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Native American Literature Unit

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Native American Literature Unit Our American identity as we know it is a product of our past. Our class will focus on literature which reveals how we arrived at our ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Native American Literature Unit


1
Native American Literature Unit
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Historical Cultural Context
  • Our American identity as we know it is a product
    of our past. Our class will focus on literature
    which reveals how we arrived at our society and
    culture today.
  • We study Native American literature out of a
    respect for the indigenous cultures who were here
    before the European explorers as well as a
    respect for their cultural and literary influence
    throughout the years.

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  • Native American Tribes
  • Thousands of tribes lived in North America.
  • Estimated 10 million when Europeans arrived on
    the East Coast.
  • Tribes had different language, culture, beliefs.
  • Many shared similar culture because of location/
    region.

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  • Once explorers and settlers decided to stay and
    start building the natives could do nothing
    although they usually tried to fight back.
  • Natives had a completely different set of values
    and traditions
  • - some wouldnt fight back until they realized
    they would lose their land completely.
  • - they lived off the land and held it in high
    regard earth was the mother.
  • - they never used more than they needed and
    they never wasted anything.

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  • The Europeans also brought disease that natives
    were never exposed to before, which brought
    actual physical desecration to their people.
  • Europeans viewed Native Americans as savages.
  • Native Americans viewed Europeans as soulless
    creatures/ arrogant.
  • Over time (hundreds of years) land was
    progressively taken away from them and they were
    not only robbed of their sacred land and the
    traditions it embodied for them, but they were
    forced into assimilating into the emerging
    European-American culture.

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  • 16th -19th centuries Native American Population
    declined for the following reasons
  • 1. Epidemic disease (chicken pox, influenza,
    etc.)
  • 2. Violence at the hands of European settlers.
  • 3. Internal warfare
  • 4. Enslavement

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  • Trail of Tears is a name given to the relocation
    and movement of Native American nations from
    southeastern parts of the United States following
    the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
  • From there, efforts to civilize them so that
    they could be mainstreamed into society
    continued.

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  • Indian children were sent to boarding schools far
    away from the reservations so that the authority
    of their parents/elders would be undermined.
    Language, and consequently, cultural identity was
    legally confiscated. Children were harshly
    punished for using their own language and were
    separated tribally to immerse them in English
    only.

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Native American Ritual --Vision Quests--
  • Hanblecheyapi (vision quest, literally "crying
    for a vision")
  • A vision quest is a rite of passage, similiar to
    an initiation, which may include fasting sleep
    deprivation being closed in a small room (e.g.
    igloo).
  • Taken before puberty to find oneself and the
    intended spiritual and life direction.

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Native American Literature
  • First Delivered Orally
  • Passed down from generation to generation.
  • Changed over time
  • Used stories to teach moral lessons and explain
    why things are.
  • Animals and nature as characters.

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Creation/ Origin Myths
  • Extremely important part of daily life
  • Feature animals as the instruments of creation
  • Native Americans did not distinguish between the
    living and non-living.
  • Shared at ceremonies with miming and
    theatricsroles included sun, moon, water

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Fact Fiction
  • Pocahontas was a girl of 11 Smith was a man of
    28.
  • John Smith was tall and clean shaven. He wore
    tight pants and some armor.
  • Pocahontas was engaged to Kocoum, but she chose
    John Smith instead.
  • Pocahontas and John Smith were both young adults
    when they met.
  • John Smith was short, had a full beard, and wore
    puffy pants (like everyone else). He did wear the
    type of armor shown.
  • After John Smith went home to England, then
    Pocahontas was engaged to Kocoum, but she chose
    John Rolfe instead.

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