A living relative of Laura Ingalls Wilder has opened up about the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC’s) decision to remove her name from an award.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, back in June the ALSC, a division of the American Library Association, decided to remove the Little House on the Prairie author’s name from a prestigious award. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, given to authors and illustrators who made a “significant and long-lasting contribution to children’s literature,” was changed to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.
The change came about because some readers had complained about some of the sentiments in Wilders’ books. Specifically, there was a line that suggested her father, “Pa,” wanted to move the family to a place where there were “no people – only Indians,” suggesting to the offended readers that Native Americans were not people. Further, the books series, which began with 1932’s Little House in the Big Woods, portrayed attitudes about and descriptions of Native Americans and even African Americans that, by today’s standards, could be considered racist.
The change was met with swift and intense derision at the time from some in the literary community, though as of this writing, the name change remains.
Today, Ingalls has no surviving descendants; her only child who survived to adulthood, daughter Rose Wilder Lane, died in 1968 having never had living children. However, Brian Miller is the great-grandson of Laura’s aunt, who was the sister of Laura’s mother, Caroline. Miller even met Laura as a young child.
And he is appalled at removing his relative’s name from an award, as he explains to The Federalist.
“It felt like a knife in the back. As blood family with Laura, it feels like not only an attack on her but all of her family. We are honored to share her genetics and she was always an inspiration to us.”
Miller notes that Wilder, like just about all pioneer women of her day, was focused on one thing and one thing only: survival. Modern notions of political correctness simply didn’t exist at the time, nor would such a thing have crossed Laura’s mind.
“We learn through our mistakes. Each time period in history has its positives and negatives. It’s how we grow and learn. But by erasing it or sanitizing it we learn nothing.”
Though he was only six when Laura died, he remembers her as nothing short of kind.
“Her life was hard, and she expressed herself the best way that she could based on the time period.”