School of Arts and Sciences
Department of English
Course Number: ENG 337
Course Title: American Indian Experience: An Introduction to the Literature
Pre-requisites: ENG 101 or equivalent
Semester/Year: Spring 2006
Class location: AC 120
Class Time: MWF 1-1:50
Faculty: Pauline G. Woodward, Ph.D.
Office Location: AC 210
Office Hours: M 2-4; W 2-4 and F by appointment
CATALOG DESCRIPTION: American Indian experience recorded in fiction, autobiography, poetry, and essay in the 20th century brings to light specific tribal traditions, values, and practices. The course emphasizes the content and structure of the literature influenced by United States Government policies on native people, families, and tribes. Historical, geographical, political, and economic contexts are considered in this study of works produced by American Indians.
At the completion of this course students should be able to:
Storytelling and structure in Tracks by Louise Erdrich, Ojibwa
Narrativity and myth in Erdrich's novel
Land appropriation (Jace Weaver)
Environmental concerns (Winona Laduke) Anishinaabe
Family and community in Tracks (Erdrich)
Ojibwa history (Gerald Vizenor) Anishinaabe
Christianity in Ojibwa ceremony (Basil Johnston)Ojibwa
Writing the Literary Research Essay
Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, poem by Joy Harjo, Muscogee Creek
Writing about Aquash (MicMac) (Devon Mihesuah,Choctaw)
Film "The Spirit of Annie Mae"
American Indian Movement: Views according to Vine Deloria, Jr. (Sioux) and Gerald Vizenor (Anishinaabe)
Reservation Life, Lanniko L. Lee (Sioux) and Florestine Renville (Dakota)
Boarding School experience
Adoption of Indian children
Medicine River by Thomas King (Cherokee)
Significance of the past/impact of mixed blood
Defining American Indian Literature (Jace Weaver)
Humor as means of survival (Vine Deloria Sioux)
Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Puebla), Storytelling
Using the SAIL data base: http://oncampus.richmond. e du/faculty/ASAIL/indices.html
Roofwalker Susan Power, (Yankton Sioux)
Parallel realities in Power's fiction and histories
Intersecting communities in Roofwalker
Tonto and the Lone Ranger by Sherman Alexie, (Spokane/Coeur d'Alene)
Writing the Literary Research Essay
Reflective questions are posed for each class reading. Students are expected to use textual evidence in the class deliberations. Understanding the text requires attentive reading and writing about the text. Formal assignments include written interpretations of the readings, research inquiries into cultural, political, and historical contexts, oral presentations of textual interpretations, and research essays that make use of primary and secondary sources. From time to time, there will be a student note-taker who will record class deliberations with opportunity for amending individual contributions.
Literary Research essays are problem-based. In the works we are reading and viewing many problems surface for indigenous people. Native scholars give different emphases to various problems:
There are three issues around which native peoples are waging a resistance today, as in past centuries, to the neocolonialism and exploitation by the dominant states of the Western Hemisphere: they are land, self-government, and indigenous rights. (346 Lobo and Talbot).
NOTEBOOK WRITING: 25 points
CLASS LEADERSHIP AND ATTENDANCE: 25 points
(Students take responsibility for presenting research and leading class discussion.)
MID-TERM RESEARCH ESSAY/ ORALPRESENTATION: 25 points
FINAL RESEARCH ESSAY/ORAL PRESENTATION: 25 points
(NO LATE ESSAYS WILL BE ACCEPTED)
ATTENDANCE POLICY: Attendance is rewarded in course evaluation. Progress reports are sent after 2 absences. There are no excused absences in this class. If there is an extraordinary circumstance, please advise me of the situation.
ADA POLICY: Every effort is made to accommodate students with special needs. Please let me know about these needs at the beginning of the course.
ACADEMIC HONESTY: Endicott College's policy on Academic Honesty as stated in the College Catalog is followed in this course. Class members are required to sign the Academic Honesty Pledge.
REQUIRED READINGS (These texts should be purchased. Bring the text we are
reading to every class):
Alexie, Sherman. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. NY: HarperCollins, 1994.
Erdrich, Louise. Tracks. NY: Harper& Row, 1988.
King, Thomas. Medicine River. 1998. NY: Penguin, 1995.
Lee, Lanniko L. et al. Shaping Survival: Essays by Four American Indian
Tribal Women. Eds. Jack W. Marken and Charles L. Woodard. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002.
Power, Susan. Roofwalker. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions, 2002.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Storyteller. NY: Arcade Publishing, Inc., 1981.
RESERVE READINGS (available on a 2-hour basis):
Deloria, Vine. Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto Jr. Norman: U. of Oklahoma Press, 1983.
---. "Indian Humor." Nothing But the Truth: An Anthology of Native American Literature. Eds. John L. Purdy and James Ruppert. River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001. 39-53.
Harjo, Joy and Gloria Bird, Eds. Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writings of North America. NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997. Introduction to "Beaded Soles" Provides background on Susan Power.
---. In Mad Love and War. Middletown,CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1990.
Hollrah, Patrice. The Old Lady Trill, The Victory Yell: The Power of Women in Native American Literature. NY: Routledge, 2004.
Laduke, Winona. All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999
Lobo, Susan and Steve Talbot, Eds. Native American Voices: A Reader, 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001
Mihesuah, Devon. Indigenous American Women: Decolonization, Empowerment, and Activism. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
---. "Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash: An American Indian Activist," in Sifters: Native Women's Lives. Ed. Theda Perdue. NY: Oxford University Press. 204-222.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit: Essays on Native American Life Today. NY: Simon&Schuster, 1995.
Vizenor, Gerald. The People Named the Chippewa. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.
Weaver, Jace. That the People Might Live: Native American Literatures and Native American Community. NY: Oxford University Press, 1997
RECOMMENDED READINGS for extended research:
Andrist, Ralph K. The Long Death: The Last Days of the Plains Indians. Norman: U Oklahoma Press, 1993.
Bernstein, Alison R. American Indians and World War II: Toward a New Era in Indian Affairs. Norman: U Oklahoma Press, 1991.
Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. NY: Holt, 1970.
Chavkin, Allan. Ed. The Chippewa Landscape of Louise Erdrich. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1999.
--- and Nancy Feyl Chavkin. Conversations with Louise Erdrich and Michael Dorris. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1994.
Crow Dog, Mary with Richard Erdoes. Lakota Woman. NY: Harper Perennial, 1990.
Deloria, Vine. Ed. The Indian Reorganization Act: Congresses and Bills. University of Oklahoma Press, 2002.
Erdrich, Louise. Baptism of Desire. 1989. NY: Harper Perennial, 1991.
---. The Beet Queen. 1986. NY: Harper Perennial 1998.
---. Love Medicine. 1984. NY: HarperPerennial, 1993.
Hagen, William T. Taking Indian lands: The Cherokee (Jerome Commission, 1889-1893) Norman: U Oklahoma Press, 2003.
Howe, LeAnne. Shell Shaker. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 2001.
Johnston, Basil. Ojibway Ceremonies. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982.
---. Ojibway Heritage. NY: Columbia University Press, 1976.
Krupat, Arnold. Red Matters. Philadelphia: U of Penn Press, 2002.
Larson, Robert W. Red Cloud: Warrior Statesman of the Lakota Sioux. U of Oklahoma Press,1999.
Leeming, David and Jake Page The Mythology of Native North America . Norman: U of Oklahoma Press, 1998.
Mason, W. Dale. Indian Gaming: Tribal Sovereignty and American Politics. Norman: U Oklahoma Press, 2000.
Owens, Louis. I Hear the Train: Reflections, Inventions, Refractions. Norman: U of Oklahoma Press, 2001.
---.Other Destinies: Understanding the American Indian Novel. Norman: U of Oklahoma Press, 1992.
Perdue, Theda and Michael D. Green. The Cherokee Removal: A Brief History with Documents. 2nd Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
Riney, Scott. The Rapid City Indian School. 1898-1933. Norman: U of Oklahoma Press,
Senier, Siobhan. Voices of American Indian Assimilation and Resistance: Helen Hunt Jackson, Sarah Winnemucca, and Victoria Howard Norman: U Oklahoma Press, 2003.
Standing Bear, Luther. Land of the Spotted Eagle. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, Bison Book, 1978.
Zitkala-Sa. American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings. Eds. Cathy N. Davidson and Ada Norris. NY: Penguin, 2003.
http://www.endicott.edu/production/academic/library/am_indian.htm This site has been prepared for use in this class by the instructor and Abby Nelson, former Reference Librarian. http://www.hanksville.org/NAresources/indices/NAvideo.html
http://www.doi.gov/bureau-indian-affairs.html. Bureau of Indian Affairs
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwss-ilc.html. Indian Land Cessions in the US
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/award98/ienhtml/curthome.html. Images and text from the work of Edward S. Curtis
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Note: The syllabus is subject to change.
Notebook writing assignments involve explaining and interpreting the focus idea in depth. One full typed page, single-spaced, including at least one quoted passage with appropriate citation, represents the standard length. Notebook writing is due on the assigned date. It may not be submitted after the class discussion.
Student leaders who manage the class discussion should offer 3-4 ideas from the assigned reading with explanations/interpretations and ask for students' ideas and responses to generate discussion.
Monday Jan 30
Reading the syllabus (Bring syllabus to every class.)
Determining the expectations; looking at assignments
Wednesday Feb 1
Guide question: Where does the
storyteller's authority come from?
READ Tracks, Chapters 1 and II
FOCUS for Discussion: Ojibwa history as Nanapush tells the story
Pauline's version of Fleur Pillager's story
Note: There are several terms for the people named the Chippewa: Ojibwa, Ojibway, and Anishinabe among them.
Friday Feb 3 Guide
question: What ideas about family are presented in this story of Ojibwa loss in
READ Tracks, Chapter III
Prologue and Epilogue in The People Named the Chippewa by Gerald Vizenor RESERVE
NOTEBOOK WRITING: Focus on Nanapush's character and his relationship with others/ How do the mythical Naanaboozho and the fictional Nanapush resemble one another?
Monday Feb 6 Guide
question: What separate realities can be sorted out in this account by Pauline Puyat? How does
Pauline see the world?
READ Tracks Chapter IV
FOCUS for Discussion: Community in Tracks: insiders and outsiders; Pauline's view of the world
Wednesday Feb 8 Guide
question: What significant issues emerge in the attempts to describe American Indian
READ Chapter 1 in That the People Might Live by Jace Weaver RESERVE
FOCUS for Discussion: Choose one important idea from this chapter to explain to the class. Make a copy of the article in order to be prepared to quote from text during class discussion. This is one example of a critical source.
Friday Feb 10 Guide
How do Weaver's ideas apply to Tracks?
NOTEBOOK WRITING: Apply one idea from Weaver's discussion of the composition of American Indian literature to Tracks.
question What role does humor play in helping to form community?
READ Tracks Chapter V
READ "Indian Humor" in Nothing But the Truth 39-53 RESERVE
NOTEBOOK WRITING Ideas about community in Vine Deloria's essay and links to Tracks
Focus for Discussion: Nanapush's ability as a teacher; Nanapush as trickster; humor as a means of survival
What has happened to Nanapush's influence over the tribe?
question: How can Pauline's behavior be explained--especially with regard to her
READ Tracks Chapter VI
NOTEBOOK WRITING: Choose one quotation from Pauline's narration to interpret. Consider her responses to Nanapush as well as Fleur.
Friday Feb 17 Guide
question: Who is Nanapush in traditional Anishinabe culture?
READ Tracks Chapter VII and VIII
RESEARCH "The Trickster and World Maintenance" by Laurence W. Gross in SAIL 17:3 Fall 2005
Be aware that the SAIL index is available from http://www.endicott.edu/production/academic/library/am_indian.htm
NOTEBOOK WRITING: A summary of the major ideas in the article and a citation according to MLA electronic format.
Monday Feb 20 Presidents' Day No class
questions: How does Christianity surface in Tracks? What has happened to the tribe and the
relationship to the land?
What ideas about giving birth seem to be present in Tracks?
READ Tracks Chapter IX
NOTEBOOK WRITING: Focus on the land issues or the ways in which Christian beliefs are interpreted by Pauline or the clash between Western and native tribal ways. Other possibilities include observations about matters concerning women, for example, the birthing events.
Question: What are the requirements of a literary research essay? See end of
PRESENT orally the major ideas from research articles on Tracks. Use the Expanded Academic EBSCO database or use a chapter from one of the reserve texts, for example, "White Earth: A Lifeway in the Forest," in All Our Relations by Winona Laduke, a chapter from Hollrah, Mihesuah, or Vizenor.
Include the following information:
Name of author
Title of article
Source (journal title)
Explain in detail at least 3 major ideas from the article
Indicate the potential specific usefulness of this article for the research essay. How exactly do the ideas in the article in the article link to the fictional events or behaviors in Tracks?
Monday Feb 27
WRITE the research essay on Tracks for peer review.
Include the background, thesis/focus, and evidence paragraphs. Use in-text citations for quotations from primary and secondary sources and a list of works cited. Follow MLA format.
IN CLASS PEER RESPONSE
Wednesday March 1 Guide
question: Who is Anna Mae Aquash?
READ "For Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, Whose spirit is present here and in the Dappled Stars(for we remember the story and must tell it again so we all may live)" poem by Joy Harjo In Mad Love and War, 1990 RESERVE
Focus for Discussion: What ideas about Anna Mae is Harjo presenting?
READ sections in Indigenous American Women by Devon Mihesuah "Research
Writing" and "Writing About Anna Mae Pictou Aquash" 1-13
FOCUS for Discussion: Mihesuah's approach to writing about Native women
Friday March 3 Guide
question How does Devon Mihesuah account for the murder of Aquash?
READ Mihesuah's essay on Aquash in Sifters: Native Women's Lives. See Mihesuah's Web site. The same essay appears in Indigenous American Women
Focus for Discussion: Annie Mae's life from the record
READ the interviews of Denise and Deborah Moloney-Pictou in Indigenous
Focus for Discussion: Annie Mae's life from the point of view of her daughters
Monday March 6
WRITE Revised Essay on TRACKS
ORAL PRESENTATION of essay
Wednesday March 8 Guide
question: What is the evidence of community in the American Indian
How do Weaver's ideas apply?
READ "Dennis of Wounded Knee" in The People Named the Chippewa. RESERVE
VIEW The Spirit of Annie Mae, National Film Board of Canada production
Information about the death of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash:
NOTEBOOK WRITING: What concerns are raised by Aquash's life and death?
Also include research ideas for the second literary research essay due at the end of the course.
Friday March 10 Guide
question: What is meant by River Wisdom?
READ "Ways of River Wisdom" by Lanniko L. Lee in Shaping Survival.
FOCUS for Discussion: Displacement of the Sioux
question: How are Dakota life ways affected by whites?
READ "Dakota Identity Renewed" by Florestine Kiyukanpi Renville in Shaping Survival (Keep in mind the other narratives in this collection may be used in the second literary research essay if the topic pertains)
FOCUS for Discussion: Family experience in Renville's life
READ "Indian Boarding School: The Runaways" by Louise Erdrich in Nothing But the Truth
Wednesday March 15 Guide Question: What are the
results of adoption of Indian children?
READ from Children of the Dragonfly "The Connection" by Patricia Aqiimuk Paul and "Lost Tribe" by Alan Michelson RESERVE
NOTEBOOK WRITING: Particular effects of boarding school experience or adoption policies on children
Friday March 17 Guide
Question: How does the reader account for the time structure in these first few chapters of
READ Medicine River Chapters 1-5
FOCUS for Discussion: Narrator identity: name, personality, past life, connections to Medicine River
March 20-24 NO CLASSES-SPRING BREAK
Monday March 27 Guide Question:
How does Will relate to others?
READ Medicine River Chapters 6-9
NOTEBOOK WRITING: Individual characters and the roles they seem to have adopted thus far in the novel/ Which relationships seem to wok in a balanced way? Which ones seem unbalanced?
Wednesday March29 Guide question;
part does memory play in this novel?
READ Medicine River Chapters 10-13
FOCUS for Discussion Impact of specific remembered stories
Friday March 31
question: Which problems in Medicine River are specifically Indian and
READ Medicine River Chapters 14 to end
NOTEBOOK WRITING: Identify one passage to interpret in light of the problem it poses.
question: How can Medicine River be interpreted?
READ Chapter 4 "Indian Literary Renaissance and the Continuing Search for Community (1968-)" in That the People Might Live and selected articles for group presentation
IN CLASS PRESENTATIONS: Include the title of the article, the author, the main ideas of the article in a clear summary. Give the reasons these ideas make sense (or not).
Continued in class presentations
Friday April 7 Guide
Where is the humor in Medicine River?
RE-READ "Indian Humor" by Vine Deloria, Jr. from Nothing But the Truth RESERVE
NOTEBOOK WRITING Focus on links between Deloria's ideas about humor and examples of humor in Medicine River
Include a seed idea for the literary research essay
Monday April 10 Guide question:
How do Silko's family remembrances connect to her fiction?
READ from Storyteller 1-17 and 17-32
FOCUS for Discussion Select a quoted passage from "Storyteller" that focuses on an important issue in Indian experience
Wednesday April 12 Guide question: What
ideas about women surface in Silko's stories?
READ from Storyteller "Lullaby" and "Yellow Woman"
NOTEBOOK WRITING: Select a passage that depicts women's strength to interpret.
Friday April 14 Guide
question: How are males and females presented in Power's stories?
READ from Roofwalker: "Roofwalker" "Watermelon Seeds" and "Beaded Soles"
FOCUS for Discussion Select a passage relevant to males/females to explain in detail
Monday April 17 No classes Patriot's Day observed
Wednesday April 19 Guide Question: What does
it mean to live in two
worlds in Power's fiction ?
READ from Roofwalker "First Fruits; "Indian Princess"
NOTEBOOK WRITING: Generate a list of specific problem-posing ideas for the literary research essay
FOCUS for Discussion Power's stories and ideas for the final Research Essay
Friday April 21 Guide
Question: How may we interpret links between Power's stories and her
READ from Roofwalker: "Stone Women" "Museum Indians" and "The Attic"
NOTEBOOK WRITING What problems does Power pose in her fiction and her life experience?
Monday April 24 Guide
question How can community be understood in Sherman Alexie's work?
READ "Every Little Hurricane", "Because My Father Always Said", "A Drug Called Tradition" and "The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation"
FOCUS for Discussion Victor's community
Wednesday April 26
SUBMIT the context and tentative thesis for the Research essay and list of works to be cited in the essay
Friday April 28
READ Selected stories from The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Each student will present an analysis of a selected story. Include a brief summary of the action; explanation of a particular element such as character, point of view, setting, theme, or plot; and some explanation of what this writing contributes to readers' understanding of what it means to be Indian
Monday May 1 WRITE Research
Peer reviews in class
Wednesday May 3 Continued presentations on Alexie's work
Friday May 5 Continued presentations on Alexie's work.
Monday May 8 Submit one page
the literary research essay that includes introduction and integration of quoted sources.
Tuesday May 9 Reading Day
Note the one day interval between the last class and the final presentation of the literary research essay.
Wednesday May 10 to Tuesday May 16 Examination Period
During the examination period for this class--Wednesday May 10 1-3 p.m.--final oral and written presentations of the literary research essay are due. No exceptions will be made.
Guidelines for the literary research essay:
APPROACH: The literary research essay depends on the identification of a significant problem or issue derived from the primary sources in the course reading. This problem or issue identified in the primary source should be interpreted by the writer using evidence from the primary source and supported by the critical and theoretical work of scholars. It is possible, but not necessary, to use one or more primary sources, bearing in mind the need to have identified a solid connection between the works. Use two or more critical sources to support the interpretations or to contrast with them.
In addition to this foundation, the literary research essay will display these features:
Guidelines for the oral presentation of final research essay
Wednesday May 10 1-3 pm
Information to be covered in the oral presentation of the final research project:
In advance of the presentation, prepare several sentences on each point of information.
Use notes to deliver your ideas about the project. This is a formal presentation.
Rehearse the presentation and tailor it to 4-5 minutes.