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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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1. Native Voices   



1. Native Voices

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
Activities
- Author
Activities
- Context
Activities
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities


Simon J. Ortiz - Teaching Tips

Back Back to Simon J. Ortiz Activities
  • Most students have heard little first-hand testimony from veterans about their experiences with war. Have your students interview veterans about their experiences, either veterans in their families or those at local VA hospitals. They may want to read them the poems that Ortiz has written and ask the veterans to comment on them.

  • Have your students write in their journals about some central family memory or legend as in "My Mother and My Sisters." What purpose does the dissemination and repetition of the story serve in their family? Is this story community-forming? Confidence-building? If the story is funny, as many such stories are, what purpose does the humor serve?

  • In his interview with American Passages, Simon J. Ortiz reflects that even though the Pueblo didn't have a written language before the arrival of the Spanish, they had "art forms and art objects, that communicated, that served as expressions of knowledge." Ask your students to focus on the image of the women creating pottery in "My Mother and My Sisters." What linguistic strategies does Ortiz use to let us know that what the women are doing is more important than just throwing and painting pottery?




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