In the midst of a nationwide culture war against critical race theory that has led to the banning of books by Indigenous authors in some school districts and libraries, the Potawatomi Library in Crandon, Wisconsin, remains committed to preserving and sharing Native truth.
The Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center houses both the tribe’s library and museum and carries an array of books that often cannot be found in traditional public libraries.
In 2021, Pennsylvania’s Central York School District banned several books by Indigenous authors, such as “Fry Bread: A Native American Story” by Kevin Maillard, “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and “The People Shall Continue” by Simon Ortiz.
These books highlight the atrocities committed against Indigenous people by European colonizers and illustrate their survival and perseverance. Parents within the district expressed concerns about teaching white guilt.
Donald Keeble, director of the Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center, stated that these books challenge much of the history taught in Western schools. He explained that presenting an honest account of history can make some individuals uncomfortable since it forces them to confront difficult truths.
Despite book bans across the country, the Potawatomi Library stands firm in its commitment to providing accurate historical accounts through various titles focused on Indigenous perspectives.