Native American Literature: A Teacher's Sourcebook

Abstract:
This master’s thesis project grew out of my own experience of attending a public school in eastern Pennsylvania. By the time I was in high school, I had already developed a sincere interest in learning more about Native people, but found them noticeably absent from the school’s curriculum. At a small, private college, also in eastern Pennsylvania, I decided to seriously pursue my growing interest in Native literature but found both instructors and sources difficult to obtain. After entering the American Indian Studies program at the University of Arizona and moving away from my small Pennsylvania hometown, I soon discovered that the ignorance about Native people and their politics and art was, in some regions, even more acute than I had realized. While it is difficult to quantify how many teachers are including Native literature in their classrooms and to what extent, I believe that this lack of information in the area of Native studies is not limited to eastern Pennsylvania. In conversations about this project, I have learned that my own public education was not unusual when its portion dedicated to Native studies began and ended with stapling feathers to a strip of construction paper to make a headdress in the fourth grade. Obviously, the public school system in America has some room for improvement, but it will be a lengthy, political, expensive venture. Meanwhile, I became determined to offer a possible solution—an option. This collection of teaching resources is designed to help teachers who are interested in incorporating Native issues into the classroom by providing a starting point, a place that would help them determine which texts might be appropriate and where to find the resources they need. The goal of this project is to make the task of teaching Native literature respectfully and responsibly a manageable, enjoyable undertaking. Encouraged by the support of the AIS faculty, my peers, and even my high school literature teachers back in Pennsylvania, I look forward to expanding this small project into a publishable resource. I would like to include many more lesson plans for each primary source, greatly expand the cultural background sections for each work, include a historical/political timeline for the culture associated with each primary source, and include a list of well-known people that represent each Nation covered. I would also like to develop separate resource books for middle school, high school, and college levels.

Author: 

Amy Fatzinger

Chair: 

Luci Tapahonso

Publication: 

thesis

Year: 

2002

Arizona State Museum: 

M9791 F37n
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences