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Introduction to U.S. Ethnic Literatures

by: Mr. Roy Denesik

Introduction to U.S. Ethnic Literatures ENGL 380

Marketplace > University of Idaho > Foreign Language > ENGL 380 > Introduction to U S Ethnic Literatures
Mr. Roy Denesik
GPA 3.89

Janis Johnson

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Janis Johnson
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Mr. Roy Denesik on Friday October 23, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 380 at University of Idaho taught by Janis Johnson in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 11 views. For similar materials see /class/227971/engl-380-university-of-idaho in Foreign Language at University of Idaho.


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Date Created: 10/23/15
F 001s Crow Historical and Cultural Background See Homelands Map in the back of the novel From Goebel Bruce A Fools Crow and the Nineteenth Century Blackfeet in Reading Native American Literature A Teacher 3 Guide Urbana ILL National Council of English Teachers 2004 Fools Crow follows an adolescent s journey from boyhood to becoming a warrior medicine man and tribal leader with the looming demise of the Blackfeet tribe s traditional way of life as the backdrop The novel focuses on the character White Man s Dog a teenage Blackfeet boy who is anxious about his social status especially in comparison to his popular friend Fast Horse Both boys hope to establish themselves as respected men through hunting ad acquiring wealth through trading and participating in raids on Blackfeet enemies They are also both faced with how to best respond to the threat posed by the settlers who have come into their territory How these two boys respond to this challenge is the core of the novel Buffalo Economy of Northern Plains explains growing con ict between Plains tribes and settlers 1 Buffalo pervasive in daily Blackfeet life 2 Relationship of Blackfeet to buffalo began to change with advent of repeating ri e profits offered by fur traders encroachment of settlers from east Buffalo used for food shelter and clothing Hides tepees robes bedding containers for storage travel and cooking Sinew thread Bones tools needles Hair rope combined with plant fibers Hooves glue Horns ladles Chips fuel Ri e fur traders trading posts early mid 19 11 century Could now kill more than for subsistence enticed to kill buffalo to trade for cloth guns and ammunition our coffee alcohol Effects 1 undermined communal nature of tribe acquisition of wealth began to compete with communal respect for health of tribe 2 depleted buffalo herds and caused tribes to range father at time settlers claiming more land Understanding how rapid complete and culturally traumatic this transformation was from subsistence hunting to harvesting for profit to the loss of the buffalo helps place Fools Crow s trials in a broader context protagonists struggles are between individualism and communal responsibility in the face of cultural change Seasonal Rounds bands 80 to 160 people per band would move camp about 20 times a year in careful cycle to harvest buffalo plants and berries winter shelter trading post visits More than other Plains tribes Blackfeet resisted incursions of whites Seldom allowed traders to come into their territory and killed dozens of trappers who threatened the beaver 186970 timeframe of novel follows 3 decades of rapid change disruptive presence of fur traders Jesuits make lst permanent white settlements and other missionaries arrive 1855 first treaty with US government 1858 gold discovered on reservation brought tens of thousands of settlers to Montana 1860s stockmen began driving cattle from Texas to the Montana territories crossing tribal territories When 2 cultures collide distrust misunderstanding and misrepresentation abound Northern Plains Tribal Values European American Values Communal individualistic Mobile sedentary Polygamous monogamous Respect for earth and animals nature animals to be ownedconquered Rule by consensus rule by hierarchy Focus on the present focus on the future Native spiritual beliefs Christian Social Structure 3 Tribes Bloods Siksikas Pikunis composed of bands of 80100 people Political Structure A quot J quot J 39 39 139 lead by respect for leadership individual bands free to dissent and act on their own War US idea of war completely foreign to most tribes for Blackfeet war was for wealth horses and masculine honor Point of war was to acquire more horses not to annihilate enemy Run encroaching tribe away Hit and run tactics with small causalities Counting coupitouch enemy to gain honor from courage Marriage most marriages monogamous men with sufficient wealth and status were allowed more than one wife rise in polygamy labor division where men hunt women process animals hunt and intertribal warfare took toll on men so many more women than men polygamy functioned as social safety net that offered economic support to women who were displaced by the loss of a husband or lack of available men Second white was usually sister of lSt wife which east social tension of such relationships Marriages were patriarchal some gender complementarity Dreams and Vision quests Dreams could foretell the future contain gifts of knowledge explain events answer questions and suggest courses of action Taken very seriously Vision quests were more deliberate someone seriously troubled might embark on quest alone to fast up to 4 days to elicit visions and guidance Fools Crow embarks on 3 quests that include visions Sacred Stories Welch incorporates Blackfeet sacred stories in the novel especially those of NapiOld Man Feather Woman and Scarface Na piOld Man CreatorTrickster Na pi s creative acts are sometimes random or accidental and at other times conscious problem solving through trial and error Sometimes the humor and penchant for gambling in Blackfeet culture reveals itself in the way Na pi decides whether people should die for only four days or forever Na pi 0f the Blackfeet Genesis Creates while living on the earth Creates out of playfulness artfulness And randomness Makes mistakes but usually corrects them Lives among his chosen people Teaches practical and spiritual things Is firm injudgment but leaves people to The consequences of their actions Has a sense of humor Likes to play Is capable of greed Is capable of being foolish God of the Old Testament Genesis Creates from afar Creates with a master plan Is infallible Looks down on this chosen people from afar Offers spiritual commandments Is stern and quick with punishment Has no sense of humor Has no sense ofplay Has no apparent material desires Is allknowing and infallible Na pi and the Sun seem to overlap in responsibility for creation Most sacred stories especially those referring to genesis tend to defy formal logic and literal interpretation Na pi and Sun might be best thought of as alternate representations of the same creative spirit somewhat analogous to the way the same God is represented in each of the separate parts of the Christian Trinity ScarfacePoia This is a story of love and an archetypal quest Its importance lies in its explanation of the origin of the medicine lodge its definition of appropriate masculinity and as an introduction to the sky deities who also play a role in the story of Feather Woman On the surface Scarface s task is to gain permission from the Sun to marry the beautiful girl however embedded within this challenge is the further task of proving himself worthy of favor in the eyes of the Sun Compared with the young men who define their worth by fancy dress and dancing and who treat the poor with taunts and laughter Scarface offers a quiet integrity that proves far more effective not only for him but also for the entire tribe because it brings them the gift of the medicine lodge and ritual of the sacredvow woman FeatherWoman 01 So at sa ki Feather Woman plays a major role in helping Fools Crow become a leader and a healer for his people Her act of disobedience leads directly to a series of consequences that affect her and her people In disobeying Sun he banishes her from his home separating her from her husband Morning Star Morning Star is frequently visible in the sky so she is in a continual state of loss and mourning always longing for a return that will not happen In addition her actions bring disfavor on her people But Feather Woman is also responsible for introducing Poia Scarface to her people teaching them the story of her time among the Sun Moon and Stars as well as bringing elements and tools of the Sun Dance She guides her people in the proper way to respect and praise the Sun helping to mitigate the disfavor she has brought on them Feather Woman is a perfect representation of the state of guilt mourning and hope that pervades the ending of Fools Crow Important Dates on Northern PlainsF 001s Crow 1781 1st smallpox epidemic decimates northern Plains tribes 1806 Meriwether Lewis s party kills 2 Blackfeet men 1833 Blackfeet population exceeds 20000 1837 2quotd smallpox epidemic reduces the population by more than 12 1855 First treaty with whites encourages Blackfeet to take up farming and allows for construction of roads and garrisons Blackfeet cede land in return for suppliesprotection 186970 Third smallpox epidemic again reduces population significantly 1870 Baker MassacreiA US Army force assaults a Pikuni camp on the Marias River seeking revenge for the murder of a European American rancher married to a Pikuni woman The band was led by cooperative Chief Heavy Runner yet 15 men 90 women and 50 children under the age of 12 were massacred 1873 Great Northern Reservation formediBlackfeet are forced onto reservations ends their economic relationship with buffalo 1887 Dawes Allotment Actidivides communal land into 160 acre plots to each head of household The Bureau of Indian Affairs BIA insists on farming allotments not ranching and makes individual sale of tribal property possible resulting in land acquisition by nonnatives Last few decades of 19111 century and well into 2011 Blackfeet denied the right to worship in their native way denied burial traditions and forced to send their children to boarding schools where they were allowed to speak only English and forced to become Christian and learn civilized ways Today the Blackfeet are like most tribes impoverished But they are experiencing a cultural resurgence sustaining their native language running tribal colleges and developing a tourism industry on the east side of Glacier National Park Names and Terms Used in Fools Crow Blackfeet Nations Kainahs Bloods Siksikas Blackfeet Pikunis Piegan Other Nations Black Paint PeopleiNez Perce Crow CutthroatsiAssiniboine LiarsiCree Dirt Lodge PeopleiMandans Entrails PeopleiGros Ventre FlatheadsiSalish Parted HairsiSiouX Snakes Spotted Horse PeopleiCheyenne Animals Big earsij ackrabbit Bighornibighorn sheep Blackhomibuffalo Blackhom runnera hunting horse Prairie runneriantelope Realbearigrizzly bear Skunk beariwolverine Sticky mouthiblack bear Earsfarapartiowl Elk dogioutdated term for horses Little big mouthicoyote Long legielk Swift silver peoplei sh Wagshistailiwhitetailed deer Whitehomicattle Woodbiteribeaver Religious Terms Na piOld Manicreator trickster Nitsokanidream helper Suncreator Sand Hillsiwhere the dead go Astronomical Terms Night Red Lightithe Sun s wife Morning Starithe son of the Sun SoatsakiFeather Woman Poia Star Boyilupiter Saturn or another planet traveling in conjunction with Venus Seven PersonsiBig Dipper Lost ChildreniPleiades StarthatstandsstilliNorth Start Dusty TrailiMilky Way


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