"...there are certain ceremonies and sacred moments in my tribe life that I don't write about at all," Alexie states. "Most of that is religious. Religious feeling I certainly write about, but specific ceremonies and songs I don't go near...I've written things about other people, fictionalized, that I've come to regret. So I'm very careful about that now."
Each student will conduct an interview this semester as we build our collaborative ethnography. If I had been interviewing Alexie, I would have asked him to explain this statement by asking him more questions to try and get him to move from the general to the specific. During your interviews, try not to overlook opportunities where a general statement can be explored in a more specific way. Journalists often rely on questions that start with: Who, What, How, Where, Why?
Culture and Identity
This tension is among those that we will explore as we read. As we build the context (and our knowledge) around these novels, we will also read newspaper articles on Arab Spring and current events in Libya and Iran. During our second unit groups will read and report on a variety of non-fiction, including The Ohlone Way, by Malcolm Margolin, Ishi In Two Worlds, by Theodora Kroeber, Woman Native Other, by Trinh T. Minh-ha and the anthology, Native American Voices, as well as current writings from Native Americans published in Indian Country Magazine and through Social Media.
I will collect articles in my account on Reddit.com and I suggest you do the same and link them to your blogs, so we can build our knowledge on this important topic.
Creative Commons Copyright
National Museum of the American Indian
Native American Ethnography