Our Guam readers were ready to be duplicated. While I had been reluctant to be involved, we did produce some brightly colored, well illustrated primers about Pablo and Teresita. I am sure that the kids in Guam appreciated not having to learn to read by puzzling about snow, snowmen and snow suits featured in things like “Dick and Jane.”
The Lab hired a man from the Warm Springs Reservation, a central Oregon Native American reservation that held citizens from several tribes. The Lab had received a grant to prepare readers for several tribes in the state of Montana, including the Rocky Boy (mainly Cree), Northern Cheyenne and Blackfeet. I was a little more optimistic about this assignment, since I now had actually written a primer. And this time the director of the project was a Native American himself. He wasn’t from one of the tribes we were going to prepare texts for, but at least he had a clue about the need for culturally appropriate reading materials.
We first visited a school in Warm Springs and understood the desperate need for education. I enjoyed the school and imagined it would be nice for the kids to see their faces reflected in the books they were reading. Then I packed for a trip to Montana to visit the reservations.
The only downside was we were going to have to fly Hughes Air West, lovingly called Hughes Air Worst.