The KU Indigenous Cultures Festival wouldn’t be complete without children’s storytime! The recording of Haskell student Sonwai Wakayuta reading We are Water Protectors and The Sockeye Mother was only available for 30 days. However, we hope you can use this page as a resource.
Culturally Relevant Activities
Get your creative juices flowing with activities to accompany each book! Dr. Matt Gillispie (Muscogee Creek) and his graduate students in KU’s Speech-Language-Hearing Department have created culturally relevant activities to accompany each book.
About The Books
We are Water Protectors
Written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade (best for ages 3-6)
Published by Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan)
Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We are Water Protectors is a bold and lyrical picture book that issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption.
The Sockeye Mother
Written by Htxw’ms Gyetxw (Brett David Huson)
Best for grades 5 – 7
Published by Portage and Main Press
An engaging look at the life cycle of the Sockeye Salmon and its connection to all of nature. To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the sockeye salmon is more than just a source of food. Over its life cycle, it nourishes the land and forests that the Skeena River runs through and where the Gitxsan make their home. The Sockeye Mother explores how the animals, water, soil, and seasons are all intertwined.
About The Storyteller – Sonwai Wakayuta
Haskell Indian Nations University student Sonwai Wakayuta (she/her/hers) is 20 years old and hails from the Hualapai/Hopi tribes in Arizona. She currently serves her communities as a UNITY Peer Guide and CNAY Ambassador for Land Conservation. Ms. Wakayuta is passionate about environmental stewardship, as well as promoting cultural awareness and diversity among her peers through various mediums. As a hobby artist, she uses her skills to find creative new approaches to advocate for a healthier, stronger relationship with elders and language instructors.
Culturally Responsive Early Literacy Intervention: American Indian/Alaska Native (CRELI)
This work relies on the collaboration of faculty and graduate students from KU’s Department of Speech-Language-Hearing and Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders (IPCD), and two nearby educational entities: Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Early Childhood Center, and Little Nations Academic Center at Haskell Indians Nations University. Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation is located approximately 50 miles from the University of Kansas-Lawrence campus, and the KU Lawrence campus shares the city with Haskell Indian Nations University, a 4-year university for students from federally recognized AI/AN tribes. The IPCD has a long history of personnel preparation grants, including grants supporting AI/AN scholars, and is annually ranked in the top 10 among graduate programs in speech-language pathology.
CRELI graduate student scholars receive a full-tuition scholarship, monthly stipend for books and supplies, and faculty and peer mentoring. CRELI student scholars will complete a curriculum that includes course instruction, clinical practicums, and a field experience that pairs scholars with an AI/AN family who has a preschool/early elementary-age child with a speech-language impairment. Children who partner with CRELI receive speech, language, and early literacy instruction at their school and/or home-based services. Parents of these children receive support and information about speech, language, and literacy development and instruction.
Interested in learning more about culturally accurate children’s literature or the work Dr. Gillispie does?
Check out our additional resources:
Native-owned Bookstores and Publishers
Birchbark Books (Minneapolis, MN)
Chickasaw Press/White Dog Press (Ada, OK)
Great Oak Press (Temecula, CA)
Native Realities Digital (comics, toys and games)
Red Planet Books & Comics (Albuquerque, NM)