Native American Literature


Native American Literature is oftentimes almost the full embodiment of imagery that an English teacher could ask for. When we think of Native American literature, we automatically picture the earth and all of its offerings. Why is this? It is because the spirituality, gratitude and interconnection the Native Americans apply to their naturalistic surroundings are impossible to overlook in any of the selections I have come across this week in my readings of Native American Literature. “The Night Chant” is one of these examples, as is “Yellow Woman” by Leslie Marmon Silko. However, there is a darker turn we can observe as readers of Native American Literature, such as the “colonization” by European settlers, such as “The Conquest of Mexico” in which we can see the exposure and fear the indigenous people suffered.

Text Box: Leslie Marmon Silko, Author of “Yellow Woman”

Leslie Marmon Silko, Author of “Yellow Woman”
Yellow Woman Author

As I mentioned earlier, the imagery is surreal and also realistic, one of the many great pleasures of reading Native American literature. Using “Yellow Woman” as an example or a guide, teachers should create an exercise in which students can observe their classroom, home or backyards that create strong imagery.  

Using these selections mentioned above, it may be time to brush up on American settling history once again. Seeing as Christopher Columbus is no longer celebrated as it may have been for many teachers that used to be students today, it could also be beneficial to discuss why that is. Additionally, Thanksgiving is widespread in being taught differently now as well. Taking cues from this teacher in her efforts to teach history, but also remain politically correct and correct old history lessons may help:

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