American Indian Cultural Paper

Submitted By mills34
Words: 1199
Pages: 5

Native American reflection paper NATIVE AMERICAN REFLECTION PAPER The native American Indians are indigenous people to this country are slowly fading away. Lack of sensitivity to their culture and their point of view of Americans is slowly witling away at their languages and culture. Many languages have disappeared and some others are at the brink of extinction, with only one or two tribal members still speaking their native tong. Such is compounded by mainstream American culture’s continued reinforcement of incorrect stereotypes and generalizations of the American Indian. “In Minnesota, there are seven Chippewa and Ojibwa reservations and four Dakota Sioux communities. (Indian Affairs Council, State of Minnesota (MIAC), 2007-2013) The Chippewa and Dakota differ in cultural identities. Members of the Lower Sioux Indian Community are part of the Band of Dakota” (Lower Sioux Indian Community, 2010) and in this tribal community “A total tribal population of 982 resides throughout a 10-mile service area and beyond” (Lower Sioux Indian Community, 2012) and others such as the Leach Lake Band of Ojibwa with a tribal population of 9,566 (Leach Lake Band of Ojibwa, 2013) with each tribal community identifying itself by relationship to community, tribe and band. (Lower Sioux Indian Community, 2012), (Leach Lake Band of Ojibwa, 2013) Originally there were more tribes located within the land that is now called Minnesota. One of the now extinct tribes were known as the Kaposia Indians. Such tribes are not discussed much if at all in classroom curriculum. It is unfortunate that only those remaining tribes benefit from such discussions. It is interesting to note that of the nine original counties, Benton, Dahkotah, Itasca, Ramsey, Mahkahta, Pembina, Wabasha, Washington, and Wauneta that six were named after Indian tribes or used India names. (Wikipedia, 2013) In each of the reservations a tribal government exists providing the authority and infrastructure needed for law and order. Within this infrastructure is a community education system; in each case research indicates that strong tribal history and language is taught. However, this is not the case in public schools. Public schools tend to rely on textbooks that continue to use a revisionist view of the American Indian and their history. Such textbooks also tend to offer generalizations of American Indian culture like those In the movie POCAHONTAS. In the film POCAHONTAS, Pocahontas represents the positive stereotype that respects the earth and communicates with the trees and animals. Even Disney is guilty of perpetuating stereotypes of the American Indian. And further suggests teaching young children about Native Americans that by failing to challenge existing biases we allow children to adopt attitudes based on inaccuracies. It is interesting to note that in today’s politically correct society, there is no definitive preference for the use of "Native American" or "American Indian" among tribes or in the general literature. In discussing the perpetuation of stereotypes of American Indians many popular children's authors unwittingly perpetuate stereotypes. When discussing the lingual aspect of the American Indians make a very interesting and factual point, Native Americans make up less than one percent of the total U.S. population but represent half the languages and cultures in the nation. Changes are needed in how education about American Indians are presented in the classroom when teachers engage young children in project work, teachers should choose concrete topics in order to enable children to draw on their own understanding and suggest more than one way that we can be sure that Indian culture is effectively integrated into the curriculum is to write units of study in every subject area which will emphasize Native American thought and culture,…