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Artifacts and Fiction - Workshop in American Literature
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Home > Session Guides > 8: Ceremonial Artifacts

8. Ceremonial Artifacts Session Guide Related Materials
Item #6303
serial: #6303
Anonymous, [POMO FEATHER GIFT BASKET] (n.d.) courtesy of Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College.




Introduction
This workshop session introduces the analysis of ceremonial artifacts as a tool in the literature classroom. Greg Sarris, literature professor at Loyola Marymount University, uses the examples of Native American Pomo baskets to help teachers enhance their reading of American literature texts. He discusses the ways to understand how ceremonial artifacts influence the works of American literature.

By looking at two intellectual products produced by members of different Native American tribes—two Pomo Indian gift baskets and Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Ceremony—you will better understand the beliefs and values of two distinct Native American cultures.

During the course of the session, you will learn how to search for ceremonial artifacts to help teach American literature.

In the onscreen classroom, Greg discusses how he uses ceremonial artifacts to illuminate the discipline of literature in his own classroom. He provides high school teachers with ideas how to read ceremonial artifacts; he also suggests specific lesson plans.

We then follow the onscreen teachers into the computer lab where they will work with Greg, Lois Leveen (Reed College English professor), and each other to find artifacts that supplement the themes and context of the literature they are currently teaching. Next, we follow Marc Jolley—a teacher at Southridge High School in Portland, Oregon—into his own high school classroom. We watch as he models a similar lesson with his students. Finally, we hear Marc's reflections on his own teaching practices.

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