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The Medicine Bag

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Emily van der Veen

on 16 November 2012

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Transcript of The Medicine Bag

h The Medicine Bag By Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve Summary The Medicine Bag by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve is a touching story of a boy in his teens named Martin who lives in Iowa in the 1970s. To his surprise, he is visited by his grandfather. His grandfather is aging and weak, and part of the Sioux ethnic group, which causes him to dress differently and have different traditions. Throughout the story, Martin is worried that his friends will disapprove of his grandfather, and realize that he is not the man that they imagined from Martin’s stories. His younger sister Cheryl, however, constantly has friends over to listen to the grandfather’s action packed stories. Eventually, Martin’s friends visit, and greatly enjoy listening to the grandfather and being in his presence. The grandfather is not just there as a source for stories, however. He has come to give Martin the “medicine bag”, a bag that is passed on from son to son, and each owner places a piece of prairie sage in it. Since he is coming closer to the end of his life, the grandfather seeks an opportunity to give Martin full possesion of the bag. About the Author Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve was born in 1933 on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota where she was raised. She is a graduate for St. Mary’s School in Springfield, South Dakota. She met her husband and received her bachelors and masters degree at South Dakota University. She has written over twenty books on the topics of Native American history, South Dakota history, fiction and nonfiction books for children, poetry and her female ancestors. Sneve is currently a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Virginia has one great-grandchild, five grandchildren and three children. Her and her husband owned an antiques business, before retiring in South Dakota.
Stately- Dignified (adj.)

Unseemly- Not decent or proper (adj.)

Reluctantly- Unwillingly (adv.)

Sheepishly- In an awkwardly shy or embarrassed manner (adv.)

Confine- Limit or Boundary (n.) Vocabulary Literary Element Questions 1.) What symbols are used in the story? What do they represent?

2.) What was the main conflict?

3.) What connections can be made to this story?

4.) What moods are created in this story?

5.) What was the main theme of this story? Answer Key 1.) The symbol used in this story is the medicine bag. The medicine bag represents manhood in the Sioux Tribe.

2.) The main conflict was Martin was embarrassed by his grandfather and the grandfather is weak and ill.

3.) Make a connection.

4.) The moods created in this story are relaxed at some points but tense at others.

5.) The main theme of this story is family, responsibility and respect. *Iowa
*1980s
*Martin
*Grandpa
*Cheryl
* Grandpa comes and visits Iowa to see his family Martin finally brings his friends to meet Grandpa *Martin is embarrassed by his grandfather

* Grandpa is weak and ill Grandpa tells Martin that he is going to receive the medicine bag Martin receives the medicine bag *Martin's friends like Grandpa

*Grandpa goes to the hospital and passes away

*Martin adds sacred sage to the medicine bag Plot Diagram Comprehension Questions 1.) When was a time that you felt embarrassed by a family member? What did you do to overcome/conceal your embarrassment?

2.) How did Martin and Cheryl act differently toward the grandfather? Use specific examples from the story to support your answer.

3.) How do you think the grandfather knew that Martin was embarrassed in front of his friends? What might have foreshadowed this? Answer Key 1.) Make a connection 2.) Martin: Embarrassed, shy, proud towards the end (use examples)
Cheryl: Excited, proud (use examples) 3.) Martin wasn't as happy to see him when he arrived, Cheryl brought friends right away but Martin didn't Martin "Grandpa did most of the talking while my friends were there. I was so proud of him and amazed at how respectfully quiet my buddies were (Hawk Sneve 169)." * Proud
* Secretive
* Intelligent Cheryl "Nothing bothered Cheryl about bringing her friends to see Grandpa (Hawk Sneve 167)." *Proud
*Enthusiastic
*Out-going
*Happy Grandpa "I have come because it is soon time for Martin to have the medicine bag (Hawk Sneve 167)." *Intelligent
*Dedicated Sioux member
*Kind-hearted Capital: Des Moines Area: 56,276 square miles 26th largest state in U.S. Population (as of 2000): 2,926,324 Major Industries: agriculture, food manufacturing, and insurance South Dakota A Native American medicine bag doesn't necessarily contain medicine. Instead, in Native American culture, items are placed inside the small bag that holds a spiritual significance to the wearer. These bags and their contents are thought to possess a strong tie to the owner and nature. So just how do these Native American medicine bags really work?

Those who claim to possess healing powers are not the only people who use Native American medicine bags. They hold specially chosen items such as herbal plants and stones. Worn by most Indians for personal uses, these bags are a normal part of the Native American culture. The most popular size of a medicine bag is very small and can be worn around the neck (Mission Del Rey).

1. If you owned a medicine bag what would you put in it?

2. Where on the body is a medicine bag typically worn?

3. Why do you think Native Americans wear a medicine bag?


Many thousands of years before Christopher Columbus’ ships landed in the Bahamas, a different group of people discovered America: the nomadic ancestors of modern Native Americans who hiked over a “land bridge” from Asia to what is now Alaska more than 12,000 years ago. In fact, by the time European adventurers arrived in the 15th century A.D., scholars estimate that more than 50 million people were already living in the Americas. Of these, some 10 million lived in the area that would become the United States. As time passed, these migrants and their descendants pushed south and east, adapting as they went (History.com).



1. Where did the ancestors of the Native Americans come from?

2. Why do you think the Native American’s ancestors came to America?

3. What did the Native American’s ancestors walk across to move from Asia to America? Medicine Bag Information 1 2 3 4 5 Theme Vocabulary Organization Author's Purpose poor unsatisfactory meets expectations Good Excellent "mission del reay south west." mission del reay south west. n. page. Print. <http://www.missiondelrey.com/the-secret-contents-of-a-native-american-medicine-bag.html>. "native american history." history n.pag. history.com. Web. 16 Nov 2012. <http://www.history.com/topics/native-american-cultures>.
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