Class NOTES /

    Last Updated: 4 December 2019    


--To the Most RECENT "Class Notes" Updates--
• For F, 12/6: Gardens: Part 10: 431-477; Group #5: "Feminism in Gardens"
(N.B. re presentations: need copy of script or outline[s] for me at beginning of class)

• For M, 12/9: Group #4: "Colo(u)rs"; Group #3: "Four Gardens"

• For W, 12/11: Group #6: "The Most Despicable Character[?!]"; Group #1: "The Ghost Dance & Fertility"

• For F, 12/13: Group #2: "Hattie's Thesis"; course evals. (bring "device")

TU, 12/17, noon: Essay #2 (upload to Canvas)

Gardens: Tom's MOTIFS


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (if you can't laugh
at your favorite authors, you shouldn't be an English major!):


NOTE: I am intentionally brief, even abbreviatory, in the following NOTES because I mean them to function as reminders & sources of review rather than to serve in lieu of coming to class: they DON'T. However, this page has a further usefulness: by "Commentary," I mean that some points in these class notes are expanded upon (and re-organized) in ways that our limited class time—and my rather manic teaching style—disallowed. . . .

Further Note: Highlighted author names are linked to each respective author's entry on my Native Authors & Readings Links page, for further research on your part.


= = = = TIOShPAYE (permanent small groups) = = = =
T. #3:
Campbell, Allison
McClure, Helen
Villamonte, Faith
T. #4:
Bergantzel, Katrina
Chitsazi, Mahtab
Gavle, Hannah
Lopez Herrera, Natalie
Peirce, Maya
T. #2:
Kegley, Abbey
Kobs, Brooke
Kollar, Tate
Li, Xincan
Morrison, Ashley
T. #5:
Figueroa, Jenn
Morrison, Hannah
Varilek, Hanna
Widvey, Kaitlyn
T. #1:
Krueger, Daniel
Quintero Martinez, Izchel
Tolan Keig, Riley
Valkr, Shannon
T. #6:
Ambs, Joseph
Conrad, Kelsey
Evans, Mitchell
Reno, ZitaAnne
Note: This list has been replicated in Canvas's "Groups"; from there you can email your fellow group members at any time (helpful for the group presentation).


 M, Aug. 26th:: Syllabus, etc.; excerpt from Peter Pan

"What Made the Red Man Red" (from Peter Pan [1953])

Why does he ask you, "How?"
Why does he ask you, "How?"
Once the Injun didn't know
All the things that he know now--
But the Injun, he sure learn a lot,
And it's all from asking, "How?"

Hana Mana Ganda--
Hana Mana Ganda--

We translate for you--
Hana means what mana means,
And ganda means that, too.

When did he first say, "Ugh!"
When did he first say, "Ugh!"
In the Injun book it say,
When the first brave married squaw,
He gave out with a big "ugh"
When he saw his mother-in-law--

What made the red man red?
What made the red man red?
Let's go back a million years
To the very first Injun prince--
He kissed a maid and start to blush,
And we've all been blushin' since--

You've got it from the headman--
The real true story of the red man,
No matter what's been written or said--
Now you know why the red man's red!

"What Made the Red Man Red?" —YouTube vid



How do you do?
  No, I am not Chinese.
No, not Spanish.
  No, I am American Indi—Native American.
No, not from India.
  No, not Apache.
No, not Navajo.
  No, not Sioux.
No, we are not extinct.
  Yes, Indin.
  So that's where you got those high cheekbones.
Your great grandmother, huh?
  An Indian Princess, huh?
Hair down to there?
  Let me guess. Cherokee?
Oh, so you've had an Indian friend?
  That close?
Oh, so you've had an Indian lover?
  That tight?
Oh, so you've had an Indian servant?
  That much?
Yeah, it was awful what you guys did to us.
  It's real decent of you to apologize.
No, I don't know where you can get peyote.
  No, I don't know where you can get Navajo rugs real cheap.
No, I didn't make this. I bought it at Bloomingdales.
  Thank you. I like your hair too.
I don't know if anyone knows whether or not Cher is really Indian.
  No, I didn't make it rain tonight.
Yeah. Uh-huh. Spirituality.
  Uh-huh. Yeah. Spirituality. Uh-huh. Mother
Earth. Yeah. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Spirituality.
  No, I didn't major in archery.
Yeah, a lot of us drink too much.
  Some of us can't drink enough.
This ain't no stoic look.
  This is my face.

—Diane Burns, c. 1989

To the Top

 W, Aug. 28th:: incl. my Outline of U.S./Native American History (PDF on Canvas) . . .

"Grandma's Photo"
        Regarding questions of Native identity and Western patriarchy, my grandmother's photo (from 1943; click photo for larger version) is instructive.It is ostensibly authentic, at first glance: this is my little Lakota ("Cheyenne River Sioux") Granny, after all. On second glance, however, the fact that Grandma is wearing a traditional male Lakota headdress is entirely inauthentic—and just totally culturally inappropriate; it can easily be read as an imposition of the (Western) patriarchy.Note that the image is very much situated in a moment of U.S. history and ideology; Grandma's 1943 public display was for a Lewis & Clark celebration largely spurred by World War II American patriotism: "Hey, let's get some local Injuns all dressed up in full regalia, too!"—as further "moral support" (and with perhaps the implicit understanding that these "defeated people" are fine reminders of the U.S. military's might). And again, the fact they had her "crossdress" (as it were) as a male chief is symptomatic of a patriarchal culture & worldview.

** Several of our readings (will) have already mentioned the Trail of Tears, the Little Bighorn, Wounded Knee, etc., and so--

MASSACRES & TEARS—(A Few) Dates that Live in Infamy
    —with an emphasis on events that have become "rallying points" in contemporary NatAmer lit.—
1830: Indian Removal Actfederal policy to (forcibly) move southeastern tribes west of the Mississippi—incl. Choctaw, Seminole, Creek, Chickasaw, and Cherokee; thus Oklahoma and environs was originally the "Indian Territory"
1838-1839: "Trail of Tears"forced march of the Cherokee from Georgia, etc., to Indian Territory (Oklahoma); plus, a similar fate for other southeastern tribes (the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek [Muscogee], & Seminole—although some of the latter got to stay in Florida to root for FSU football!)
1864: Navajo "Long Walk"forced march of the Navajo to Fort Sumner in New Mexico; more than 2,500 perish; returned to homeland in 1868
1864: Sand Creek Massacreslaughter of approx. 140 Cheyenne & Arapaho (incl. women & children) at Sand Creek (Colorado); the Cheyenne chief Black Kettle survived, until->
1868: Washita RiverCuster's Seventh Cavalry's massacre of Cheyennes led by Black Kettle in Indian Territory (Oklahoma); approx. 100 Native dead, incl. women & children
1868: Fort Laramie TreatyTHE "broken treaty": prelude to the Little Bighorn, the Black Hills land controversy, and the American Indian Movement (AIM)
1876: Battle of the Little BighornCuster's Seventh Cavalry versus the Lakota & Cheyenne, led by Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iotanka [Hunkpapa Lakota]) & Crazy Horse (Tashunka Witko [Oglala Lakota])
1883-1934: Federal ban on the Lakota Sun Dance—and comparable restrictions on other tribes' major ceremonies standard during this same period
1890: Wounded Knee Massacreslaughter of largely unarmed Lakota Ghost Dance adherents near Pine Ridge (South Dakota); Native dead: approx. >300, incl. many women & children
A decent, semi-brief history of The Ghost Dance Movement
Wovoka's "Messiah Letter" (—by the Paiute founder of the Ghost Dance movement)
1973: Wounded Knee Occupation71-day stand-off between federal authorities and A.I.M. (the American Indian Movement), led by Dennis Banks & Russell Means; demands: recognition of treaties, etc. (failed); death of two FBI agents led to arrest of Leonard Peltier—deemed by Amnesty International as a "political prisoner"
A full series of articles on the AIM's 1973 Wounded Knee Occupation (and background on the original massacre), from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:The Legacy of Wounded Knee

To the Top

 F, Aug. 30th::
Paula Gunn Allen [Laguna Pueblo]: Introduction from The Sacred Hoop (1986; 1992) [pdf]
    * Origin of Sacred Hoop title/motif: via her mom, and Black Elk Speaks, Allen learns that "animals, insects, and plants" deserve the "respect" given to humans, that life is a "circle," a "sacred hoop" (1). . . . . later: "the complementary nature of all life forms" (3)
    * Allen's 7 "major themes" of Native American Lit.:
        1) "Indians and spirits are always[?!] found together" (2). [Later:] "the inevitable presence of meaningful concourse with supernatural beings" (3)
        2) SURVIVAL (cf. Harjo & Bird Intro): "Indians endure" (2).
        3) "Traditional tribal" cultures were "gynocratic," "never patriarchal"; moreover, such a "gynocratic" view—based "on ritual, spirit-centered, woman-focused"—is in line with, and fine support for, current "activist movements" (2). . . . . "the centrality of powerful women" (3) . . . . Definition of "gynocracies": "woman-centered tribal societies" (3)—including "female deities of the magnitude of the Christian God" (4)
        4) The genocide of Native Americans by Western colonization stems largely from the latter's patriarchal fear of the former's matriarchal basis: thus an attempt at cultural erasure "to ensure that no American and few Native Americans would remember that gynocracy was the primary social order of Indian America prior to 1800" (3). [Note: my—uh—reservations regarding Allen's anthropological theories were expressed in class. Allen herself later admits that various tribes are "as diverse as Paris and Peking" (6).]
        5) "There is such a thing as American Indian Lit"[!]—and a nice [Western academic!] breakdown thereof: a) traditional lit.: i) ceremonial [sacred] and ii) "popular" [non-sacred]; b) contemporary lit, incl. many Western genres, plus an emphasis on "autobiography, as-told-to narrative, and mixed genre works"—but still incorporating "elements from the oral tradition" (4). [Notes: Allen's "main"(?!) reason for studying NA lit—'cuz it helps us understand Anglo-American writers?! (4)—seems rather peripheral; 2ndly, her conception of "American Indian literature" as a unified "body," a "dynamic, vital whole" (4) smacks of a pan-Indian essentialism that this Lakota resents!]
        6) Western interpretations of NA culture inevitably "erroneous" (4), based as they are on the bipolar (+/-) stereotypes of the "noble savage"—that "guardian of the wilds and . . . . conscience of ecological responsibility"!—and the "howling" or "hostile savage"—the stereotypical image "most deeply embedded in the American unconscious" (4-5)
        7) Native American cultures based on "sacred, ritual ways" are similar to many (heck, most) other non-Western cultures of the world—partaking, indeed, in a "worldwide culture that predates western systems derived from the 'civilization' model" (5; what deep ecologists Devall & Sessions have dubbed the "perennial philosophy"); thus NA people have shared with those of the Third World the "outrages of patriarchal industrial conquest and genocide" (6).
    * Allen's personal-autobiographical finale: her ideas originate from a "Laguna Indian woman's perspective . . . . unfiltered[?!] through the minds of western patriarchal colonizers" (6; and yet several of her later notions derive specifically from the European psychology of Carl Jung!).
        —Like Leslie Silko, she identifies with the Laguna Pueblo goddess, Yellow Woman: she is "'Kochinnenako in Academe'" (6).
        —Native-identity assertion: Allen's "self who knows what is true of American Indians because it is one"; however, note that this turning inward towards an individual "inner self" is itself a quite Western-Civ. enterprise (6).
        —But she is both Native and Western-Civ., at last? ("somewhat western and somewhat Indian")—both reflective & observational (Western), but also "metaphysical," evidenced in her "guidance from the nonphysicals and the supernaturals"—including the "Grandmothers"; and so her "New Age-y" coda, in which she thanks the elements of nature, the "sticks and the stars" for the best "training" that she has garnered (7).


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week:

To the Top

 W, Sept. 4th::
Joy Harjo [Muscogee] & Gloria Bird [Spokane]: Introduction to Reinventing the Enemy's Language (19-31)
Main—er, "crucial"—threads (or weaves, or lines of beadwork, etc.!):
* Female (& Native) "kitchen-table" domesticity/conviviality: 19, 20, 21, 22 ("beadwork" metaphor)
        —Intimacy/personalism: 19, 21, 28
* Emphasis on collaboration, on the "collective," communal, dialogic: 19, 21, 23, 31
        —"This collection" = "the collective voice of nations" (31).
* Problem: Native oral tradition vs. Western written tradition: 20, 28
        —English as language of colonization/repression: 20, 22, 23, 24 . . . . incl. the publishing industry: 22 ("Often, the voice of tribal, land-based women writers with ties to community, history, and language has been marginalized and silenced by those who control what is published" [22].)
        —Solution: "reinventing the enemy's language"/"decolonization" via Native writing: 21-22, 23-24, 25-26 . . . . "Many of us [Native women] at the end of the century are using the 'enemy language' with which to tell our truths, to sing, to remember ourselves during these troubled times. . . . . [T]o speak, at whatever the cost, is to become empowered" (21) . . . . . "We've transformed these enemy languages. . . . . [We are] 'Reinventing' in the colonizer's tongue and turning those images around to mirror an image of the colonized to the colonizers as a process of decolonization" (22).
* Diversity (both tribes and genres): 23, 21 . . . . incl. Canadian Natives & Latinas: 27
* SURVIVAL: 24, 25-26, 30, 31 . . . . and the necessity to be political: "That we are still here as native women in itself is a political statement. . . . . The stories and songs are subversive" (30).
* Native worldview: "ways of perceiving" (24), "new paradigms" (29)
* "Borders": 26
* Identity (Native & female): 26-27
        —Problem of tribal identification: 26-27
* Structure of the anthology: "(1) genesis, (2) struggle, (3) transformation, and (4) the returning" (29) [Question: whose (Euro-)theory does this remind you of?! (Campbell's "hero's journey," etc.]
* [most explicit] feminist statements (and partial support for PGA's argument regarding the centrality of women in pre-contact Native America): 30
* Finally: "The literature of the aboriginal people of North America defines America. It is not exotic" (31).
* OOPS—a literary "typo": it's not "Henry Wordsworth Longfellow" (25); GB is confusing William Wordsworth with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. (But maybe this is a "reinvention"?! ;-})

Paula Gunn Allen: "Going Home, December 1992" (150-156) [essay (non-fiction)]
    * [My subtitle!:] "An aging & once-angry Native liberal 'hippie' woman returns home to her Laguna Pueblo home, after a New Age apostasy on the Left Coast."
    * New Age liberalism of her youth—anger at the Reagan years, a crystal ball she has named!, etc. (151-152). . . .
    * She returns home after her mother's death, "an aging and grieving woman"—looking for answers, even her mother's "spirit" (153); all she realizes is that she hadn't "known the woman at all" (153).
    * Allen's obsession with the "inner self" again (see her Intro to The Sacred Hoop)—but for a specific "Native" reason (154)? . . .
    * But her academic diction?: "soughing" (153); "sans" (154)!
    * Leaving behind her "California fantasy," she yearns for some Native reconnection, a "going home" (a theme in many a contemporary Native novel—e.g., House Made of Dawn and Ceremony), having exchanged her crystal ball for "eagle feathers"! . . . the "shaman sky" (155)!(?!)
    * Anecdote of the photograph—which "lies" at last, as an artifact that is "static and dead" (155-156). . . .
    * [Images/Tone:] But a sad end, at last—and tone of self-pity?!—yet, despite the (forced?) final sentence, the coda is replete with images of rebirth. (At last, how well does this essay fit into a section about "origins" & "beginnings"?) . . . [Later add/reconsideration:] But the New Critic would note the "painful" (tense & ironic) combination of recurring death & rebirth imagery (e.g., the simile of the "sweet, sweet spring" juxtaposed immediately with the "gloom-filled late October" [154], and the final sentence [156])—and find it all marvelous, in a "modernist" sense. . . .
    * "Name-dropper" note: "cousin" Lee Marmon, the Pueblo photographer mentioned on p. 156, is, by the way, Leslie Marmon Silko's father.

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 F, Sept. 6th::
Inez Petersen [Quinault (Washington state)]: "Missing You" (104-112) [essay (non-fiction)]
    * Problems: her mother's "stormy relations[hips]" = a jumble of half-brothers & sisters ("a flurry of children" [106])—"batch" (111, 112) is an especially odd word choice?!—and the tragedy of forced adoption. . . .
    * Mother's travails, incl. the punishments of boarding school, alcohol, racism ("No dogs, or Indians"!) (105-106). . . . By the way, this is hardly the first mention of "running away from Indian boarding school" in our readings (105; see also the Morrison essay, 93)—something my brother and I tried ourselves. . . .
    * Anecdotes regarding her "crazy-quilt family" (107) . . . including her homeless brother, Bobby—"seen on the streets for almost two decades" (107-108) . . . adoptions: "our sudden disappearances had begun" (109); painful episode of the social worker dropping off siblings at different houses (109-110); and her life with various white families (110-112): "now we lived with aliens" (110)!
    * Strange finale (last paragraph, 112) = the emotional roller-coaster of her whole narrative: "We used to care [for each other]" (108); but eventually, "we all grew up alone" (111); then her last "farewell" to Violet, who dies in a car crash, and her (weird?) statement that, of her many siblings, she loved three in particular "beyond death, beyond reason" (112).

Elizabeth Woody [Diné/Warm Springs Wasco]: "The Girlfriends" (102-104) [poem]
    * Two old women, the narrator and her more "fertile" friend, who are contrasted via a series of (at first quite vague) metaphors. . . .
    * But Woody's Diné background—corn!—helps clarify the poem's meaning: the narrator's "empty husks" are contrasted with the other's "pollen, fertility," until it becomes clear by poem's end that the latter has been blessed with children, the former (only) by oratory, the gift of language; both, the poem intimates, are means of survival?

Roberta Hill (Whiteman) [Oneida (Wisconsin)]: "To Rose" (309-310) [poem]
    —A poem to her "sister," now separated from her—why? (See 1st sentence and last sentence on p. 310.)
    —Nice image of rain turning to snow: "the rain . . . fell twinkling" (309)!
    —Effective "pathetic fallacy" poeticisms in the last stanza: "the land here / won't wake without you, Rose"—as all of nature's beings (& places) seem dead without her (310). [Pathetic fallacy: projecting human emotions upon the non-human (often non-human "Nature"); closely related to personification. BTW, Leslie Silko has pointed out that this definition assumes, of course, the Euro-/Western notion that inanimate (or "dumb animal") Nature is dead (or stupidly unconscious).]
    —Key questions: why does the narrator think that her sister should "Come home"? How is this related to her sister's "heart" (top of p. 310 and final line)?


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (regarding the racist-monument activism a year or so ago):

Regarding my joke about Custer being a well-dressed fellow at the Little Big Horn—a photo of the neck tag of my ARROW shirt:

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 M, Sept. 9th::
Luci Tapahonso [Diné]: "What Danger We Court" (315-316) [poem]
    —autobiogr. intro: Tapahonso's notes on the Navajo (Diné) language worthy of note
    —Another "sister," this one "courting danger" at "the only stop sign for miles around" (315)!
    —As in the Tapahonso short story we'll read later, a great regard for family, especially children: "Your children cry and cry to see you . . . your voice gathers them in" (316).
    —Another refrain of survival, at last—"It is the thin border of a miracle, sister, that you live . . . [and finally:] sister, we have so much faith" (316)—but here that "faith" seems directed more generally—at all women? or all humankind?

Marla Big Boy [Lakota/Cheyenne (Northern ~: Montana]: "I Will Bring You Twin Grays" (317-319) [poem]
    —A poem, as she tells us in the intro, about "pre-contact time," when "[i]ntertribal war was common" (317); thus the digs at the "no-good Osages," who would "slit a Sioux's throat just / to show they are better than us" (318). Then there's the historical reality that the captives of such warfare were as good as slaves, fit for barter & trade.
    —The narrator's promise to her captive sister (and cool simile): "An orange sunrise recaptured the stars like / I'm going to recapture you, my sister" (318).
    —Great line?: "Gentle singing brings tears to his tired eyes" (318).
    —They learn of the sister's specific Osage captor (318); and so plans are made for lots of bartering(!), at last to trade(?!) two horses—"Twin Grays as fast as lightning"—"to bring you home / My sister" (319).

Grace Boyne [Diné]: "Invocation: Navajo Prayer" (32-34) [poem]
    * A recasting of the Diné oral/ceremonial tradition: note the incremental repetition (conducive to both memory & "entrancement"); the importance of corn (pollen) to Desert Southwest ceremonialism; the number FOUR (the "four Sacred Mountains"/directions, plus the 4-line repetitions).
    * Note the "odd" (to the Western mentality) emphasis on "beauty" as crucial to spirituality; "hozho" means both "beauty" & "good" (& "harmony," & "balance," & "healthiness"!) in Diné (that is, Navajo), and the last line in Diné (repeated 4 times!) has been variously translated as "we are now in good relations" and "beauty & harmony restored"; note the similarity to many contemporary Native poems (e.g., by Momaday & Harjo) that end in similar "formulaic" utterances, such as "Let it be done in beauty."

Janice Gould [Maidu (N. Calif.)]: "Coyotismo" (52-53) [poem]
    * Our first exposure to an incarnation of the native Trickster archetype, a "mythic" figure who fosters tribal survival via humor & cultural renewal (often via an apparently impulsive destruction of the "old"). . . .
    * "Coyote" is one of the most common incarnations of the Trickster; here the narrator is a literal "archaic" coyote in the first 2 stanzas (52); then she merges into the contemporary human, a "poor" and "hungry" Indian girl, who performs Trickster-esque manoeuvres in the present day (52-53).
    * Note, too, the specifically female associations with the moon, her "sex," and the final stanza that reads like a paragraph from Cixous' "Laugh of the Medusa," with its tone of uncontainability, its relish of "All things insatiable" (53).

Note on the TRICKSTER archetype/NatAmer deity-motif: In NatAmer folklore/myth in general, Coyote is the most common Trickster, a cosmic & natural force blessed with both sheer animal "stupidity" and uncanny animal cunning. In Lakota stories, for instance, he is forever losing his tail, getting chopped up into bits, and generally making a mess of the cosmic order. But he always comes back to life, and the world is better off for his shenanigans. (Also prominent as a Trickster in Lakota myth is Iktomi, the spider. In the Pacific Northwest, Raven [or Crow, or even Blue Jay] is Trickster.) The function of these tricksters has long been debated. My own reading relies on Jungian psychology, Bakhtinian dialogism, and ecology/ecocriticism. Jung reads the trickster as an aspect of the Shadow archetype—that "dark" complex of the unconscious psyche whose real role is to make the ego realize that it is out of balance, through its sheer repression of that "dark" side. The literary theorist Bakhtin claimed that the dominant social discourse towards order and reason necessarily entails a "polyphonic" (multi-voiced) reaction, in myth, literature, and society itself. Regarding this latter, he points to various cultural manifestations of "Carnival," wherein the common folk go "crazy" in an established ritual that is directed against the (repressive) social order. (Cf. Mardi Gras!) Finally, in a purely naturalist/ecological sense, the Trickster is "raw" instinctual animal, always erupting into "civilized" (and repressed) human consciousness as a magical & numinous force—again, as a corrective against an oh-so-blind ego-faith in order and rationalism: a reminder at last that WE are animals, that cosmic evolution needs entropy and chaos, that to remain in any blithe condition of stasis is a psychological and cultural death.

June McGlashan [Aleut]: "The Island of Women" (67-71) [poem]
    * Biog. intro—NOTE: Mary TallMountain = well-known Athabascan (Alaskan tribal) poet. . . .
    * Example of PGAllen's "gynocracy"?!: in the Aleut tribe, "a woman can be a shaman" (68); story of the "ambitious young woman" who forms "a group of hunters" (69), and saves the tribe via a sea-cow [a sexist name, that!?] hunt (69-70). . . . (BTW, Steller's Sea-Cow, a manatee-like mammal, would be extinct by 1768, soon after its discovery by Arctic explorers.)
    * But the untoward & curious finale: marriages with Russians, even given the penultimate stanza in which marriage and "civilization" are equated to rape & murder (71)? . . .
    * But SURVIVAL again, in the final stanza—via "the children" (71). . . .

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 W, Sept. 11th::
Gail Tremblay [Onondaga/Micmac (New England/E. Canada)]: "Indian Singing in 20th-Century America" (169-171) [poem]
    * Title poem of her 1992 collection of poems
    * "Theme": the contemporary Native plight of living in "two worlds" (170):
        1) a Native world of naturism (the here-and-now as "spiritual")—of "light" and "breath," of everything "singing" & "dancing" (incl. stones and trees!) (170)—at last, a "singing round dance" of life "impossible to ignore" (171)
        2) an Anglo world of "patterns of wires invented by strangers" (170), which would "shut / out magic" (171)
    * In this two-world schism, Natives are "inevitable as seasons[!] in one, / exotic curiosities in the other"; and the language problem: "we wonder / whether anyone will ever hear / our own names for the things / we do" (170).

Janet Campbell Hale [Coeur d'Alene/Kootenay (Idaho/Washington)]: "The Only Good Indian" (123-148) [book chapter/essay (nonfiction)]
    * A chapter from her book Bloodlines (1993)
    * Ultimately the story—by way of her famous great-great-grandfather, John McLoughlin, the "father of Oregon"—of her mixed-blood grandmother, Gram Sullivan, whose life was—uh—more problematic. . . .
    * Initial epigraph, by the famous historian Bancroft, who notes that marrying Indian women is a "debasement" of the white race (123; also see quots. on 140)!
    * Opening "scene" (124-126)—Hale's childhood visit to the McLoughlin House, now a museum; her great-great grandfather's life/background
    * "Good Indian" interpolation: her mother's distinction between "good" and "bad" ones, and Hale's own joke via General Sheridan (see essay's title) (126-127; obviously, being a "good Indian" = assimilation)
    * David McLoughlin, John's son & Gram Sullivan's father, who just "rode away" and married a Kootenay woman (127)!
    * Gram Sullivan herself, old, grumpy, and paralyzed (127-130), with a mysterious grudge against the author, her granddaughter, because she reminded her "of someone she hates" (128—the central "riddle" that sets us up for the grand coda)
    * Maternal aunts' racism, incl. the remark about "an Indian shuffle" (128-129; early profiling!?)
    * Present-day Spokane (the city): also racist (130-131); insult word: Siwash—as in "'Stupid Siwash squaw'" (131)
    * Mother's self-identity: Irish (132-133) . . . but her pleasant memories of meeting her "exotic" traditional Kootenay relatives (133-134)
    * In contrast, Gram Sullivan, who looked Indian, was the outsider, and (perhaps) "felt inferior" (133).
    * Grandfather Sullivan's Irish background (134-135), of British "oppression," of later racism in New York City: "NO DOGS OR IRISH ALLOWED" (134; note similar sign in Petersen's essay, against dogs and Indians!)
    * Gram's death, and Hale's sudden re-interest in her (135-136): so—research!—especially interesting since the Kootenay were "the only tribe in the region that had been matrilineal, the only one that had had women warriors" (136). . . . First, (more) research regarding John McLoughlin (136-138); and Gram's grandfather, Chief Grizzly (139) . . . then the full pathetic story of Gram's father, David McLoughlin (139-140; 143-145), who "went native" (137): provided with clothes and travel money to attend a ceremony in honor of John M., he is portrayed quite condescendingly in the historical records as a "squaw"-lover (144), and as someone at last who failed to look "presentable"—which Hale realizes is a "euphemism for 'white-looking'" (145).
    * General Indian history background: Custer & the Little Bighorn (1876); Carlisle Indian School (140-141; "'Kill the Indian and Save the Man'"!)—and other Indian schools, "notorious hellholes" (141) [including the one I attended in SoDak, Holy Rosary Mission]; the Wounded Knee Massacre (141-142)
    * Then Gram's own trip to Spokane, another failure to "look presentable" (145-147)
    * CODA: well, then, did Gram "ever hate her Indianness" (147; aka internalized racism)?!—Ah, the rub, and solution to the initial mystery; Hale's own early memory of trying to bleach her skin white with Purex, to get rid of those "hateful brown hands" (147-148); the answer!—ah, this "Indian blood" and "Indian looks"—"Who did I remind Gram of if not herself?" (148).

Lois Red Elk [Dakota]: "For Thieves Only" (187-189) [poem]
    * Biog. intro: maka = earth; unche = grandmother (187); pronounced "MahKHAH oonCHAY" [Lakota: unci maka (oonCHEE...)] . . . Note also, in contrast to the Diné's close ritual connection to corn, the Dakota (& Lakota) are "horse people" (188).
    * The poem an alternating of positive/negative polarities, with the insipidly positive "Indian Princess" refrain offset by intentionally more "sinister" verses, in which the poet rehearses, and rhetorically embraces, such negative stereotypes as "redskin" (188) and "heathen soul" (189). Whatever the stereotypes, "I have survived" and am ready for the "thieves," whom she addresses in the final stanza. What does she mean, then, by the final declaration, "I'll show you what you never learned" (189)?
    * (In some ways, especially its tone, Red Elk's poem really seems to be an inferior imitation of Diane Burns' "Sure You Can Ask Me a Personal Question"?!)

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 F, Sept. 13th::

Alice Lee [Métis (Canadian mixed-blood)/Plains Cree]: "Confession" (186-187) [poem]
    * (This poem—serpent metaphors and all—is too starkly self-evident for me to add anything.)

Tiffany Midge [Lakota]: "Written in Blood" (211-212) [poem]
    * From her 1996 collection Outlaws, Renegades, and Saints: Diary of a Mixed-up Halfbreed
    **** A tour de force based on the tensions/ironies of the "two worlds": Midge claims/wants to be writing a poem of Native outrage about the slaughter at Wounded Knee (stanza 2), but she must use the "language of the enemy"—including "his" thesaurus! This reference work has "betrayed" her because she finds, as synonyms for "murder[er]"—"savage, Apache, redskin" (212). (Okay, it was a 1961 edition, to be sure!)

A recent article about T. Midge (Sept. 2019:
"Tiffany Midge thumbs her nose at America, with wit and wisdom"


  RESPONSE #1 (2 pages or more)—60 points—Due M, 9/16—CHOOSE ONE (and please specify which):

a) Write your own focused personal/autobiographical narrative that explores a "theme" (or themes) evident in our readings so far (identity ["race"/ethnicity and/or gender and/or . . .]/generations/"returning home," etc.), relating your life experience to "a goodly number" of our readings to date.

b) Compare/contrast the two intros (Allen vs. Harjo & Bird), considering especially Allen's notion of "gynocracy" vs. Harjo & Bird's calls for "reinvention" & "decolonization": which intro do you find more cogent, less inflammatory & "out there"? (You might also consider differences in tone & style.) . . . Finally, you should also point to "a goodly number" of our later readings as evidence that one or the other intro is more "right on" in terms of Native women's writing.

c) Of the various poems read to date (thru Million), rank your "Top 5," and explain the reasons (based, of course, on valid criteria!) for your ranking.

d) Champion/praise three, four, or five of the readings to date that you feel haven't got their due (or have been even relatively "slammed" by me) in class discussion. (E.g., Allen's "Going Home, December 1992"? Petersen's "Missing You"? Red Elk's "For Thieves Only"?!)

e) Respond to this class's general emphasis, so far, on "race" (ethnicity) & gender, via a discussion of "a goodly number" of the works assigned to date. . . .

f) Finally, as announced on the syllabus and in class, a do-your-own-thing/anything-you-want "reader's journal" that addresses "a goodly number" of our assigned readings is an alternate to the specific prompts above; but again, be as "comprehensive" as possible, and avoid simple plot summaries or a simply rehashing of ideas brought up in class or on the course web notes. (Feel free to object to/expand upon these, of course.) [This last caveat applies to all response choices.]

Final Note: As indicated on the syllabus, ONE MAIN grading criterion is how well you demonstrate that you've been doing the readings. In this regard, option f may well be your best choice, especially if none of the previous options rings a bell for you. Note that you can still begin that "reader's journal" right now—just go back to the beginning of the syllabus, and offer your own analytical or creative commentary/responses to a good number of the readings to date (without simply repeating what was said in class). In sum, one option, then, is—"free response."


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (see Midge's "Iron Eyes Cody"):

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 M, Sept. 16th::
Tiffany Midge [Lakota]: "Mount Rushmore and the Arm of Crazy Horse [poem] {Canvas PDF}
    * From her 1996 collection Outlaws, Renegades, and Saints: Diary of a Mixed-up Halfbreed
    * Juxtaposed to the "stone-white faces" of Mount Rushmore—and the "colonial freedom fighter" and the narrator's "amway-loving friends"—is the "simpler truth" (and irony) of the still-in-progress Crazy Horse Monument (also in the Black Hills): and that final stunning image of "just an arm . . . pointed toward / battle. Just an unfinished tribute to an unfinished war." (No further commentary necessary?!)

—my photo: Turkey Vulture at Crazy Horse Monument, 2011 (no symbolism there!?)

[OLDER] Photos from the Crazy Horse Memorial (and tourist-trap kitsch store), SD (TCG, 2006, 2009, 2013; select thumbnail for larger photo)::::

A recent article about the Crazy Horse Monument (New Yorker, Sept. 2019):
"Who Speaks for Crazy Horse?"

Tiffany Midge [Lakota]: "Iron Eyes Cody [poem] {Canvas PDF}
    * From her 1996 collection Outlaws, Renegades, and Saints: Diary of a Mixed-up Halfbreed
    * The key dates here are 1971, when faux-Indian Iron Eyes Cody became famous as the "Crying Indian" in an Earth Day P.S.A. (see video link below), and 1975, the year that Iron Eyes was an invited celebrity at the Wolf Point (MT) Wild Horse Stampede. (I googled it.) BTW, Iron Eyes' fake-Indian ruse (he was really Italian [see meme below]) wasn't revealed in full until 1996 (the year of this collection of poems), although there had been rumors for years.


        —Iron Eyes Cody's claim to fame:

"Keep America Beautiful - Crying Indian Earth Day Commercial 1971." Performance by Iron Eyes Cody [Espera Oscar de Corti], Keep America Beautiful Inc. [1971], YouTube, 22 April 2012.

Nora Marks Dauenhauer [Tlingit (pronounced KLINK-it) (Alaska)]: "How to Make Good Baked Salmon from the River"
(201-206) [poem]
    * Note: Dauenhauer is well-known as the foremost Tlingit linguist/translator, doing more than anyone to preserve her first language.
    * "How to Make . . ." is from her 1988 collection The Droning Shaman Poems.
    * (In terms of Western aesthetics, the best poem we've read so far?! Though Midge's "Written in Blood" [below] is right up there, too.)
    **** Poem = "recipe"!—note the main ironic/humorous tone, as each item of the traditional recipe is adapted to contemporary (and economic) needs, via the refrain "In this case." (Another common Native "theme": survival = adaptation!)
    * Retained is the traditional regard for other species as equals: the "seagulls" and ravens (203); mosquitoes & ravens (205); and the salmon (206). [Note: for many tribes of the Pacific Northwest & Alaska, Raven is the main Trickster figure, which clarifies the "crack" about the bird on 205.]

Chrystos [Menominee (Wisconsin)]: "The Old Indian Granny" (231-233) [poem]
    * From her 1995 collection Fugitive Colors
    * Biog. intro: interesting stuff—fan of the Beat poets, & existentialism (231-232) . . . at one time, "on the streets and in and out of nuthouses" . . . now a "political" activist for "First Nation people."
    * Plath-like confessionalism: "on my way to therapy" (and the humor[?!] of "how much I owe my therapist / who is saving my life") (232)
    * Or is it the "Indian Granny" who is her real therapist?—who "travels with me her sweet round brown face / appears in my dreams" (232)?
    * But the old woman has succumbed to drink, perhaps "to kill the pain of this graveyard they've made / this new world where her only place / is crouched on cement" (232).
    * The narrator was once into drugs, too—"to tie off the ache" (233).
    * Then she addresses her therapist, who's told her "about all the Indian women you counsel"—victims of sexual abuse, violence, and self-loathing—"who say they don't want to be Indian anymore" (233) . . . and her?—"Sometimes I don't want to be an Indian either"—but she must suppress such thoughts now because she's "so proud & political."
    * Still, she has "no home to offer a Granny" . . . and the final dire thought "that if you don't make something pretty / they can hang on their walls or wear around their necks / you might as well be dead" (233).

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 W, Sept. 18th::
Rita Joe [Micmac (pronounced MEEK-maw) (E. Canada)]: "Expect Nothing Else from Me" (220-221) [bilingual poem]
    * From her 1979 collection Poems of Rita Joe
    * Biog. intro: "status Indian" = federally registered ~ (Canada) (that is, enrolled, in U.S. terms)Ć
    * 1st strophe: the difficulty of Native articulation/expression via (the "English"?!) language—"Words" with "No clear meanings," "Hidden things," and "lost legacy"; "No tale . . . bares our desire, hunger," and former "freedom"
    * 2nd strophe: a (re-)assertion of the "lost legacy"—"heritage," "honor," "hope" . . . now "writing" is a metaphor, as she speaks of "the meaning / Written in my life"; a resolve to "stand" once "again / Tall and mighty."
    * 3rd strophe, a (re-)affirmation of her Micmac identity
    * Note the "version" of the poem in Micmac that follows: such bilingual poems are not that uncommon in Nat. Amer. Lit (e.g., Lance Henson [Cheyenne]). What effect does this bilingualism have on you, the reader? (For one thing: "Words no longer need / Clear meanings"!? Above all, it certainly reminds the reader of the author's dual heritage, and that English is not her first/only language. One might even read at least the English version as involving the failure of writing in the "enemy's language"?!)

Arlene Fire [Dakota]: "Hard-to-Kill-Woman" (300-308) [essay]
** Note on the Lakota/Dakota hanblecia [hahn-BLAY-chee-uh] ("vision quest"): having read this autobiographical narrative with some consternation, I should tell you that the traditional Vision Quest was actually for four days & nights, and was performed by young men only, as I far as I know (not to be sexist), with much less "casualness" than is evident in this essay. It was/is an initiation ritual, at last, into mystical/"spiritual" knowledge that should be for the ultimate benefit of the whole tribe. In sum, "successful" visions were usually a call for the individual to become a wicas[h]a wakan [wee-CHAH-shah wahKAH(n)], or "medicine man." Instead of me just listing book titles, do a web search for the well-known vision quests of Crazy Horse and Lame Deer. (A PDF of "Alone on a Hilltop," the 1st-person narrative of Lame Deer's hanblecia, is now on Canvas, under "Miscellanea.")
    —Two years of preparation for the ritual, to be led by a medicine-man relative, Titus; a "group" hanblecia of sorts, with "two other women" (301)!
    —Elaborate ceremonial preparation (302)—incl. the "seven rocks" ritual, in which others have visions related to the initiate; note that Titus' animal "spirit helper" is the badger, probably derived from his own hanblecia (302-303). (Along this line, Black Elk's & Lame Deer's spirit-animals were eagles.)
    —TONE of initiation narrative!?: "You go up on the top of the hill . . ." (303-).
    —Note that the initiation/vision is largely based upon starvation & sensory deprivation, a common practice of mystics the world over; but just ONE night and day!? . . . Moreover, her "crying for a vision" ("good health," etc.) (303) seems quite self-centered, compared to the tribal/communal emphases of Black Elk, etc.
    —The Four Directions (or six, counting the Sky & Earth) (303-304); however, the colors aren't the traditional ones of the Lakota, of Black Elk (West = black [for the thunder clouds, death], North = white [snow, white geese, etc.]; East = red [the sun/rebirth/enlightenment/the eagle]; South = yellow [spring, fertility])—maybe it's a Dakota difference (though she attended the _Lakota_ college, Sinte Gleska? and she now sun dances at Pine Ridge [intro]). . . .
    —Then, FOUR visions (& directions): 1) her dead aunt (north); 2) the "real old man" whom she assumes is, and fears as, the trickster "Iktomi" (east) (304-305); 3) the apparently disembodied song & singers (south?!) (305-306); 4) the "huge eagle" (west), who "circled four times" (306)
    —Rather untoward(?!) fear of coyotes (306-307)—and the odd(?) confession that, if she'd'a heard/seen one during her ordeal, "I probably would have got up and ran" (307)
    —Throwing up (307-308): a purgation to further foster the visionary mode—and her subsequent euphoric feeling of "lightness" (308)
    —Final paragraph? (308)—wherein we learn nothing of what her vision quest "taught" her, but rather are provided with some background info, on the ritual in general, and on her own reasons for attempting it. (Why?) . . . It's a "co-ed" ritual (now?), for both "a woman and a man"; she was spurred on by "voices" as if from "dreams"—who always spoke "in Indian," and gave her spontaneous visions ("little pictures, like a filmstrip"). And so "I could see myself doing different things, and the Vision Quest was one of them."

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 F, Sept. 20th::
Mary Brave Bird [Lakota]: "We AIM Not to Please" (336-352) [essay/chapter excerpt]
    —from Lakota Woman (1990; as Mary Crow Dog [wife of Leonard ~!]; with Richard Erdoes)
[PART I: A.I.M. in general, & its origins:]    (see next "table" for timeline)
    —B.B.'s several comparisons of the excitement of A.I.M. with the 1890 "Ghost Dance fever" (337, 345, 346, 350) . . . The Lakota song (337) is translated immediately below ("Maka" = earth, or here, world; "Oyate" = the people, translated here as nation; etc.)
    —B.B.'s several acknowledgements of A.I.M.'s limitations & failures (337-338; 339; 343 [and defense!]: "Aside from ripping off a few trading posts, we were not really bad" (344)!?
    —A.I.M.'s sheer controversial novelty (don't I remember!—as a high school student in SoDak at the time): "Some people loved AIM, some hated it, but nobody ignored it" (338).
    —Leonard Crow Dog (338, etc.): young & charismatic Lakota medicine man, one of the 1st Lakota (& "holy men") to give A.I.M. some legitimacy in Pine Ridge (SD). (What Brave Bird downplays is how many of the "apples" on the Rez (see note on the "lost generation," below) were against A.I.M. My mother, for instance, commuted to Pine Ridge from Rapid City for her job at this time—c. 1973—and told me that she felt terrified.)
    —A.I.M.'s origins among urban "ghetto Indians" in Minneapolis/St. Paul—who discover on the Pine Ridge Rez some sense of tradition & ceremony (339; a gesture that other Native scholars have viewed more critically, as a "wanna-be" mentality/motive of questionable authenticity) . . . ergo the re-emphasis on the traditional Sun Dance ceremony (342) . . . Many "came from tribes which had never practiced this ritual. I felt it was their way of saying, 'I am an Indian again'" (345).
    —Radical-protest rhetoric borrowed in part from the black Civil Rights movement; but note B.B.'s distinction between what each minority race wants (340), a point already made by Vine Deloria in Custer Died for Your Sins.
    —Government-forced sterilization of Native women (341-342; cf. Harjo's essay); why?: "there were already too many little red bastards for the taxpayers to take care of" (341).
    —Protests: against anthropological digs; "Indian political trials"; "NO INDIANS ALLOWED" signs (342)!
    —Interesting commentary on the coalition of the young AIMsters and the traditional elders, while those in the middle were a "lost generation" of despair & govt. handouts (342)
    —B.B.'s pride in the Lakotas' seminal role in A.I.M. (342-343, 345); yet a concomitant knowledge that this is rather against the pan-Indian emphasis of A.I.M., its call for "tribal unity" (345; see also 352).
    —WOMEN's role in A.I.M. (343, etc.): "'A nation is not dead until the hearts of its women are on the ground'" (343—something Custer, et al., nearly managed!?).
    —Local white reaction to A.I.M. in Pine Ridge (343-344; again, I remember): Black Hills tourist traps—you're "scaring the tourists away" (343)! minority-rights lawyer Kunstler: "'You hate those most whom you have injured most'" (343-344).
    —B.B.'s retrospective evaluation of the movement: "I don't know whether it will live or die"—but "one can't take away from AIM that it fulfilled its function and did what had to be done at a time which was decisive in the development of Indian America" (344-345).
[PART II: the Trail of Broken Treaties:]    
    —the Trail of Broken Treaties = "the greatest action taken by the Indians since the battle of the Little Bighorn [1876]." Fittingly, the Cherokee followed the Trail of Tears; the Lakota started out from Wounded Knee (346).
    —Initial poor living conditions (another "broken promise") (347)—so the "unplanned" occupation of the B.I.A. building (347-); peaceful protest had not worked: "We were not wanted" (by the Nixon administration, et al.); Dennis Banks: will it take "another Watts" to be heard?; the drawing up of "twenty Indian demands"—"all rejected" (349); the chaotic (& semi-humorous) state of "siege" (350-) . . . Oh, but the TOURISTS once again!: taking "snapshots," and "hoping for some sort of Buffalo Bill Wild West show" (351).
    —Women encore (besides B.B.'s own foray "downstairs" [350]): Martha Grass, the "simple[?!] middle-aged Cherokee woman" who stands up to the Interior Secretary, talking "about everyday things, women's things, children's problems"—and them flips him the bird (351-352).
    —Coda/retrospective: "Of course, our twenty points were never gone into afterward . . . . But morally it had been a great victory. We had faced America collectively, not as individual tribes" (352).

** A.I.M/"Red Power" Timeline:
* 1968: founding of A.I.M. (the American Indian Movement) (in MN); original leaders included Dennis Banks, the Bellecourt brothers (all Anishinaabe ["Ojibway" or "Chippewa," as Brave Bird calls them]) and Russell Means (Lakota); but, according to Brave Bird, "it was an Indian woman who gave it its name" (339)!
* 1969: occupation of Alcatraz (CA)
* 1972: Trail of Broken Treaties march (to Washington, D.C.); the main treaty they had in mind was the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, which guaranteed the "Sioux" the Black Hills, a promise soon broken by Custer & gold-lust. . . . Here is the TRAIL OF BROKEN TREATIES 20-POINT POSITION PAPER.
* 1973: Wounded Knee Occupation—The Legacy of Wounded Knee (thorough set of articles on AIM's 1973 insurrection [Sioux Falls Argus Leader]).

        —Works Cited entry for today's video:

Wounded Knee. Dir. Stanley Nelson. Part 5 of We Shall Remain. American Experience/WGBH International, 2009. DVD.


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (my Turkey Vulture photo, 2007):

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 M, Sept. 23rd::
Lee Maracle [Salish (Pacific Northwest)/Métis (Canadian mixed-blood)]: "Who's Political Here?" (246-258) [short story (fiction)]
    * From her 1990 collection Sojourner's Truth and Other Stories
    * Very humorous fiction about a narrator deftly handling the overwhelming chores of motherhood, versus her "political" (and whining) husband & friends (cf. the title) . . .
    * Husband Tom (247-249): helpless as a child without any clean underwear!—but going downtown to "poster" (i.e., with radical political pamphlets/flyers)
    * Arduous trip, with buggy + 2 kids, to Safeway, where she meets Tom's friend, Frankie—a womanizer (249-251) . . . great slam at the sexism & machismo of John Wayne movies (251)
    * Then, back home, the narrator, who has never made a close connection between "Sex, love, and morals," has a roll in the hay with Frankie (251); in contrast to the narrator, Frankie is riddled with guilt throughout the rest of the story.
    * News from friends: Tom's in jail (251-252)—bail him out!? The narrator: look at MY travails; look at the politics of everyday human life that I have to juggle: "Who is in prison here?"
    * Frankie attacks her mothering skills regarding her daughters: "'they're wild'" (254); "'This is a gawdamn zoo'" (255).
    * "More of Tom's friends" show up, whose grandiose political pretensions are laughable (256). One is Patti, with whom Tom is having an affair. The narrator cares little about that (256-257); what bothers her is that Patty is respected by the men for "her brain": "I'm jealous of Patti, not sexually, but because my husband and her friends accord her her mind" (257).
    * After the strange "politics" of her day, the narrator gives free rein to "Rolling, changing emotions" (257)—including "Panic," until she imagines her "old granny's face" grinning "through the wall." This vision is a calming influence, since the old woman seems to have been saying, "Let it roll, let it rage," this "storm" of emotions. Now they become "exhilarating," and lead to the story's epiphany (and rebuttal to Frankie's crack about her kids): "yes, they are wild. Wild, untamed, unconquerable, and I was going to go on making sure they stayed that way" (258).

Winona LaDuke [Anishinaabe (i.e., Ojibwe) (Minn./Wisc./Mich.)]: "Ogitchida Ikwewag: The Women's Warrior Society, Fall 1993" (263-269) [short story (fiction)]
    * Biog. intro: note, of course, LaDuke's emphasis on "social activism."
    * Opening Native/New-Age cleansing ritual, in a "Circle," under the "full moon" (264-265)
    * The problem: sexual abuse, of 11-yr.-old Frances Graves, by her father Fred Graves, powerful tribal councilman (265-266) . . . the sad fact that this is hardly an isolated case in the community (266) . . .
    * Righteous retribution: the "Circle" of "Warrior Society Women" wait outside Grave's house—with "ricing sticks" (266; any ironies/metaphors here?)—catch him in the act, cane him unmercifully, lead him outside "naked to the waist down," to public shame and spectacle (266-269).
    * [Later ADD:] LaDuke would soon revise this short story into a chapter in her novel Last Standing Woman (1997).

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 W, Sept. 25th::
Zi[n]tkala-Ša [zee(n)t-KAH-lah SHAH] = "bird-red" (Red Bird)
* TRIBE: "Yankton Sioux" (the Yankton & Yanktonais bands of SE SoDak) = Nakota tribe ([see Dominguez xix (the intro in our edition)], though usually called Dakota, even by Zitkala-Ša herself); blood quantum!: "one half Sioux" (Fisher xix)
    1876: born Gertrude Simmons (her step-father's last name), on the Yankton Reservation (SE SoDak)—the same year, by the way, as the Battle of the Little Bighorn
    1884: missionaries show up; and so to an Indian boarding school—White's Manual Institute—in Indiana (which she attended, with some intervening years at home, to 1895)
    [1890: the Massacre of Wounded Knee, about which Zitkala-Ša is oddly "reticent": "Nowhere in these stories is there a reference to this historical act of genocide" (D&N xxxiii).]
    1895-1897: to Earlham's College (Indiana), and to poetry writing & oratory contests
    1897-1899: teaching at Carlisle Indian Industrial School!
    1899-1902?: study at the New England Conservatory of Music (violin)
    1900-1902: composes bulk of her literary output [see next list]
    1902: married to Raymond Bonnin, which some claim signaled the "decline" of her literary career (Fisher xiii)
    1903-1916: living with husband, now a B.I.A. employee, on a Utah reservation. where she further develops her bent for Indian activism—including her . . .
    1913-1918: activist denunciation of Native peyote use, for which the "liberal ethnologist James Mooney . . . denounced" her "as a fraud," for wearing an Indian outfit that was a hodge-podge from different tribes (D&N xxi-xxiii)!
    1916: Bonnins move to Washington, D.C., upon Zitkala-Ša's election as secretary & treasurer of the Society of the American Indian—"the first national pan-Indian political organization run entirely by Native people" (D&N xxix-xv; founded 1911, "dissolved" in 1919); and a new, more public life of activism on behalf of Native Americans, including calling for Indian citizenship (granted 1924) and the removal of the Sun Dance ban (legalized 1934, via the Indian Reorganization Act)
    1926: founds the National Council of American Indians, for which she was president until her death in . . .
    1938: died; "In perhaps the greatest misrepresentation of a life often misrepresented, she was described in the hospital's postmortem report as "'Gertrude Bonnin from South Dakota—Housewife'" (D&N xxviii)!
    1900: Atlantic Monthly: "Impressions of an Indian Childhood"; "The School Days of an Indian Girl"; "An Indian Teacher among Indians" [all later included in American Indian Stories]
            —Praise(?!) of Zitkala-Ša in an issue of Harper's Bazaar in 1900: "Zitkala-Ša is of the Sioux tribe of Dakota and until her ninth year was a veritable little savage" (qtd. in Fisher vii; see also Helen Keller's letter in the old advertisement in the back of our text).
    1901: book: Old Indian Legends; Harper's Magazine: "The Soft-Hearted Sioux" [later included in American Indian Stories]
    1902: Atlantic Monthly: "Why I Am a Pagan"
            —Carlisle founder Richard Pratt's review of this essay: "its author was 'worse than a pagan'" (D&N xix).
    1913: collaborated with William Hanson on the "Indian opera" Sun Dance (revived on Broadway in 1937 [Fisher]—or 1938? [the year of her death: D&N])
    1921: book: American Indian Stories
            —"[S]he calls her new book the 'blanket book' (the cover image was an image of a Navajo blanket)" (D&N xxvii; note: traditional Indians were often referred to as "blanket Indians").
            —". . . one of the first attempts of a Native American woman to write her own story without the aid of an editor, an interpreter, or an ethnographer" (Fisher vi)
    —Her work "lay in some obscurity after her death in 1938 before being rediscovered and reassessed in the 1970s and 1980s" (D&N xiii).
    —"Zitkala-Ša had every right to feel nervous about her mission to become the literary counterpart of the oral storytellers of her tribe because she felt compelled to live up to the critical expectations of her white audience" (Fisher vii).
    "To her mother and the traditional Sioux on the reservation . . . she was highly suspect because, in their minds, she had abandoned, even betrayed, the Indian way of life by getting an education in the white man's world. To those at the Carlisle Indian School . . . on the other hand, she was an anathema because she insisted on remaining 'Indian,' writing embarrassing articles such as 'Why I Am a Pagan' that flew in the face of the assimilationist thrust of their education" (Fisher viii). . . . "Zitkala-Ša has been accused of 'selling out' largely because of the difficult balancing act she attempted as a mediator between tribal, bureaucratic, and activist concerns" (D&N xxiv).
    Name change—after quarrel with sister-in-law: "I bore it [the name Simmons] a long time till my brother's wife—angry with me because I insisted upon getting an education—said I had deserted home and I might [as well] give up my brother's name 'Simmons' too. Well, you can guess how queer I felt—away from my own people—homeless—penniless—and even without a name! Then I chose to make a name for myself—and I guess I have made 'Zitkala-Ša' known . . . " (qtd. in Fisher x). . . . Also noteworthy: her brother's (only) given name was actually David; "Zitkala-Ša fictionalized him as Dawée" (D&N xv)!
    —Religion: "We can do little more than attempt to keep up with her rapid moves between Catholicism, paganism, Mormonism, and Christian Science" (D&N xv).
    —"Though she would spend her life working for the rights of Indians and would become one of the most vocal spokespersons of the Pan-Indian movement in the 1920's and 1930's, Zitkala-Ša was never reconciled with her mother. She spent her life in balance between two worlds, using the language of one to translate the needs of another. She was in a truly liminal ['border'] position, always on the threshold of two worlds but never fully entering either" (Fisher xiii).
    —"Controversial to the end, Gertrude Bonnin remained an enigma—a curious blend of civilized romanticism and aggressive individualism. Her own image of herself eventually evolved into an admixture of myth and fact, so that by the time of her death in 1938, she believed, and it was erroneously stated in three obituaries [in major Eastern newspapers], that she was the granddaughter of Sitting Bull . . . though her own mother was older than Sitting Bull [and they weren't even from the same tribe!]" (Fisher xvii). . . . "Zitkala-Ša herself was implicated in propagating this myth. It became one of her favorite autobiographical stories. . ." (D&N xiv).
    —"Her career also exemplifies the tremendous difficulty confronting minority people who would become writers but who are constantly under pressure from their own groups to use literature toward socio-political ends. . . . The wonder is that she wrote at all and in so doing became one of the first Indians to bring to the attention of a white audience the traditions of a tribe as well as the personal sensibilities of one of its members" (Fisher xvii-xviii).
    —Subversion/"Reinvention"?: [regarding "School Days":] "Resisting the pressures of assimilation in small ways, employing trickster strategies such as vandalizing the school's Bible, she was able to maintain a sense of herself" (D&N xvi).
    Fisher = Dexter Fisher's Foreword to the previous U of Nebraska P edition of American Indian Stories
    D & N = Davidson & Norris's Introduction to American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings (Penguin Classics)
(A more legible/printable version of this handout/outline is on Canvas, in the "ZITKALA-S[h]A" folder.)

** Z-SHA PRE-READING NOTE: I tend to approach longer literary texts—like Z-Sha's three-part autobiography—as a structuralist of sorts, identifying its building blocks, which I like to call "MOTIFS" (as in musical motifs: snippets of melody or chord progressions that get repeated throughout the "symphony" that is the text). In Z-Sha, for instance, it's interesting to follow her DICTION (word choices: e.g., "wigwam," "paleface," "iron horse": WHY? who is her AUDIENCE?); her common FIGURES OF SPEECH (e.g., the recurring comparisons, implicit or explicit, to "wild animals"); her use of literary conventions (e.g., those Victorian over-dramatic, emotional moments?!; the Biblical plot motif of temptation & disobedience). Also, speaking of her audience, how might that have effected her TONE and POINT OF VIEW? How would you characterize her tone (attitude)? How does her tone & PofV change thru the three sections?

TIPI (many Great Plains tribes)WIGWAM (many Eastern Woodlands tribes)

To the Top

 F, Sept. 27th::
* "Impressions of an Indian Childhood" [1900] (AIS 7-38)
    I: "My Mother" (7-11)
        —intro setting "exotic" (for her Eastern white audience), a "wigwam" by the "Missouri" (7) [Why "wigwam" [7, 9, 12, etc.] (an Abenaki dwelling/word [northeastern Algonquian tribe]) instead of the Dakota word "tipi" (which she will use later)?!]
        —Mother's characterization (any stereotypes for her audience?): "sad and silent [stoic!]" (yet tearful) (7)—why?
        —Z-Ša's characterization (any stereotypes for her audience?!): a "wild little girl of seven," "light-footed," "free as the wind" and as "spirited" as "a bounding deer"; full of "wild freedom and overflowing spirits" (8)
        —Cousin "Warca-Ziwin" (Sunflower) [Lakota: wahcazizi (wahkCHAHzeezee), "yellow flower"; or wahcazi tanka (wahkCHAHzee TAHNka), "big flower"]
        —Reason for mother's sorrow: the actions of the "paleface" [again note the Western-dimestore-novel word choice (9, 39, etc.)]; Z-Ša's reaction: "'I hate the paleface that makes my mother cry!'" (9) . . . "the paleface has stolen our lands and driven us hither[!—word choice!]"—"like a herd of buffalo" [Native = animal, an eventual motif] . . . and the death of Z-Ša's sister and uncle, upon the tribe's reaching "this western country" (10). [Note: the Dakota were previously inhabitants of Minnesota, mostly, until forced to various reservations in eastern SoDak & NoDak.]
    II: "The Legends" (12-17)
        —Indian Ed. 101: Z-Ša hears the "old legends" (13).
        —Emphasis on Dakota "hospitality" towards relatives & friends, especially "old men and women"—and the young's respect, "proper silence" (12-13)
        —"Iktomi story" (15) note: Iktomi is the Dakota/Lakota Trickster figure in the guise of a spider (or "spider-man"); he is the "anti-hero" of many of the stories in Z-Ša's Old Indian Legends.
        —Z-Ša's fearful reaction to the "secret" sign of the "tatooed" "blue star" (16-17; Z-Ša's apparent obsession with this story/image continues in her short story about the "Blue-Star Woman" [159-]).
    III. "The Beadwork" (18-24)
        —Indian Ed. 102: bead-making with her mother, whose pedagogical methods seem more Rousseauian than authoritarian—encouraging Z-Ša's own "original designs" (19) and—most of the time—treating her "as a dignified little individual" (20)
        —2nd episode: the girls on their own, "impersonating" their "own mothers" (modeling!) (21-22); but then they give way to their "impulses," shouting and "whooping"—cavorting "like little sportive nymphs on that Dakota sea of rolling green" (22-23; again note Z-Ša's [oddly assimilationist and culturally hybrid] word choices).
        —Chasing her shadow (23-24): a rather predictable & mundane narrative, unless it has further metaphorical resonances? . . .
    IV. "The Coffee-Making" (25-29)
        —two separate tales again, of the poor "haunted" fellow (25-26) and Za-S's untoward attempt at hospitality (27-29)
        —Z-Ša's fear of the "crazy man," Wiyaka-Napbina [Lakota: wiyaka (WEE-yah-khah) = feather(s); wanap'in (wah-NAH-p'ee[n]) = necklace)], whom her mother says really should be pitied, having been "overtaken by a malicious spirit" (25-26)
        —Z-Ša's coffee-making = "muddy warm water" for the visiting old man (27-29)—and the others' polite respect for her efforts, nonetheless: "But neither she [her mother] nor the warrior, whom the law of our custom had compelled to partake of my insipid hospitality, said anything to embarrass me" (28).
        —NOTE: "How!" (28) now more commonly (and less confusingly) spelled "Hau!"—Lakota/Dakota word of both greeting ("hello") and assent ("you betcha").
    V. "The Dead Man's Plum Bush" (30-33)
        —Name note: "Wambdi" (30) = Lakota wanbli (wah[n]BLEE): eagle
        —"Chaperon" custom for young women (31)
        —Z-Ša & mother on their way to a communal feast—characteristically stopping on their way to give food to a sick old woman (31-32); her mother's story of the plum bush whose "roots are wrapped around an Indian's skeleton, and Z-Ša's attempts to hear the "strange whistle of departed spirits" (32-33). [Hmmm: but later, Z-Ša will NOT listen to her mother's warnings about ANOTHER "forbidden fruit" (32)!]
    VI. "The Ground Squirrel" (34-38)
        —Character description of aunt, who's more jovial than her mother (34-35)
        —Z-Ša's daily "sharing" of corn with the ground squirrel, that "little stranger": "I wanted very much to catch him and rub his pretty fur back" (36)!
        —Strange(?) comment that she has "few memories of winter days" from her SoDak childhood; recounts her confusion of river ice with the missionaries' marbles (37). . . .
        —word choice again: "many a moon" (38; see also 74)!?


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (BTW, in Lakota directionality, the West is represented not only by the color black, but by the Barn ["fork-tailed"] Swallow):

To the Top

 M, Sept. 30th::
* "Impressions of an Indian Childhood" (continued; AIS 39-45)
    VII. "The Big Red Apples" (39-45)
        Apples as the (Biblical) "forbidden fruit"—the "temptation of assimilation" (D&N xxx) (Also, "apple" = Indian slang for someone "red on the outside but white on the inside.")
        —The "paleface missionaries": "come to take away Indian boys and girls to the East"—mother agin' it! . . . Z-Ša hears promises of "a more beautiful country," a "Wonderland" (39, 40). [= Oz!?—"You won't be in Kansas—er, SoDak—anymore!"]
        —Dawée having already studied there, even Z-Ša's mother has become a bit assimilated, now living like "a foreigner, in a home of clumsy logs" (40).
        —But mother's WARNINGs: beware the "'white man's lies. Don't believe a word they say. Their words are sweet, but . . . their deeds are bitter. . . . Stay with me, my little one!'" (41).
        —Notice Z-Ša's "retrospective" statement: "Alas! They came, they saw, they conquered" (41)—which not only is pregnant with the pain of her future experiences back East, but expresses her later assimilation in her very use of a quot. from Western Civ. (Julius Caesar's veni, vidi, vici).
        —word choice: "iron horse" (42; etc.)
        —Judéwin's details regarding the "red, red apples" (41-42)
        —1st inkling of the eventual "theme" of disobedience (cf. Genesis!): "so unwilling to give up my desire that I refused to hearken to my mother's voice" (43).
        —Finally, her mother's grudging assent—and her pessimistic reason: "'She will need an education when she is grown, for then there will be fewer real Dakotas, and many more palefaces.'" Her hope for justice?: "'The palefaces, who owe us a large debt for stolen lands, have begun to pay a tardy justice in offering some education to our children.'" BUT: "'I know my daughter must suffer keenly in this experiment'" (44).
        —Oh!—any symbolism here, as Z-Ša leaves for the East?!: "I saw the lonely figure of my mother vanish in the distance" (44).
        —Z-Ša's immediate (and premonitory?) "regret": "I felt suddenly weak. . . . I was in the hands of strangers whom my mother did not fully trust. I no longer felt free to be myself, or to voice my own feelings." And a final "animal" simile (and the "wild"): "I was as frightened and bewildered as the captured young of a wild creature" (45).

* "The School Days of an Indian Girl" (47-61)
    I: "The Land of the Big Red Apples" (47-51)
        —The "journey to the Red Apple Country"—on the "iron horse" (47)—it all sounds so "mythic"!
        —The white man's/colonizer's gaze ("glassy blue eyes" [47])—& the women's, and children's—upon our young Dakotas, to Z-Ša's embarrassment, even humiliation (47-48)
        —Humorous crack about the "low moaning" of the telegraph pole: "I used to wonder what the paleface had done to hurt it" (48; an innocuous aside that may have deeper resonances, given the later motif of the "machines" of Western Civ.).
        —Arrival at the school per se (White's Manual Institute, in Indiana)—to (the image/motif of) LIGHTS & whiteness: "lights"; "brightness"; "strong glaring light"; (even the) "whitewashed room" (49) and "white table" (50)
        —Caught and tossed in the air by the "rosy-cheeked paleface woman," Z-Ša "frightened and insulted": "My mother had never made a plaything of her wee daughter" (50). [Word choice: note "wee" as synonym for "little," another common self-reference motif.]
        —And so, like Babe the movie pig: "I want my mom!" [er, "mother!"]—and sobbing herself to sleep, with the phrase "wonderful land of rosy skies" sounding a little less glorious now. . . .
    II. "The Cutting of My Long Hair" (52-56)
        —Initial setting = mood: "bitter-cold," "bare" trees, the "constant clash of harsh noises" (52; say that last phrase aloud!)
        —morning breakfast & prayer (52-54) = "eating by formula" (54)
        —Judéwin warns her of the hair-cutting to come; and "when Judéwin said, 'We have to submit, because they are strong,' I rebelled" (54). . . . so runs and hides, under a bed, in a "dark corner" (55)
        —Note the cultural differences, here ignored by the educators: shorn hair, among the Dakota, "only [for] unskilled warriors who were captured" and for "mourners" (54). [Ironically, she is in mourning, isn't she!?]
        —Found and "dragged out . . . kicking and scratching" (55)—and her hair finally cut: "Then I lost my spirit" (like Samson?!); oh, the indignity: "now I was only one of many little animals driven by a herder" (56; see buffalo comparison [10]; see also 45).
    III. "The Snow Episode" (57-61)
        —Making body patterns in the snow forbidden (why?!); but the three Dakotas forget, and disobey (57).
        —Judéwin's ill-fated language lesson: just say "No"—which they practice on their way to questioning (57). . . . Oops, bad idea, for Thowin, anyway, who unknowingly answers "no" to the wrong questions—and a spanking (58-59).
        —Language/cultural barrier: "[M]isunderstandings as ridiculous as this . . . frequently took place, bringing unjustifiable frights and punishments into our little lives" (59).
        —Z-Ša's (first act of) REVENGE: the turnip (over-)mashing episode (59-61): "I felt triumphant in my revenge . . . . I whooped in my heart for having once asserted the rebellion within me" (60, 61). [Word choice: not the first time whoop has appeared; why use such a racially loaded term?!]

To the Top

 W, Oct. 2nd::
* "The School Days of an Indian Girl" (continued) (AIS 62-80)
    IV. "The Devil" (62-64)
        —The novelty of Christian dualism (God vs. Satan): "I never knew there was an insolent chieftain among the bad spirits"—the picture of which she is shown ("the white man's devil") (62).
        —And the threat: "this terrible creature roamed loose in the world" to torture "little girls who disobeyed school regulations" (67-68)!
        —DREAM of the devil and her mother (63-64): (humorous aside?:) "he did not know the Indian langauge [sic: typo]" (63) . . . . How do you "interpret" the dream's ending?: just as the devil was about to attack her, "my mother awoke from her quiet indifference, and lifted me on her lap. Whereupon the devil vanished, and I was awake" (64).
        —Another revenge—now, on the devil: in a book called The Stories of the Bible, "I began by scratching out his wicked eyes" (64). [Hmmm: remember other "eyes" in this narrative?]
    V. "Iron Routine" (65-68) [aka Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine"!?]
        —The title establishes an imagistic motif that "clangs" its way through this chapter of a "paleface day" of machine-like regimentation: the "loud-clamoring bell" (65; see also the "loud metallic voice" of the bell on p. 52); the pencil ticks of roll call: "It was next to impossible to leave the iron routine after the civilizing machine had once begun its day's buzzing" (66).
        —"Tamed ANIMAL": And so "I have many times trudged in the day's harness heavy-footed, like a dumb sick brute" (66).
        —Critique of medical care (another "mechanical" activity) (66-67): "Once I lost a dear classmate"; crying at the deathbed, seeing the open Bible: "I grew bitter. . . . I despised the pencils that moved automatically, and the one teaspoon . . . dealt out . . . to a row of various ailing Indian children" (67; see Levchuk's essay on Indian boarding schools).
        —Her anger strikes out even against Christian indoctrination, "inculcating in our hearts . . . superstitious ideas" (67; woh!).
        —The "machine" continues: "I was again actively testing the chains which tightly bound my individuality like a mummy for burial" (67; see narrative's end [p. 99], where she wonders if such an education is really "life" or "death").
        —Concluding retrospective on this trauma—and the (curious) final figure of speech: "The melancholy of those black days has left so long a shadow that it darkens the path of the years that have since gone by. . . . Perhaps my Indian nature is the moaning wind which stirs them now for their present record. But, however tempestuous this is within me, it comes out as the low voice of a curiously colored seashell, which is only for those ears that are bent with compassion to hear it" (67-68). Why does her angry "tempest" become the "low voice" of a "seashell"? Enforced suppression? Conscious audience consideration? A fondness for "purple-prose" images of nature & the exotic?
    VI. "Four Strange Summers" (69-74)
        —Return home after three years back East—not many details for "four strange summers" back in SoDak/among her people?!—to the "heart of chaos," and an "uneducated" mother who cannot understand her. . . . (69)
        —In sum, ALIENATION, from her mother, her tribal heritage, and "Nature" itself: "Even nature seemed to have no place for me. I was neither a wee girl nor a tall one; neither a wild Indian nor a tame one" (69).
        —Buckboard joyride episode (70-72), and her re-appreciation of the vastness & beauty of the Great Plains: "Within this vast wigwam[!?] of blue and green I rode reckless and insignificant" (70-71); impulsively chases coyote (71). . . .
        —Dawée won't take her to the party, of "jolly young people"—Dakotas, all, who "had become civilized"; and Z-Ša, too, as she complains about not being "properly[!] dressed" (72-73)?
        —Mother consoles her—with "the white man's papers" (Bible)!; but she greets even this, now, with "rejection" (73; not TOO spoiled, eh?).
        —Then perhaps the most pathetic part of the narrative: her "mother's voice wailing" outside, and—"I realized . . . she was grieving for me" (74). WHY?
        —Now, "schemes of running away" from the Rez—oh, the irony!; the "turmoil" felt at home "drove me away to the eastern school" (74)!
    VII. "Incurring My Mother's Displeasure" (75-80)
        —But some traditionalism still evident: from a medicine man, she brings "a tiny bunch of magic roots" with her, a charm to get friends; "Then, before I lost my faith in the dead roots, I lost" them (the roots) (75).
        —High school diploma earned, she moves on to Earlham College (Indiana) "against my mother's will" (75). . . . Versus her mother's hints that "I had better give up my slow attempt to learn the white man's ways, and be content to roam over the prairies and find my living upon wild roots" (75-76). [Not good enough for yu', now!?]
        —So, "homeless and heavy-hearted," back to school to—(more) racism: "among a cold race whose hearts were frozen hard with prejudice" (76).
        —Remember the Chrystos poem in which survival = making "pretty things"? Z-Ša, too, tries spinning "reeds and thistles," "the magic design of which promised me the white man's respect" (76).
        —ORATORY (76-80): 1st place at Earlham, to the overt praise of her fellow students (77-78); then the state (of Indiana) contest (78-80), where she experiences "a strong prejudice against my people" (78), evidenced in shouted "slurs against the Indian" and the flag "with a drawing of a most forlorn Indian girl"—and the word "'squaw'" (79).
        —Oh, the "barbarian rudeness" (79): note how Z-Ša, the author, reinscribes ("reinvents"!?) the word's original intent, as denotative of those who are not part of (Western) "civilization." Here the "civilized" are the barbarians, at last.
        —(Oh—she wins 2nd place.)
        —Another fit of vengeful thoughts upon winning her prize ("the evil spirit . . . within me") (79-80) . . . but back alone in her room, thoughts of home—and guilt: "In my mind I saw my mother far away on the Western plains, and she was holding a charge against me" (80).

To the Top

 F, Oct. 4th::
"An Indian Teacher Among Indians" [1900] (AIS 81-99)
    I. "My First Day" (81-84)
        —Though ill, Z-Ša refuses to go home, out of "pride," and the knowledge/guilt that her mother would say that "the white man's papers were not worth the freedom and health I had lost by them" (81).
        —So further East ("toward the morning horizon" [81])—to Carlisle. . . .
        —Meets her "boss" (Richard Henry Pratt), who has heard of her oratory skills, but seems disappointed in her person ("a subtle note of disappointment" [83])—Why?
        —Ah: besides her physical illness, she's not a happy camper, with the "lines of pain on" her face, and a "leaden weakness" from "years of weariness" (84).
    II. "A Trip Westward" (85-92)
        —Again, having ignored "nature's warnings," she's stuck in an "unhappy silence" (85). [This detachment from Nature will become a "theme."]
        —So(?) her employer's plan to turn her "loose to pasture," to send her back West—for more recruits (85)!
        —the home ENVIRONMENT again: the "vast prairie" whose clouds and grass "thrilled me like the meeting of old friends" (86) . . .
        —the white DRIVER, and Z-Ša's classist/elitist attitude towards him!?: his "unkempt flaxen hair," "weather-stained clothes," and "warped shoulders" (87)
        —Her mother's initial reluctance to run to greet Z-Ša issues from a mistaken assumption about the white fellow (88-89)—what is it? . . . Z-Ša clears things up: "'He is [just] a driver!" (89).
        —Z-Ša's mother's own assimilationist "compromises": e.g., her log cabin now has curtains (89)!
        —But to Z-Ša's suggestions that she make improvements(!), she tells of her extreme poverty, due to Dawée's loss of his job (90); we learn, in fact, that Dawée's been replaced by a white employee, and—irony—can no longer "'make use of the education the Eastern school has given him'" (90-91); and the reason for being fired?—speaking out, making trouble, trying "to secure justice for our tribe in a small matter"—oh, the "'folly'" (91)!
        —Z-Ša grows bitter at the news: to her mother's praying, she says, "'don't pray again! The Great Spirit does not care if we live or die! Let us not look for good or justice: then we shall not be disappointed!'" (92). [On one level, the Lakota/Dakota wakan tanka really doesn't "care"! But on another level, I suspect, Z-Ša is rebelling, at the moment, against some Christian/Native hybrid deity she has recently come to believe in, arriving here at a version of Stoic philosophy.]
        —"Taku Iyotan Wasaka" (92): taku (TAHkhoo) = something; iyotan (eeYOHtah[n]) = very, most; was[h]'aka (wash'AHkah) = strong
    III. "My Mother's Curse Upon White Settlers" (93-94)
        —Z-Ša's mother complains of the "shrinking limits" of Yankton lands, because of a "whole tribe of broad-footed white beggars" whose lights she points out to her daughter (93); and so another warning: "'beware of the paleface,'" who "'offers in one palm the holy papers, and with the other gives a holy baptism of firewater'" (93-94)—[Vine Deloria never expressed it better!?]—who is "'the hypocrite who reads with one eye, "Thou shalt not kill," and with the other gloats upon the sufferings of the Indian race'" (94). [See the fate of the "The Soft-Hearted Sioux" for a similar irony.]
        —The mother's final gesture of a "curse," with "doubled fist" (94): rather too melodramatic, en'uh?
    IV. "Retrospection" (95-99)
        —Z-Ša's final, earnest critique of Indian boarding schools; incl. her "indignation" about unqualified teachers—the "opium-eater," and the "inebriate" doctor who "sat stupid" while Indian students "carried their ailments to untimely graves" (95); the government inspection procedure, too, is inept; so at last, she concludes, "I was ready to curse men of small capacity for being the dwarfs their God had made them" (96)—what does she mean by this?!
        Alienation/detachment from "Nature" encore—and traditional religion (and mother): "For the white man's papers I had given up my faith in the Great Spirit. For these same papers I had forgotten the healing in trees and brooks. On account of my mother's simple[?!] view of life, and my lack of any, I gave her up, also" (97).
        —Alienation continued—via remarkable TREE metaphor: "Like a slender tree, I had been uprooted from my mother, nature, and God. I was shorn of my branches. . . . Now a cold bare pole I seemed to be, planted in a strange earth. Still, I seemed to hope a day would come when . . . [I] would flash a zigzag lightning across the heavens" (97). Did this hope come true?
        —So—a "new idea": retirement from teaching (97-98); and the retrospective in earnest, thinking back on the "many specimens of civilized peoples," of "Christian palefaces" who were pleasantly surprised to see "the children of savage warriors so docile and industrious" (98; note, too, the emphasis on their "gazing").
        —But finally, is this assimilationist education a good thing?—a question, she laments in the final sentence, that too few have pondered: "few there are who have paused to question whether real life or long-lasting death lies beneath this semblance of civilization" (99).


  RESPONSE #2 (2+ pages)—60 points—Due M, 10/7, at/by the beginning of class—CHOOSE ONE (and specify which):

a) As indicated on the syllabus, a do-your-own-thing/anything-you-want "reader's journal" that addresses a goodly number of our assigned readings since Response #1 (from Fire's "Hard-to-Kill Woman" thru the most recent readings [see full list below]) is an alternate to the specific prompts below; however, please avoid simple plot summaries or a simply rehashing of ideas brought up in class or on the course web notes. (Feel free to object to/expand upon these, of course.) [This last caveat against bare plot summaries applies to all response choices.]

b) [À la Response #1,] Respond to the "Top 5" readings these last few weeks (from the Fire essay thru the most recent readings, including Zitkala-Ša's autobiography [count as 1 text!], short story, and essay). (This seemed to work well for many of you last time, as a focusing device.) Or—how about the "Worst 5"?!

c) Using Zitkala-Ša's autobiography as your foundational text, trace themes—or "motifs"—in her life story that recur in our other recent readings (again, see full list below).

d) Write a "play," a creative dialogue, in which at least two of our contemporary authors (from the range of readings already noted) have a conversation with the ghost of Zitkala-Ša. Of course, each author will refer a lot to her own writing(s). (You can go a lot directions here, but one way to think of it is as a creative version of prompt "c.")

    Final Note: As indicated on the syllabus, ONE MAIN grading criterion is how well you demonstrate that you've been doing the readings. In this regard, option "a" may well be your best choice, especially if none of the subsequent options rings a bell for you. (However, responding to only one or two texts, as some of you did for Response #1, is thus not a fulfillment of the spirit of this assignment.) Also, you don't have to waste paper on a separate formal Works Cited page for these informal responses.

• To be as clear & helpful as possible, here are the eligible readings: Fire: "Hard-to-Kill Woman" (300-); Brave Bird: "We AIM Not to Please" (336-); Maracle: "Who's Political Here?" (246-); LaDuke: "Ogitchida Ikwewag" (263-); Zitkala-Ša's American Indian Stories (complete assigned readings: 7-99, 109-125, 185-195); Levchuk: "Leaving Home for Carlisle Indian School" (175-); Jacobs: "One-Hundred-Dollar Boots" (271-)


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (Wounded Knee mass burial site):

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 M, Oct. 7th::
"The Soft-Hearted Sioux" [1901; short story] (AIS 109-125)
    —Initial note on the story's "literary quality": not to be a highbrow, but this ain't Henry James, or even Edgar Allen Poe; rather it's very much akin to the popular melodramatic fiction of the day.
    I. (109-111)
        —Protagonist: 16 years old, in his parents' "tepee"—or "wigwam" (109)! . . .
        —And the universal question from his folks—here his grandmother—"when yu' gonna get a girlfriend, boy?" (I paraphrase) (110). But our hero is reluctant: "'Hoh! [ho>, in this context, = the phatic time-server "well . . ."] . . . . Not yet!'"
        —Now his mother's entreaty to "be always active" in hunting and other male "warrior" activities (111)—all the more pressure, given the "fame" of his "warrior father": he is "sorely troubled with a fear lest I should disappoint them" (111). [Question: is he "soft-hearted" by nature, then, before his Christian training?]
    II. (112-115)
        —Ten years later (after "Nine winters' snows"!—and now the tenth), he's now a grown man who has been to the "mission school," where "he learned it was wrong to kill," where he had "hunted[!] for the soft heart of Christ" instead; so he returns to the tribe, to "preach Christianity," as a "stranger" (112).
        —But lo!—his father's "been sick many moons[!]," and is in the care of a Dakota medicine man, whom our hero now deems "the sorcerer of the plains" (112-113).
        —To his father: "'How, Ate?'" (113)—"How" = hau; ate (ahTAY) = father
        —And (he finally recognizes!) his mother; but in his home tipi now, he "did not feel at home" (114). [Any autobiographical import here?!]
        —The clash of religions: "Useless was my attempt to change the faith in the medicine-man to that abstract power named God." And so he feels "great anger that the medicine-man should thus ensnare" his "father's soul"—and he kicks his rival out of the tipi (114).
        —However, his father's plaintive lament: "'my son, I can not live without the medicine-man!'" (115).
    III. (116-118)
        —His efforts at spreading the Word to an assembly of Dakota, trying "to tell them of the soft heart of Christ" (116)
        —The medicine-man shows up, that "cunning magician," and turns the people against him: "'What loyal son is he who . . . wears a foreigner's dress? . . . He is a traitor to his people!'" (117). [Again, any autobiographical import here?!]
        —The clash of religions continued: notice how both religious men use snake/serpent imagery against the other (117, 118).
        —Finally, the medicine man wins "the hearts of the people" with the following appeal, which lies at the heart the story's plot & theme: "Why do you sit here giving ear to a foolish man who could not defend his people because he fears to kill, who could not bring venison to renew the life of his sick father?" (118).
    IV. (119-123)
        —Sole caretaker for his father now (both health-wise & spiritually), but his father's health wanes, nor will he listen to his son's proselytizing. And his words—oh—"'your soft heart has unfitted you for everything!'" (119-120).
        —His mother begs him to try hunting again; he replies, "'How, Ina'" ("Yes, mother"; ina [ee-NAH] = mother) (120).
        —More pathos, and pressure to perform: his father "gnawing off the edges" of a "buffalo-robe"! And his accusation, "'My son, your soft heart will let me starve before you bring me meat'" (121). [Hmmm, do I anticipate your objection in noting that to read Christianity as against killing other species is a bit strange? OR—is this, then, some hybrid philosophy of Christian kindness & love + a Native regard for other species?? I'm confused.]
        —CHARACTER CHANGE/a (sudden) new resolve: to the hunt!—with a "strange warmth" and "swiftness" (the old "blood" is back?!)—"to the white man's cattle," and a kill (121)
        —But, apprehended in the act, he kills the white man (122) and heads home with the meat: to find his father "dead!" (123). [Geez. Bad timing.]
    V. (124-125)
        —Our hero turns himself in and is sentenced to be to hanged (123).
        ****—The clash of religions continues, in his final troubled ruminations: "I do not fear death. Yet I wonder who shall come to welcome me in the realm of strange sight. Will the loving Jesus grant me pardon and give my soul a soothing sleep? or will my warrior father greet me and receive me as his son? Will my spirit fly upward to a happy heaven?"—etc. (124).
        ****—What do you make of his final, nearly blithe, acceptance?: "My heart is strong. My face is calm. My eyes are dry and eager for new scenes. . . . Serene and brave[!] my soul awaits the men to perch me on the gallows for another flight. I go" (125). (Part of me has always wondered whether Z-Sha failed in effectively imparting "what she really meant" this ending to do.)
        Final discussion question: might this story be also read as a commentary on the death penalty, given the "soft-hearted"/forgiveness/"turn-the-other-cheek" theology of at least some major branches of Christianity? And isn't the story's ultimate irony that he is killed by those who preach against killing?

"America's Indian Problem" [p. 1921, in The Edict] (AIS 185-195)
    —Z-Ša's well-chosen introductory examples:
        1. The Jamestown Colony, and Captain Newport's erection of a "'cross as a sign of English dominion'"; and then his lie to Powhatan that the cross's "arms . . . represented Powhatan and himself, and the middle [of the cross] their united league" (185)!
        2. DeSoto's forces stealing pearls from ancestral Native tombs [S. Carolina]—DeSoto says, "'to make rosaries of'"!; Z-Ša's source's hilarious commentary: "'We imagine if their prayers were in proportion to their sins they must have spent the most of their time at their devotions'" (186)!
    —Z-Ša's conclusion (& complaint): "It was in this fashion that the old world snatched away the fee in the land of the new" (185). . . . Again she re-defines/inverts "barbarism" in the colonizers' "barbaric rule of might" (186).
    —Appeal for Indian CITIZENSHIP/the VOTE: Natives, in contrast, are now but "legal victims," and "wards" instead of "citizens." . . . A CALL to ACTION—with the aid, you should note, of early-20th-c. feminist activism: "Now the time is at hand when the American Indian shall have his day in court through the help of the women of America" (186). . . . "Wardship is no substitute for American citizenship, therefore we seek his enfranchisement" (187).
    Point of View!?—who is the We in the bottom paragraph of 186?: "We serve both our government and a voiceless people . . . . We would open the door of American opportunity to the red man . . . " (186). . . . Then another PofV switch: "Do you know what your Bureau of Indian Affairs . . . really is?" (187)—NOW who's the you?
    —The concluding lengthy quot., then, from the Bureau of Municipal Research report (1915): [This "story of the mismanagement of Indian Affairs" (193) reads like a nightmare from Kafka!]
        —"Prefatory Note" (188): while we spent a lot o' time on this report, it "is not available for distribution"!
        —"Unpublished Digest . . ." (188-): there has been no official govt. "digest of the provisions of statutes and treaties with Indian tribes governing Indian funds"—so we made one; but "it found its way into the pigeon-holes" of bureaucracy and remains "unpublished" (188-189).
        —"Unpublished Outline . . . (189-)": likewise, this "also found repose in a dark closet" (190)!
        —"Too Voluminous . . .[!]" (190): well, we coulda put a copy in the Library of Congress, "but the only official action taken was to order the materials be placed under lock and key in the Civil Service Commission"!
        —"Need for Special Care . . ." (190-)—because "in theory of law the Indian has not the rights of a citizen. He has not even the rights of a foreign resident. The Indian individually does not have access to the courts"; as a "ward" of the federal government, his "property and funds are held in trust" (191). [Note: besides Indian citizenship (1924), such government misgovernment led to the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.]
        —"Conditions Adverse to Good Administration" (191-)!: translation—conditions are BAD!; lots of administrative misdeeds (192 ["fraud, corruption" (193)]).
        —"Government Machinery . . ." (192-): and lots of misappropriation of funds out of greed (192)
        —"Ample Precedents" (194-): Conclusion—"All the machinery of the government has been set to work to repress rather than to provide adequate means for justly dealing with a large population which has no political rights" (195).

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 W, Oct. 9th::
Bernice Levchuk [Diné]: "Leaving Home for Carlisle Indian School" (175-186) [non-fiction essay]
    * Exposition/narrative framed by her imaginative description of a 19th-c. painting of a boy leaving for Carlisle (176). . . .
    * The School itself (Pennsylvania): 1879-1918 (176-177)—reminds her of her own boarding school experience in Arizona (177; me, too! [SoDak]). . . .
    * Her present-day visit to the place (177-178): she's directed to the cemetery (178)!
    * The "callous" & "brutal" policy & actions of the govt.'s rounding up of Indian students (178-179) . . .
    * Carlisle's founding philosophy (Richard Pratt): "The way to civilize an Indian is to get him into civilization" (180; cf. Hale's quot. of more famous version of the motto, "Kill the Indian and Save the Man" [141]); via Christianity and learning a trade. . . .
    * Several documentary examples from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (180-181)—including "Ran 11/25/13" (180)! (Running away is a ubiquitous refrain in Indian boarding school narratives; I did it myself!)
    * Learning a trade (181-182)—including tinsmithing: elsewhere, Standing Bear recounts that his tinsmith occupation eventually was useless because, as a student, he had sent so many of his pieces home that no one needed his wares when he finally returned back to his South Dakota rez!
    * Levchuk's own (much later, of course) experiences of cruelty in boarding school (182-184)—including rape & molestation (184) . . .
    **** Her call to action/awareness: "We must especially remember those who died at Carlisle and never returned home. . . . Cruel and unconscionable policy and practices forever robbed the students of their natural childhood and youth. . . . There must be a healing of all generations of Native Americans who . . . have become stunted and crippled . . . by the boarding school system. The boarding-school experience must be remembered and told in its true reality. . . . Those of us who are scarred . . . should unashamedly tell the whole story of this phase of our Native American holocaust" (185).
    * Finale—framing of intro via a return to the painting (185-186): now she adds/imagines the father's words to his departing son, to follow the "good path" (186; note: ts'aa is a Diné ceremonial basket, used here in reference to the boy's bandana "bundle"?).

Jeane Jacobs [Cherokee/Choctaw]: One Hundred Dollar Boots" (271-279) [short story (fiction)]
    —her autobiog. note: began "telling stories . . . at the age of four"—to cats!—"about animals and creatures from other worlds" (271)!
    —story: the death of the 17-yr.-old narrator's "Uncle Franke" and, above all, her elders' reaction to it, and her own final "ceremonial" gesture
        —C/C the others' reactions to Franke's death: "Granpa" Tookah Daylight; "Gramma" Nona D.; great-grandmother Haloka D.; (aunt) JoDee (compare her background to Z-Ša's!? [274]); Aunt Lela; the narrator herself, Montee (what do you make of her retreat to the "woods" and the "river" and the "soil" and the "spotted hawk" [275-76]?); the sons Jeffrey & Marcus; (F.'s mistress?) Armagettin; Montee's alcoholic father—w/ his traditional clothing and his crying "like a lonely coyote" (278)?
        —"[S]omebody up and shot him last night" (274): any certain indication in the story why? his "whoring around" (272)? his $100 boots (278-279)!? At last, why do you think these boots were anonymously returned (by "a white hand") at story's end?
    —[What the hell?!:] Franke's joke about Indian wakes ("'Them gawddamn Indians'") (276)? & the narrator's (Montee's) internalization of this attitude (277)?

Anita Endrezze [Yaqui (Mexico/Arizona)]: "The Constellation of Angels" (281-288) [short story (fiction)]
    —intro biog.: note her love for painting (281)—and then the many colors and "paintings" in the story that follows. (Similarly, I told you that I knew her better as a poet—also evident in her poetic prose tour-de-force here.)
    —"Poetic" opening, with such phrases as "aching like an orchid" (282) . . .
    —Narrator: some ethereal being, from "the temple of the dream-walkers"—and the reader goes, "huh?"; until we learn of Mary—"my Other: my special human" (282), and we realize (eventually) that the speaker is some Native/New Age "guardian angel" . . .
    —Mary, in contrast, "lives in the dark cracks of the city," is pregnant "with a new human hungry for wholeness" (note the alliteration)—and "her man" beats her (282). . . A bad relationship: he "has big heavy boots that do not always care about what they step on," while she is too passive, in her "self-effacing camouflage"—an enabler, at last (282). Furthermore, he is cheating on her, in part because the other woman "is different from Mary, whose belly was baglike" (more alliteration) (283).
    —"His" further (& poetic) characterization: "His thoughts are like an onion made of ash: no center"; and "his soul: it has a rind on it, thick and knotted." . . . For the other "young men" of the urban neighborhood, too, "Something is broken. It is Life" (284). . . . Versus the "marvelous" tree imagery associated with Mary (see next)—"his ears feel like there's a big tree growing in each of them, the roots digging into his brain" (285)!
    —In contrast, Mary "sings her thoughts," thinking sometimes: "'I should only love a tree, with its owl eyes, its blue feathers, its crow voice"! . . . She also doesn't drink, smoke, or use drugs; her only fault: "But she does need him" (284). . . . Ergo the "contradiction" in her character: "a vast difference between the Mary of the trees with the wooden hearts [and owl eyes] and the Mary of apologies" (285). . . .
    —Return to the initial other-worldly setting & atmosphere, "the temple," where "music has eyelids and breasts are made of sunlight[!]" (in these sections, her "poetry" makes abundant use of surrealism and synaesthesia). . . . "we dance further than trees can see" (285).
    —The PLOT: our narrator meets "another dream-walker," in charge of Mary's unborn, who knows the baby's untimely fate; Mary has a "terrible pain"—a miscarriage—and a resulting change of style, a rather James-Joycean poetics, to represent pre- (or post-?) human consciousness. . . .
    —The baby's death = trip (return?) to "a constellation of angels" (286-287). Why is the baby referred to as "O White Shell clan woman!"? . . . Death, oh—"when the jar falls it breaks / and her soul falls out" (286); "little baby-woman: her soul has burned a spirit hole / into the temple of the sky"; alliteration!: "here is the altar of innocent eyes"; and a God-the-Mother, apparently, "the starry mother who is strong enough / to keep you whole" (287). . . . At last in "the temple, the Flower World"; note how the four directions are implicit in the descriptions of the third-to-last paragraph (288).
    —But then, "this" world, and Mary's plight; worst, perhaps, the clerk's words, "'Don't they know they shouldn't drink when they're pregnant?'" Or worse yet, the reality: "'Looks like she was all beat up'" (287). . . . Out-of-body experience, in which the "baby floated up and looked down at her mother" (287-288); last paragraph: "In the other world," Mary is loaded "into the ambulance." What do you make of the last phrase, "the sweet smell of blood flowering between her thighs" (288)?

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 F, Oct. 11th::
Luci Tapahonso [Diné]: "All the Colors of Sunset" (319-325) [short story (fiction); 1994]
    —1st published in the journal Blue Mesa Review, 1994
    —A wonderfully plaintive story worthy of (& reminiscent of) Leslie Silko's famous short story "Lullaby"
    —1st 2 paragraphs: note how well the Desert Southwest setting is given to us, via the 1st-person-grandmother's point of view (319-320).
    —Her 5-month-old granddaughter dies: "My first and only grandchild was gone" (320). . . . the deep grief for the dead body, via songs & words & caresses (e.g., the pathos of "'This is called your leg, my baby'"!) (320); though she remembers little, "[t]hey said that I kept the baby for four hours that morning" (321).
    —Characteristically, the whole "tribe" shows up to help out (321-322).
    —But her subsequent lingering lack of "focus," her feeling "far away from everything"; she's even stopped talking to the animals (322)! . . . Indeed, she prefers to sleep, and to dream, often, of the child, who still seems so near & alive (323).
    [—Anything sinister about how/why the baby died?—silence surrounds the cause (323).]
    —Her mourning has become inordinate & unhealthy: others see the baby "alive," beside her (323 [including, later, the medicine woman, who tells her "'The baby hasn't left'" (324)]); her sisters beg her to seek help (323-324); so she finally undergoes a near-forgotten healing ceremony: "I could finally let my grandbaby go" (324).
    —Finale (& story's "moral"): "I understand now that all of life has ceremonies connected with it" (325).

Susan Power [Yanktonai (Nakota)]: "Beaded Souls" (Reinventing 374-392) [short story (fiction)]
    —Autobiog. note: the author is FROM Chicago, i.e., a "relocated" urban Indian (cf. Harjo's "The Woman Hanging" poem).
    —Plot & characters, the Cliff Notes version: The Standing Rock "Sioux" narrator, Maxine Bullhead, seems to carry on the family curse by losing her stillborn child and then killing her husband, Marshall Azure, whom she discovers cheating on her with a white woman in the Indian Center in Chicago. The story is framed by her needlework—she's "beading [ceremonial burial] moccasins" for him—in the present tense of the narration (375, 392); however, by story's end, the reader fears for her state of mind, which seems to be approaching that of one of Poe's famous mentally disturbed narrators (e.g., "The Telltale Heart," "The Black Cat").
    —"Anglo heaven" (375): actually, the "Indian heaven" described on the next page (376) is pretty "Anglo" itself!?
    —As for the family curse per se, a lieutenant named Henry Bull Head was actually one of the Indian policemen involved in the killing of Sitting Bull, and as in this story, he also died in the skirmish (376-377). . . .

Agent McLaughlin's (pro-Anglo) account of Sitting Bull's death

        . . . Of course, the long history of this family curse makes the middle of the story more comedy than tragedy!?
    heyoka {hayOHkha} (377) refers to spirits or medicine men who do things "backwards," in true trickster spirit.
    —Sad deal, how the Native valuing of robust & physically strong women—like Maxine—has been corrupted by the fact that "Dakota men had [now] seen too many movies in Bismark [sic]" (379)!
    Yuwipi man {yooWEEpee} (380) is a wicasa wakan (medicine man) who specializes in the yuwipi ceremony, a healing ritual involving sacred stones.
    —The wedding, of course, is a veritable hoot, as is the white J.P. himself (380-383).
    —In abrupt contrast, the stillborn child is the dramatic low point, or high point of pathos (384-386).
    —And so her wish to go to Chicago, to willingly be "relocated" (387-388)—and hopefully renewed, psychologically. But with this wish, the couple immediately begins to have "bedroom trouble" (388; ah, foreshadowing). . . . Once in Chicago, the reality of Relocation sets in, as the Natives are "caught in slum areas," not in the houses on the promising brochures (389).
    —Marshall's caught in the act, with a white woman; worse yet/most pathetically: she's "fertile," having had kids who'd "lived" (390)!
    —Marshall's final words an almost too obvious thematic protest?: "'We should never have left'" (391).
    wasna {wahSNAH} (390) usually refers to a ball of tallow (beef fat) with other ingredients rolled in—here, chokecherries.
    —Besides "Harjo's "Woman Hanging" (also about Relocation in Chicago), this story can be fruitfully compared with Beth Brant's "Stillborn Night," including Maxine's final "vision" of her husband playing w/ her stillborn son (392).


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (reminds me of Z-Sha's "reinscription" of "barbarism"):

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 M, Oct. 14th::

Beth Brant [Mohawk (Northeast U.S., eastern Canada)]: "Stillborn Night" (352-358) [poem/prose poem]
    —Autobiog. intro: Brant incredibly inclusive in her membership in "many communities—Indian, working class, gay and lesbian, feminist, recovering, human, mammal, living entity among other living entities" (353)
    —"Stillborn Night" from the journal Native Women in the Arts, 1995
    —"Wind" image/motif (another "pathetic fallacy")—which changes with the narrator's emotions, from "screams," to uprooting "trees" (353), to "moans," to a "steady keening" [a mourning wailing] (356), to the soothing "croon" and "murmur" of a mother's voice, and a "song-like murmur" (357)—to "no wind" at all, and a "blue and clear" sky (358) . . .
    —"Plot": "My fourth grandson is dead" (353)—and the grandmother's precognition thereof (354-355), her attempts to comfort her daughter (353-357), her own grief and eventual resignation & healing acceptance (358)
    —Most poignant episode?: in stores, she "would go to the baby clothes"—oh!—and shake baby rattles; "I looked down at tiny shirts and diapers" (355). . . . Or is it Benjamin's blithe faith that "Grandpa is changing Brant Montour's diaper right now" (356)?!
    —That "theme" again, of family "dysfunction," and the 4-yr.-old Benjamin's "fears of abandonment" (355) . . . she herself raised her daughter in a bad marriage, a "daily ritual of violent acts and words"—and is thus inordinately conscious "what it takes to grow up in native homes" (357).
    —Her daughter's need/desire to tell the story of her miscarriage "for months after. Each telling confirms the reality" that "Brant Montour was a life" (357).

      * Tiffany Midge: "Beets" (442-49)—
-*-"Theme": satire on white eco-ag./Indian-"wanna-be" idealism, vs. historical reality (incl. reality of [hunting Plains] Indians) [see especially pars. 1-2, 5, 13, 22, 31, 36]
-*-(a few) satire/humor hilites, related to "theme":
        —par. 5: "I spent the rest of the day raking manure, thinking the Plains Indians opted not to farm because they knew enough not to."
        —par. 13: "My father liked large things . . . . [T]hey represented progress, ambition, trust. Try as he might to be a true renegade, adopt Indian beliefs and philosophies, even go so far as to marry an Indian woman, he . . . . was [still] a white man. He liked to build large things."
        —par. 22: "Everyone was left with the assumption that it was the Sioux Indians who were farmers and who had guided and helped the Pilgrims in their time of need. Mrs. Morton . . . rattled on about how noble, how Christian, of the Indians to assist the poor colonists in the unsettling and overwhelming wilderness they'd arrived at."
        —par. 29: "My sister was encouraged to invent a recipe for beet bread . . . but it kept coming out of the oven soggy and oozing red juice, as if it were hunks of animal flesh trickling trails of blood. . . ."
        —par. 31: regarding Dad's "newest scheme: of bartering our surplus beets door to door": but "we were the ones doing the soliciting, he was going to stay home and watch the World Series[!]. He furthered his cause by explaining to us that the Indians traded long ago and this would be our own personal tribute to an old way of life."
        —par. 36: "We set out. Our own personal tribute to Indians of long ago. We weren't very conspicuous, just a couple of brown-skinned kids in braids walking grocery sacks [of beets!] down the suburban street."
-*-final beet-rolling incident: "symbolically," a re-affirmation of Plains hunting tradition?—note the narrator's aggressive impulse, even the beets rolling down the hill like a herd of buffalo??! . . . Note, too, the several metaphorical images of the beets' "blood" (par. 29, 49), as if from a slain animal. . . .
-*-vocabulary note: "apple" (par. 15)—slang for an assimilated Indian (as in "red on the outside and white on the inside")

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 W, Oct. 16th::
Linda Noel [Maidu (N. Calif.)]: "Understanding Each Other" (233-234) [poem]
    * Title ironic, since the man, at least, fails to understand his partner, calling her "'too wild'" (i.e., too Indian?)—for she has a "pagan" high regard for the moon, and the salmon; when these fish are running, she stands by the river "'humming, / all the time believing / fish understand / why you are there'" (234).
    * So he leaves her for a bourgeois, presumably Anglo, complacency & propriety, for someone "whose dreams / are laced in perfume / and dishwater suds" (234).

Marcie Rendon [Anishinaabe]: "You See This Body" (279-281) [poem]
    —Read the poem aloud, and note how strophe 1 recurs as strophe 9 (280): by its second appearance, has its tone and syllable emphases changed? (Or better: do we finally know how to "read" it?!)
    —The identity of the female speaking "I" seems to shift throughout the poem. Who is "she" in ll. 7-8? l. 16? ll. 28, 29?
    —How do you reconcile the poem's ostensible "come-on" tone (2nd-person audience includes "leg man"/"ass man") versus the more overtly feminist theme of an eternally surviving (& strong & independent) "Everywoman" (refs. to the "Trail of Tears," "Wounded Knee," Nazi Germany, the Cold War, and Vietnam)?
    —Finally, what do you make of the last lines, the "smile" & "eyes" that "turned your head / just long enough"? ("Long enough" for what?)

Rendon's "You See This Body" always makes me recall an earlier (1987) and
more well-known poem, by African-American poet Lucille Clifton:

        homage to my hips

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!

nila northsun [Fallon Shoshone [Nevada]/Anishinaabe]: "99 things to do before you die" (394-397) [poem]
    —Poem a response to Cosmo's list "of 99 things to do before you die," many of which are "things only rich people could do"; but "what's a poor indian to do," with "no maza-ska"? (395)
    —Vocabulary: mazaska (395) [MAH-zah-skah] = Lakota for money (maza = metal; ska = white; ergo, "white metal" = silver); "crow fair" (Crow Fair): famous annual powwow in Montana; "ta-nee-ga" (396) = taniga [tah-NEE-ghah] = Lakota for buffalo stomach/tripe; "skinwalker" (396) = a shape-changing spirit (Diné); "stick game" (396; aka "hand game" or "bone game") = a team guessing game of chance played at powwows, etc.
    —And so "a list that's more / culturally relevant" (395): including "20 ways to prepare / commodity canned pork" (396) . . . (Hey, when I was a kid, we only got commodity beef!)
    —Including curling "up in bed with a good indian novel / better yet . . . with a good indian novelist" (396) . . .
    —Her final "punch line" (and a winking acquiescence to assimilation?!): "not much left undone / though cosmo's / have an affair in paris while / discoing in red leather and sipping champagne / could find a place on my list" (397)

Excerpt from a former student's Response #2, which is, in a part, an imitation of northsun's "99 things" poem:

[. . . . . . . .]
so what is a poor student-athlete to do?
come up with a list that is
actually relevant
so my list includes
stay in school
overcome adversity

learn about people who are still overcoming adversity
        that started 300 years ago
read about how hard it is to be a native american
        no a woman native american
build a house out of stone
convince others that not all of the Indians
        were killed by john wayne
trigger my mind's own clicking gun
have more heart than anyone else
curl up in bed with a good joy harjo anthology
better yet
curl up in bed with joy harjo
burn the orchards in the land of big red apples
help the woman on the thirteenth floor
be the yellow horse
        who still has faith
[. . . . . . . .]

To the Top

 F, Oct. 18th::
      * Louise Erdrich: "The Strange People" (318-320)—
—epigraph: "antelope" as "people" (and Siren-like temptresses)
—initial identification/merger of species: "I am the doe"
        —and eerie (cross-species?!) sensuality: "burning / to meet him"—the "hunt" as sexual attraction!? . . .
—then hunted, killed, and "slung like a sack / in the back of his pickup"—but also still alive, and "laughing"!
—the hunter prepares to clean her, "thinks to have me" (as both hunter's slain possession & sexually?! [note his "knife"])—but she is now a "lean gray witch," a female spirit, who escapes, helps herself to his coffee(!), and then crawls back into her animal "shadowy body" . . . .
—alive, then, again, and the fascinating final line—who is the one she still seeks, this "one who could really wound me"!?
—Finally, consider again my previous comments on how, as ecofeminists tell us, women and animals (and Natives) have been similarly othered through the centuries. . . .
—AND/OR can the whole poem, the "hunt," best be read as a metaphor/allegory of the human male/female relationship, including the hunter's sharp(ened) "knife"!?

* Erdrich later revised "The Strange People," for her collected poems (Original Fire, 2003), by adding the following ending lines:

        Not with weapons, not with a kiss, not with a look.
        Not even with his goodness.

        If a man was never to lie to me. Never lie me.
        I swear I would never leave him.

[full version online]

  * Joy Harjo:
"Metamorphosis" (PDF [Trout 679-83]) [1993] (essay)
    -*-My note: this is a brief autobiog. essay of Harjo's experience at the Institute of American Indian Arts, at an exciting time of change in U.S. culture (late 1960's); note how her adolescent cutting (= pain, and blood) is tranformed/sublimated into art/writing; and then the final self-analogue to a tree (see Hogan, above!), her new pride as a poet, standing "like a tall cedar pole," now ready to tell "stories of our anger and great love" (par. 16, 17; compare to image in Z-Sha!).

Joy HARJO: "Warrior Road" (H&B 54-61) (essay)
    —Autobiog. note: Harjo rehearses an oft-expressed belief that Native writers turn so often to poetry because "[w]e instinctually loved the rhythmic, undulant language that was called poetry"; indeed, in poetry, Harjo "found a sacred language within the English language" (54; cf. "reinventing the enemy's language").
    —essay originally published as "Three Generations of Indian Women's Birth Experience" (Ms. Magazine, 1991)
    —JH's 1st pregnancy, age 17—and being "alone," without a "circle of women" (55)
    —Especially difficult, given her situation as "a poor, mixed-blood woman heavy with a child who would suffer the struggle of poverty, the legacy of loss" (55) . . .
    —Motherhood = "that most important warrior road"; "Birth is one of the most sacred acts we take part in and witness in our lives" (56).
    —Indian hospitals (govt.-run; in Rapid City, the one I went to is called Sioux Sanitarium [er, Sanitorium]!): doctors just there to pay off med. school debts (ditto Sioux San) . . . enforced sterilization encore (56-67; cf. Brave Bird) . . . birth of son, Phil: JH "felt enmeshed in a system in which [tribal] wisdom . . . was ignored." And racism: "I felt ashamed I was an Indian woman" (57).
    —JH's mother—who also wanted to "escape" poverty & outcast status, via writing and music (57-58); JH's own birth as a life-&-death "warrior fight"; father's rather privileged birth vs. mother's birth at home (& middle name, after a can of lard!) (58) . . .
    —JH's daughter Rainy Dawn's birth a bit easier, with father there [Simon Ortiz]—for a while anyway!—and support of father's pueblo [Acoma Pueblo, in N.M.]
    —Some economic success, now, with "two degrees [earned] as a single mother"; and grander ideals: "My work in this life has to do with reclaiming the memory stolen from our peoples [i.e., the Muscogee or Creek] when we were dispossessed from our lands east of the Mississippi" (59).
    —Daughter's teen pregnancy (like Joy herself): oh, the same "repetition of history," but JH perceives "a new possibility of life and love," and so remains supportive (if not downright forceful!). . . . another critique of hospital obstetrics, here, their ready use of induced labor (60-61) . . . But now JH has come "full circle," finding a circle of women relatives at her granddaughter's birth: "Something had changed" (61). [For more on Krista Rae's birth, see JH's poem "Promise" in How We Became Human (118).]


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (from an actual Essay #1; so proofread, please!):

To the Top

 W, Oct. 23rd::

JOY HARJO (1951-)—Muscogee [Creek], Cherokee—and!—Irish, French, African-American . . .
LIFE (or rather,
her "Curriculum
Vitae," mostly!):
    1951: born, Tulsa, OK
    1976: B.A. in English, U of New Mexico
    1978: M.F.A. (Creative Writing), U of Iowa
    1978-79, 1983-84: Instructor, Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe)
    1980-81: Instructor, Arizona State U
    1983-84: Instructor, Santa Fe Community College
    1985-90: Professor, U of Colorado
    1991-95: Professor, U of New Mexico
    199?-present(?): Professor, UCLA (American Indian Studies) and U of Hawaii (lives in Honolulu)
CHILDREN:—son Phil; daughter Rainy Dawn (whose father is Simon Ortiz)
    * The Last Song (1975; poetry chapbook)
    * What Moon Drove Me to This? (1979; poetry; incorp. poems from 1st collection)
    ** She Had Some Horses (1983; poetry)
    * Secrets from the Center of the World (1989; prose poems [w/ photography by Stephen Strom])
    ** In Mad Love and War (1990; poetry) [American Book Award]
    * The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1994; poetry)
    ** The Spiral of Memory (1996; interviews [ed. Laura Coltelli])
    * Reinventing the Enemy's Language (1997; co-editor, w/ Gloria Bird)
    ** A Map to the Next World: Poems and Tales (2000)
    * The Good Luck Cat (2000; children's fiction)
    * How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems: 1975-2001 (2002)
MUSIC CD's:(—most "cuts" = recited versions, set to music, of poems from the collections above):
* Poetic Justice: Letter From the End of the Twentieth Century (1997)
* Joy Harjo: Native Joy for Real (2004)
    * 2015 update: Joy Harjo just became the first Native American poet to win the most prestigious award for a poet (of any ethnicity!), the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.
    * 2019 update: Hey, now she's U.S. Poet Laureate!

LINKS from my Native "Authors & Readings Links" Page: my most recent version of Harjo web resources, if you're considering an essay on her.

  Nearly Unbearable Grace: The Poetry of Joy Harjo

"Native American poet and performance artist Joy Harjo reads a selection of her work, and discusses the variety of influences (including music) on her artistic development. Series: "'Artists on the Cutting Edge'" [UCSD, 1997]

  How We Became Human:

Introduction (xvii-xxviii)

    —starting point: art classes at the U of New Mexico, as a "broke Indian student with small children"—and a new relationship [famous Acoma Pueblo poet Simon Ortiz] (xvii) . . .
    —but headin' for a [nervous] "breakdown" (xvii) . . . "near suicide" (xix) [see "POETRY," below]
    —vivid description of the Albuquerque bar scene, where she "felt like a ghost" (xviii) . . .
    —importance of Muscogee heritage—of women "accepted as painters, artists" (xviii-xix) . . .
    —POETRY as her salvation from "breakdown," etc. (xix-xx)
        —JH's (Jungian) reprivileging of "myth" as "an archetypal reality, not as falsehood" (xx) . . .
        — JH's literary influences: especially [her future partner] Simon Ortiz ("His poetry was the opening"); Leslie Silko; N. Scott Momaday; James Welch [pretty much the "Big 4" in the 1970's Native American literary renaissance]; and—ah—Roberta Hill (xx) . . . later influences: Neruda [the Chilean surrealist/activist]; [African-Amer. women poets] June Jordan and Audre Lorde; and [women writers/poets] Jean Toomer, Anne Sexton, & Sylvia Plath [the latter two, suicides!] (xxii)
        —Some of JH's poetic "themes": "Horses"; and "place" ("The poet cannot be separated from place"); the "red earth," from Georgia to Hawaii (xxiii)
        —Audre Lorde as a model of the "poet-warrior," in search of "justice" (xxvii)
    —"'Where's Yazzie'" episode (xxi-xxii): "She eventually found herself, but not that night" (xxii).
    —1st exposure to non-U.S. lit, to "many poetries from all over the world," a corpus of "inclusion" (xxii) . . . later trips to Central America, where her exposure to 3rd-world politics led her back "home," and to a new awareness of postcolonial politics in the U.S. (xxv-xxvi; see her poem "The Real Revolution Is Love" [p. 75]) . . . "Meeting of [Western hemisphere] Indigenous People" (xxvi-xxvii), and the great question by a Bolivian woman: "'why . . . call only yourselves [that is, we people in the U.S.] America? . . . We are all America" (xxvii).
    —The several "crossroads"/"choices" in her life, including the "seduction" of drink . . .her "mad love and war" (xxiv-xxv)
    —Poetry and MUSIC: especially jazz, which led her to the saxophone (xxv) . . . Poetry needs the "visceral" of music: "poetry and music have been together since the invention of poetry and music. . . . It is only in the modern age they were separated . . . when the self-appointed keepers of the sacred pronounced [that] the body was not the house of the spirit[!]. . . . Most of the world's literature is still oral, not written" (xxv).
    —And in general, she's anti-"separation": no separation between poetry & music & life, or "between human, animal, plant, sky, and earth" (xxvi; see also xxvii).
    —Back home in the U.S., the bombing at the Atlanta Olympics where her band Poetic Justice is playing reminds her that she is at the "epicenter" of a "shaken" world (xxviii).


•• My blog-post celebration of Harjo's recent appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate ••

Harjo's signature (on a draft of my PhD dissertation title page ["For justice / To love": typical Harjo!]):

To the Top

 F, Oct. 25th::
* from What Moon Drove Me to This? (1979)

** "I Am a Dangerous Woman" (17)
    —Going through airport security, and the "guncatcher machine" goes off: "but no weapon is visible. / Security will never find it"—because her true "weapon" is her mind, of course: They can't hear the clicking / of the gun inside my head."
    —(Related works: the tone of Rendon's poem "You See This Body"? Morrison's essay about becoming a woman-"warrior" at law school: "Indians were still at war, only the weapons changed" (Reinventing 97; oh, yeah—she refers to this poem as inspiration!) . . .
    —[Old student question]: What is the invisible "deadly weapon" "inside" her "head" ready to "click"?

* "Crossing the Border" (20-21)
    —(Personal note: having attended the U of Iowa, I had to chuckle at Harjo's note about needing to get the heck outa Iowa City [205]!)
    —The ironies of "Indians in an Indian car" trying to cross the border into Canada: "we immediately feel suspicious. . . . we don't look / like we belong to either side"!
    ["We've heard this before"!:] To their reply that they're going to "Moravian Town" (for a powwow), the border guard "knows only ask, 'Is it a bar?'"
    —No, I don't understand the crack about Barney's friend Richard, who "just sits there wild-haired / like a [member of the] Menominee [tribe] would"! Oh, BTW—Barney Bush is a fairly well-known, oft-anthologized Shawnee poet.
    —[Old student question]: Why does Barney [Bush] only talk to white people "in a broken English"? . . . Is he "playing the part" for his white audience's expectations?
    —[Old student question]: What is meant by the retort to the question, "'Any liquor or firearms?'": "He should have asked that years ago."
    —[Old student question]: What does she mean at the end of the poem by saying that "America" is "following us into the north"?[!]

* from She Had Some Horses (1983)

*** "Anchorage" (31-32)
    —Notes (based on JH's notes): dedicated to one of Harjo's fav. poets, Audre Lorde, and based on Lorde's "Litany for Survival" (as was "I Give You Back") . . . "Nora" is Nora Dauenhauer—whom we know as the author of that neat "how to make baked salmon" poem! . . . Athabascan is a large language group, including the Tlingit tribe of Alaska. . . . "6th Avenue jail": JH met such men during a poetry-in-the-prisons gig. . . .
    —the conclusion of Audre Lorde's "A Litany for Survival" (from The Black Unicorn [1978]):

        [. . .]

        And when the sun rises we are afraid
        it might not remain
        when the sun sets we are afraid
        it might not rise in the morning
        when our stomachs are full we are afraid
        of indigestion
        when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
        we may never eat again
        when we are loved we are afraid
        love will vanish
        when we are alone we are afraid
        love will never return
        and when we speak we are afraid
        our words will not be heard
        nor welcomed
        but when we are silent
        we are still afraid

        So it is better to speak
        we were never meant to survive

    —[Old student question:] What does the old "Athabascan / grandmother" on the park bench represent?
    —[Old student question:] What evidence in this poem supports the fact that its "theme" is survival? [My answers: the poor "Athabascan grandmother"; the men in jail (inordinately Native in numbers), especially Henry, whose merely being alive is a miracle; the famous (and paraphrased-from-Lorde) finale: "who would believe / the fantastic and terrible story of all of our survival / those who were never meant / to survive?"]

Joy HARJO: *** "The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window" (HWBH 35-37)
    —One of her most well-known, oft-anthologized poems (with "She Had Some Horses" and "I Give You Back") . . .
    —H.'s note to poem (210) indicates it to be, on one level, a protest against government programs of Relocation, of forcing Natives to the big cities for assimilation purposes—and the resulting poverty (and identity crises). . . . Another Harjo note, regarding lines 4 & 9: "There is no east side of Chicago"! (Ah, the "impossibility" of survival?!)
    —The dominant image of the dangling woman a metaphor, of course, for the plight of many minority women; notice how "she" still has a choice at poem's end—and the reader is thus left "dangling," too?
    —Besides the personalizing of the woman via her children's names, etc., I think the poem achieves much of its power via its contrasting imagery of bleak urban background of "concrete" and "asphalt" vs. her rural past, of "wild rice," and "warm wood rooms," and "waterfalls and pines."
    —Note, too, the last line of the 2nd-to-last strophe: "She would speak"; the fact that she can't—or hasn't yet—explains a good deal of her plight? . . .
    —[Old student question:] What going on with such lines as "her mother's daughter and her father's son" and "all the women she has been, and all the men"? [I would direct you to such poems as "Remember," in which both sexes are incorporated into a "whole"—and her note on the trickster as androgynous (216).]
    —[Old student question:] Is the woman actually hanging from the window, or is it a metaphor?[!]
    —[Old student question]: Does the woman jump, or not?[!]
    —[Old student question:] Who does the woman represent?[!]
    —My FINAL NOTE on the woman's CHOICE: Harjo's "pop-song" version of this poem (on her CD Native Joy for Real [2004]), does have a "happy ending," as she obviously decides to climb back, to live: "She climbs back up to claim herself again." Then "Set me free" is sung three times, followed by three iterations of "I will overcome."

Joy HARJO: *** "I Give You Back" (HWBH 50-51)
    —Note: we (may have) listened to a version of this—called "Fear Song" (from Native Joy for Real)—the first day of class.
    —As in "Remember" and "She Had Some Horses," note the characteristic "oral"-repetition style; this poem is often read as JH.'s own reply, her own "getting over," the personal demons/complexes of "She Had Some Horses," via a powerful personification of—and inner dialogue with—her own "fear": "I release you."
    —[Old student question:] What does the stanza beginning "Oh you have choked me, but I gave you the leash" mean?
    —[My question:] The "I am not afraid" repetitions often combine opposites, "black" & "white," etc.—an all-encompassing interrelatedness, as it were. Does this include, then, forgiving/accepting the cruel facts of colonization ("raped and sodomized," etc.)?
    —[My question:] Aside from the "oral" repetition, does the number FOUR work its way into this poem? [Yes, in the 4x refrains of "I release you" (50) and, even, "my heart" (51).]


 An impromptu Harjo "map" (or "cluster" of motifs):


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (from 2017, during the Confederate statues controversy):

To the Top

 M, Oct. 28th::

* from She Had Some Horses (1983) (continued)

*** "Remember" (42)
    —Via the "incantatory repetition" of the oral tradition (the "Remember" refrain), another poem of interconnectedness, as the "you" virtually becomes the moon / earth / women / (and men) / other races / other species . . .
    —characteristic theme of "other languages": "Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their / tribes, their families, their history, too. / Talk to them, / listen to them. They are alive poems."
    —[Old student question]: What can Harjo mean by speaking of "plants, trees, animal life" as "live poems"?[!]
    —[Old student question:] Why does Harjo first separate the colors of the earth (red, black, yellow, white, & brown), and then combine them in "we are the earth"? Are there any social implications here?[!]
    —[Old student question]: Why does she "talk in circles"?[!]
    —Here is an "alternative" version, which I actually knew/taught first, so I assume it's the original, and that she later cut the lines I've put in bold:


Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is. I met her
in a bar once in Iowa City.

Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother's, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe. I heard her singing Kiowa war
dance songs at the corner of Fourth and Central once.

Remember that you are all people and that all people are you.
Remember that you are this universe and that this universe is you.
Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember that language comes from this.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.
                —from She Had Some Horses, 1983 ["alternate" (original?) version]

*** "She Had Some Horses" (47-49)
    —Note all the incremental repetition—for that "hypnotic state" of the traditional ritual-chant.
    —Besides the fact that horses are indeed one of Harjo's favorite animals & images, what/who ARE these "horses" in the poem? Many students read them as different types of people, both good and bad, and the poem's finale as the poet embracing them all. Conversely, one might read all the various "horses" as the various complexes & hang-ups of the narrator herself–or, again and at the same time, various aspects of humankind that make up said collective psyche. And at last, some of the "horses" are quite "Native," other quite Anglo, in their characteristics (versus those of you who want to immediately jump on a "horses = Indians" reading): some ignorant, some prejudiced, some cruel and oppressive; others silenced or oppressed ("These are the same horses"; see "I Give You Back" for a similar embracing of "opposites").
    —Some horses "licked razor blades"—oh, that "sharp, cutting edge" in JH's poems (and again, see "I Give You Back" [next] for more "sharp edges").
    —[Old student question]: What/who are these horses, metaphorically speaking? . . . [More recent] student sentence from quiz: given the rape and other acts of violence & weirdness—"If this [poem] was about horses, there is a lot more explaining that needs to happen"!
    —[Old student question:] Why does she use the image of a horse instead of some other animal, like, say, a wolf?[!]

Native Daughters: The Knowing
== Another good web source on Joy Harjo, by our own College of Journalism (UNL, 2013) ==

•—• "Joy Tattoo"—Thanks to a student:

To the Top

 W, Oct. 30th::

* from Secrets from the Center of the World (1989) (note: these poems "intended" to accompany landscape photos in the original book [or vice-versa])
** "My House Is the Red Earth" (55)
    —A reprivileging of Harjo's immediate non-urban environment as the "center of the world": "magnificently humble" (see her early poems, such as "3 A.M.") . . .
    —Note that the crows are talking & laughing, trickster figures who remind us, in their sheer visceral existence, that humankind's ideological wars of "fierce belief" are—well, tragically laughable. There is also evidence here Harjo's thematic motif of the importance of pre-/non-lingual communication, her faith that there are "some sounds left to sacred wordless form."
    —[Old student question]: What does she mean by the "center of the world"?
    —[Old student question:] What does Harjo mean by saying "that the earth has turned scarlet through fierce belief"?[!]

* "If You Look with the Mind of the Swirling Earth" (56)
    —Another reprivileging of the Desert SW (Shiprock, for instance, is in New Mexico)—where one may "become the land, beautiful," where the subject/object dualism is erased as a false—separation!
    —[Old student question]: How can the [3 crows on the] "edge of the highway" become [3 crows on] the "edge of the world"?[!]

—from In Mad Love and War (1990)
*** "For Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, Whose Spirit Is Present Here and in the Dappled Stars (For We Remember the Story and Must Tell It Again So We May All Live)" (70-71)
    —Maybe because I love the music version, this is perhaps my favorite JH poem. . . .
    —Harjo's note (217-218): "In February 1976, an unidentified body of a young woman was found on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The official autopsy attributed death to exposure and alcohol. The FBI agent present at the autopsy ordered her hands severed and sent to Washington for fingerprints. . . . Her unnamed body was buried. When Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, a young Micmac woman who was an active American Indian Movement member, was discovered missing by her friends and relatives, a second autopsy was demanded. It was then discovered that she had been killed by a bullet fired at close range to the back of her head. She had not died of exposure and there was no alcohol in her blood. Her killer or killers have yet to be identified." . . . There has been much controversy over her death/murder. Appropriately, at her funeral, a storm peaked and there were 30-mph winds.
    —But Harjo turns the political controversy of this tragedy into art: note how the introductory imagery/metaphor of the crocuses blooming and the final invocation of the ghost dancers both bespeak of hope and "rebirth" (besides the goodly amount of anger & outrage in the poem, to be sure). Oh, the powerful coda, so JH in its combination of righteous anger & "poetic" amazement at beauty: "we have just begun to touch / the dazzling whirlwind of our anger . . . to perceive the amazed world of the ghost dancers / entered / crazily [there's that word again], beautifully."

*** "Song for the Deer and Myself to Return On" (78)
    —JH's note (219-220) involves her literary relationship with Louis Oliver (both student and mentor of Harjo), who was one of the few other Muscogee poets to achieve some degree of renown.
    —JH's characteristic urban vs. rural and "real" vs. "mythic" oppositions at work here again, in the poem's imagery and incidents: e.g., "something as magic as deer / in this city far away from the hammock of my mother's belly[!]"; the deer somehow now in her room, "in a house near downtown Denver" . . .
    —the crux: "Now the deer and I are trying to figure out a song / to get them back, to get us all back, / because if it works I'm going with them." [!—love the tone of that last clause . . .] . . . And once again, as in many of JH's poems, "getting back" and "going home" transcend the literal, as in this poem's close: "it's . . . nearly too late to go home"—with that crucial word "nearly."
    —[Old student question:] Where are the narrator and the deer trying to get back to?[!]

*** "Eagle Poem" (85)
    —Note, of course, all the references to circles—even our own life is a "True circle of motion, / Like eagle rounding out the morning / Inside[!] us."
    —Noteworthy, too, is that the poem is a prayer—indeed, Harjo says in an interview (in The Spiral of Memory) that all her poems, really, can/should be considered prayers. And her "theme" of non-human language again, here transcending even sound: "languages / That aren't always sound but other / Circles of motion," as in the eagle's flight, itself a semiotic act. At last, the conscious awareness of all this—that "we / Were born, and die soon within a / True circle of motion"—is a psycho-eco-therapeutic "healing"—as is the final evocation of the Navajo ritual-chant.
    —Finally, I write about this poem in my e-journal-published essay, "Of Avians & Indigenes: Preliminary Notes on the Orientalization of the New World Native & Natured Others." (Yes, that's really the title.) [Oops, it's now become a "pay" site; email me your interest and I'll send you a PDF version.]

—from The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1994)
** "A Postcolonial Tale" (104-105)
    —Note: "postcolonial" refers to the historical period "after colonization" (usually applied to British colonies, not U.S. ones!)
    —But here are the negative effects of Euro-American colonization of Native Americans, who have "abandoned ourselves for television," who are "somewhere near the diminishing point of civilization," whose kids learn "subtraction with guns" (what does THAT mean?); and the refrain: "When we fell we were not aware of falling"—with the obvious association with the "Fall" in the Garden of Eden.
    —And yet there is hope, foreshadowed by the very first sentence (which sounds much like N. Scott Momaday): "Every day is a reenactment of the creation story"—via words, thoughts, at last what Momaday (that "man made of words") calls the "imagination"—which Harjo thus emphasizes in the 2nd half of the poem (105). Not only is there an attitude of Trickster survivalism—"And when we laugh, we're indestructible"—but a whole series of "imaginings"—of food & songs & of a "connection between the heart and sun." At last, the imagination "illumines us, speaks with us, sings with us, drums with us, loves us." [Finally, this "imagination" is not just some wishful, or power-of-positive, thinking, or an illusion/delusion, as in "It's just your imagination"; but only those of you who "get" what Harjo's doing with the "mythic" mode & and cosmic interrelatedness can understand what it is.]
    —Note: "This is the first world, and the last" is a play on the Diné (Navajo) creation myth of a series of five "worlds," the fifth world being the present one. In the context of this poem, however, how are both "first" and "last" appropriate?

** "The Myth of Blackbirds" (106-107)
    —JH's note (223) gives several tribal-language versions for "white man": biligaana is Diné (which I know from the Navajo band XIT's use of the word); wasicu [wah-SHEE-choo] is Lakota (in Black Elk, et al.), hvtke, I'm guessing from the spelling, is Muskoke; and haole I recognize as native Hawaiian, from the wonderful poems of Haunani-Kay Trask.
    —Set in Washington, D.C., this "incredible journey" of a poem contrasts this "disorder of systems," this "city of death," this "world of skewed justice" with Native knowledge/memories of the "spirits of relatives"–and of "sweet rain" and of "blackbirds who are exactly blackbirds."
    —And so it's easy to overlook the fact—given the slams against urban civilization, the Ghost-Dance-like return of the "spirits of relatives"—that this is also intended as a love poem, written to her "sweetheart," the one with the "spine" of oh-so-"tender construction"!
    —JH's "theme" of memory is never so eloquently (or righteously!) expressed: "Memory was always more than paper and cannot be broken by violent history or stolen by thieves of childhood."

** "Perhaps the World Ends Here" (123-124)
    —The "kitchen table" as domestic scene, and—life? (Or the life-death cycle: "We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.")
    —One of the inspirations for the title of this collection?: "It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human."
    [—Finally, why was this poem chosen as the last work in the Harjo & Bird anthology?!]

—from A Map to the Next World: Poems and Tales (2000)
** "A Map to the Next World" (129-132)
    —[My note:] Harjo's various references to the "fourth" and "fifth worlds" issue originally from Navajo/Pueblo creation/emergence stories, which speak of four "underground" worlds/levels through which humans travelled, and a fifth world, the people's emergence into this world above ground—including present times. But Harjo also tends to speak of the "fourth world" as today, and the "fifth" as the future, usually changed for the better via an evolution of consciousness—as in the poem "Emergence"—that leads to greater social justice. (See stanza two of this poem, in which "humans . . . emerged from the killing fields." Later, "we enter the fifth world"; "When you emerge" [131].)
    —Ergo the poem's first clause, "In the last days of the fourth world I wished to make a map . . . ."
    —Question: given that this is the title poem of the collection, this "map" must be important? What is it? (For one thing, it includes "instructions on the language of the land," which we have forgotten "as if we were not in it or of it" [129]) . . . Later: "We no longer know the names of the birds here, how to speak to them by their personal names." . . . Why will an "imperfect map . . . have to do"? Why is its "place of entry . . . the sea of your mother's blood" (130 [see also 131: "your mother's voice"])? . . . "You must make your own map" (132). (Why?)
    —And so, too, her critiques of materialism/technology/rationalism, of "malls" and the "markets of money." And war: "Monsters are born . . . of nuclear anger" (129). . . . Similarly, "They [our relatives] have never left us; we abandoned them for science" (130). . . . "cities of artificial light" (131) . . .

** "Emergence" (136-137)
    —About an "emergence," a "surfacing," into the "next [fifth] world" (and recovery from her personal "heartache") . . .
    —. . . as this world falls apart: "It's coming apart. / And everyone knows it." . . . In part because of eco-destruction/alienation from the earth?: "I remember when there was no urge / to cut the land or each other into pieces / when we knew how to think / in beautiful[!]."
    —Great line: "A human mind is small when thinking / of small things."
    —Finale, an "awakening" into a new world: "I will locate the point of dawning / and awaken / with the longest day in the world."

"Songs from the House of Death, or How to Make It Through to the End of a Relationship" (138-140)
    —Despite the title, rebirth imagery immediately: "there is rain," and "flowers emerge through the ruins" via "fierce love" (138); "the perfume of desert flowers after the rain" (139).
    —But also a call for endings [i.e., of the "fourth world"]: "All cities will be built and then destroyed. / We built too near the house of the gods of lightning, / too close to the edge of a century" (139). (Simplistic translation: we were born into a bad time, the end of a cycle [Ah, William Butler Yeats!].)
    —And yet, characteristically (in her later work), Harjo's troubled perceptions (also) have a personal cause, the loss of a lover: "Nothing I can sing / will bring you back"—and the thus elegiac tone of the final section (140).

*** "The Path to the Milky Way Leads Through Los Angeles" (141-142)
    —L.A. as epitome of a civilization gone awry, of alienation: "we are all strange in this place of recent invention," this "illusion of the marketplace"; "We can't easily see that starry road," or "hear it," here "in the whine of civilization"—"in a city of the strange and getting stranger"!
    —In contrast, JH offers the Muscogee traditionalism of "turtle shells," of a "path to the Milky Way," and . . .
    —. . . the Trickster Crow, who "was never good at singing or much of anything / but finding gold in the trash of humans." (What does this mean?!) . . . "So what are we doing here I ask the crow," and "Crow just laughs and says wait, wait and see"; and JH is still "waiting," but at least, "like crow I collect the shine of anything beautiful I can find." (Now what does this mean?!)

** "The Power of Never" (143-145)
    —playful & clever treatment (and personification) of never, highlighted, I think, by the talking crows she "spoke with" before moving to L.A., who have "cousins in California" who eventually keep her "company in that sometimes lonely and strange place." . . . Then the (odd?!) transformation of apparently literal (though "speaking") crows into a crow who is human, "lives two apartments down," who is eventually "evicted for selling drugs"?!

—"New Poems, 1999-2001"
"The Everlasting" (188-191)
    —See JH's note on Ingrid Washinawatok, killed in 1999 in South America, while fighting for local Native interests against Big Oil (234).
    —The images of her death (first stanza) are so inhuman that "This is not poetry. / Poetry cannot exist here / in the field where they killed her." . . . And the "awful" lines—"When the soldiers were done with the killing they wiped her / off their hands with gritty rags and a slap of water."
    —Worse yet, "the soldiers went on with their living"—and "sucked pig bones"! . . . "'We had orders. And we fulfilled them,' they said."
    —Heavy sarcasm of middle stanza, p. 189: "Nor were these officially soldiers and any allusion to killing / was just an allusion to killing. / And according to official documents / the sun is not the sun."
    —In a "dream," she sees the slaughter—and the only "sane" response to such madness is "insanity": "I was out of my mind. [Pun!] I would rather be out of mind / In this field of betrayal and useless killing." Then, even "crazier": "A hummingbird . . . was out of my mind," trying to reimpose "beauty" upon the scene. But then a return to that dang "trap of reason" again, of everyday ego consciousness. . . .
    —Middle stanza, p. 190: touching tribute to the dead woman via pathetic personal details . . .
    —The soldiers—and irrational "reason"—again: "they will kill because it has become easy to kill. / Because there is a reason to kill. / And reason kills reason."
    —In contrast (as in "Anna Mae"), Ingrid's death is accompanied by rebirth images: "The wound in the earth where they took her / is being tended by rain / and flowers." [But more "earth wounds":] "Oil companies will soon dig crude there . . . and instant cities of missionaries and soldiers / will beget a countryside / of children of missionaries and soldiers."
    —At last, this is (still) the "new world" (with a play on both the Navajo cycles/"worlds" and the Western term, "New World") of colonization, that can either continue to go to heck and be "broken" further—or "It can be put back together with sunrise and flint."

The haunting poem "The Everlasting" (HWBH 188-191) reminds me of one of the most powerful passages (I think) in Harjo's corpus, the very last section of "Returning from the Enemy." As one of the poem's "prose interludes," it's not included in the "abridged" version of "Returning" in our collection—another reason not to assign the poem:
There was a massacre in El Salvador. The soldiers had gathered all the men and boys in the church at the center of town and killed them. Then the women and the girls were taken to the fields and raped and killed. One particularly beautiful one was assaulted by many soldiers before they left her to die. She began her song as she was pushed down into the dirt and did not stop singing, no matter what they did to her. She sang of the dusky mountains who watched them that day from the clouds. She sang of the love of a boy and a girl. She sang of flowers and the aroma of the moon as it linked the night with dawn. She did not stop singing. She is still singing. Can you hear her? (A Map to the Next World 96)

"When the World as We Knew It Ended" (198-200)
    —Question: why did Harjo choose this as the last poem in the collection?
    —1st strophe, p. 198: "occupied island" = Hawaii
    —2nd strophe, p. 198: the Twin Towers disaster (and the "incendiary"[?!] references to "commerce" and "oil")
    —But, as if by Native prophecy, "We" knew it "was coming"; the "We" varies in the next few strophes, from Natives, to (Native) women, to . . . . The foreknowledge had been imparted by a "conference of the birds[!], as they flew over / destroyers in the harbor, parked there since the first takeover" (199).
    —The "racket" resonates around the world, metaphorically & geopolitically; and "hunger for war" arises "in those who would steal to be president," who would "own the trees, stones, and everything" (199) . . . . (What an indictment of Western colonialism & civilization.)
    —But that characteristic "positive" Harjo ending (199-200), of rebirth & regeneration, of "seeds to plant" & "babies" to raise, and song/music—"someone / picked up a guitar or ukulele from the rubble / and began to sing about" the earth itself being reborn with labor movements, as it were. (See previous poems where earth movements are equated with birthing.)
    —And that new birth? (200)—from poetry & song, and from the body, and from woman: "a warm animal / a song being born between the legs of her [the earth], / a poem."

"APPENDIX": A few poems that should have been included in Harjo's Selected Poems!::::

Strange Fruit        —Joy Harjo  

I was out in the early evening, taking a walk in the fields to think about this poem I was writing, or walking to the store for a pack of cigarettes, a pound of bacon. How quickly I smelled evil, then saw the hooded sheets ride up in the not yet darkness, in the dusk carrying the moon, in the dust behind my tracks. Last night there were crosses burning in my dreams, and the day before a black cat stood in the middle of the road with a ghost riding its back. Something knocked on the window at midnight. My lover told me:

Shush, we have too many stories to carry on our backs like houses, we have struggled too long to let the monsters steal our sleep, sleep, go to sleep.

But I never woke up. Dogs have been nipping at my heels since I learned to walk. I was taught to not dance for a rotten supper on the plates of my enemies. My mother taught me well.

I have not been unkind to the dead, nor have I been stingy with the living. I have not been with anyone else's husband, or anyone else's wife. I need a song. I need a cigarette. I want to squeeze my baby's legs, see her turn into a woman just like me. I want to dance under the full moon, or in the early morning on my lover's lap.

See this scar under my arm. It's from tripping over a rope when I was small; I was always a little clumsy. And my long, lean feet like my mother's have known where to take me, to where the sweet things grow. Some grow on trees, and some grow in other places.

But not this tree.

I didn't do anything wrong. I did not steal from your mother. My brother did not take your wife. I did not break into your home, tell you how to live or die. Please. Go away, hooded ghosts from hell on earth. I only want heaven in my baby's arms, my baby's arms. Down the road through the trees I see the kitchen light on and my lover fixing supper, the baby fussing for her milk, waiting for me to come home. The moon hangs from the sky like a swollen fruit.

My feet betray me, dance anyway from this killing tree.

[Harjo's notes:]
The title is from a song by Lewis Allan, often sung by Billie Holiday.

(For Jacqueline Peters, a vital writer, activist in her early thirties, who was lynched in Lafayette, California, in June 1986. She had been working to start a local NAACP chapter, in response to the lynching of a twenty-three-year-old black man, Timothy Lee, in November 1985, when she was hanged in an olive tree by the Ku Klux Klan.)

from In Mad Love and War, 1990 (pp. 11-12)

humans aren't the only makers of poetry        —Joy Harjo  

The young banana tree is making poetry; I see how it translates the wind. The need to make songs is inherent in all life.

I've watched plants hungrily drink rainwater. They are grateful and are more likely to sing if it is rainwater they are receiving. If it's water from a hose, they will drink it with gratitude but as they drink they keep looking toward the sky. And will eventually sing to bring the rain if they suffer from drought.

It's just not humans who sing for rain, make poetry as commentary on the meaning of life.

We aren't the only creatures, or the most likely to survive.

from A Map to the Next World, 2000 (p. 112)

Joy Harjo. Dir. Dan Griggs. Lannan Foundation, 1996. VHS.
    —The old VHS tape can be checked out at the Love, but it's in pretty bad shape; here are the highlights of my old notes::::
    Regarding her famous poem "I Give You Back," she says, "that poem was larger than me"; it was inspired by/about the racism she witnessed her students experiencing on the Navajo rez. . . .
    INFLUENCES: Native writers—reading Momaday, Silko, Ortiz in the early 70's": realized that it was "okay to be Indian"!
    —also: African-American poets; Irish poets!—all part of a "multicultural literary uprising."
    —and MUSIC, of course; poetry = "songs"; "I love heartbreak songs"!—incl. "Kiowa 49 songs"; "Patsy Cline or John Coltrane"! . . . As a 7-yr-old, heard a jazz trumpeter on the car radio (Miles Davis?, she guesses in retrospect): gave her a cosmic feeling of something "larger, [sent her] into that mind that was larger than all of it."
    Saxophone: didn't take it up until 1987-1988? (in her "30's"); because in high school, he teacher had told her, "girls can't play saxophone"!
    Bering Strait land-bridge controversy [bad joke]: JH: who said that "bridge" was "one way?" Greg Sarris (the interviewer): "When they ask me if we came over on the Bering Strait, I say, 'No, but we have our bearings straight.'" (Ouch!)
    Poetry (& music, again): She writes her poems "to be spoken"; "like a performance"; she relishes "the music of words"
    Reinventing anthology: discusses how hard it was to get published (from 1992 to 1996); problems with editors; getting mostly non-academic writers published (for—academia, basically!?); but still she claims it to be, above all, for "our people at home" (that is, non-academic Natives)
    Sarris: your many crows and blackbirds[!]—are they tricksters? JH: Yes, they "laugh a lot," and "see a lot," and "understand human beings" [though neither seems to know, or care about, the difference here between crows and blackbirds?!]
    ANTI-WORDS theme: "there's a place in which no words are needed."
    "I see life as a series of cycles."
    "It'd be a real revolution for people to see Indians as real human beings"!!!! (Gives a whole new meaning to the title How We Became Human?!)
    [• My notes on the part of the video when she's actually reading (and talking about) her poems in front of the audience:] She has most of these poems memorized. . . . Her recitations are incantatory . . . lilting, swaying rhythms [In sum, a really "musical" reader!]

*Linda Hogan  1947- (Chickasaw1)
—champion of a triumvirate of "Others"—gender, race, and species (see Dedication, first sentence of Preface of Dwellings)
—some "labels": ecofeminism (women ≈ "Nature"); "spiritual" ecology (i.e., an emphasis on intuition—see 1st essay, "The Feathers"—and "feeling," and a New-Age-esque "inner growth" via an expansion of ecological consciousness); "deep" ecology . . . (Deep Ecology claims, for one thing—and to put it simplistically—that all life forms are "equal.")
Selected Bibliography::::
** Calling Myself Home (1978; poems)
* Eclipse (1983; poems)
* Seeing Through the Sun (1985; poems)
** "The Two Lives" (1987; in I Tell You Now: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers, ed. Brian Swann and Arnold Krupat)
* Mean Spirit (1990; novel)
* Red Clay: Poems & Stories (1991)
** The Book of Medicines (1993; poems)
** Solar Storms (1995; novel)
** Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World (1995; essays)
** Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals (1997; ecofeminist essays, edited by Hogan, Brenda Peterson, and Deena Metzger)
* Power (1998; novel)
* The Sweet Breathing of Plants: Women and the Green World (2000; more ecofeminist essays, edited by Hogan and Brenda Peterson)
* The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir (2001)
1 "The name Chickasaw is a bird sound. It whistles when you say it" (Hausman).

[Tom the Name-Dropper:] I met Linda H. a few years ago (2007),
and got her to sign my oldest copy of Dwellings:

• Note: The Lannan VIDEO of Hogan—as with their Harjo vid—is highlighted by the interview of Hogan at the end. It's also at the Love, but unfortunately it's in such sad shape now that I no longer show it in class. Brave souls writing Essay #2 on Hogan might still consult it as an excellent bio/background source, if you can stand the visual "noise" of a bad VHS tape (the audio is still fine, if I recall):
• Works Cited citation: Linda Hogan. Dir. Dan Griggs. Lannan Foundation, 1995. VHS.

DWELLINGS--Pre-Reading/Discussion Questions--
    Preface (11-12)
        1. Why does Hogan employ the word "treaties" to include "broken agreements" with "the land and with the animals" (11)? (Who signed these "treaties"?!)
        2. Hogan writes that this book is about "[p]eople, animals, [and] land"—all three "live and conscious" (12). Huh? Are the hills "alive with the sound of music" or somethin'?
    "The Feathers" (15-20)
        1. This essay revolves around two uncanny events, the live eagle's initial appearance & gift of a feather (16) and the subsequent discovery of the umbilical cord via the feather's aid (17-19). What do you make of Hogan's explanations of such events? Without using Jung's word "synchronicity," Hogan comes close to its meaning by acknowledging that the first event was "against logic," and instead the work of "another force" involving the "mystery of nature and spirit" (17). For the second event, we're offered another appeal to/affirmation of the arational: "Perhaps there are events and things that work as a doorway into the mythical world," a sort of "sacred reason . . . linked to forces of nature" (19). And again: "There is a still place, a gap between worlds, spoken by the tribal knowings of a thousand years. . . . There is something alive in a feather. . . . there are simple powers, strange and real" (20). Does any of this make "sense" to you? (Or is it even supposed to?)
        2. Indeed, this is probably the most "out there" essay in the book, one that might well drive a good number of readers away, I would think. Why did Hogan choose, then, to place this essay first in the book?

* Preface (11-12)
    —1st sentence establishes immediately her defense of three interrelated "Others": race, gender, and species (11)
        —continuing the connection of (Native) race and species, H. employs the word "treaties" to include the "broken agreements" with "the land and with the animals" (9; see also 46)
    —this book's about "[p]eople, animals, land"—all three "live and conscious"—with the recognition "that humankind is not separate from nature" (12)

To the Top

 F, Nov. 1st::
DWELLINGS--Pre-Reading/Discussion Questions--
    "The Bats" (21-28)
        1. For such a reviled and "creepy" animal, the bat comes off as a pretty wonderful creature in Hogan's essay. What rhetorical/stylistic devices (think word choices, metaphors, etc.) does she employ to achieve this?
        2. [As a follow-up to Q#1:] Is it even fair for Hogan to play on our sensibilities by giving bats so many human-like (anthropomorphic) characteristics? Do you feel these appeals to be manipulative? Even unethical? (Aren't we actually being returned to a love for our own species at last?) Or in such pro-"animal" nature writing, is that all a writer can do, in his/her attempt to "cross the borders of species"?
        3. As in Joy Harjo's poems, a common thread throughout this book are the "other languages" of other species, of the earth itself, in fact (see "the chanting of the earth" [28]. The bats even seem to be semiotically superior to humans, as "they cry out a thin language," a "world of songs a pitch above our own"—and the world "answers" them (25-26). . . . "Bats know the world is constantly singing" (27). What's the matter with the language & perceptions of humankind, then?
        4. Given what you already know of Linda Hogan, why do you suppose she is so empathetic to creatures on the "border" or "margin"—like bats?—who "live in double worlds of many kinds. They are two animals merged into one [i.e., 'rodent' and 'bird']. . . . They are creatures of the dusk . . . people of the threshold," and "intermediaries between our world and the next" (27). (As we'll see, Hogan's poetry, likewise, is replete with reptiles & amphibians & animals of the "night," or otherwise on the "edge.")
    "Caves" (29-35)
        1. One of the best questions so far (Hogan's own ~)!: "Can we love what will swallow us [i.e., the earth] when we are gone?" (30). (Hogan can & does: "I love this inner earth, its murmuring heartbeat, the language of what will consume us" [35].)
        2. Caves as "FEMALE"/maternal? How true is it that "caves are not the places for men. They are a feminine world, a womb of earth" (31; see also 119)? And note Hogan's dreams of caves, as at last a "searching for my mothers: the earth, my human mother, my own life as a woman." . . . "There is a different way of knowing here" (32; see "A Different Yield" for more on female "ways of knowing").
        3. Another "theme" in Hogan is that our own bodies include the other species of our co-evolution (see also p. 41), kinda of an "ontogeny recapitulates philogeny" thing. Towards this essay's end, she imagines that "these [men-imitating-wolves' howlings] are the songs of lives struggling against extinction"; "even translated through human voices, they are here inside the earth, inside the human body, the captive, contained animals" (35). Another difficult question, then, regarding what you make of this idea, expressed elsewhere by Deep Ecologist Paul Shepard as follows: "A whole fauna is in us still, tacitly."
    "All My Relations" (36-41)
        1. The title "All My Relations" is one translation of the famous Lakota saying mitakuye oyasin {mee-TAH-kway-YAH-see[n]} (also often translated as "we are all related"). How does this title relate (no pun intended) to the essay's first five paragraphs (36-37)? Does its meaning change, by the last two paragraphs (41)?
        2. Hogan has sometimes been dubbed a "spiritual ecologist," not only because of the "magical"/mystical tone & attitude she brings to "Nature," but because of her emphasis on "inner," psychic growth & healing. What kind of psychological "healing" does she have in mind (40)?
        3. Hogan has complained elsewhere, in part addressing Anglos who would adopt Native "religions," that ceremony per se is merely an empty vessel, including the sweat lodge purification rite of the essay here. The "real ceremony," she tells us, is to "take up a new way" afterwards (40). Given the essay's end, what does this "new way" entail?
* "The Feathers" (15-20) [cf. the Dedication]
    —on the synchronistic "magic" of a particular eagle feather—
    —H. wants a feather from a live eagle because a "bird killed in the name of human power is . . . a loss of power from the world" (15)
    —dream, in which she tells herself to "Look up"; she awakens, to "a large golden eagle" flying "toward the window," and the gaze!—"I could see its dark eyes looking in at me"—and so, she later finds a real feather from the bird, a synchronistic "gift" to her wish for one (16)
        —without using the word "synchronicity," H. comes close to it by acknowledging that such a event was "against logic," but the work of "another force" involving the "mystery of nature and spirit" (17)
    —2nd anecdote, of granddaughter's lost umbilical cord, and the eagle feather's "aid" in finding it (17-19)
        —again, the explanation is arational: "Perhaps there are events and things that work as a doorway into the mythical world," a sort of "sacred reason . . . linked to forces of nature" (19; cf. Vizenor's "natural reason") . . . "There is a still place, a gap between worlds, spoken by the tribal knowings of a thousand years. . . . There is something alive in a feather. . . . there are simple powers, strange and real" (20)

** "The Bats" (21-28)
    —Hogan's characteristic reprivileging of an oft-vilified creature as "beautiful" (21)
    *—many incredible, "poetic" figures of speech, often humanizing (validly?) this other species; e.g.—
        * "I . . . saw the twiglike legs of a bat, wings folded like a black umbrella whose inner wires had been broken by a windstorm" (22)!
        * "A fierce little mammal, it looked surprisingly like an angry human being" (22)
        * "The [bats'] black wing membranes were etched like the open palm of a human hand," and one bat "stretched out, opened his small handlike claws" (23)
    —description of bats "mating," including the "most beautiful turnings" (23)
    —cave-in-Germany anecdote: "the entrance to a world we didn't know" (24)—beyond self-centered human consciousness
        —hilarious story of the U.S. military trying to train bats to carry bombs: they finally "gave up" trying to use "life to destroy life" (25)
    **—interspecies connections via OTHER LANGUAGES (Hogan "theme")—
        *—"Bats hear their way through the world," hearing "sounds that exist at the edges of our lives. . . . they cry out a thin language," a "world of songs a pitch above[!] our own"—and the world "answers" them (25-26) . . . "Bats know the world is constantly singing" (27)
    **—bats as "BORDER" creatures (Paul Shepard's term for animals like amphibians, etc., that resist/"tease" human classification & understanding; Hogan's poetry, likewise, is replete with reptiles & amphibians & animals of the "night" (cf. the "turtles" on p. 84)—
        —invoking traditional Native beliefs (and "spiritual" ecology): "Bats are people[!] from the land of souls, land where moon dwells" (26)
        —bats "live in double worlds of many kinds. They are two animals merged into one [i.e., "rodent" and "bird"]. . . . They are creatures of the dusk . . . people of the threshold," and "intermediaries between our world and the next" (27)
    *—final call to retrieve that "world": "How can we get there from here, I wonder, to the center of the world, to the place where the universe carries down the song of night to our human lives. . . . How do we learn to trust ourselves enough to hear the chanting of the earth?" (28)


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (I get a sentence like this at least once a semester!?):

To the Top

 M, Nov. 4th::
DWELLINGS--More Pre-Reading/Discussion Questions--
    "A Different Yield" (47-62)
        1. This essay's title involves a feminist spin on mainstream (presumable patriarchal) science. To achieve this "different yield," "'[o]ne must have a feeling for the organism'"; one must listen "to what corn had to say"— at last to practice a science that is "alive, intuitive, and humane" (48-49). First, should Western science take such a "kinder, gentler" turn (to quote the 1st George Bush)? Second, why does Hogan seem to claim that it is essentially a "woman's job" (above all, ability) to create such a positive change?
        2. As an example of the above, Hogan speaks of Barbara McClintock's scientific "approach" as "one that bridged the worlds of woman and plant, and crossed over the boundaries between species" (48). One might claim, again, that Hogan's prose is another such attempt. (From what you've read to date, with what other species has Hogan done this best so far?)
        3. Another psychoanalysis on Hogan's part; is it true, and why/how?: "There is a separation that has taken place between us and nature. Something has broken deep in the core of ourselves. . . . The result is a spiritual fragmentation that has accompanied our ecological destruction" (52).
        4. Hogan invokes one common animal-rights argument as follows: "even when animals learn to speak a language, and to communicate their misery, we still deny them the right to an existence free from suffering and pain" (57). Shouldn't we, then—the argument goes—stand up for the "rights" of animals who suffer (and/or can communicate via semiotics of some sort)? My question(s): this seems only to extend to primates, other "higher" mammals, perhaps, and . . . to whom else?! Doesn't this imply a species hierarchy that contradicts Hogan's usual all-embracing regard for "newts," insects, etc.?
        Note: the chimp mentioned in "A Different Yield"—Washoe—just recently died (30 Oct. 2007).
        5. LANGUAGE encore: One truism of postmodern psychology is that consciousness requires language, that verbal discourse creates our very ego awareness. And yet for Hogan, "there are communications that take place on a level that goes deeper than our somewhat limited spoken languages. . . . We have feelings that can't be spoken"—ergo, paintings, and "music that goes straight to the body" (cf. Harjo). Even deeper yet is the "music" of nature, if you will: "there is even more a deep-moving underground language in us. Its currents pass between us and the rest of nature" (57). Is Hogan's redefinition of "language" a simple retreat to some Romantic intuitionalism ("I feel it in my heart to be true"), or is she doing some fruitful "reinventing" here, similar to Harjo's finding language in the silent circling of an eagle?
    "Deify the Wolf" (63-76)
        1. Again, one must accept Hogan's arationalism—and/or unusual take on ontogeny-recapitulates-phylogeny evolution—at its face value (or not); that is, what does she mean by saying that a part of our psyche "still remembers the language of that old [wolf] song. It stirs inside the body, taking us down from our world of logic, down to the deeper lost regions of ourselves into a memory so ancient we have lost the name for it" (64)? (Can you honestly say you've never felt this?!)
        2. One of my all-time favorite images from Hogan (which recurs elsewhere in her corpus): "a coal black raven standing inside the arch of those [dead-moose] ribs like a soul in a body" (65). To reiterate a common refrain of mine, why the religious connotations? [= Question #2 regarding her poem "Crow Law" (later!)]
        3. In explaining the title of her essay, Hogan finds in the local yokels' lack of appreciation for larger eco-concerns evidence of "a split [that] has widened between so many European immigrants and the American wilderness they have never been at home with" (67). This last is an idea, as I've mentioned in class, that is actually common parlance in earlier Native writers like Vine Deloria, Jr. and Leslie Marmon Silko, the notion that "500 years ain't nearly enough time" for the colonizers to really know/be an integral part of the "land." But I never heard that such a gap or "split" has actually "widened"? What can she mean by this?
        4. In recounting several anecdotes on cruelty to wolves (66-69), Hogan adds her characteristic "other species=humans" touch: "these wounded wolves are like us, freedom and life mean something to them" (68-69). How much of this is universally true of, say, large mammals w/ a choice? How much of this is a projection of all-too-human values?
        5. As a former Jungian, I think I understand what Hogan means in noting the "psychological fact that wolves carry much of the human shadow [Jung's contra-moral archetype]. . . . More than any other animal, they mirror back to us the predators we pretend not to be" (71). But still, how can she call us "predators"? (At worst, we shop at Wal-Mart, after all!?)
        6. Maybe the most pathos-ridden parts of this book involve Hogan's views on human alienation & LONELINESS: here we have a wolf on a leash, and people needing to pet it! Why the need for pets, and touching? Oh—"What need we humans have, a species lonely and lacking in love. . . . Perhaps it is because of that loneliness that we remove our gloves in icy weather to touch a dead wolf" (72). Is this true? Also: "Something wild must hold such sway over the imagination that we can't tear ourselves away from any part of the wilderness without in some way touching it" (73). Huh. Does this explain the very existence of the Lincoln Children's Zoo on 27th Street? And/or is Hogan completely off base, or missing something else in terms of human motivation (or alienation)?
        7. Does Hogan's coda-call here for "crossing the border" of species come across as eloquent & inspiring? Or is it wishful-thinking, and even appropriative?—"It's [a lupine] ceremony we want a share of. We are walking here to speak with the wolves. . . . We think we will see their souls" (75). . . . Later, a man makes a wolf call: "We are waiting for the wolves to answer. We want a healing" of that "wound between us and the world that contains our broken histories. . . . We have followed the wolves and are trying to speak across the boundaries of ourselves" (76).

* "The Caves" (29-35)
    —the cave as "passageway to inner earth"—and, by extension, to "inner" psyche . . . "Can we love what will swallow us [i.e., the earth] when we are gone? I do" (30). . . . "I love this inner earth, its murmuring heartbeat, the language of what will consume us" (35)
    —caves as "FEMALE"/maternal: "caves are not the places for men. They are a feminine world, a womb of earth" (31; see also 119); and H.'s dreams of caves: at last a "searching for my mothers: the earth, my human mother, my own life as a woman" . . . "There is a different way of knowing here" (32; see "A Different Yield") . . . "something deeper than human . . . something of the world of myth" (34)
    —connection with Native/Pueblo mythology (31-32; cf. Harjo's "four worlds" beneath this "Fifth" one)
    —"[segue to] SEED"—and the flowers sprouting out of the ruins of Hiroshima: "What a horrible [i.e., 'awe-ful,' or 'sublime' in the Romantics' sense] beauty, the world going its own way, growing without us," perhaps speaking "of survival, of hope beyond our time" (33)
    —coda: return to caves, and H.'s themes of other languages and a genetic(?) interrelationship (indeed, identity?) of human and other species: "I think that these [men-imitating-wolves' howlings] are the songs of lives struggling against extinction, even translated through human voices, they are here inside the earth, inside the human body, the captive, contained animals" (35)

** "All My Relations" (36-41)
    —N.B.: title derived from mitakuye oyasin (mee-TAH-kway-YAH-see[n]: Lakota for "all my relatives" or "we are all related")
    —Intro: NatAmer "extended family" (tioshpaye—food and "frequent guests" (36-37)
    —"story": conversation with old man: "story is at the very crux of healing, at the heart of every ceremony and ritual in the older America" (37)
    —ceremony per se: a (re-)connection with "our families, nations, and all other creatures" (37)
    —old man: "moving between the worlds . . . over the boundaries of what we think"; a "'good sign'" is an eagle "overhead" (38) . . . (Lame Deer, inSeeker of Visions, claims that, during his healings, too, there is inevitably a raptor soaring overhead; and note the sweat lodge itself: "Birds are on it" [39].)
    —sweat lodge: becomes a microcosm of the universe—"animals," "Water," "Wind . . . from the four directions," etc.; and "willow branches" remembering "their brief, slender lives" (39)!
    —"Spiritual Ecology" theme, as now it is "a place grown intense and holy . . . of immense community"; the "humbled silence" is really "our deepest language, and now "all things are connected." . . . emphasis on "inner," psychic growth: the "healing" = "the mending of a broken connect between us and the rest," including "animals" and the "land"; a "restructuring" of the "inner map," through which "we make whole our broken-off pieces of self and world" (40) . . . then that mythic(?!) leap that sounds like Hogan's best poetry: "it is as if skin contains land and animals"; "the animals and ancestors move into the human body, into skin and blood. The land merges with us" (41).
    —But the "real ceremony" involves praxis, action, to "take up a new way. . . ." (40).
    —Coda: finally, even after the return to "ordinary use," to the mundane, the new (and old!?) consciousness remains: "Crows sit inside the framework [of the sweat lodge]. It's evening. The crickets are singing. All my relations" (41).

*** "A Different Yield" (47-62)
    —women's—including female scientists'—"alternative" approach to nature (a "different" result/"yield" [see 58, 60, 61]) . . . "in search of a new vision" that includes "renewed intuitive processes," even a "leap of faith"; at last, "'One must have a feeling for the organism'" (49; quoting McClintock).
        —scientists: biologist Barbara McClintock, who "listens to what corn had to say," to the "inner voices of corn and woman" (48), who (according to Evelyn Keller Fox) practices a science that is "alive, intuitive, and humane" (= ecofeminism + "spiritual ecology") . . . Vickie Hearne & animal intelligence (49) . . . "Imagine a woman, a scientist, listening to those rustling stalks. . . . What a harvest. What a different yield" (61).
        —(male!) artists: Everald Brown, who "says . . . that the doves have taught him his craft" (49-50); Paul Klee (50)
        —even some Western "traditions of consciousness": Orpheus [and his cult]—"able to communicate with the worlds of animals, plants, water, and minerals" (51)
        —and Crazy Horse (51)
    ****—CROSSING the BORDER of species [perhaps THE key point of Dwellings]: e.g., McClintock's praxis—"It was a whole approach, one that bridged the worlds of woman and plant, and crossed over the boundaries between species" (48; for "bridge[s]," see also 87, 88, 111, 116). . . . Essay idea: C/C Silko's & Hogan's use of "border" as trope and ideology?!
    —resignification of "myth" as not some primitive fiction but, rather, a "high form of truth" . . . [very Jungian is the following:] "They [myths] are the deepest, innermost cultural stories of our human journeys toward spiritual and psychological growth" (51; Note: for both Jungians and Hogan's "spiritual" ecology, "spiritual" & "psychological" are pretty much the same thing).
    —SEPARATION: why need a "different yield," now?—"There is a separation that has taken place between us and nature. Something has broken deep in the core of ourselves. . . . [paraphrasing Meier:] as the wilderness has disappeared outside of us, it has gone to live inside the human mind. . . . The result is a spiritual fragmentation that has accompanied our ecological destruction" (52)
    —part of the remedy?: "listening" (52) to "other voices": e.g., Washoe the chimp, who communicates via Amslan (American Sign Language) [cf. the gorilla Koko]
        —such "listening" leads H. to several "animal-rights" statements: "if we are forced to accept that animals have intelligence, language, and sensitivity to pain, including psychological trauma, this sensitivity has tremendous consequences for our own species and for our future actions" (53) . . . "Such a very clear thing, to know that if we injure an animal, ravage the land, that we have caused damage" (56) . . . But "even when animals learn to speak a language, and to communicate their misery, we still deny them the right to an existence free from suffering and pain" (57).
        —also, "spiritually ecological" (inner/psych.) benefits: this new knowledge of animal intelligence—which Hearne calls an "intellectual emergency"—"is not merely a crisis of the mind, but it a potential act of emergence, of liberation not only for the animals of the earth, but for our own selves" (54).
        —LANGUAGE—and ruminations on non-verbal communication reminiscent of Kristeva's notion of the pre-Symbolic semiotic (in contrast to Lacan, who claims that even consciousness itself depends on words/human language): "there are communications that take place on a level that goes deeper than our somewhat limited spoken languages. . . . We have feelings that can't be spoken"—i.e., via visual art, and by "music that goes straight to the body"; even deeper yet is the "music" of nature, if you will: "there is even more a deep-moving underground language in us. Its currents pass between us and the rest of nature" (57).
        —BORDER-CROSSING (& "language") encore—"We might ask what is to be gained by bridging the species gap?" . . . "What we really are searching for is a language that heals this relationship," a "language that knows the corn, and the one that corn knows" (59) . . . "We are looking for a tongue that speaks with reverence for life, searching for an ecology of the mind" (60).
    —Jimmie Durham poem, the last line of which—"'We probably knew that would be true'" (55)—becomes an (oral-trad.-like) refrain in the essay's coda: "Earth yields. We probably knew that would be true. . . . Listen. The ears of the corn are singing. They are telling their stories and singing their songs. We knew that would be true" (61).
    —plants—and women: "She, the corn, is called our grandmother" (61).  [I can't resist: that makes us all Children—of the Corn?!]

To the Top

 W, Nov. 6th::
DWELLINGS--More Pre-Reading/Discussion Questions--
    "The Kill Hole" (109-116)
        1. [Really stupid rhetorical question:] Is Hogan making too much about the fate of Ishi, the "last Yana Indian" who, upon discovery/capture, spends the rest of his life as a museum "exhibit" (110-111)? And her lesson: we are people of "creation" and "destruction," and Ishi's fate exemplifies the latter: "It speaks of loss and emptiness that will never again be filled, of whole cultures disappeared, of species made extinct" (111; note again the connection of "other" ethnicities & other species). A related question: is the loss of a human "people"/tribe really analogous to the loss of another, entire biotic species? (To be even more inflammatory, which is the true HOLOCAUST: what happened in WWII, or humans' determined hunting of an entire species to extinction, as with the Passenger Pigeon?)
        2. Hogan offers the phenomenon of "signing chimps" as a "a dialogue that [has] bridged the species barrier" (111). How is this, as Hogan claims, a new "identity crisis equal to" the discovery that the earth revolves around the sun (112), and "the downfall of our beliefs about who and what we are as human beings" (113)? In other words, what is this "breached realm where apes inform us of a truth we fear to face" (116)?
        3. At one point, Hogan slams recent genetic engineering, etc.: "so many of our scientists prefer to meddle with the creation of new life-forms rather than to maintain and care for those, even human lives, who are already in our presence" (114). How much of this is a Luddite retreatism? How much, good ol' common sense? (Readers of the novel Frankenstein may chime in here.)
        4. Hogan makes one of her trademark hope-filled calls-to-action here, to "cross the border." On a scale of 1 to 10(!), how effective is this instance in the grand scheme that is her book?—"A change is required of us, a healing of the betrayed trust between humans and earth." . . . despite our "tragic technology," we can "learn from what has fallen through [i.e., become extinct] before us" (115) . . . to "create a bridge across that broken world" (116).
    "Dwellings" (117-124)
        1. Nice essay, but hardly one of the best of the book, in my opinion. Why did Hogan choose, then, to call the whole book Dwellings? (One obvious possibility: the "eco" in "ecology" is from the Latin for "house" or "household." Also consider the essay's last paragraph & sentence.)
        2. What do you make of Hogan's eco-ethical dilemma regarding the "two fetal mice"? Did she make the "right" decision, conscious as she is of the eco-truth that "[d]eath and life feed each other" (122)?
        3. Hogan's intended climax to this essay involves finding the deserted nest. Help me out of another stupid leading question by waxing euphoric on how well this episode relates to the title. (Also, think back to the eagle feather: doesn't Hogan have the greatest luck when it comes many of her interactions with nature?! "Hey," the Jungian/New Ager would argue, "it's synchronicity!")
    "The Voyagers" (125-134)
        1. Yeh, like we're surprised by now that Hogan is an "earth person," as opposed to a "sky person" (125-126)! But how is this self-identification related to the essay's powerful & evocative coda (133-134)?
        2. Why, according to Hogan's implication, was NASA originally reluctant to release photos of the earth from space (126-127)?
        3. The title—"Voyagers"—refers to the spacecraft launched in 1977, one of which held an "Interstellar Record"—earthlings' "note sealed in a bottle," as it were (127). How do you explain what they CHOSE to include?—a) various greetings from different cultures/languages (the one from eastern China reminding Hogan of Chickasaw domesticity & hospitality) (127); b) earth nature sounds (e.g., elephants, crickets, whales–who will thus still be "singing" in space when long extinct) . . . at last, such sounds "will speak of what we value the most on our planet, things that in reality we are almost missing" (128); c) human music, incl. the Navajo Night Chant and Blind Willie Johnson (128); d) visual images (e.g., forest, geese, dolphins)—again, "speaking the sacred language of life that we ourselves have only just begun to remember" (129).
        4a. But this is a wishful-thinking, utopian message-in-a-bottle, at last (129), versus the REALITY of humankind's present existence on earth itself. What has been repressed?: "the dark times of horror we live in," the "most cruel aspects of our own nature"; "Auschwitz, Hiroshima," etc. (130). Indeed, the Interstellar Record "shows us what is wrong with our world," and reveals our repression of the "absent" and "the denied" and the "underside": "the sounds of gunfire, the wailings of grief and hunger, the last, extinct song of a bird"; and, of course, the "broken link between us and the rest of the world" (130). Okay, all well & good; but then what does she mean by saying that this message-in-a-bottle presents only a "half-faced, one-sided God" (131)?
        4b. Is the answer to 4a related to Hogan's anecdote of the "Indian woman" frightened by "a picture of the [Christian] crucifixion" (131)? Why would an ostensibly Christian nation (and Western civilization), circa 1978, not send out the "good word" (of Christ)?!
        5. As a class reading native WOMEN writers, you no doubt noticed another salient repression: "NASA officials vetoed the picture of a naked man and pregnant woman . . . calling it 'smut'"; in another photo, "the mother's body [is] hidden" (131)! "Why?"
        6. Note that, amid Hogan's usual discourses of "race" and gender and species, CLASS arises here: within this space message, even the "metals used in the record" speak of classism and economic repression (133). That is, some really underpaid third-world labor, no doubt, went into makin' the damned thing. (I have no question for you here. Sorry.)
        7. Clarify for me—or react to—Hogan's final argument, regarding why humankind wants to explore the realm of the extraterrestrial: "We hope" we are not alone, that there is other life on other planets; or at least, "we hope there is . . . another world we can fly to when ours is running out. We have come so far away from [traditional/eco-]wisdom" (133). And what if there no life on other worlds?—then "We face the search for ourselves alone" (133-134). (A good or a bad thing, in Hogan's view?)
        8. Characteristically again, this is another hopeful essay finale. However, Hogan's perception that an expansion of consciousness is occurring seems debatable (as does who the "WE" is in the following): "The people of earth are reaching out. We are having a collective vision. . . . We want to live [or at least Hogan thinks/hopes we all should want to live?] as if there is no other place" (134). Huh. Really? (To paraphrase Allen Ginsberg, this isn't the idea I get when I read Time magazine—er, watch cable news!—in spite of all the "shallow ecology" cover features.) Reactions? (Or, on second thought, has this change actually been occurring in the last few years?)

** "Deify the Wolf" (63-76)
    —H.'s trip with naturalists (& other "eco-tourists") to Ely, Minnesota, to observe wolves in the wild—
    *—straight Carl Jung again, and a collective unconscious that "remembers" its co-evolution with other species: for those who have heard wolves, "a part of them still remembers the language of that old song. It stirs inside the body, taking us down from our world of logic, down to the deeper lost regions of ourselves into a memory so ancient we have lost the name for it" (64).
    *—one of my all-time favorite images from Hogan (which recurs elsewhere in her corpus): "a coal black raven standing inside the arch of those [dead-moose] ribs like a soul in a body" (65)!
    —essay title origin: the local yokels' complaint that the visiting biologists "want to 'Deify the wolf'" (66)—in conflict with their own limited human concerns . . . such a lack of appreciation for larger eco-matters evidence of "a split [that] has widened between so many European immigrants and the American wilderness they have never been at home with" (67; similar to one of Silko's thematic threads in Almanac)
    —several anecdotes on cruelty to wolves (66-69), including wolves who have lost legs in traps; again, Hogan's "animals ≈ humans" touch: "these wounded wolves are like us, freedom and life mean something to them" (68-69).
    —"double bind" of helping the wolves & "interfering" with nature: "It seems that we have created a world for ourselves where all of our actions [now] have dire consequences in a way reminiscent of [meddling] federal Indian policies" (69; now "animals ≈ Indians"; cf. 11).
    **—the wolf as human SHADOW projection: H. notes the (Jungian) "psychological fact that wolves carry much of the human shadow. . . . More than any other animal, they mirror back to us the predators we pretend not to be" (71; but also cf. snakes, bats, etc., as other animal "Shadow" figures; and then, on the human plane, there's them black Africans and them savage Injuns, too . . ). [And then there was the George W. Bush re-election campaign TV ad in 1994, in which the sinister prowling wolves were an obvious allegory for islamic terrorists!]
    **—human alienation & LONELINESS: wolf on leash, and people needing to pet it!; why the need for pets, and touching?—"What need we humans have, a species lonely and lacking in love" (cf. Momaday, on the Dickinson poem) . . . and Hogan herself: "perhaps it is because of that loneliness that we remove our gloves in icy weather to touch a dead wolf" (72); "Something wild must hold such sway over the imagination that we can't tear ourselves away from any part of the wilderness without in some way touching it" (73; see also the flamingos on p. 90).
    **—essay's coda another call for, attempt at, a "BRIDGE": [regarding the wolves' "ceremonial" greeting behavior,] "It's ceremony we want a share of. We are walking here to speak with the wolves. . . . We think they will see our souls[?!]" (75) . . . later, a man makes a wolf call: "We are waiting for the wolves to answer. We want a healing" of that "wound between us and the world that contains our broken histories. . . . We have followed the wolves and are trying to speak across the boundaries of ourselves" (76).

To the Top

 F, Nov. 8th::
** "The Kill Hole" (109-116)
    —on death, loss, extinction (e.g., Ishi); and hope, via "bridges"
    **—the fate of Ishi [cf. upcoming essay by Vizenor]: the "last Yana Indian" who, upon discovery/capture, spends the rest of his life as a museum "exhibit" (110-111) . . . lesson: we are people of "creation" and "destruction," and Ishi's fate speaks to the latter: "It speaks of loss and emptiness that will never again be filled, of whole cultures disappeared, of species made extinct" (111; note again the connection of "other" races & other species) . . . "He was the last of a kind of human being" (115)
    *—ape communication: "signing chimps" = "a dialogue that bridged the species barrier" (111; also 114: a "narrowing down of the difference between species"); chimps have similar "feelings," and a "rich emotional life," including "love and resistance," "pain and anguish" (112; common "animal rights" argument)
        **—a threat to a complacent anthropocentrism: a new cultural (and species) "identity crisis equal to" the discovery that the earth revolved around the sun (112)!; "the downfall of our beliefs about who and what we are as human beings" (113) . . . the old/current view is (the opposite of a bridge,) a "dusky space between us and others, the place where . . . our capacity for love has failed": "a breached realm where apes inform us of a truth we fear to face" (116)
        —more examples: elephant art, and de Kooning's hilarious reply: "'That's a damned talented elephant'" (113); the gorilla Koko's sense of humor (113-114)
        —slam against genetic engineering, etc.: "so many of our scientists prefer to meddle with the creation of new life-forms rather than to maintain and care for those, even human lives, who are already in our presence" (114)
    —call to action: "A change is required of us, a healing of the betrayed trust between humans and earth." . . . despite our "tragic technology," we can "learn from what has fallen through [i.e., become extinct] before us" (115) . . . to "create a bridge across that broken world" (116)
        —and hope, with the potential comeback of the California Condor: "A mending is taking place" (116)

• Regarding Hogan & our discussion of human extinction the other day [2013?!], I found myself thinking of a passage from Eiseley: "Sometimes of late years I find myself thinking the most beautiful sight in the world might be the birds taking over New York after the last man has run away to the hills."  —Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey 187

        I was birding at Branched Oak Lake Saturday morning (3/22) and, at the end of the dirt road in Area 10, I was scanning the northwest arm of the lake for cormorants and pelicans. Suddenly, this guy drove up in his pickup in a white heat, came to a screeching stop, got out with his young boy and his old shotgun, and proceeded to shoot a snow goose no more than 10 yards from shore. The report startled me from my birder's reverie; I saw a second goose, presumably the bird's mate, flying away to mourn, while the man rushed back into his truck to get something—to grab the bird with? His boy, still at the shore, started shouting, "Daddy, It's still alive! It's still alive," and from my bad angle, over the high weeds, I could make out the poor goose still thrashing in the water. I couldn't tell whether the boy's tone was one of pity, or one that simply meant "Kill it good and dead, Daddy! Shoot it some more!" Well, the dad was shooting at it again as I drove off slowly, writing down his license plate number, aghast and somewhat in mourning myself.
        Christ, it's hunting season?!—that's always my thought when this shit happens. And as usual, I was snapped out of my birding nirvana back into a bitter and inveterate misanthropy. I did a quick Google search on my iPhone and learned that Nebraska apparently has a "light goose" hunting season until April 1st, so—"oh, well." (These "light[-colored] geese"—snow geese—are Black Elk's "white geese," by the way, Lakota symbols of the North. And ironically, for Black Elk, of elusiveness in battle.)
        But I'm also eternally shocked and pissed that Nebraska even lets people hunt in SRAs (State Recreation Areas, of which Branched Oak Lake is one):
        "Hey, fellah, what do you do for recreation?"
        "I murder birds. With my young child. I'm teaching him subtraction with a gun. There: one less snow goose in the world, soaring up through the kill hole. I'm not missing it. Nope."

** "Dwellings" (117-124)
    **—regarding the title of this essay and book: note the specific connotations of ecology  ["ECO-" = "house" or "household" (ergo poet/deep ecologist Gary Snyder's book, Earth House Hold)]
    —bees—and Jung encore: their "memory that lives in the blood" (118)
    **—Barn Swallow anecdote—their many mud nests inside a tunnel: "But I knew they were there, filled with the fire of living[!]. And what a marriage of elements was in those nests," mud from soil that as once made up the bodies of "prophets and crazy men" (121)!
    **—H. finds "two fetal mice" at the raptor center (cf. her anthropomorphic descriptions in "Bats"): "They were new to the planet, pink and hairless" and "so tenderly young"[!]—"each one curled up smaller than an infant's ear, listening to the first sounds of earth" (122)!
        —dilemma of ants vs. mice: though she saves the mice, she's a realist: "Death and life feed each other. I know that" (122).
    —Great Horned Owls, and the maternal reaction thereto: "I wanted to hear them again, the voices so tender, so deep, like a memory of comfort" (123)
    —essay's climax, in the discovery of a (fallen & therefore abandoned) "soft, round nest," with a "blue thread" in it (123) [sound of ringing synchronicity bells!]: "It was thread from one of my skirts"; "I liked it, that a thread of my life was in an abandoned nest, one that had held eggs and a new life" . . . later she also finds in the nest a "gnarl" of her "daughter's hair"! (124)
        —and so the metaphor of a coda: "The whole world was a nest on its humble tilt, in the maze of the universe, holding us" (124; "dwelling" = household!?)

*** "The Voyagers" (125-134)
    —looking up at the night sky with her mother; but H. asserts that she is not a "sky person" but an "earth person," more in tune with the "treasures at" her "feet," which held "enough mystery for "her (125-126)
    **—but astronomy does let us "know that we are small and brief as insects"; Galileo's [& Copernicus'] anti-earth-centrism . . . thus not surprising that the U.S. space program's early "photographs of earth were classified as secret documents" (126)!
        —why? for one thing, such photos made us truly realize, "'for the first time, our incredibly profound isolation'" (127)
    —the title—"Voyagers"—refers to the spacecraft launched in 1977, one of which held an "Interstellar Record"—earthlings' "note sealed in a bottle," as it were (127); including . . .
        —various greetings from different cultures/languages; the one from eastern China reminding H. of Chickasaw domesticity & hospitality (127; see also coda/"clincher": 134)
        *—earth nature sounds (e.g., elephants, crickets, whales—who will thus still be "singing" in space when long extinct) . . . at last, such sounds "will speak of what we value the most on our planet, things that in reality we are almost missing" (128)
        —human music, incl. the Navajo Night Chant and Blind Willie Johnson (128)
        *—visual images (e.g., forest, geese, dolphins)—again, "speaking the sacred language of life that we ourselves have only just begun to remember" (129)
    —but a wishful-thinking, utopian message-in-a-bottle, all this (129), versus the REALITY of humankind's present existence on earth itself—
        —what have we repressed?: "the dark times of horror we live in," the "most cruel aspects of our own nature"; "Auschwitz, Hiroshima," etc. (130)
        —indeed, the Interstellar Record "shows us what is wrong with our world," and reveals our repression of the "absent" and "the denied" and the "underside": "the sounds of gunfire, the wailings of grief and hunger, the last, extinct song of a bird"; and, of course, the "broken link between us and the rest of the world" (130)
        —in sum, this space message presents only a "half-faced, one-sided God" (131)
        **—anecdote of the "Indian woman" frightened by "a picture of the crucifixion": "these were dangerous people . . . who did horrible things to one another"; ergo an image of the crucifixion isn't on the Voyager "for fear we earth people would look "'cruel'" . . . also, "[t]here are no political messages, no photographs of Hiroshima. . . . we know our own wrongdoings" (131)
        **—even our basic biology & procreation are repressed: "NASA officials vetoed the picture of a naked man and pregnant woman . . . calling it 'smut'"; in another photo, "the mother's body [is] hidden" (131)! . . . symptomatic of our deep "discomfort with our own life force" (132)
        —and even the accompanying textual descriptions revealing: "For example, a small gold-eyed frog seen in a human hand might have been a photograph that bridges species . . . but the hand is described . . . as having 'a dirty fingernail'"—a point of view revealing a shame of the very earth we inhabit, by "lives that are lived outside of life" (132)
        —and a description of dolphins in the "'next room'" an attitude that "places us above and beyond the rest of the world" (132)[?]; Hogan more fully embraces the metaphor of earth as a house with rooms [cf. "eco-"], inhabited by macaws, corn, etc. (133)
        —ooh: even within the space message, then, "the underside of our lives is here," and even the "metals used in the record" speak of classism and economic repression (133)
    —"We hope" we are not alone, that there is other life on other planets; or at least, "we hope there is . . . another world we can fly to when ours is running out. We have come so far away from [traditional/eco-] wisdom" (133)
    —if no life on other worlds?! then—"We face the search for ourselves alone" (133-134)
    —(another) hopeful essay finale, H.'s perception that an expansion of consciousness is occurring (though it seems quite debatable who "We" are in the following): "The people of earth are reaching out. We are having a collective vision. . . . We want to live [or at least Hogan thinks/hopes we all should want to live] as if there is no other place" (134)

• Vis-à-vis "The Voyagers":::: NASA's "Scenes from Earth": a web version of NASA's "message in a bottle"—including the earth photos and the sounds, images, etc.


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (from Jan. 2017; I just changed the list in the report):

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 M, Nov. 11th::
* "The Snake People" (135-143)
    —anecdote of a "flying" racer, as a segue to—"Our lives have been peopled with snakes and stories of snakes" (135); with examples (136); however, snakes are often "greeted by death" via humans, since "Most people are uneasy about sharing territory with snakes" (137)
    —but Hogan (like Silko): "I have come to love the snakes and their long, many-ribbed bodies" (137) . . . [later:] "I call them people. . . . They love their freedom . . . and often die of sadness when kept in captivity" (142)
        —H.'s dream of the "snake woman" (137-138), both woman and green snake that "became one"; joined by dancers, feathered "like human birds" (138; note "union" of snake & bird encore) . . . H. first thinks of the dream as some "Indian tradition" thing, but eventually realizes that it is about the "earth itself," which "needs to be saved" (138)
        —more snakes + birds: "a blue racer carried into the sky by a red-tailed hawk"; "I once saw an eagle carrying a snake" (139) . . . "But another time, I saw a snake swallowing a bird, the twiglike feet[!] sticking out of the snake's wide mouth" (140)
        —"Snake" as mythic creature, à la Silko: before becoming the Judeo-Christian "dark god of our underworld . . . it was a being of holy inner earth. . . . In nearly all ancient cultures the snake was the symbol of healing and wholeness" . . . archetypal image of snake "with tail in mouth," of "infinity gone in a circle" (140; the ouroboros: cf. the dream-discovery of the carbon ring) . . . example: the Hopi snake dance, the "oldest ceremony" of North America (as Frank Waters first noted) (141-142)
    —final anecdote of road-killed snake, with smaller "swallowed" snakes escaping the dead one, "somehow surviving" (142-143): a "story of survival," at last, "of what is left of wilderness, or of what has become of earth's lesser gods as one by one they disappear" (143)

* "Porcupine" (144-146)
    —about a "dark old porcupine" H. has often seen "lumbering like a sleepwalker"! . . . "This is not the porcupine of poems" (144); this animal "is torn and lame," and wears her history, dark and spiny"—yet "there is light in her" . . . though, like bats and many other "othered" animals, she is an "animal of dark night" (145)
    —H. finds her dead: "Her face is sweet and dark, her inner light replaced by the light of sky" (145)!  [Note that, in her poetry especially, H. uses "light"—and the Latin "lumine"—as a metaphor for life.]
        —H. "honors" this "animal old woman" with ceremonial sage (146), then observes her progress of decay (cf. Richard Eberhart's poem, "The Groundhog")—as "fat white maggots" crawl out, some turning to flying insects already . . . and thus, in "that crossing over . . . the battle of life with life, the porcupine lives on" (146)

** "Waking Up the Rake" (147-154)
    —that is, the work—of "healing" of the "gap" (153)—via her duties at the Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Foundation
    —grandmother's lesson: "'Our work is our altar'" (148); and so—
    —"Now I am a disciple of birds" (148):
        —raking the bones: "Over time, the narrow human perspective from which we view things expands" (149)
        —LEARNING from the birds: "This work is a sweet apprenticeship and the birds are the teachers. Sweet-eyed barn owls, such taskmasters, asking us to be still and slow and to move in time with their rhythms, not our own. . . . There is a silence needed here before a person enters the bordered world the birds inhabit . . . and they are ready for us." . . . They "demand . . . that we learn to be equal to them, to feel our way into an intelligence that is different from our own" (150)
        —and yet SEPARATION: "And they know that we are apart from them, that as humans we have somehow fallen from our animal grace" (150); indeed, "To ensure their survival, they must remember us as the enemies that we are" (151)
    —INTUITION: to appreciate other species "is to begin to know the natural laws that exist apart from our own written ones. One of those laws, which we carry deep inside us, is intuition. . . . It's a blood-written code that directs us through life" (151; cf. Hogan's poem "Crow Law")
    —H.'s job of raking as a "healing" work, a "healing of the severed trust we humans hold with earth": "It is work at the borderland between species" . . . moreover, it's a "circular" thing, "a labor round and complete, smooth and new as an egg, and the rounding seasons" (153) . . . coda: "The rake wakes up and the healing is in it. . . . And when the rake wakes up, all earth's gods are reborn" (154)


—a Short-Eared Owl, with its "startling yellow eyes" (Hogan 150);
my photo: Banner County, NE, 3 June 2015

* "Walking" (155-159)
    —opening species: a sunflower (155-)—"turning its face daily toward the sun" (cf. William Blake!)
        —the plant engenders an entire "society" of living things, its own ecosystem or bioregion, if you will (156)
        —LANGUAGE: "I never learned the sunflower's golden language[!] or the tongues of its citizens. . . . But they knew what to do, how to live," via an "old voice from somewhere, gene or cell. . . . It was instinct, intuition, necessity" (157)
    —LANGUAGE II: 2nd botanical example—the bamboo plant that blooms "[o]nce a century," simultaneously and planet-wide: "Some current of an inner language passes among them . . . in ways we cannot explain in our language. They are all, somehow, one plant, each with a share of communal language" (157).  (Another amazing example of what I have called "ant consciousness" is the flight/flocking behavior of birds, an incredible, apparently pre-planned, medley of individual vectors that scientists have actually measured & "mapped"—and still remain amazed how, say, those 500 starlings don't fly into each other!)
    —LANGUAGE III: even the earth itself—"Sometimes I hear it talking"; example: a redwood forest, in which an "underground current stirred a kind of knowing inside me, a kinship and longing" (158; and see next->)
    —finally, the essay's title: "Tonight I walk. . . . Walking, I can almost hear the redwoods beating" (158) . . . concluding Native-eco- (& Darwinian!) message: "I walk in the land of many gods, and they love and eat one another" (very close to the language of deep ecologist Paul Shepard here, who describes other species as "the dangerous, competitive, beautiful, tasty, scrounging Others") . . . "Walking, I am listening to a deeper [i.e., more intuitive] way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me" (159)—and they're not only her human ancestors. . . .

*Leslie Marmon Silko—1948- (Laguna Pueblo)
Selected Bibliography::::
* "The Man to Send Rain Clouds" (1969; short story)
* "Lullaby" (1974; short story)
** "Yellow Woman" (1974; short story)
 —and subsequent "casebook": Yellow Woman, ed. Graulich, 1993
* Laguna Woman (1974 [2nd ed.: 1994]; poetry)
** Ceremony (1977; novel)
* Storyteller (1981; poetry [incl. some from Laguna Woman], short stories [incl. "Lullaby" and "The Man to Send Rain Clouds"], autobiographical & oral-trad. prose; photos)
** Almanac of the Dead (1991; novel)
* Sacred Water: Narratives and Pictures (1993; autobiography)
* Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit (1996; essays, including "The Border Patrol State")
* Gardens in the Dunes (1999; novel)
**—from an unpublished interview (U of Arizona, 1992): partially in response to the highly charged reactions to the "politics" of Almanac, Silko thinks aloud, "Maybe I quit writing." Or instead, "I want to write about macaws and parrots and things. So I'll probably write about animals and rocks and rain, and I'll probably purposely try to—ahm—put the political [out of the picture]. . . ." But that's not possible, for "how can you write about macaws and not be political since where they live is being destroyed. But I'll try"!

Silko's GARDENS—My Google Map (zoom out for other locs, or select link at bottom):

View Silko's GARDENS in a larger map

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 W, Nov. 13th::
** Leslie Marmon Silko: "The Border Patrol State" [1994; CANVAS PDF]
    —Native Americans "patriotic," and "proud citizens" (par. 1)—until the Border Patrol's new policies & tactics?
    —main anecdote, of Silko and Gus, stopped at night on way to Tucson (3-7)
        —"'looking for trouble'" attitude of officers (3)
        —comparison to Argentina's "'dirty war'" (4-5)!
        **—dog (female German Shepard)—who "hated" the officers and "would not serve them" (6); S. & the dog exchange "looks"; the dog "refuses to accuse" them, since "she had an innate dignity that did not permit her to serve the murderous impulses of those men. I can't forget the expression in the dog's eyes"; even though S. had "a small amount of medicinal marijuana," the dog "refused to expose" her (7)  [Note how, as in the "Native ecofeminism" of Linda Hogan, Natives, women, and other animals seem to have a "natural" alliance here.]
    —then "THESIS": "Since the 1980's, on top of greatly expanding border checkpoints, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol have implemented policies that interfere with the rights of U.S. citizens to travel freely within our borders" (8)
    —but this all-inclusive "we" is really largely limited to people of color, or whites who fit the "profile" of political radicalism; note, too, Silko's emphasis that much of the oppressed poor of Latin America are "Native American or mestizo [mixed-blood]" (9)
    —more, 2nd-hand, examples of this injustice (11-12)—and the effective parallelism of the repeated "Never mind" (11)
    —At last: "This is the police state that has developed in the Southwest United States since the 1980's." . . . stunning statistics regarding the denizens of South Tucson (13)
    —"Manifest Destiny" has now become a closed-door immigration policy, with "'Immigration'" a political buzzword by which to scare the electorate . . . unjustly, U.S. policy "has continually attempted to sever contact between the tribal people north of the border and those to the south" (14; I won't say, see Almanac of the Dead!—oh, I just did. . . .)
    —irony of the "Iron-Curtain"-esque plans for a steel wall across the border with Mexico (15) . . . but—"It's no use; borders haven't worked, and they won't work, not now, as the indigenous people of the Americas re-assert their kinship and solidarity with one another. A mass migration is already underway" . . . . that kinship a cultural one, with "shared cosmologies" that include—"Quetzalcoatl [KETzulKWAHTul], the benevolent snake" (16; aka the "plumed serpent," part snake, part bird!)
    —"Deep down . . . the so-called Indian Wars . . . have never really ended. . . . The Americas are Indian country, and the 'Indian problem' is not about to go away" (17); and, as if in fulfillment of her prophecy, the final anecdote of "dark young men" coming north; as the old Aztec story says, "they will return" (18)

• Vis-á-vis the "rattlesnake" passage in Gardens (p. 36):

The Time We Climbed Snake Mountain        --Leslie Marmon Silko  

Seeing good places
        for my hands
I grab the warm parts of the cliff
                and I feel the mountain as I climb.

Somewhere around here
        yellow spotted snake is sleeping on his rock
                in the sun.

        please, I tell them
                watch out,
don't step on the spotted yellow snake
                        he lives here.
The mountain is his.

from Laguna Woman, 1974


• Regarding Silko & Natives/immigration (my revision of an Internet meme):

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 F, Nov. 15th:: Silko's Gardens in the Dunes (continued)


  RESPONSE #3 (2+ pages)—60 points—Due M, 11/18—CHOOSE ONE (and please specify which in your response):

a) As usual & as an always-option, provide me with a do-your-own-thing/anything-you-want "READER'S JOURNAL" that addresses a goodly number of our assigned readings (that is, the readings in H&B since Response #2, and the assigned Harjo & Hogan readings [see list below]). (However, due to the length of time that has passed & the number of readings we've had since Response #2, you can certainly be more selective and judicious in choosing that "goodly" range. But some response to both Harjo & Hogan would certainly be in order.) Again, avoid simple plot summaries or a simply rehashing of ideas brought up in class or on this NOTES page. [And again, this last caveat applies to all response choices.]

b) THE ART, LIFE, & PHILOSOPHY OF JOY HARJO, c. 2000: You are Joy H., and you've been asked to write a 2-page-or-more intro to a piece of yours they're publishing in a Native Lit. anthology, circa 2000, in which you talk about your life, your art (poetry), and your views on life & reality (philosophy). (Yes, like the intros-by-the-authors in Reinventing—but probably longer.) As you do so, quote liberally from your most recent work (that is, How We Became Human and if desired, "Metamorphoses" and/or "Warrior Road." Please document your quots. via page #'s in parentheses—thus demonstrating that you've read a good number of "your" texts assigned for this class.

c) THE ART, LIFE, & PHILOSOPHY OF LINDA HOGAN, c. 1998: ditto option a), except use a good number of the Hogan assigned readings, from Dwellings (and if desired, her poems and her essay "First People" [on Canvas]).

d) Write a DIALOGUE between Harjo and Hogan in which you argue about who is the "greater" Native woman writer. (A silly scenario at last, I know.) Again, both will want to prove their merit via direct quotations from their texts.

e) You're sending a Voyager-style "message in a bottle" to ALIENS in outer space, who just happen to be interested (you're sure) in "Indian Lit": WHICH FIVE (or more) pieces—i.e., poems, essays, & short stories—from this set of readings would you give to them as representative of "contemporary Native American literature," and why?! (Again, see list of eligible readings below.)

—To save you some time, here are all the eligible readings for Response #3: Harjo & Bird anthology: Levchuk: "Leaving Home for Carlisle Indian School"; Jacobs: "One-Hundred-Dollar Boots"; Endrezze: "The Constellation of Angels"; Tapahonso: "All the Colors of Sunset"; Power: "Beaded Soles"; Brant: "Stillborn Night"; Noel: "Understanding Each Other"; Rendon: "You See This Body"; northsun: "99 things to do before you die"; "Warrior Road" (H&B 55-); PDFs on Canvas: Midge: "Beets"; Erdrich: "The Strange People"; Harjo: "Metamorphosis"; all assigned poems in Harjo's How We Became Human ("I Am a Dangerous Woman," "Crossing the Border," "Anchorage," "The Woman Hanging From the Thirteenth Floor Window," "Remember," "She Had Some Horses," "I Give You Back," "My House Is the Red Earth," "If You Look with the Mind of the Swirling Earth," "For Anna Mae Pictou Aquash," "Song for the Deer and Myself to Return On," "Eagle Poem," "A Postcolonial Tale," "The Myth of Blackbirds," "Perhaps the World Ends Here," "A Map to the Next World," "Emergence," "Songs from the House of Death," "The Path to the Milky Way Leads Through Los Angeles," "The Power of Never," "The Everlasting," "When the World as We Knew It Ended"); all assigned essays in Hogan's Dwellings (11-41, 47-76, 109-159).


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (okay, I was feeling a little depressed about my job at the time!):

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 M, Nov. 18th:: Silko's Gardens in the Dunes (continued)

I will be providing no extensive web notes to the novel, since they might tempt some of you to consider them as a viable substitute for actually reading the book. What I can do, by way of notes, is create a table of "Tom's Motifs"—that is, key motifs that strike me as especially important during my second 5th or 6th?! time thru the novel, keyed to page numbers. Page #'s will be progressively updated, as per the reading assignments. (Finally, I also realize that such a table is a very "Edward" thing to do.)
* GARDENS & FLOWERS & SEEDS, etc. (I'm trying to be selective w/ the p#'s here, or I'd be referencing dang near every page! [wait—I think I did]):13-14, 16, 19, 20, 22, 26-28, 31-32 ("plump orange squash blossoms"), 34-35, 37-38, 41, 45, 47-48, 49-51, 52-54, 56-57, 58, 60-61, 69, 71, 72-73 (Hattie's gardens, now), 78, 80, 82-84, 90, 96 (books as ~!), 103-105, 109-112, 115, 120, 121, 125, 126, 127, 129, 130, 142, 143, 155, 156 (Oyster Bay gardens, now), 158, 160-162 ("English-landscape," "Italian-style," and "Renaissance-style" ~ [*161*]), 165, 166 ("Mother Corn"), 169 (the ocean as ~), 176-180, 182-186 (*186*: Susan "wanted a natural garden[?!] . . . an English landscape garden"!), 190, 191, 203, 207, 212-213, 214, 218, 223, 225, 231, 232, 233, 235-236 (Aunt Bronwyn's), 238, 239-240, *242-248*, 250, 252, 254 (on a woman's hoop skirt!?), 255, 257, 261, 262, 264, 267, 273, 275, 277, 279, 280, 281, 283-289 (Laura's now), 291-304, 308, 309, 310, 311, 313, 317-318, 321, 328-329, 333, 338, 339, 340, 344, 353, 355-356, 362-364, 368, 369, 370-371, 373-374, 377-378, 386, 390, 392, 393, 398, (399), 407-408, 410-411, 414-416, 421, 424, 426, 431, 433, 434, 438, 439, 448-449, 453, 454, *455*, (465), 466, 467
    [See also "Masque of the Blue Garden," "Orchids," "Gladioli," etc.]
    Water/Rain, etc.:1, 16, 18, 26-28, 30-31, 32, 33, 35-36, 44, 47-48, 49, 52, 54, 56, 57, 58, 70, 71, 84, (128,) 143-146 (thirst!), 155, 160, 161, 164-165 (the ocean), 169, 178, 179, 181, (184,) 190, 197, 201, 203, 206, 211-213, 215-216, 218, *223* ("all water was alive"), 224, 230, 233, 234, 237, 239, 242, 247, 251, 252, 254-256, 257, 258, 259-260, 261, 265, 271, (272,) 279-280, 283, (285,) 286, 288, 290, 291, 298-299, 301, 302, 314-315 (Sea of Galilee), 325, 330, 336-337, 338, 342-*346*, (347-)348, 350, 353, 356, (369,) 372, (383,) 386, 388, (389,) 390, (392,) 393, 394, 396, 404, 406, (407,) (413,) 414, 416, *418-422*, 423 (rainstorm, fittingly, immediate cause of Edward's illness & death!?), 424, 427, 431, 434-435, *441*-442, *443-444* (Big Candy's "thirsty" dream), 447, 451, (453,) 455, 458, 461, 462, (464-466,) 476-477
* SNAKE/Serpent:


*14*, *36*, 76, 100, (136,) (139,) (202,) 258, 276, (280,) *284*, *289-291*, *296-300*, 302, 304-305 (Edward's nightmare), 310, 321, 392, 394, (404,) 412, (418,) 424, 431, 437, 452, *455*, (473,) *476-477*

    Sand Lizard:*14-15*, 121, (159,) 341
Especially regarding the description of the rattlesnake on p. 36, check out Silko's poem "The Time We Climbed Snake Mountain" (above).
* The MESSIAH (& Ghost Dance):13-14, *22-34*, 44, 53, 55, 57, 61, 69, 82, 122, 124-125, 154, (159,) *196* (note how the blue & white of the hoity-toity Masque is compared with/contrasted to the similar colors of the Messiah's dancers), 197, 207, 209, 210, 220, 256, 262 (Wounded Knee), 263, 265, 276, 277, 285-286, 314-316, 319-320, 328, 339, 354, 360, 364, 369, 390, 393, 396, 397-398, 436, 453-455, *462-473*
    Rebirth/Return of "Mother Earth" and the animals:*23-24*, 30
    Crows (and "blackbirds"):24, (26,) (60,) 159, 265, *279*, 285-286, (287,) (294-295,) (296,) (299,) (327,) 339, 453-*454*-455, 462-463, 465-466
* (Good) ECOLOGY (contrast w/ Edward's Western science):15, 22, 35, *47*, *51*, 61, 71, 84, 140-142, 168, *172-174* (pony), (190,) 194 ("human servants," "respect" [= Deep Ecology/Linda Hogan]), 205, 213, 239 (bull & cows), 240-241 ("defenders of old trees and stones"), 245 (datura), 252, 289, (294,) (340,) 399, 414, 416, 466 (crows)
    "Bad Ecology" (environmental rapine, etc.):(17,) (26,) 61, 63, (132,) 140-142, 153, 154, 155, *183* (uprooted trees oozing "dark blood"), 187 ("'One [caged] parrot alone won't do'"), *193* (caged thrushes' songs "beautiful but tragic"), 205, 211 (river "forced from her bed"), 212, 216 ("poor trees!"; "Poor river!"), 230, (234,) 235, 252, (261,) 262, *276* ("sick and dying [caged] birds"), 279-280, 283, (333-334,) 336, 337, 339, 340, 344, (355,) 356, 363-*364*, (366,) 394, 414, 431, 433-435, 439, 451, *476*
* Luminous (& Numinous/"Religious") LIGHT:28, (54,) (72,) (82,) 97, 99, (138,) 139, (140,) 160, 161, 225, 239, *247-251* (Hattie's vision: 248), 252, 253, 254, 265, *272*, 277, 280, 286, (287,) *299-300*, 310, *318-320* (Indigo's vision [319]), (326,) 327, 372, (373,) 377, *406*, (413,) 417, *423-424*, *426* (Edward's "light"!), (441,) (462,) (463-464,) (465,) 467, *468-469* (Hattie's Ghost Dance "illumination"), 473
* The Color WHITE (often ~ flowers): 24-31, (72,) 82, 128, 161, (169,) 175, 183-184, 190, 191, 194-196 (*195*: note that the moon here incorporates both white & blue in an apparently significant way, with its "silver blue glow"), (197,) (224,) (235,) 236, *238-239* ("white cattle" ≈ "moon"), 245, 248, 249, 257, 260, 262, 295, 298, 299-300, (309,) 310, 314, 318, 319, (356-357,) 371, 372, 403, 404, 413, 426, (447,) 452, (463,) 464-465, 473, 476, (477)
* The Color BLUE:[note, 1st of all, Indigo's very name, of course], 53, 54, 78, 87-89, 111 (Indigo), (118,) 161, *177* (the color of "rainclouds"), (178,) 181, 182-185, 189-190, 193-196, (197,) 252, 259, 275, 283, (284,) *330*, 393, (420,) 426, *427* (Edward's death), (457-459,) 464, 465, 466, 473, 476
    (Masque of the) Blue Garden:78, 161, 172, 177, 180, 182-184, *194-197*


85, 88, 91, 128-132, 134-135, 137-138, 140, 142, 147-149, 178, 184-185, 242, (245,) 249, 371-374, 376-378, 390, 393, 409, 411, 439, *447*, 448, 474

Gladioli (singular: gladiolus):


125, 178, 245-246, 288, 294-298, 303-304, 309, 321, 323, 328, 369, 370, 371, 373, 393, 410, 416-417, 424, 433, 434, 439, 455, 474, 475-*476* (they're edible, too!)

    BLACK (as in the hybrid gladioli): . . . *296* (versus Edward's Western assumption that "black is symbolic of night and death," Laura claims it as "the color of fertility and birth, the symbol of the Great Mother"), 298, 303, 373, (374,) (404,) 417, 424, (426,) 455, 474
* Mixed-Blood/Hybridity (both human & non-human):16, 88-89 (Mayan/African woman!), (128-129,) 132, (134,) (135,) (137,) 139, (143-147,) (162,) (175,) 202, 209, 218, 245-246, 255, (273,) 285, 288, (290,) 292, 295, 303, 334, 370, 372, (409,) *443* (Big Candy), 455
* EURO-AMERICAN COLONIZATION (incl. via military/police force; incl. religious persecution):15-18, 22, 24, 26, 32, 34, 35, 44-45, 48-49, *60-63*, 67, 69-71, 72, 74, 86, 87, 98 (Crusades), 106, 129-130 (of S. American rubber trees), 133, 142, 164, 169, 204, 205, 214, 217 (black slavery), 231, (240,) (243-245,) 261-262 (Wounded Knee!), (275,) (286,) 321-*322*, 324, (326,) 334, 354-355, 363, 369, 394, 396, 414, 433, 435, (439,) 440, 445, (452,) 462, 464, 469-470(-471)

      —Mormon parallel: 38, 44-45, 60-61, 462

    Assimilation:16, 17, 20, 23, 49, 62-63, 67, 68, 72, 108, 110-111, (113,) (114,) 117, 124, 125, (174,) (180,) 205, 208, (249,) (267,) 271-272, 282-283, (284,) *285*, 309, (323,) (324,) 334, (371,) 372, (373,) 396, (397,) 400, 405, 408, (411,) (412,) 415, 435, *446* ("'You sound like a white girl!'"), (448,) (474,) (476)
    Indian Boarding Schools:21, 49, *67-68*, 70, 74, 82, 105-106, 110, 117, 122, 126, 154, 158, 167-168 (Carlisle), *203-211*, 224, 253, 271, 288, 338, 352, 370, 373, 375, 394-396, 397, 407, (409,) 439
    Language (& the Language Problem):19, 20, 31-32 (the Messiah's "universal" language), 45 (coyotes), 48, *67-68*, 107, 108, 111, *171*, 172-174 (pony), 178 (yucca plant), 238-239 (cattle), *250*, 272, 333, 391, (409,) 410, 465, 469
. . . Note also Sister Salt's 2-way conversations w/ her unborn/newborn child: 333, 334-335, 338-339, 342, 344, 345, 346, 350, 351, 356, 357, 366, 374, 383, 398, 410, (420,) (447), 464
        —and Linnaeus the Monkey:84, 103-104, 105, 106, 108-109, 111, 113-114, 134, 145 (saves Edward), 147-148, 176, 375, 393, 404-405, (407,) 434, (447,) 449, (453,) 471, 476
        —and Rainbow the Parrot:187, 193-194, 224, 225, 226-227, 233, 237, 238, 242, 244, 245, 246, 247, 256, (260,) (263,) (266,) 267, 271, 276-277 ("Hattie . . . realized Indigo believed the parrot understood everything she said"!), 283, 284, 288, 293, 297, 298-299, 307, 308, 311, 325, (326,) 327, (329,) 330, 370, 374-375, 377, 393, 404-405, 409, 416, 434, (446, 447,) 449, (453,) *471*, 473, 476
Given Silko's initial description of Rainbow (187), the species may be the Lilac-crowned Parrot, native to Mexico (pictured). (There I go playing Edward again!) . . . However, a later description (225), with more colors added (for the name?!), suggests one of Silko's favorites, the Scarlet Macaw, although Rainbow is supposedly a much smaller type of parrot ("dove"-sized: 187). (It's almost as if Silko's own "vision" of the bird changed as the novel developed?)
    Racism:67, 72, (74-)75, *106-107*, 124, 131, 158, (166,) (177,) *208-209*, 210, (212,) (253,) 291, 302-303, (337,) 349(-350), 393, 394, (395,) *405*, 406, (408,) (409,) 413, 415, 435 (intertribal ~!), 440, (445,) 456, 459
* WOMEN (Feminism, Sexism):18, 56, 73, 74, *79-81*, *93-96*, *98-101*, 123, 127, 132, 134, 143, 165, 167-171 & 180-181 ("old [Matinnecock] woman"), 190, 206 (sexuality), 207, 216-217, 218, 220, 228-*229* ("female hysteria": a common [sexist] diagnosis in the day!), 241 ("the promordial Mother"), 254, 255 ("goddess of the moon"), 257-258, 261, 262, 265, 274, 284, 286, *289-291*, 293-294, *296-298*, 301, 310, 316-320 (the Blessed Mother), 334, (339,) 354, 358, 360, 362, 377, 392, (394,) (395,) *401*, 412, 421, 423, 424, (426,) 433, 437, 450, *452*, 454, 455, *458* (rape), *459* ("lies"), (464,) 471, 473, 477 ("Old Snake's beautiful daughter")
    Early Christianity / Gnosticism / Celtic "paganism" & Hattie's "heretical" thesis:73, 75, 78-79, 81, *92-101*, 118, 125, 154, 163, 165, 175, 178, 179, 189, 225, 228-229, 233, 234-235, 237, *238-244* (at Aunt Bronwyn's), 249-252, 255, *257-266* (espec. 261), 272-273, 277, 281 (at Laura's), 282, 284, 286, *289-291*, *296-298*, 299-302, *304* ("the Blessed Virgin standing on a snake"), 310, 316-320, 324, 372, *374* (Hattie "realized she no longer believed"), *376-378* (Hattie buries manuscript [378]), *392*, 394, 406, 412-413, *423-424*, 425, 437, 450-452, 458, 473, (474-)475 (final return "home" to Bath!) . . . [Later add:] As for Euro-"paganism," note also the importance of stones in the Aunt Brownwyn section (see "Live Rocks," below).
* EDWARD & WESTERN SCIENCE/COLLECTING:73, 75, 78-79, 85-87, 89, 90-92, 108, (110-)111, 122, 125, *127-149* (Pará River expedition flashback), 154, 155, 159, 162-163, 175, 178, 179, 185, 224, 230, 233, 239, 250, 254, 256-257, 259, 264, 266, 274-275, 279, 280, 282 (Indigo & Latin names!), 291, *293*, 294, 298, 300, 305, 306, 309, 313, 321, 323, *369* (beetles), 370-372, 375-376, 401, 402-404, 413-414, 422, *424-427* (E.'s love/respect for scientific experimentation = the cause of his death?)
And note the monkey's very name: the 18th-c. natural scientist Linnaeus was the most famous categorizer of plants & animals into a grand taxonomical system.
    Desiccation (dried specimens, etc.—contrast w/ "Gardens" & "Water"):61, 78, (86,) 91, 103, 143-144, 158, (183,) (204,) (212,) (215,) (235,) 249, 280, (359,) (388,) 394, 401, (403,) 404, 405, 413-414, (416,) 419, (421,) 440-441, *443-445* (Big Candy)
      —And isn't Edward's (and at first, Hattie's) emotional—& sexual—life just as dried up as some of his plant collections?: see especially (81,) 159, (165,) 174-175, 249 ("sexual dysfunction"), 257, 274, 290, 292-293, 303-304, (328,) 329, (363?!).. . . For Anglo-American sexual repression in general, see (186,) (191,) (192,) 290, 296, 301-302, (308), 395, 405. . . . .
    Meteor(ite)s:76-77, 87-88, *275* ("so many advantages over plants"!), 281, 305, 320, 374-375, 377, 392, *401-404*, 413, 423, *426*, 427, 437, 450-*451*-452 (451: meteorite as Edward's "baby"!), *456* (now the physical cause of Hattie's head trauma), 472 (associated with the "cold")
        VS. LIVE ROCKS!?:Contrast Edward's dead meteorites with the living, walking, and "dancing" rocks in the Aunt Bronwyn section: e.g., (149,) 163, (225,) 233, 235, 237, 240-242, 247, 250, 251-252, 259, 263, 264-266, 277


(76,) 80, 86, 87, *138-142*, 163, 183, 186, 189-190, 293, 296, (310,) 313-318, (328,) 399-400, 401, 403, 439, 456

    Edward & Time:(75,) 139, 285, 300, (305,) (306,) 307, 311, *312*
BIG CANDY:The 2nd "main MAN" in the book begins as a much more appealing (& loving) character. But [. . . .] in Part 9, he becomes as monomaniacally obsessed with money (that is, getting his back from the Mexican "dog woman") as Edward. In Parts 9 & 10, his suffering through the lack of water points to yet another soul (like Edward) "desiccated" by an inhuman drive. One might also read the near-death experiences of Big Candy and the dog woman as "negative" versions of Hattie's and Indigo's visions of LIGHT; if the latter are "heavenly," the former border on the hellish.
* KILLING The PAIN:With later readings of the novel, I also started recording all the instances in which Edward & even Hattie need recourse to various pain-killing drugs, including morphine. I started wondering how this might be related to the various "themes" above, especially the marital problems. One "hidden"/obscure reference to this thread involves one odd word that Hattie chooses for Indigo's spelling list: "'Anodyne,'" which is "Greek for 'no pain'" (282). Other references to pain-killers include 90, (146-147,) 224, (245,) (273,) 274, 279-281, 282, (291-292,) 306, 361, 394, 403-404, 412, 424, 425-426, 458. . . .
Pigs:179-180 (just an hilarious passage in which another "wild" species irreverently [and with apparently conscious gleeful malice] tears up all ornate-garden, upper-class pretensions!)

"And we got to get ourselves back to the garden." —Joni Mitchell, "Woodstock"

This is, finally—and in the tradition of many "Indian" novels—the central theme & plot-line, not only for Indigo, but perhaps for Hattie, too, in terms of her pre-Christian Euro-heritage? "'I'm trying to get back home,'" whispers Indigo towards the middle of the book (*176*); see also (58,) (121,) 153, (157,) (166,) (171,) 197, (202-203,)(205,) 207, (213 [incl. the CO River!],) 214, (218,) (223,) 224, 226-227 (Rainbow!), (231,) (238,) 247 (Rainbow), (258 [Edward?!],) 304, 309 ("flying" home, à la Black Elk), (314-315,) (320,) (324,) (328,) (333,) 340, 341, 353-354, 368, 370, (392,) 393, 398, (399,) (409,) (416,) (421,) (426-427 [Edward!],) (443-444 [Big Candy]), (448,) (452 [Hattie]); and—aren't we all?! . . . Now consider the novel's last sentence: "Old Snake's beautiful daughter moved back home" (477). Literally, it refers to a real snake; but we're cleverer readers than that, right?! . . . In contrast, and ironically, it is Hattie "who no longer had a life to return to" (439); but see also next point::::
    Reverse Assimilation/"Going Native"?:Hattie's final transformation, initiated no doubt by her heretical thesis & her "Old-Europe" travels, seems to include a "reverse assimilation," in which rather rids herself of Western Civ. beliefs and accoutrements, and "goes Native": does she finally become a "'white squaw'" (*413*)?! (See also *252*, [313,] 393, 405, 412, 433 [Indigo's ~!? (trunk)], [439,] 459 ["squaw dress"], 471 [where, like Indigo, she has to "make a run for it"!]), (472.) . . . But of course Hattie's ultimate "return home" is to Bath in England (437, 474-475), to the Euro-paganism (of Aunt B. and Laura) towards which her thesis has long led. (Note also the foreshadowing of Edward's earlier joke that "Aunt Bronwyn had gone native" [252].)
[Later Add:] Indigo's Cute (& Often Assertive) NAÏVE MOMENTS:(44,) 54, 56, (63,) 67-68, (108,) (112,) 114, (153,) (168,) 171, 172-173, 174, (176,) 187, 188, 193, 227, 233, (257,) (260,) (291,) *307*, *310* (thoughts about Rainbow), 311, *322*, *325*, 370 ("a golden eagle or big hawk"), 375, (391,) (416,) 439, 449
[Later Add:] DREAMS:Obviously, dreams are a crucial plot technique in developing characters, furthering the novel's themes and, especially, foreshadowing plot events: 39, (59-60,) 68, 71, 91, 109, 112-113, 121, 141, *143*, 144, *163*, 175-176, 187-188, 196, 201, 203, 213, (217,) (218,) (250,) *247* (Rainbow's!; Hattie's!), *272*, 280, *304* (2: Indigo's; Edward's!), *309*, 314-315, 324, (333,) (338,) 353-354, 360-361, 369, *373*, 384, 391, 393, (398,) *406*, *412-413*, *413-414*, (418,) *420*, *425* & *426* (Edward's last "visions"), (438,) *443-444*, (457,) 468, (469).
[Later Add:] Delena's TAROT CARDS (incl. dichos):


355, 356, 357, 362, 363, 367, 368, 369, 389, 390, 421, 442

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 W, Nov. 20th:: Silko's Gardens in the Dunes (continued)

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 F, Nov. 22nd:: Silko's Gardens in the Dunes (continued)


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (getting close to Thanxgiving):

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 M, Nov. 25th:: Silko's Gardens in the Dunes (continued); group pres. planning time


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (another Thanksgiving meme):

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 M, Dec. 2nd:: Gardens in the Dunes (continued); group pres. planning time

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 W, Dec. 4th:: Gardens in the Dunes (continued); group pres. planning time

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 F, Dec. 6th:: finish up Gardens; group presentation


 TCG's Native Meme-of-the-Week (if you can't laugh at your favorite authors,
you shouldn't be an English major!):

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 M, Dec. 9th:: Group presentations

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 W, Dec. 11th:: Group presentations

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 F, Dec. 13th:: Group presentation; course evaluations


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