“Throwing Curve Balls” is a story about Dee Brown and a baseball game that transformed his picture of Native Americans forever. The story follows young Dee as he meets two important Native American figures: the famous Pawnee baseball pitcher for the Arkansas Travelers, and a young Creek boy named William Brown. Dee is so impressed with them both that many years later he writes “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” a novel about Western Expansionism from the perspective of Native Americans.
Note: Though this is historical fiction and the characters have been developed to accommodate a story, their attributes and development may be useful as reference points and inspirations.
TOPICS FOR INVESTIGATION
Arkansas History - The Great Flood of 1927 and its implications for all states in the Mississippi River System - History of Baseball and Integration - The Trail of Tears and its effect on Native American Tribes around the country. - Biography of Dee Brown, librarian and author
Arkansas Geography - Map of the Mississippi River System (including the Arkansas River) - Tracking the “Trail of Tears” and the movement of tribes from their native lands to “Indian Territory” - Chart of the effects of the Flood of 1927
“Throwing Curve Balls” Study Topics -Study of Native American Removal and Migration -Book study of “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown -Topical study of “prejudice”
TOPICS FOR REFLECTION
From a Child Development Perspective:
In this story, your child might learn that:
We all change. We all grow and develop and experience new things in the world that can change who we are. Dee meeting William, along with the events of the Flood of 1927, changed him forever – and in ways he never could have predicted.
From the story: “We all grow and develop and experience new things in the world that can change who we are. Sometimes it’s a natural event like a huge flood or a man-made event like a war that bring the change – and other times it need only be meeting the right person at the right time.”
Sometimes the majority, even when powerful, is not always acting in the most conscientious ways. It is important to remember that going along with the crowd is not necessarily always the true path. And when you are part of the smaller minority, that is when you must band together to make the voices of the few are all the more strong. This is what our Native American friends had to do.
We must look into the hearts of individuals and people, and not make judgments based on labels or reputations that others give to them. It is important to remember that what is commonly held about a group of people or about individuals is not necessarily the truth. Dee came to see that all that he had heard about his Native American friends, was in fact, conjecture.
From the story: “Now… we know that anytime a person decides that a whole group of people is a certain way … it will lead to trouble. This is why people sometimes don’t feel welcome, or don’t feel understood or seen. No one wants to be batched into a judgment like that. Luckily, whenever a group of people is judged in that way like that, there will be people who step forward… These people are so important because they connect us together – make us realize that we have more in common with each other than we may have thought.”
Be open to surprise! You never know when someone will love the same books as you do or maybe even share a name. And you never know what someone else is truly capable of! So, be curious, be open and love the surprise of discovering things you never thought possible from those whom you don’t know as well as you might think!
About the Authors
David Sewell McCann
David Sewell McCann fell in love with spinning stories in first grade – the day a storyteller came to his class and captured his mind and imagination. He has been engaged in storytelling all of his adult life through painting, film-making, teaching and performing. Out of his experience as a Waldorf elementary class teacher and parent, he has developed a four step method of intuitive storytelling, which he now shares through workshops and through this website.
Meredith has been working with adults and children of all ages for the past 25 years as a Waldorf Teacher and Educational Consultant. She received a B.A. with a focus on child development and child psychology from the University of Michigan, in 1984, an M.A. Ed from Washington University in 1987, and her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Lehrerausbildung (Teacher Training) in Nurnberg, Germany in 1989. She was certified as a Living Inquiries Facilitator in 2014, and she completed her formal teaching certification with The Enneagram Institute in 2014. Her work in the classroom and with individuals and groups is designed to help people of all ages to drop self-limiting beliefs to live a more joyful and compassionate life.