Digger Book Cover

NEG E78.C15S8

Jerry Stanley
Random House, NY, NY 1997
Pages: 103

Grades: 7 +

 Rating:  VERY Harmful - Stereotypical



"In Digger, Jerry Stanley chronicles the fate of California's native peoples and the terrible impact on them of the mission settlement and the gold rush -- two events all too frequently romanticized in histories of the American West." (taken from the book jacket.)

With audacity and white privilege Mr. Stanley has completed the extinction of the California Indians as well as mangled the history of California Indians in his attempt to tell the "true" story.  After wincing at the title of the book (a term equivalent to the "N" word for African Americans), shaking my head at the inside jacket cover (using the extinction, destruction as the fate of the Indians), laughing at the introduction (the image of Father Junipero Serra's "Centaurus" look to the Indians hiding in the brush), getting a little ticked by chapter 1's incessant repetition of theories as facts with no mention of traditional oral histories for comparison, and wondering how we went from being Ice Age barbarians, that killed off all the Animals and paid no attention to the plant life, to becoming  a 12,000 year old settled successful people.  The contradictions in this book are tremendous, and the Native voice is non-existent.  There is so much wrong with this book that when you do find something that could be useful in sparking a students interest in learning you are unable to trust the information to be true.  

  Marlette Grant-Jackson – ITEPP-CRC