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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

7. Slavery and

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•  Using the Video
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Activities: Author Activities

Lorenzo Asisara - Teaching Tips

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  • Students often believe that slavery in America was a phenomenon limited to the antebellum period in the South. In fact, African American slavery existed in the northern colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and many "indentured servants" throughout early America experienced slavery-like conditions. Asisara's narrative of the exploitation of Mission Indians in California should add another dimension to students' conceptions of the institution of slavery in America. Ask them to think about the similarities between the management of Franciscan missions and southern plantations. They might also consider why the stories of enslaved Mission Indians have historically received so little attention in American culture.

  • Have students read aloud Asisara's description of the riot that broke out when the Indians decided to defy Padre Olbes. How does the tension in the scene build? What touches off the riot? How does it escalate? Ask students to pay attention to Asisara's defense of the Indians' motivations in resisting Padre Olbes.

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