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Teaching Multicultural Literature : A Workshop for the Middle Grades
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Workshop 8: Social Justice and Action - Joseph Bruchac and Francisco Jimenez
Overview
Authors and Literary Works
Joseph Bruchac
Biography
Work
Interview
Francisco Jimenèz
Biography
Work
Interview
LeAlan Jones/ Lloyd Newman
Biography
Work
Key References
Video Summary
Teaching Strategies
Commentary
Student Work
Resources
Interactive Workbook -- Explore two poems using strategies from these workshops. Go.
Channel-Talk -- Share your views on the discussion board. Go.

Authors and Literary Works
Key references

Bracero Program
On August 4, 1942, the U.S. and Mexican governments instituted the bracero program, a contract that enabled the U.S. government to act as employer to Mexican immigrant farm workers. The United States initiated this program because it was suffering a labor shortage due to its involvement in World War II, and Mexicans participated because they were encouraged to bring "modernization" to Mexico by earning funding from the United States. However, as the number of immigrant workers, documented and undocumented, rapidly grew, the United States relinquished its role as contract executor and protector and relegated that duty to individual employers. This led to the exploitation and abuse of the braceros, who no longer had any guarantee of protection from either Mexico or the United States. The bracero program was finally abandoned in 1964.

Dolores Huerta
Dolores Huerta, one of the leaders of the Chicano movement and the fight for farm workers' rights, worked with the Community Service Organization to gain more rights and protections for people in her community, then went on to organize the Agricultural Workers Association to demand more rights for farm workers nationwide. Huerta also worked with César Chávez to found the National Farm Workers Association in the 1960s, and she has successfully organized strikes and boycotts through this and other organizations. Huerta, whose role model was her single and independent mother, has also been a strong proponent for women's rights, and has worked with many activist organizations to secure recognition and rights for women farm workers and women in general. With both the United Farm Workers and the Feminist Majority, Huerta constantly demonstrates her dedication to giving people a voice and respect.

Native American Civil Rights Movement
In the mid- to late 20th century, Native American activism has focused on many aspects of protecting and gaining rights for Native Americans on their own land and under the jurisdiction of the United States. Groups such as the American Indian Movement (AIM), the American Indian Religious Rights Foundation (AIRR), and United Native Americans (UNA) have demanded self-determination, religious rights, land rights, and protection under past treaties from the U.S. federal and state governments. It has been difficult, however, for many Native American nations to gain any protection or recognition of sovereignty from the United States, just as it has been difficult for Native American individuals to obtain civil rights protection under U.S. laws. Nevertheless, direct political action, demonstrated by the occupations of Alcatraz in 1969, the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1972, and Wounded Knee in South Dakota in 1973, as well as a strong literary movement to reclaim Native American culture and heritage, have helped to raise awareness about the many injustices and obstacles Native Americans face. Just as annual ceremonial services at Alcatraz on Thanksgiving Day continue to mourn and honor the many people who have lost their lives and homes in the struggles for Native American rights, the Native American literary renaissance and civil rights movement continue to give voice to people who have been marginalized for hundreds of years.

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