (with a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction she has reviewed and written many educational books) perspective. Here are a few of them. The first of which, she co-wrote:

And remember to always consider who the author is, and how they are representing the characters. Is the author a Native American or a Caucasian writing about this policy? Are the characters themselves mostly Native American or Caucasian, and why is their perspective important? How might the character’s perspective be skewed (is this character meeting the situation with anger, understanding, resentment, naiveness, etc)?

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