Morning Session: Resources for Teaching Native American Studies



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Welcome to Day 2: April 17 CONTEMPORARY NATIVE AMERICAN FILM AND FICTION Susan Power (born 1961) and Sherman Alexie (born 1966)


Part I: Resources for Teaching Native American Studies

  • Additional Handout Material

    • Reservation areas (map)
    • Tribal areas (map)
    • Traditional Cultural Areas
  • Timelines

  • Legal Status of Native Americans



TIMELINE I

  • THE PERIOD BEFORE COLUMBUS

    • 40,000-13,000 B.C: ICE AGE
    • The migration of peoples from Siberia to Alaska over a land bridge
    • 13,000 B.C.-1492 A.D.
    • Native Americans establish communities in all of N & S America
    • 1006 A.D. Vikings travel to ”Vinland”
    • By 1492 there were:
      • Approx 1 million Natives in N America (several million in S)
      • 21 language groups (200 separate languages)
      • Several hundred different tribes


TIMELINE II

  • THE PERIOD AFTER COLUMBUS

    • 1492-1600 Spanish Conquest of S America
    • 1600s European Colonization of N America
    • 1700s
      • 1754 French and Indian War
      • 1763 Royal Proclamation Establishing ”Indian Territory”
      • 1775-1783: The American Revolution
    • 1800s
      • 1803 Lousiana Purchase
      • 1830 Indian Removal Act (S East)
      • 1862 Homestead Act (West and N West)
      • 1865-1890: The Indian Wars/ Plains Indians


TIMELINE III

  • THE 20TH CENTURY

    • 1924: Native Americans Become U.S. Citizens
    • Native American participation in WWI, WWII, Vietnam etc
    • From the 1960s: period of Native American political activism
      • Blossoming of Contemporary Native American Literature
    • 1961: Susan Power born
    • 1966: Sherman Alexie born
    • 1990: Census registered nearly 2 million Native Americans
    • 2000: Census registered 4.1 million Native Americans
    • the dramatic leap in demographic numbers has to do with registration methods, etc




Part II: Introduction to Susan Power and The Grass Dancer

  • I. WAYS OF READING THE NOVEL:

  • As a postmodern novel: (consider topics we have previously discussed)

  • As a novel that incorporates elements of magic realism

  • As an indigenous/ Native American novel.

  • II. Narrative techniques in The Grass Dancer

  • Power employs multiple narrative techniques in this novel; reasons for her choices may be connected to the

    • genesis of the novel (written as short stories)
    • world view in the novel (communal history and cyclical time more important than the individual character or linear time)
    • postmodern issues
  • Each chapter balances the narration between the chapter’s narrator (either first or third person), and various focalizers (characters whose point of view we follow)

  • III. Characters/Generations



Susan Power’s The Grass Dancer Generations of Characters: Charlene’s Family



Susan Power’s The Grass Dancer Generations of Characters: Harley’s Family



Part III: Sherman Alexie and Smoke Signals OVERVIEW OF TOPICS

  • Introduction to Sherman Alexie

  • The story collection: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993)

  • Resources on individual stories

  • Readings from individual stories

  • (”Because My Father....” and ”This Is What it means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”)

  • The Film Smoke Signals



STUDY RESOURCES: “BECAUSE MY FATHER ALWAYS SAID HE WAS THE ONLY INDIAN TO SEE JIMI HENDRIX PLAY ‘THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER’ AT WOODSTOCK” (PDF FILE)

  • Introduction

  • Author Biography

  • Plot Summary

  • Characters

  • Themes

  • Style

  • Historical Context

  • Critical Overview

  • Criticism (Three Critical Essays)

  • Media Adaptations

  • Topics for Further Study

  • Compare & Contrast

  • What Do I Read Next?

  • Further Reading

  • Sources

  • Copyright Information

  • How to Cite the Story



Web links

  • http://voices.cla.umn.edu/vg/Bios/entries/power_susan.html (Susan Power)

  • http://www.fallsapart.com/

  • (Sherman Alexie’s home page)

  • http://www.bookrags.com/account/

  • (online literary resources)

  • http://www.spraksikring.com/ (pdf files, etc)

  • http://uit.no/humfak/tilsette/54

  • (Sandra’s office webpage)



Smoke Signals 1998

  • All Native-American Production

  • Intertextual Film Genres:

    • The Western (esp. John Wayne Movies)
    • Cowboy-and-Indian Movies
    • The Road Movie
    • The TV series “The Lone Ranger”


Bill from the TV Show



Smoke Signals readings from adapted stories

  • “BECAUSE MY FATHER ALWAYS SAID HE WAS THE ONLY INDIAN TO SEE JIMI HENDRIX PLAY ‘THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER’ AT WOODSTOCK”

  • “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”

  • Main characters: two young men: the “cool” Victor and the “nerdy” Thomas Builds-the-Fire

  • Plot/themes: reservation life; the characters’ childhood and loss of parents; journey to Phoenix after the death of Victor’s father




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