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Native Viewpoints In Their Own Words

Reading 2: The student understands the meaning of what is read.
Reading 3: The student reads different materials for a variety of purposes.
History 1: The student examines and understands major ideas, eras, themes, developments, turning points, chronology and cause-and-effect relationships in US, World and Washington State history.

GRADE LEVEL: Secondary

BASIC CONCEPTS: Historical events witnessed and told from the Native American viewpoint.

ORGANIZING GENERALIZATION: Standard textbooks and histories are usually an assembled mass of historical artifacts- dates, policies, movements, and institutions- and viewpoints represented are those of the mainstream authoritarian figures -police, church, government, political party, school system - rarely do we embrace the informality of human experience. The intimate and influential role of the historical experiences of indigenous people is one that has been traditionally under-represented. With these selections, we must transcend the limitations of time and space and participate in the meaning of life as others who have come before us have known it.

CULTURE AREA: United States and Pacific Northwest

TIME PERIOD: early 1890's to 1960's to 1990's

BACKGROUND: "This anthology chronicles, through Indian eyes and experiences, the Native American encounter with the se restless and rationalizing Europeans and their descendants. Its selections span nearly five hundred years of Indian and white relations - from prophecies about the coming of strangers to memories of "first contact" to contemporary debates over reburial of Indian bones and return to tribal sovereignty. They cover famous and little-known aspects of Indian and white history. They highlight recurrent attitudes and persistent problems as Native Americans dealt with these busy, nosy newcomers who were not just visiting - who were here to stay." - From Introduction to Native American Testimony -p. xxi


Knowledge Students will: (Reading 2.1) comprehend important ideas and details, (Reading 2.2) expand comprehension by analyzing, interpreting, and synthesizing information and ideas, (Reading 2.3) think critically and analyze authors' use of language, style, purpose, and perspective, (Reading 3.3) read for literary experience AND (History 1.3) examine the influence of culture on US, World, and Washington State history.

Skills Students will: Read the stories (included), and analyze texts by examining other perspectives. Values Students will: use prior knowledge of issues, characters, events, and information to examine texts and extend understanding, critically compare, contrast, and connect ideas within and among a broad range of texts, apply information gained from reading to give a response and express insight, read critically to analyze, compare and contrast works of various authors and to understand multiple perspectives and issues of self, others, and world issues, AND examine and discuss historical contributions to US society of various individuals and groups from different cultural, racial and linguistic backgrounds.

ACTIVITIES: After reading the included materials, students will examine the difference of the Native American perspective from their viewpoint or that of their history textbooks.

Questions for reflection and writing:

  • What did I know about this issue before reading the essay?
  • What did I learn from reading this?
  • What seems to be the main point of the essay?
  • Why would the author have a different perspective?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the author's perspective? And why?

EXTENSIONS: A selection from each section of this book could be found to represent different and various historical occurrences and events. A compare and contrast on this variety of materials would need to focus on the differences and similarities of the perspectives.

EVALUATION: Student's self-evaluations would include a more personal and intimate realization of the importance of multiple perspectives on historical events, people and issues.


Various essays from Native American Testimony: A Chronicle of Indian-White Relations from Prophecy to the Present - edited by Peter Nabokov, 1992: Penguin Books USA p.267 - Farming and Futility, p.363 - The New Indian Wars, and p.436 - Confronting Columbus Again

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