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Ten Little White Folk
  • Shawna Hanel, Boise State University
In 1868, Septimus Winner penned the song “Ten Little Injuns” based upon an 1850s minstrel act. Eventually, an abbreviated version became a popular contemporary children’s rhyme. My parents, in 1974, purchased The Giant Golden Mother Goose for their already bookwormish toddler. As a child, I adored “Ten Little Injuns.” However, rereading the text as an adult eviscerated any affinity I had for the nursery rhyme and ultimately inspired me to create this revised edition. For the new version, I replaced every instance of the term “Injun” with “White Folk.” I also exchanged every illustration of an Indian with photographs of white characters from neighboring pages. I then had small cover boards cut from the inside back cover of an original The Giant Golden Mother Goose. Normally, I find the destruction of a book anathema, but my hope is that this effort clearly demonstrates the depths to which historical racism permeates modern material culture and points to a future in which genocide and assimilation can no longer masquerade as children’s literature.
  • artist's book,
  • assimilation,
  • genocide,
  • Giant Golden Mother Goose,
  • handmade book,
  • racism,
  • whiteness
Publication Date
Summer 2014
Shawna Hanel
Citation Information
Shawna Hanel. Ten Little White Folk. Boise(2014)
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