Activities: Video Activities
What is an American? How does American literature create conceptions of the American experience and identity?
Video Comprehension Questions: What are some differences between traditional Native American and European ways of seeing the world?
Context Questions: How do elements of a specifically Native American worldview inform the work of the writers featured in the video?
Exploratory Questions: How much do you know about Native American history and culture? To what extent is it important for non-Native Americans to know these traditions? What do you gain by learning about them? What would you lose if you didn't know them?
What is American literature? What are its distinctive voices and styles? How do social and political issues influence the American canon?
Video Comprehension Questions: What are some elements of the "oral tradition"? What are some of the ways in which traditional Native American and European storytellers might differ? What social issues appear in Silko's Ceremony?
Context Questions: How do the contemporary writers featured in the video draw on the oral tradition in their works?
Exploratory Questions: What topics, styles, or ideas would you expect to see in a contemporary Native American written text? How do you imagine the text might differ from—and be similar to—literary works written by Americans with European, African, or Asian heritages? Would the absence of typically Native American concerns in a book by a Native American affect your judgment of that book?
How do place and time shape literature and our understanding of it?
Video Comprehension Questions: What part of the United States are Tapahonso, Ortiz, and Silko from? What tribe is each writer from? What part does World War II play in Silko's Ceremony?
Context Questions: How do the tribe, landscape, and environment with which each writer is familiar affect his or her work?
Exploratory Questions: Why do you think it might be important for these writers to incorporate the specifics of their own time and place into their texts? What would be lost if they did not incorporate such elements?
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