Tag Archives: first nation/indigenous peoples’ history

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: A historical study (1971) by Dee Brown (1908-2002) of the conquest of the American West and the destruction of the Native American tribes. The title comes from the last verse of a poem ‘American Names’ (1927), by Stephen Vincent Benet (1898-1943):

‘I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse.

I shall not lie easy in Winchelsea.

You may bury my body in Sussex grass.

You may bury my tongue at Champmedy.

I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.’

Wounded Knee, in South Dakota, was the site of a massacre of Teton-Sioux by US forces on 29 December 1890, in which at least 150 Native Americans and 25 US soldiers were killed. It marked the final suppression of Native American resistance. In the Wounded Knee protest of 1973, two years after the publication of Brown’s book, some 200 armed members of the American Indian Movement occupied the symbolic site. The occupation ended after a 70-day siege, but helped to focus international attention on the US government’s treatment of Native Americans.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Native Americans

Here is a reading on Native Americans and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

This reading is only four paragraphs. It uses the story of the Nez Perce Tribe, and especially Chief Joseph’s legendary speech–“Hear me, my chiefs!” I am tired. My heart is sick. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever”–to tell the story of the destruction of the indigenous civilizations that inhabited North America prior to the arrival of the first European immigrants from England.

Given the disturbing, but unsurprising, discovery of mass graves at Canadian Indian Residential Schools, now is a very good time to take a look at what (if you happen to be of European descent, as I am) our forefathers wrought. It is not a pretty picture. But neither is ignoring these crimes. In any case, I think we are just seeing the first of the remains of this genocide.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: Burundi

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Central African nation of Burundi. This is another African nation that fell victim to the depredations of colonialism, in its case Germany and then Belgium. Like its neighbor, Rwanda, Burundi’s principal ethnic groups are the Hutus and the Tutsis; also, as in Rwanda, the Tutsis have attacked the Hutus and perpetrated a genocide–known as the Ikiza–against them. And, in 1993, one year before the genocide in Rwanda, there was civil conflict following an attempted coup in Burundi that resulted in the deaths of 25,000 Tutsis.

In other words, this worksheet, which is a full page and as such useful for independent practice, opens the door to an exploration of European colonialism and its legacy in colonized nations.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

French and Indian War

Here is a reading on the reading on the French and Indian War (known contemporaneously in Europe as the Seven Years’ War) along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. The war raged in North America between Britain and France, who had as her allies Native American tribes. This is a turning point in Great Britain’s hegemony in its North American colonies: while Britain won the conflict, it was at enormous cost. In his attempts to extract payment–by way of unpopular legislation like the Stamp Act— from the American Colonies, King George III so antagonized colonists that he provoked a revolution.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Multiculturalism

“Multiculturalism: This movement focuses primarily on changing traditional canons throughout the humanities. With the expansion of canonical traditions and exposure of students at all levels to artists, writers, and historical movements previously marginalized in general bodies of knowledge, the next generation is expected to have a better grasp of an increasingly diverse society in a world in flux. In the realm of art in the United States, this has resulted in a greater emphasis on and interest in non-Western art and on works produced in communities without previous access to museum and gallery exposure (e.g. African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, women, gays, and lesbians).”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Arawak

Arawak: At the time of Columbus, Arawak speakers inhabited the Greater Antilles and parts of mainland South America. Since languages of the Arawakan family are not found in North or Mesoamerica, it is likely that these people reached the islands from the south. In support of this view, pottery of the Saladoid type is found in a great arc from western Venezuela to the West Indies, and in the northern islands there seems to be a ceramic continuity from Saladoid ware to insular Arawak. Spanish sources describe the island Arawaks as settled farmers with an elaborate religion based on a Zemi cult.”

Excerpted from: Bray, Warwick, and David Trump. The Penguin Dictionary of Archaeology. New York: Penguin, 1984.

Descent to the Underworld

“Descent to the Underworld: The motif of numerous stories in the mythology and folklore of all peoples. The descent is usually made to rescue someone either abducted or rightfully dead, to find the answer to a question of discover a secret from the ruler of the underworld, or to seize some treasure. To partake of the food of the dead (or of fairyland in later folklore) prevents the visitor from ever returning. Among the most famous descent stories are the Greek myths of Orpheus and Eurydice, Demeter and Persephone, and Heracles bringing of Cerberus up from Hades and his rescue of Alcestis. Also well known are the Babylonian story of Ishtar’s descent to rescue Tammuz and the Norse myth of Hermod’s journey to Hel to bring back Balder. There are similar tales in Hindu, Chinese, and Japanese writings, and among the Ainu, Melanesians, North American Indians, and Eskimos. Descents to Hell are common also in early Christian literature.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Book of Answers: James Fenimore Cooper

“Who is the title character in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans (1826)? Uncas, the son of Chingachgook. He is killed defending Cora, his love, against Magua.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Metacomet

Now that this nation is showing some signs of willingness to face its past of colonial exploitation and subjugation, the time may be right to use this reading on Metacomet and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet in the classroom. 

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Black Elk

Black Elk: In a work entitled Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (1932; repr 1988), Black Elk (1863-1950) recounted his life to John G. Neihardt (1881-1973), conveying important insights into Native American culture, religion, and life on the Plains, as well as a firsthand account of the destruction of that way of life. Black Elk witnessed both Custer’s defeat at Little Big Horn and the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, in which the U.S. Army killed over a hundred men, women, and children. The massacre marked the end of the Indian Wars.

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.