Issues of translation and authenticity are important when reading and
critiquing American Indian discourse from the nineteenth century. Native speeches were interpreted by
translators – either Native or (
B. Develop classroom debates over the following propositions:
Resolved: The Ghost Dance was a justified movement.
Discuss Kicking Bear's audiences. Is he addressing hardcore members of the
Ghost Dance Movement, American Indians indecisive about joining the movement,
people hostile and opposed to the movement, or any combination of the
above? Does Kicking Bear seem to address
Identify the social, economic and political pressures that might have motivated
E. Discuss pan-Indianism--the idea that diverse Native nations can band together in the face of adversity--and identify the advantages and disadvantages of such a union.
How important is it for protest discourse to rely on the past to make its
point? Think about the ways Kicking Bear employs memory to encourage his
audience to organize against the
A. Use four different research tools (web sites, academic articles, newspaper archives, speeches, books, audio-visual media, etc.) to learn about nineteenth century U.S-American Indian relations prior to the Ghost Dance. What are some key moments of dispute, controversy, outrage, or confrontation that may have motivated Native resistance?
B. What is the relationship between "good" and "evil" in the speech? How are heroes or villains constructed around this duality?
C. Using an appropriate textbook or academic article/s, look up the term "social movement" and prepare to discuss whether you think the Ghost Dance fits into the definition's parameters. Do your findings affect the way you perceive of the speech's impact?
D. Locate two pieces of nineteenth century discourse from American Indians that demonstrate strategies of building community similar to Kicking Bear's call for the Ghost Dance Movement. How do these calls for community compare to or contrast with Kicking Bear's speech?
E. Locate two pieces of
nineteenth century discourse from
F. Remembering Kicking Bear's discussion of the dualities of "good" and "evil," find other instances of this construction in social movement speeches from other social change groups like the Abolitionist Movement, the Suffrage Movement, the Farm Workers Union Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power Movement, the Women's Rights Movement, the La Raza Movement, the GLBTQ Movement, the Pan-Asian Movement, and other movements. How do these movements' use of the binary compare or contrast to the Ghost Dance Movement as represented by Kicking Bear's speech?
G. Recalling Kicking Bear's use of familial metaphors and the enactment of memory, find other instances of these facets in social movement speeches from other social change groups like the Abolitionist Movement, the Suffrage Movement, the Farm Workers Union Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power Movement, the Women's Rights Movement, the La Raza Movement, the GLBTQ Movement, the Pan-Asian Movement, and other movements. How do these movements' use of family and memory compare or contrast to the Ghost Dance Movement as represented by Kicking Bear's speech?
H. Read Vernon Bellecourt's (Chippewa) "Birth of the American Indian Movement" speech from 1968 that recalled nineteenth century Native unity and suggested a spiritual movement of Native separatism. (The speech may be found at http://www.americanindianmovement.org/papers/history.html). Write a brief essay comparing the invention, style and arrangement of Bellecourt's and Kicking Bear's discourses.
A. Do an Internet search for contemporary American Indian movements. Identify their primary issues, their arguments, the ways they build community, and the ways they establish credibility.
B. Review a web site of an archival depository like the National Archives, the Library of Congress, state archives, or local archives and identify the ways that these locations provide resources and direction for the study of American Indian discourse.
Visit a local museum, gallery or exhibit dealing in American Indian issues or
U.S.-Native relations. What are the arguments (visual and written) made by
these displays? How are Native nations and the
Locate the web sites of senators and representatives in states that support
large American Indian populations (i.e.,
Visit http://www.nativeweb.org, a national web site
that links thousands of indigenous people in the
F. The issue of "agency"--that is, who can speak for and about indigenous people--is a vital topic in the field of American Indian Studies. Some believe that non-Natives should not research or write about Native issues. Others feel that the area of American Indian Studies is too important to limit its engagement by scholars' ethnicities. Find an article in such journals as American Indian Quarterly, American Indian Research and Culture Journal, Wicazo Sa or Studies in American Indian Literatures that grapple with this issue. Be prepared to discuss both sides of the "agency" debate based on what you have read.
G. Access the American Indian Movement's live radio feed on its web site http:///www.aimovement.org. (If not live, then you can access the feeds that are archived). What are some of the topics being discussed? What the arguments and rhetorical strategies employed?
H. American Indian tribal universities and colleges are
vital to teaching Native people about their cultures and life-ways while
simultaneously offering mainstream collegiate study. Visit a tribal university or college web site
I. Watch a Native-centered film or documentary (i.e., Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee or 500 Nations) and discuss how U.S.-Native relations are represented. What are the arguments being made in the film or documentary? Which Native leaders are spotlighted, and to which issues are they responding? How are issues such as religion, language, economy, land, etc. discussed? Which governmental leaders are spotlighted, and to which issues are they responding? How are issues of public policy dealing with Native issues discussed?