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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
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Context Activities

Core Contexts
"God Is Red": The Clashes and Contacts of Native Religion and Christianity
Although Vine Deloria Jr. argues in his classic and polemical book God Is Red: A Native View of Religion that Christianity and Native religions are polar opposites, since the very first days of European-Indian contact, many Native Americans have adopted and adapted Christianity for their own purposes. As scholars have noted, native religions always sought out... Go

Healing Arts: The Navajo Night Chant (Nightway)
Healing songs and chants are an important genre in Native American oral traditions. As a general rule, songs and chants seek to re-create a state rather than an event. Songs and chants are also rarely told in a vacuum: the Night Chant, for example, is composed of a whole series of practices—including dances, the construction of sandpaintings, and the use of prayer sticks.... They exhibited to the world a noble spectacle—a number of independent states united by a similarity of language... Go

Singing Mothers and Storytelling Grandfathers: The Art and Meaning of Pueblo Pottery
Pottery is an important Native American art form that dates back thousands of years. As Simon J. Ortiz notes, "[Pottery making] has more to do with a sense of touching than with seeing because fingers have to know the texture of clay and how the pottery is formed from lines of shale, strata and earth movements." Pueblo pottery is considered some of the... Go

Extended Contexts
Native Weavers and the Art of Basketry
Basketry, like pottery, is an art that is found in numerous Native American cultures but differs greatly from tribe to tribe. As Mary Dodge Schlick, the author of Columbia River Basketry: Gift of the Ancestors, Gift of the Earth, points out, for centuries baskets have been part of vast trade networks in which friends and acquaintances meet, gamble, and trade food stuffs and... Go

Sacred Play: Gambling in Native Cultures
Gambling has long been a part of Native American cultures. Hand games, like gift exchange, are an important way to redistribute goods among community members. Gambling is not all fun and games, however. In the oral traditions of native peoples, gambler figures, like tricksters, tend to be threshold figures who can move between the world of the living and the world... Go

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