ERIC Number: ED348201
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Using Literature by American Indians and Alaska Natives in Secondary Schools. ERIC Digest.
Grant, Agnes; Gillespie, LaVina
Literature is a powerful vehicle for the transmission and interpretation of culture. Reading a variety of literature helps students to understand the principles underpinning values and traditions of their own culture and the cultures of others. Studying the myths, legends, and songs of traditional Native literature helps readers understand contemporary Native literature and appreciate its differences from the mainstream. However, the accepted canons of literature exclude works by American Indians and Alaska Natives. Furthermore, the few literary works about Native Americans that have secured a place in the secondary school curriculum were written by non-Natives, are unauthentic, portray cultural information inaccurately, and perpetuate negative stereotypes. Over the centuries, the stereotypical Native American in literature has shifted from simple, superstitious child of God to blood-thirsty savage to noble savage to victimized dispossessed nomad. Non-Native writers today continue to portray Native people as the "other" when they acknowledge their existence at all. It is only by creating and widely circulating their own literature that Native peoples can become a part of the American "ourness" and take their rightful place in the American literary canon. It is time for secondary schools to introduce their students to the growing body of Native literature. This digest contains 17 references and suggested readings for secondary students. (SV)
Descriptors: Alaska Natives, American Indian Culture, American Indian History, American Indian Literature, American Indians, Cultural Education, Ethnic Stereotypes, Multicultural Education, Racial Bias, Secondary Education, Social Attitudes, Social Integration
ERIC/CRESS, Appalachia Educational Laboratory, P.O. Box 1348, Charleston, WV 25325 (free).
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, Charleston, WV.
Identifiers: ERIC Digests; Literary Canon