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Native American

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Jamie Leigh

on 26 February 2013

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Transcript of Native American

Introduction Native American Literature History Repeated themes, symbols,
and events Dancing/Drums Salmon Hair Spokane Indians The hardships How did they get here? The native american culture is very spiritual and diverse. They have a very strong connection with the earth and have many unusual stories usually involving either how things came to be or life lessons that are pushed upon younger generations, such as the story in the book about Coyote and the rock, in which Coyote angers the rock by teasing him and the other animals and is squished by the rock as a consequence. Throughout history, the natives have experienced a lot of unpleasantries, starting with Christopher Columbus in the 1500s. They have endured diseases such as small pox, addiction to substances brought over from Europe, and the forceful seizing of their land. Today, they mainly live together on reservations in very poor conditions and overall quality of life. The Spokane Indians live in Washington and are the main tribe discussed in the book. They are centered on the Spokane reservation, which is 154,000 acres in the northeastern corner of the state. Although this is the land the Spokane originally inhabited, it is only a small portion of the 3 million acres they used to own. The word Spokane means "children of the sun". They were generally a peaceful people, often living with the other local tribes and sharing their main resources of fish and building materials. Nowadays, the tribe is a mere shadow of its former prosperity, giving an example of what's happened to the entirety of the native people. Dancing and drumbeats are mentioned in nearly every story in the novel, as well as in our anthology book. They are a symbol of power for women and also show some of the original Native American culture bleeding through the modern struggles. The symbolization of power comes from N.A. tradition where women could show their worth by dancing. In traditional Native American stories, the salmon often represents knowledge and prosperity. This fish, which is mentioned throughout our reading, means the same thing. It is also often associated with rebirth. Hair is mentioned many times in the different stories in our reading. Hair is often used as a symbol of power, not only in traditional Native American culture, but in other cultures as well, such as the story of Samson in the Bible. While it symbolizes the same thing in the book, long hair also shows the modern Native Americans attempts to hold on to their traditions, which state that hair is never to be cut except in times of great grief. By Jamie
And Jacob Connections Passages The End The Way Native Americans Speak In both the novel and the anthology book, Native Americans tend to speak in an almost riddle-like way. They use a lot of descriptive and metaphoric language. This also connects to the culture itself, because this is the same style that many traditional Indian legends are written. Examples From The Lone Ranger and Tonto
Fistfight in Heaven chapter "Distances" (pg. 109) "The tallest other, the giant, took tremble dancer away, brought her back with a big belly. She smelled of salt, old blood. She gave birth, salmon flopped from her, salmon growing larger. When she died, her hands bleed seawater from her palms." From The Anthology Book Story "Men on the
Moon" (pg. 255) "It walked over and through everything. It splashed through a stream of clear water. The water
boiled and streaks of oil flowed downstream" Summary Asians crossed the land bridge from Asia to North America some 12,000 years ago. Television What Do They Believe In? We found a connection between the chapters "Family Portrait" and "Distances" in our novel and the short story "Men on the Moon" from our Anthology books. Between the characters there was a shared dislike for the television at first impression, even though the stories aren't really related at all. From "Family Portrait" (pg. 197) "The television was in the window of a store in Coeur d'Alene. Me and all the guys would walk down there and watch it. Just one channel and all it showed was a woman sitting on top of a television that showed the same woman sitting on top of the same television. Over and over until it hurt your eyes and head. That's how I remember it" From "Men on the Moon" (pg. 254) "Wait, the old man said, wait. What shall I do with this thing. What is it you call it?
TV, his daughter said. You watch it. You turn it on and you watch it. From "Distances" (pg. 106) Last night I dreamed about television. I woke up crying. Names Many of the characters in "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" have names that are a mixture of americanized and tradition Indian. This connects to a character in one of our anthology stories "By Any Other Name" whose name was changed when she began school to a more typical english version of what she was originally called. Examples From "By Any Other Name" (pg. 193)"What are your names? My Sister answered for us. 'I am Premila, and she' -nodding in my direction -'is Santha'... 'Oh, my dears, those are much too hard for me. Suppose wee give you pretty English names. Wouldn't that be more jolly? Let's see, now -Pamela for you, I think.' She shrugged in a baffled way at my sister. 'That's as close as I can get. And for you,' she said to me, 'How about Cynthia?" From The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (pg. 172) "My Indian name was Junior Falls Down."
(pg. 12) "Thomas Builds-the-Fire was the host."
(pg. 45) "Julius Windmaker, the best basketball player on the reservation."
(pg. 146) "'well,' Lester FallsApart said." Storytelling Crazy Horse Basketball Basketball is mentioned many times throughout the stories in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. It is very important to Indians living on the reservation because, for them, it is the closest possible thing to war, which is a huge part of their cultural heritage. For this reason, they have a sort of reverence for both the game and those who play it. Example (pg. 47) "There's a history of reservation heroes who nevr finish high school, who never finish a basketball season. Hell, there's been one or two guys who played just a few minutes of one game, just enough to show us what they could have been." Example (pg. 74) "your father will rise like a salmon, leap over the bridge, over me, and find his way home." Crazy Horse is mentioned a few times in different stories within this book. He represents the ideal Indian. Generally his name is used in the context of something people are looking for, or something people think they see in others on the reservation, just for a fleeting moment." Example (pg. 41) "She thought she could watch him fancydance, watch his calf muscles grow more and more perfect with each step. She thought he was Crazy Horse." Jacob, Jamie, Rose, and I chose Native Americans as our literary circles subject. We read several short stories from our anthology book, and we also read a novel called The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven This book is a collection of short stories, written by Sherman Alexie, that are memories and recollections of life and people on the Spokane Indian reservation This short story is about an old man that had been traveling for many days and came across a rock named grandfather rock. He sacrificed his knife to the rock in hopes that it would give him food, but after receiving a dead buffalo he realized that he had nothing to cut it with. The man took back the knife from the rock, saying "you don't need this". Shortley after, the rock rolled down the hill after him. He asked some birds flying over for help from the rock, saying that the rock called them ugly. The birds began to peck at the rock until it was nothing but pebbles. Then the man laughed and called the birds ugly, so they put the rock back together and it rolled over the man. The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor Examples: In the story "Every Little Hurricane", Victor's parents throw a party in which everyone gets drunk and starts fighting. This, however, is not as disturbing to him as it probably should have been because this is the environment he grew up in. "The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn't Flash Red Anymore" is a story about a young, talented basketball player on the reservation and how everyone is praying for him to finish high school and do something with his life because everyone else in that situation has dropped out and eventually ended up stuck on the reservation for good. Eventually, he falls into line with the rest of the stars, gets drunk, drops out, and ends up living a life of long miserable days doing grunt work for minimum wage. In "The Approximate Size of my Favorite Tumor", an Indian man is pulled over for being indian and is heckled about numerous laws that don't exist and play on the typical indian stereotypes. The man handles it very well, though, as this is what he deals with every day. Jacob, Jamie, Rose and I chose to read about native americans for our lit circles project Loss of Tradition/Culture Passage #1 Anthology book- "It Is Well"
pg. 9 "I was born near the forks of the Cheyenne River, about seventy years ago. My father was not a chief; my grandfather was not a chief, but a good hunter and a feast-maker. On my mother's side I had some noted ancestors, but they left me no chieftainship. I had to work for my reputation.
"When I was a boy, I loved to fight," he continued. "In all our boyish games I had the name of being hard to handle, and I took much pride in the fact." Example (pg. 37) "They don't pay you any mind because your hair is too short." -This piece gives great insight to the world of Native Americans, without being over elaborated. It explains in a way how they took pride in their ancestry, though it was possible to become great even with a "normal" lineage. It also talks about different roles, like hunter and feast-maker. Warrior, as the main character wants to be. And last but not least it mentions the aspect of names, he was known as "Hard to Handle" as a boy. Though it wasn't his official name; that didn't come until later. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Old Man Coyote and the Grandfather Rock This novel is a collection of short stories written by Sherman Alexie. They focus around a Spokane Indian named Victor and the experiences he and the people around him have during his time on the Spokane reservation. Passage #2 Example The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven
Chapter 1: "Every Little Hurricane" pg. 5 (pg. 82) "She stood, weakly. But she had the strength to take the first step, then another quick one. She heard drums, she heard singing, she danced. Dancing that way, she knew things were beginning to change." Just the week before, Victor had stood in the shadows of his father's doorway and watched as the old man opened his wallet and shook his head. Empty. Victor watched his father put the empty wallet back in his pocket for a moment, then pull it out and open it again. Still empty. Victor watched his father this ceremony again and again, as if the repetition itself could guarantee change. but it was always empty. (pg. 13 of anthology) "Suddenly the Long-Haired Cheif appeared with his men! It was a surprise." Loss of tradition/culture recurs many times throughout the reading. This comes from Indians losing track of who they are after being stripped of so much that had influenced their culture by white settlers. Example -This section of the chapter gives a heart wrenching feel to how life was on the Spokane Indian Reservation. The Indians were dirt poor, they didn't have upper class or middle class, they only had low class. This reading shows us how Victor's father hopelessly peers into his wallet, which is empy, just wishing that there was some money for them to live off of. (pg. 69 of anthology) "The warrior life was gone. Uncle Ralph was trapped in a transparent bubble of new time." (pg. 63) "It was too late to be warriors in the old way. All the horses were gone. So the two Indian boys stole a car and drove to the city." Storytelling plays an important role in the lives of characters in both the novel and the anthology book. It is particularly shown in the character Thomas Builds-the-Fire in the novel, who is often hated and outcast for his storytelling habits. This is an important way of showing how the Indians are breaking from, and even starting to develop a disdain for their traditions and culture. Examples (pg.61) "Thomas was a storyteller that nobody wanted to listen to. That's like being a dentist in a town where everybody has false teeth." Throughout the story, Victor and his people experience many problems. The most prevalent were addiction, poverty and racism.
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