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Native American Heritage Essays

I have re-read this book in a relatively new edition. It is a mixture of Kiowa myths, family stories, history sketches, and personal experiences. For me it evokes a sense of community unknown in modern U. S. society. It also conveys, however dimly to the modern scientific mind, a deep sense of a peoples’ experience of the sacred where that term is entirely outside of modern theology and is steeped in the land and the memory of a people. It one opens ones mind and emotions the book can connect in a powerful way.
However, a modern can never penetrate to the full depth of Kiowa sensibility. This was harshly expressed in an art object in the IAIA in Santa Fe, New Mexico some years ago. The object included the words: “Just because you stick a feather in your hat doen’t make you a Indian. ” of another edition It seems enough to alert the reader this book exists, in case anybody is tired of consumer infatuation. These 90 page wonders full of meditation and forethought. It has to be his best, meaning simplest, clearest, but it is probably anthropology too.
It ought to be read before or after viewing his http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=rbqzm6… but to take it on its own it is about the alien and the unknown as feet in old age and death, that is to say that even though he calls himself Rock Tree Boy he i… moreIt seems enough to alert the reader this book exists, in case anybody is tired of consumer infatuation. These 90 page wonders full of meditation and forethought. It has to be his best, meaning simplest, clearest, but it is probably anthropology too.
It ought to be read before or after viewing his http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=rbqzm6… but to take it on its own it is about the alien and the unknown as feet in old age and death, that is to say that even though he calls himself Rock Tree Boy he is A Man Without Fantasy. That’s the difference between being a bear and wearing a Jordan t-shirt with Hanes underwear. Nobody is Jordaned or Meadow Lark Lemoned from a laying on of their hands, but bear will move you. Dress in any of these masks or be naked as yourself as He Who Wears Only His Name.
Either you stand naked in The Name or you hide in a mask. Groups function as masks to prevent nakedness, as if there were something other than The Name to stand in, but for the human there isn’t. It might be the landscape and the racial memory of landscape that “my parents and grandparents knew” (Schubnell, Conversations, 46). “I feel deeply about the landscape and I mean that literally. I think it is important for a person to come to terms with landscape. I think that’s important; it is a means to knowing oneself” (45).
So it comes down to the meaning of landscape too, but this is intellectualized. The real question is, what is the meaning of wilderness? Superficial Existence in the Modern World Much of this is foreign today, Bear, landscape, even ancestry have been substituted with identities of no purpose to examine. The annihilation of the traditional in tribal societies and every assimilated subgroup is a negative. Assimilation is never good, although to say it that bald is offensive. This is also the point in that First Convocation of Indian Scholars (Ed. y Rupert Costo, 1970). In answering Hopi Charles Loloma about how to assume the traditional identity Momaday says, “I think that each of us who realizes that the native traditional values are important has a great obligation to convince the young of that, who may be wavering with alternatives… [of] the dominant society which is destroying the world in which it lives” (9). “It’s really up to the older people”(10) to identify “the danger of superficial existence in the modern world” (10).
To counter superficial existence he says “they have a primary obligation to tell their children and grandchildren about the traditional world, and try to show them by example and tell them explicitly that there is an option available to them, and that they’re damn fools if they don’t avail themselves of it” (10). Acculturation Thus acculturation is “a kind of one-way process in which the Indian ceases to be an Indian and becomes white man” (10). It is broader than that too, the PA German ceased to be himself and became an English-American. Acculturation to the modern translated means to steal the birth rite dentity of the traditional, its language and customs and make the native a mascot of the modern. There is a continual excavation of the Caucasoid in every subgroup that assimilates, whether Pennsylvania German, Hispanic, black, Indian. The anthropologists should excavate themselves to give them something to do, since they otherwise are the inventors and stalking horse for the modern against the traditional, looking for power by stealing it. Modern here is not the pejorative it seems if the native takes his tradition into it to return what is stolen, or as Momaday says, that “it is good to go into the enemy’s camp” (12).
Steal his horses! But he has stolen the children! Pull Out the Light Poles That said, it remains to learn tradition from the elder. In the face of radical destruction this takes more than effort, it takes surrender. Without surrender the traditional dies. Take your pick, you can think like Katie Couric and all the like spokespersons for the modern on Charlie Rose, or like grandfather. Momaday says it is a duty to teach the young. He addresses the elder’s reluctance: “I wonder if you have any idea of why they shut up at a certain point like that, why they won’t talk to you” (15)?
Charles Loloma, the Hopi, had said that when the power company installed electric poles by force “the people came out and pulled the poles all back out. These people didn’t want the electricity'”(15). This is symbolic of the whole transmission of culture of the modern against the traditional. When the enemy enters the native camp it is called deliverance, but is really theft of the child. It is destruction of the tradition, which is obvious when white missionaries go to New Guinea but apparently not when the Internet sells social network. You have to live it, not be curious of it.
Fight Against Electricity! Ben Barney, a Navajo, says he had a grandfather who taught him until the age of eight, but when he died he couldn’t find a replacement. Another says, “my grandfather died, and he was one of the last men in the village who knew the whole ritual cycle of songs. He died without letting me or my father, or any of us record any of it. I think he felt that this thing that he had was too precious to just give out, and have it exposed to someone whom he never knew well. And he’d rather die with it than have that happen to it. It seems to me he was saying, you’re not going to to live it.
You’re one of these people that’s fighting for the electricity. (I am not, in fact)” (17). So the ticket to the traditional, the universal (! ) is that you have to live it, not be curious of it. Surrender to the traditional! If you will not surrender, and the elders have any pride, they take it to the grave in sorrow. But it is not to be studied by post docs. It is to be lived. How many young think their elders outweigh the modern? Lifeway That you have to live it goes a long way toward knowing both wilderness and identity. Living is not an intellectual function. But he was saying, you’re one of these people who are fighting for this. My people never had electricity. We never lived that way. And if I give you my lifeway, if I tell you my lifeway, you’re going to sit and laugh at me, because you’re laughing anyhow just by your behavior” (17). Only among the remnants of American tribes does anyone dare thus to challenge the modern. Other subgroups embrace it like a drug. The life way is an iPhone. The elders won’t speak to this, “naturally they are not going to tell you. I mean, they can’t. I can see why he felt there is no way to communicate experience; the essence of it, the reality of it.
I believe he was saying: I could give you words, and you could put them down, but that wouldn’t mean the same thing” (17). Is this reality versus the virtual? The track of a bear versus a video game? These things are important if you want to have anything left on the earth that isn’t homogeneous and interchangeable. Like babies. Everything said here of the American tribes transfers to every family and subculture. 2. Momaday avoids the satiric in his work, but it is a satiric haunt like a ghost river in every meadow, grove and stream the summer nights after the predators came.
Then a foam appeared at the exit pipes of plants along the upper Allegheny. It is hard enough to name Bear and Wilderness when those subsequent masks upon masks cover up naked being. Surrender. Stand up and strip, confess, then kneel! Wilderness trees, canyons, streams and things under and in them, screeches in the night, wheat, bear, porcupine are symbols to show what they are standing for, something else, life mirrors that open doors and close the way we live. Only the sun has escaped our dominion. The sun escaped the nano tales that seine the atmosphere in a net, to take earth away. How To Know and Recognize the Alien
These image masks are the ultimate reality that deny we are predators or aliens. If you want to know the alien go and be one. Sit in the Mogollon. Do you belong? Find a bear. Is he your friend? People wander out all the time, light fires to be found, but the ones that aren’t found bone up. Coyote Wound Dresser had a talk with Walt Whitman, Wound Dresser, but things did not turn out well for Whitman. The alien cannot be modeled, but it is knowable if Unknown. I’m going to tell you what it is. Talking to the Unknown we try to understand synergies of it in the anthropology of Edward Dorn http://osnapper. ypepad. com/snappersj… He says the alien is a crucifying self-consciousness of doubt at the root of his own being when he sees the Shoshone. Does he, Dorn, belong? His doubts serve against the Unknown. They are a mirror of loss and lack. The filth on the chair that gets on his pants is an image of it… “I had a great desire to be off, to not take any more, or give any more… for I will say it, at the risk of blunder: It is impossible for myself and my people to offer themselves in any but the standard senses” (14). At least he knows of the surrender, that you have to live it.
In some freak of Methodism he wants to wash this old man’s feet to tame him, this 102 year old who stands for all of Idaho, Utah, Nevada and the Great Basin before electricity, ” a volume of Yaa-Aaa-Aaa” (14). “I was aware of the presumption of my thinking he would be relieved or made happy by having his feet washed” (13). Now Here is the Alien: If you want to confront the Unknown you must to do it in the feet of your old age and death. If we want to confront the Unknown we must to do it in the feet of our old age and death. “The place was intensely neglected, I gradually saw, and not just filthy as it looked to be at first glance.
It was simply the remains of a life” (12). The comfort of the Unknown in Dorn’s account is that there are two that serve each other in it, but we don’t know why. One Unknown is the wife, ust like all our mothers and wives, who “should have died, by the rules of our biology, thirty years ago. But it was evident that she would stay on, the weaker of the two, until he smelled the summary message in his nostrils, then she would be free” (12). Is death that freedom? The alien doesn’t think in known terms, but makes Dorn harbor such thoughts as, “this man and woman were the most profoundly beautiful ancestors I’ve witnessed go before me’ (12,13). He is the spirit that lies at the bottom, where we have our feet. The feet which step between the domains, the visible sign, the real evidence of the coming event… where this man’s low, incantatory verbs spill down across the plateau and basin” (13)… not more Indian than man, still as much the flower as the fruit. ” Wash his feet! Wash his hands, heart and head! Lay in the dust like a penitent Barry Lopez, close to the flagellate, and weep for the human lost. This Shoshone’s name is Willie Dorsey. We don’t get his real name, Alien. “I saw, the heat, the vociferous mosquitoes in the building’s shade, he slightly moist filth at the back door. ” Alien old age and death look like “very old animals [that] have such coats over the eyes, a privacy impenetrable from the outside” (11). Cataracts, the blind, the lame, the sick, the living I know treated by some Doctor of the Alien. She operates her office practically as a charity, complete with science, intuition and healing to the “grim weight of bad condition, not especially outlined, more heavy with despair than one could possibly arrange with rubble” (11). This is not Ed Dorn. He is a spectator.
This Doctor holds the hand, cuts the hair, absorbs the breast, the tear, weeping and praying within, but praising and thanking for the chance that comes out of the “wooden clapboard structures” (10) of lives that they could be so treated and revived. So that’s the alien, it’s human and knowable even if Unknown. Poetry Analysis Sherman Alexie is Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian. Alexie wrote a poem called “The Reservation Cab Driver”. The title contributes to understand the poem and understand who the cab driver was. In this poem, Alexie uses a symbolism he also uses some metaphor, irony and imagery.
By examining the life portrayal in the reservation, the poem’s casual diction, the magic appearance of Crazy Horse, I will show how Alexie’s critique of the status of Indians on the reservation. The life in the reservation was hard. When anyone wanted to get out of the reservation the only choice the reservation had was hiring the cab driver who drives a ’65 Malibu with no windshield. The description of this cab driver car is an example of Imagery taking place you can see the car all beat up with no windshield. This particular cab driver waits outside the breakaway bar. He charges his costumers a beer a mile with no exception.
This cab driver is not looking for money. The other people have to get this cab to take them places especially during the powwow. Also in stanza 8 during powwow, some imagery takes place. The imagery you see is people paying him with quilts, beads and fry bread and firewood. Imagery in this section is important because you can see what’s going on. In this stanza the imagery is very clear that it seems as if you are there in person watching everything. Also in stanza 7 you see use of metaphor also irony but the cab driver did not understand Seymour because the cab driver answers “Ain’t no pony, it’s a car”.
Alexie shows us how hard it is for the reservation to have to take the cab and pay in a form that you do not see in other places of America. Alexie shows us an example of two different economies. Within the same country but how life in the reservation is completely different to the rest of the life outside the reservation. The reservation has many problems like having only one cab driver who charges a beer and a cigarette a mile. Another problem… “The Man to Send Rain Clouds” The theme of Leslie Marmon Silko’s The Man to Send Rain Clouds revolves around the idea of maintaining your culture in the opposition of the “religious right. Leon is faced with strong opposition about his tribe’s rituals in regard to the burying of one of their dead. That opposition comes from the Christian priest and his ideas of what is sacred. Cultures around the world embrace death in different ways. Some mourn and fear death; others accept it and find hope when the time comes. Unfortunately not all of those cultures are able to be open to the idea that they could be wrong, or that different methods could lead to the same ends. The Christian church of coarse has a history of killing, burning, and condemning things that disagree with their ideologies.
Even today we see extremists in many religions that fight wars over their beliefs. In this story a man had to fight with himself regarding the decision. He has to wrestle with the pleas of the priest and the idea that his culture taught him regarding death. He believed as his tribe did that the ritual would bring rain and new life to the crops. The battle between cultures moves on when the priest is actually asked to be a part of the ritual and bless the body. At this point the priest enters his own battle with the things that he was taught and the opposition that he faces.
He had to decide what would be the Christian thing to do. When all these battle are over both men learn a little about each other’s world as the wind starts to come in, it is a wind of change. They wait to see if the storm will come to begin the circle of life anew. The Man to Send Rain Clouds Readers Reaction This was quite an interesting story. There were three sections to the story which broke the story in three different times in one day. The characters were all very nonchalant except for the priest who showed some emotion when he found out that old Teofilo died.
The story kept our interest, however, it did not lead a very clear trail to the end, and there was no real climax where we felt there was a good peak. The story needs to be read more than once to really be appreciated. Plot Summary One ? Teofilo is at the sheep camp in the arroyo when he rests in the shade under a cotton tree and dies. ? After Teofilo missing for a few days, Leon and Ken come looking for him and find that he “had been dead for a day or more, and the sheep had wandered and scattered up and down the arroyo. ” ? They gather the sheep and then come back to wrap Teofilo up in a red blanket. They paint his face with different colors and ask him to send them rain. ? On Leon and Ken’s way back into pueblow (town) they see Father Paul, who asked if they found their missing grandfather yet, and they tell him where they found him, but not that he’s dead. “Good Morning, father. We were just out to the sheep camp. Everything is o. k. now. ” Two ? Louise and Teresa are waiting for them to get back with any news about Teofilo. ? Leon tells the girls that they found Teofilo died near “a cottonwood tree in the big arroyo near sheep camp. ” ?
Leon and Ken carry in red blanket with teofilo’s body, dress him in new clothes to be buried in. ? After a quiet lunch, Ken went to see when the gravediggers could have the grave ready, “I think it can be ready before dark. ” ? Neighbors and clans people come by their house to console Teofilo’s family and leave food for the gravediggers. Three ? After the funeral, Louise tells her brother Leon that she wants the priest to sprinkle “holy water for grandpa. So he won’t be thirsty. ” ? Leon gets in the truck… Burial Rituals of Native American Culture At some point in our lives, we all come to realize that death is a part of life.
Cultural diversity provides a wide variety of lifestyles and traditions for each of the unique groups of people in our world. Within these different cultures, the rituals associated with death and burial can also be uniquely diverse. Many consider ritualistic traditions that differ from their own to be somewhat strange and often perceive them as unnatural. A prime example would be the burial rituals of the Native American people. Leslie Marmon Silko’s story entitled The Man to Send Rain Clouds describes a funeral service carried out by a Native American Pueblo family.
Though many perceive the funeral service narrated in this story to be lacking in emotion and also lacking respect for the passing of their loved one, it portrays a ceremony that is quite common for the Native American communities. There is also a hint of conflict occurring between the characters in the story that are carrying out their traditions while including an outside religious figure in the ceremony. The death of an old man sets the stage for this story and tells of the way his family goes about preparing him for his journey into the afterlife.
A feather is tied into the old man’s hair, his face was painted with blue, yellow, green and white paint, pinches of corn meal and pollen were tossed into the wind and finally his body was wrapped in a red blanket prior to being transported. According to Releasing the Spirit: A Lesson in Native American Funeral Rituals by Gary F. Santillanes, “Pueblo Indians care for their own dead with no funeral director involved. The family will take the deceased, usually in their truck, back to the home of the deceased and place him or her on the floor facing east to west, on a native blanket.
Depending on the deceased’s stature in the tribe, his face may be painted in the traditional nature. A powdery substance is placed… AK English 217 – Reading Journal (The Way To Rainy Mountain) Scott Momaday uses nature to dictate the passage of life. He personifies the landscape as a person, he says the there is ‘perfect in the mountains but it belongs to the eagle and the elk, the badger and the bear. ’ To me, this tells me the mountains have a feeling of openness, but it is the home of many – not just humans. The mountain holds importance to the Kiowa’s because it is pure wilderness.
The landscape that is described helps the reader recognize what the Kiowa’s were thinking upon reaching rainy mountain. The beautiful sights of the land made the Kiowa’s recognize a new passage of life. Their curiosity of the land’s landscape created legends in their tribe. The legends helped them escape through the wilderness by becoming part of it – through kinsmen in the sky and a boy turned into a bear at Devil’s Tower. Momaday describes the curiosity of the wilderness throughout the landscape. In order to build the larger idea of the tribe, the curiosity makes the landscape act as a character.
The writer, Scott Momaday, describes the grandmother through details of her life. My favorite line was at the end when he wrote, “There, we it ought to be at the end of a long and legendary way, was my grandmother’sgrave. ” This line sums up her entire life in a single sentence. She lived a long life and saw many things, her life was filled of legends that the tribe created. She had a reverence for the sun because she saw the Sun Dances when she was younger. In 1887, the grandmother was at the last sun dance; she bore a vision of deicide without any bitterness.
At an old age, she began praying frequently. Momaday could not understand what she was saying but describes the tone of her voice as ‘sad in sound, some merest hesitation upon the syllables of sorrow. ’ No matter what the language, people inherently understand the sounds of sadness. It really brought the grandmother to life. Then finally, at the end, he… Many Americans today believe that all students –no matter what race or ethnicity- have an easy path with our education and that all students are able to get a higher education without any problems.
Yet this belief is not true for all students. However it’s a whole different story for the working class students. The working class student that goes for a higher education in life, in search for a better life and, a brighter future are faced with many obstacles and challenges on their path to achieve their goals and dreams. The working class students are put with many different challenges. As they the working class students goes forward with their education, there maybe people that will try to put them down in many forms.
But you should know that you will survive and at the end you be a stronger, prepare student with the tools to overcome any obstacles in life. In the article “Indian Education” by Sherman Alexie, we read how being working class students we have obstacles to overcome. Some of this obstacles come from the people we less expected just like the example in Alexie Sherman Article “Indian Education”, how his own second grade teacher Miss Betty Towle try to put him down as many times as possible. She the teacher tries to put him down for being Indian, and for having working class parents. The Teacher Miss. Betty seems to not care for Alexie at all.
The teacher ask Alexie to give a letter to his parents in which she ask for his parents to come to school so that they could have a conversation on what she calls his bad behavior in class. The teacher seems to not want to talk about his bad behavior. Instead, she wanted to insult Alexie in front of his parents by calling him Indian without any compassion or respect. “Indians, indians, indians, she said it without capitalization, she called me Indian, indian, Indian” (p. 1). Base on this citation we see that the teacher was trying to put him down for being Indian and for having parents that weren’t educated. By…

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