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"I'm Ancient History"

Introductory Questions

1.  What is your background in Native American history and culture?  What did you study in high school and in other NSU classes?  What have you studied on your own?

2.  What do you particularly hope to learn from this class?

3.  Take a look over the list of guest speakers for this course.  What are some good questions the class might ask of each particular speaker/presenter?  For all of those weeks when guests are scheduled, please include in your journal questions you anticipate asking.

Pre-Columbian Sioux Culture

Please skim pp. 1-74 of Ella Deloria's Speaking of Indians and pp. 39-191 of Luther Standing Bear's Land of the Spotted Eagle.  Read more carefully the sections that will help you answer the following questions.
1.  In what ways did ideas on kinship help provide physical security to the Lakota?  Ethical guidance?  Emotional fulfillment?  What seems particularly attractive/valuable in Lakota ideas of kinship?  Why is a knowledge of kinship terms helpful in understanding Lakota culture?

2.  What is the significance of the Tipi to Lakota life?  The Tiospaye?

3.  What guidance did Lakota culture offer to men and women as to what was particularly appropriate/inappropriate to their sex?  Why these standards?  (Note especially pp. 148-154 of the Standing Bear book.)  Does Deloria offer any special insights into what life was like for a Lakota woman?  Does Standing Bear offer special insights into life for a Lakota man?

4.  What role did religion play in terms of physical security, ethical guidance, and emotional fulfillment for the Lakota?  Are there any contrasts between Deloria and Standing Bear in their views of Lakota religion?

5.  What was traditional Lakota education like?  What are the advantages/disadvantages of education done in this way?

6.  What was economic life like among the Lakota, i.e., how did the Dakota try to make sure resources were used in the wisest way possible?

Lakota Legends (McGlauglin or Walker)

1.  Which legends did you read?  Of these, which did you particularly enjoy?  Why?

2.  What are the values reflected in these legends?  What guidance is there here for family life, etc.?

3.  As with most folk lore, Lakota stories contain some rather dark elements.  Why do you think this is?  What  do these dark elements suggest about Lakota hopes and fears?

4.  How would you incorporate these stories into your classes?  Can you think of any particularly creative way of presenting the stories?  Be prepared to present one of these stories to the rest of this class.

Federal Indian Policy Questions

There is plenty of information on government policy toward Native Americans in the Lazarus book.  In addition to touching on the general Indian policies mentioned above, Lazarus gives an excellent account of the government’s dealing with the Sioux, emphasizing particularly the issue of the Black Hills.  The readings in the Lazarus book will not coincide all that well with the lectures, but they will help a great deal in preparing for the final exam.  During the remainder of the semester, read as much as you can of the Lazarus book and record your thoughts in your journal.  Look especially for information that will help you answer the final exam study questions.  Record your thoughts in your journal.  The following questions may help you in your study/use of the Lazarus book:

Chapter 7 (read fairly carefully)

1. Note the Red Cloud quotes on pp. 120-121.  What do these comments suggest about the importance of the Black Hills to the Sioux? 

2.  What specific violations of the 1868 treaty gave the Sioux a basis for thinking there might be a legitimate legal claim for reclaiming at least a part of the Black Hills?  What legal obstacles were there to placing such a claim?

3.  What does Lazarus mean when he talks about “progressive” Indians?  Why did these Indians form the SAI, and why did pan-Indianism seem important to them?  Why did some Indians themselves disagree with the SAI and its program?

4.  What do you think of Ralph Case?  What motivates him?  Is Lazarus serious in calling him a Sioux “Moses”?

Chapter 8 (skim)

1.  To what extent are Congressional acts of the 1920’s friendly to Native American interests?  Does Lazarus think the Indian Citizenship Act well-intended?  What problems does he see with the Act?  What about the Indian Reorganization Act?

2.  To what extent are the courts friendly to Native American interests?  In what ways are court dealing frustrating for those concerned about Native American rights and interests?

Chapters 9-11 (skim)

1.   To what extent was the termination policy ill suited to Native American interests?  What were its intended effects?  What were its actual effects?

Chapter 12 (read fairly carefully)

  1. What does Lazarus think about AIM?  How does he explain the rise of this movement?  What is the reaction of the government to AIM?  To what extent is AIM successful in changing government policy?