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Why we have updated the John Muir resources

John Muir was a conservationist born in Scotland in 1838. His legacy is celebrated as part of Scottish cultural history. In 2014 Scottish Book Trust undertook a commission from Creative Scotland, Natural Heritage Scotland (Now Nature Scot) and the John Muir Trust, to work with Julie Bertagna, William Goldsmith and secondary school pupils to create an autobiographical piece about John Muir and his legacy of environmentalism. These resources were published in 2014 to accompany the gifting of the John Muir - Earth, Planet, Universe graphic novel to schools in Scotland.

Committed to ensuring that equality, diversity and inclusion are embedded in our programmes, organisational structure and culture, Scottish Book Trust established an EDI group in 2020. The group has reviewed these resources and we have made changes in order to reflect and contextualise John Muir's work in relation to how he treated and spoke about indigenous Americans and African Americans. We hope that new and updated resources will mean that this can continue to be a useful learning tool for schools.

John Muir in his own writing said unacceptable things about indigenous Americans and African Americans he encountered in his travels, both dehumanising them and using racist tropes and language to describe people he met. Looking at John Muir's work we feel uncomfortable presenting it without encouraging further discussion and contextualisation in the classroom.

We have made the decision to keep these resources online because they are a valuable resource for exploring the natural world. However, we have

There are two key aspects of John Muir's life and work that we wanted to draw attention to in these resources:

The review of these resources is part of ongoing work by our EDI group and the wider organisation. To find out more about this work please read our statement of intent.