Promoting the American Ideal

At What Cost?

 "It is not necessary, 
that eagles should be crows."

..Sitting Bull (Teton Sioux)

"For tribal elders who had witnessed the catastrophic developments of the nineteenth century - the bloody warfare, the near extinction of the bison, the scourge of disease and starvation, the shrinking of the tribal base, the indignities of reservation life, the invasion of missionaries and white settlers - there seemed to be no end to the cruelties perpetrated by whites. And after all this, the schools. After all this, the white man had concluded that the only way to save Indians was to destroy them, that the last great Indian war should be waged against children. They were coming for the children."

David Wallace Adams, Education for Extinction - American Indians and the Boarding School Experience 1875-1928, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 1995.


Task: Rewrite history with honesty, integrity, and respect while conveying acute understanding of historical perspective and audience (Who are you writing for? Why?).


How? Determine who you would like to teach and how you would convey your message.

Some Ideas:

  • Rewrite the 7th  or 11th grade textbook chapter (s).

  • Write a letter to Chris Murphy urging him to support  the Senate approved  proposal for the RESOLUTION OF APOLOGY TO NATIVE PEOPLES OF UNITED STATES.

  • Respond to the article A Sorry Attempt at an Apology with consideration given to the response from Shannon Francis: "We don't need any more hollow words ... What I want is for the country to be honest, really honest, about what it has done and what it continues doing to our people." Is this "honesty" possible? How? What will you propose as an alternative solution to the Resolution of Apology? Why is this a better solution?

  • Write an historically accurate Children's book to be shared with the 4th grade class -- Must be Age appropriate! Not as easy as it seems...

  • Write a letter to Howard Zinn proposing the text "Native American Voices - A Peoples History"

  • How is the quote: "It is not necessary, that eagles should be crows"  by Sitting Bull (Teton Sioux) relevant today? Apply what you have learned to critique US response to current examples of genocide and suggest alternative solutions that would serve to heal both [our] past and present crimes against humanity.

  • Create a Graphic Novel or Comic Strip (chose grade level).

  • Further investigate the works of Sherman Alexi and create an anthology juxtaposing his literature with historical events.

Whatever you chose as a medium, your final product will require you to reconcile the federal  government's role in decision to commit and or condone genocide. You must encompass cultural misunderstanding, Westward Expansion and the American Ideal; Indian Wars, compulsory removal and assimilation of Native Americans in the 19th century, relevant Supreme Court decisions/ federal treaties and the American Indian children boarding schools; Voices of Native American people in history, literature, art, politics and more.