I just got back on the boards- went back to teaching last year and got a little writing and art in but not much perusing the boards- thought this would be a great reply to jump back in since I spent the year working with Native American Children and Hispanic children where English was a second language in their homes.
I have been teaching Native American kids for 8 years and still dont think I could "depict" their world honestly enough without help!
You have to be emersed in a culture to write about it- and it isn't a quick check to see what they eat, or what they wear or what their tradtions are, that little bit of research just feeds stereotypes.
One of my books on the back burner is on "Indian Schools" about the era when our government ripped children out of their mothers arms and took them to far off states, cut their hair and beat them if they spoke their native tongue- to take care of the Indian problem and I know if I ever do do that project I HAVE to have a Native American advisor through the whole process.
I write historical YA- so no I can't find an advisor on what the Native culture was 100 years ago- so I read a pile of personal diary accounts along with every book I can find.
Unfortunately there are not many minorities telling their own stories- which is the way it should be- but if the writer, is someone looking in to their culture, that person has a HUGE responsibility to get it "right" instead of just feed the stereotypes that are already out there.
Research libraries are great connections to a professor, librarian, advocate for that minority- and I have talk to many, via email-
I met with a Navajo libarian who went from cautioning me on writing about the Indian Schools to after I spent day in the library asking her questions and listening to her, she sat down and shared her own family's experiences.