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July 1976

American Children and the "Children of Nature"

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center, and the Department of English, University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Am J Dis Child. 1976;130(7):716-723. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1976.02120080038005

No series of articles on early American child care would be complete without a study of the traditional care given Indian children. They were, it hardly needs to be said, the native American children. Their care and education express the wisdom of people who had lived in contact with the soil and climate of America thousands of years before the Europeans. Moreover, these native ways of child care were a part of the cultures with which the Europeans mixed and fought in the process of conquest. Indian medicine and education were, like all other aspects of Indian culture, examples to be imitated or examples to be avoided—a native background into which some new Americans merged and against which others stood out. As we review these earlier Indian childrearing practices, we gain perspectives on European attitudes toward Native Americans, and at the same time, learn much of attitudes of the American

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