Meet Christopher: An Osage Indian Boy from Oklahoma

Book Summary: 

This book provides a look at how some Osage people live today. Christopher’s contemporary life includes the desire to retain his heritage as a member of the Osage people.

Genevieve Simermeyer
Photographs by Katherine Fogden
Council Oak Books
Guiding Question: 

Ask students what they know about Native people noting misconceptions that this book can help address. Read Meet Christopher to look at how some Osage people live today. Question to guide reading: How might the Osage people live today if European settlers had not come to the land they lived in?  Answers: The Osage people would have had much more territory to in which to live. (5) They might still hunt the large game they used to. (5) There might be many more Osage people with no danger of their language and customs dying. (14, 15, 22, 24, 25, 34) The Osage people would most likely not practice Christianity. (22) They would probably continue to live more communally. (24)

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85): 

Honesty- Use this book and other resources to determine why the Osage no longer live where they originally did. (6)

Empathy- Were the Osage and other Native people treated fairly by the U.S. government? What things did the Osage people have to give up because the land they lived on became part of the United States? (See answers to the guiding question.)

Advocacy- How can you learn more about the Osage (or other American Indians) ways so that their culture will be honored? See pages 35 and 39 for examples of things that might dishonor the Osage people by those who don’t understand Osage traditions.

Action- Go to the National Congress of American Indians website: Find the section “Get Involved” on the top right of the page to find ways to put your understanding of American Indian rights into action. The NCAI site states, “Protecting and enhancing tribal sovereignty depends on a joint effort between tribal nations and non-tribal allies and advocates. NCAI envisions an America where tribal leaders stand alongside non-Native college students, and where Native youth stand with civil rights leaders to take large and small steps to advocate for a brighter future for Indian Country and our entire nation. Whether it is contacting U.S. government leadership to raise awareness on key issues, educating yourself or others on Native histories, traditions or cultures, working within Indian Country, or lending your support to an organization that represents tribes at the local, state or national level, Indian Country values every effort and action. Even seemingly small efforts can have a tremendous impact.”