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Motorcycles & Sweetgrass

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Your Mom

on 20 January 2014

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Transcript of Motorcycles & Sweetgrass

Other Works

The Baby Blues
Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth
Fearless Warriors
400 Kilometres
The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel
The Berlin Blues
Someday: A Play
The Buz’gem Blues
The Night Wanderer: A Graphic Novel
AlterNatives
The Boy in the Treehouse
In a World Created by a Drunken God
Funny, You Don’t Look Like One: Observations of a Blue-Eyed Ojibway
Furious Observations of a Blue-Eyed Ojibway
The Bootlegger Blues: A Play
Toronto at Dreamer’s Rock/Education is Our Right
Dead White Writer on the Floor
News: Postcards from the Four Directions
Futile Observations of a Blue-Eyed Ojibway
Further Observations of a Blue-Eyed Ojibway: Funny, You Don’t Look Like One

Motorcycles & Sweetgrass
Nanabpzho
Skunk:
In our prezi, we used a video that shows how Nanabush gained the power of a skunk.
Motorcycles and Sweetgrass

Summary
Themes:
familial relationships
The mother-son relationship between Maggie and Virgil was strained at the beginning of the novel, but throughout the novel we see them become closer.
Wayne and Maggie's brother-sister bond is almost non-existent, but while Wayne is watching out for her and spending time with her son, the two move past their differences and learn to get along.
Self discovery
Virgil is trying to figure out who he is and where he is going in life
he learns about his Native culture which helps him
Maggie is also trying to find who she is
she has become stuck in a rut
she is viewed as a mother, a sister, a daughter, and chief, but not as an individual
John helps her redefine who she is and who she wants to be; she decides see no longer wants to be cheif
Wayne used to see himself as a loner, but with the help of Vigil, he realizes he enjoys the company of others and missed his family
Native culture
throughout the novel, native words and phrases are used (
beliefs and customs are also displayed (sweetgrass, Nanabush)

Symbols:
Sweetgrass
Native culture, tradition, trust, friendship
Nanabush
Nanabush says "[Lillian] was the last person to really believe in me," (Taylor 331) and "I've been away for a while, Virgil, and now I'm back," (Taylor 336)
this makes me think he symbolizes Native culture as a whole
because no one believed in it (him) and culture was damaged in residential school it faded away, but now as people start to practice their culture and pass down their stories it is coming back

Setting: Native American reserve called Otter Lake, and and island not far off shore.

Style:
Taylor has a very humorous style of writing. this carries through to his other works as well.
More of an intertwined plot.
Gives bits of information that make you want more, allowing the book to be read to satisfy your thirst for answers.
family based - all characters are from one family with the exception of Nanabush
kind of a combination of mystery and drama

Structure:
Motorcycles and Sweetgrass is not complex, it is easy to follow and doesn't contain difficult words.

Drew Hayden Taylor
By: Drew Hayden Taylor
Lillan Benojee
Loving Mother
Natalie, Emily, Nick, & Greydon
http://nanabush.ca/Video.aspx?Name=Nanabush-Gets-Power-From-The-Skunk&Language=Ojibwe#jumpdown
Has many different names in different cultures. This trickster is mostly known has Nanabush and in other native tribes as Gluskabe (Wabanaki), Napi (Blackfoot), and Wesakechak (Cree).

Nanabush is the main character in many Ojibwe legends and is as old as the Ojibwe language itself. He was sent to teach the Anishnawbe how to live. His mother was Anishnawbe and his father a spirit (West Wind Spirit). Being half spirit gave him amazing abilities, but being half human gave him the virtues and flaws that people have and often could not control his humanly wants and needs.

In Nanabush stories he is know as a mischievious trickster bent on making humans look silly. Nanabush could be selfish or generous; cowardly or brave; caring or spiteful; always curious and often his own worst enemy. He can change into any creature or any form he wishes. Sometimes he daringly saved the Anishnawbe, other times he caused them everlasting hardship. Nanabush walked all over Turtle Island. His many humorous escapades and great adventures explained the natural world, entertained generations of Anishnawbe, and helped preserve the Ojibwe language. He remains an important figure in Anishnawbe culture.
Main Elements
Born in Curve Lake First Nations near Peterburogh, Ontario July 1st, 1962
Is an only child
Attended Seneca College in Toronto for radio and television broadcasting
In addition to novels, Taylor writes plays and scrips for television.
The novel begins with Virgil Second, a young Anishnawbe boy who does not know a lot about his back ground culture. His grandmother Lillian, and his uncle Wayne are the only ones in the town of Otter Lake who follow the old ways and customs. Virgil's mother, Maggie became chief after her husband passed away. On Lillian's last moments on earth she called for a man named John to come see her, and asked him for two favors. John stuck around Otter Lake to help Lillian with the favors. Every body wanted to know who this handsome mysterious man was. He had many lies and the only ones who could see them were Vigril and Wayne. Thinking back to all the stories Lillian use to tell them they made an assumption that John was really Nanabush. He talked to the raccons and changed eye colour and last manes. They even caught him giving food and arguing with the racoons. John never tells anyone but Virgil that he is Nanabush but he does tell Maggie that he placed the bones in the new land of the reaserve. Maggie told him to leave and never come back.
Rain Cloud:
Lillian, one of the characters in Motorcycles and Sweetgrass, loved thunder storms. The beginning of the novel describes the largest storm of the season that Lillian misses because she left for residential school. So when Lillian passes away, Nanabush creates the largest thunder storm Otter Lake has seen for her.



Racoons:
We added pictures of raccoons because
has a feud with the animals. The feud started during a long winter many yeas ago. Nanabush was near starvation, when an old raccoon wandered into his tent. Nanabush made the decision to eat it, but the raccoons never forgot about it.
they are a part of the book. Nanabush, or "John",
Sun:
Represents the humour of the novel and the happy ending of the family reconnecting.
Tree:
One of the main events of the novel is Chief Maggie Second's land purchase. The chief bought a large chunk of forest near Otter Lake and this acquisition caused an uproar both in and around the community. The land is also a part of what caused Maggie to end her relationship with John.
Characters
Lillian Benojee:
mother of Maggie and Wayne
strongly believed in both Native culture adn Christian religion
was very knowledgeable

Maggie Second:
Chief of Otter Lake
Virgil's mother
widowed
feels over whelmed and drained, needs to change something in her life

Virgil Second:
uneducated about his Native culture
doesn't spend much time with his mother
skips school and is unmotivated
best friends with his cousin Dakota


Wayne Benojee:
is an eccentric
lives alone on a small island
practices a Native martial arts he created
not close with his family, but was very close with Lillian

John:
he is White with long blond hair
he introduces himself with a variety of last names
his true identity is Nanabush
Lillian Benojee was the love of his life
before she died, he made her two promises
he dated Maggie Second for a short period of time

Dakota *
Tombstone:
To represent Lillian's tombstone. Her illness and death are what caused the events of the story to start. She was the one that called upon Nanabush to come and bring magic into her families life.
Motorcycles
and
Sweergrass?
Why should you read
Full transcript