9/10/2014 08:06:58 am
After reading the assignments for the night, I am beginning to get out of this course what I had hoped; my eyes are being opened to the truths of Native American culture, starting with their ties to land, spirituality, and balance. Native Americans use the land used and continue to use it in a way that Americans do not. “Indian thinking” is the way that Native Americans look at Mother Earth as the ultimate giver. With the land as their mother, it is what ties different tribes or cultures together. Native Americans work to preserve the beauty and well being of the earth through the interconnectedness of the natural world, animal world, spiritual world, and the human world. In the excerpt from Awiakta, the poem titled “When Earth Becomes an ‘It’” the author look talks about the earth in two different ways: when she is called “mother’ and when she is called “it.” I think that when the author refers to the people who love and call the earth “mother,” she is referring to the Indians who lived off of the land and respected the earth as their provider. This poem speaks to “Indian thinking” in the sense that earth too is a living being and thrives when she is preserved.
9/10/2014 08:12:57 am
Caitlin Rose Bradley
9/10/2014 08:27:08 am
In "Rhetorical Powwows," Powell says that her faults are her own, and all credit for her successes go to her predecessors. I've heard this before somewhere, but where exactly I can't recall. It reminds me of Christianity and filial piety; "anything bad is my own fault, I don't want it to be a blemish on my family or to reflect poorly on my Creator, but I inherited my singing voice from my mother's parents and all my talents are gifts from my God." I like this concept because is very respectful to family and community. Powell indicates the Native American sense of community which I love so much when she speaks of stories. Storytelling is and always has been a big part of most cultures; it brought communities together and kept tradition alive. People of all ages can participate in storytelling, and it can be used to teach, to entertain, to inform, and for a variety of other purposes.
9/10/2014 09:05:29 am
After reading through Selu, I feel like Marilou Awiakta explores the concept of wisdom, art, and history all at the same time. One of the most interesting parts of her piece comes after the story of the Grandmother and her two Grandsons. The story is simply told, but contains a massive amount of symbolism and commentary on the relationship between mankind and the forces of nature. Awiakta addresses the unrealistic scenario of having guns in a story that feels as if it was meant to take place in the distant past. She notes that “Revealing spiritual truth, not facts, is the purpose of Selu’s story, which the storyteller keeps alive and current by adapting details such as guns to the times” (Awiakta 16). I think this is a very intuitive notion, to stress the value of “spiritual truth” as the driving force of a story. In the particular version of the story Awiakta gives, the setting seems almost undefinable, as if the characters are living in some separate space of existence where time is not so rigid. The relationship that the Grandsons hold with the Grandmother and the lessons about life they learn from her are almost outside of time. I think it is a very quiet and intimate way to express wisdom.
9/10/2014 09:31:22 am
9/10/2014 09:38:18 am
While reading Powell’s “Rhetorical Powwows” and The Land Has Memory I begin to realize what Native Americans are really all about. Those things that first came to my head last class when I heard the word “Native American” are already being proven to be impracticalities. The Land Has Memory opened my eyes to the fact that their culture is not all about fringe, face paint, and teepees but instead their profound relation to the land and all Mother Nature has to offer.
9/10/2014 10:07:33 am
9/10/2014 10:49:26 am
I found the first few pages of Malea Powell’s “Rhetorical Powwows” to be absolutely incredible. As an English major I will hunt down any spelling and grammatical errors in every literary piece I come across (With the annoying exception of my own). But Powell managed to take the idol of this discipline and bring it down to nothing more than etchings on paper; I speak of course of letters. To someone educated in reading letters create words, then sentences, then stories, but in reality they are simply symbols that we have assigned minute meanings to. This made me respect Native American culture substantially more; it also made me come to the realization that any language conveyed through anything but letters is really cool! Cave paintings, smoke signals, woven looms, even paintings, the list goes on.
9/10/2014 11:15:56 am
9/10/2014 11:30:26 am
After reading Rhetorical Powwows by Malea Powell, I’m starting to obtain a better and more intriguing view on Native American culture. As a student in the English program, I am always fascinated by different writing styles as well as language. However, this article made me view a language, that I thought I knew implicitly, in a completely different way. The statement that sparked my different line of thought was “…to move our conversations and practices towards ‘things,’ to a wider understandings of how all made things are rhetorical, and of how cultures make, and are made by the rhetoricity of things.” (Powell 4) This statement made me realize that English, or any language in general, does not consist of an alphabet; it does not consist of words and letters. All languages and the alphabet used in those languages are just symbols. In other words, they are just “things” we give meaning to.
9/10/2014 12:10:57 pm
9/10/2014 12:29:58 pm
The readings for today’s class each demonstrate the need for humans to have balance present in their lives in order to be truly at peace with the world around them. In unique ways, all three readings make it clear that the only way people can thrive and find balance within their selves is be able to take from the land thoughtfully and only as needed, and to give back to the land generously. All of the authors write about the dangers of abusing the Earth, but also understand the blessings that can be bestowed upon them if they use the Earth’s gifts properly.
9/10/2014 12:55:47 pm
After completing the readings "Rhetorical Powwows" and "The Land has Memory" I have begun to understand better the significance of both land and the earth to Natives. In "The Land has Memory" the writer speaks to the significance of treating the earth and its lands well. She pointed out that we are finally realizing that the Earth is impacted by our bad treatment of it, and that things like global warming need to be addressed. One point she makes in this piece that I liked in particular was when she stated that not only do we leave an imprint on the land, but inevitably it leaves a mark on us. I like how this pointed out that while we may leave a physical impact on the land where we reside, the land leaves a greater impact on us- often defining who we are as individuals. In "Rhetorical Powwows" the writer speaks about how it is not solely the rhetorics that define us but rather the 'things' that make us up define us. These two reading connect by pointing out that we are not just individuals residing on this Earth, but that the Earth has impacted and created us into the individuals we are today.
9/10/2014 01:23:51 pm
After reading The Rhetorical Powwows, I thought to myself, these are the types of stories by Indigenous People that make me so intrigued and excited to learn more about them. There are so many things in the Powwows that I could relate to society and my life. I enjoy reading stories that have a hidden meaning between the words and life itself. In “Compass for our Journey: SELU, A Rare Portrait”, corn represents a story. Just like corn a story is planted in a child’s mind and matures along with the child, nourishing them to grow in wisdom and stature. When the children’s grandmother tells them about this yummy meal she is going to cook that will have something new in it, corn, the grandsons are all excited and cannot keep this new word off their mind all day while hunting. After a couple of days of having this amazing meal the grandsons get suspicious and want to spy on their grandmother to find out where she is getting it. By them spying on her they are not following the rules and when you don’t follow the rules there are always consequences. Just like in reality when you break the law you have to pay for it, but you can learn from the experience and not make the same mistake again. Although, consequences are no fun redeeming oneself is always an option. Even though the grandsons spied on their grandmother and because of it she died, when she asks her grandsons to bury her and follow specific steps they do everything single thing she asked of them. Learning from ones mistakes is the key and doing the right thing eventually will redeem themselves.
9/10/2014 02:57:47 pm
Rhetorical Powwows by Melanie Powell was an intriguing read. In my opinion I feel as if Melanie is trying to convey the message that we have to try harder to think abstractly in regards to the things around us. By thinking abstractly we can view things in a different light or find a new meaning, rather than heavily relying on what a textbook states. This is what I think Powell is trying to state when she says "We need to theorize, and that theory can't change in textual fetishism, neither by relying on alphabetic print texts nor by textualizing non-alphabetical objects. We need, in fact, to move our conversations and our practices towards "things"...". That quote captured my attention due to the fact that I believe Powell is stating that as a society we have become too attached to the words in a textbook, rather than focusing and taking in the physical things that surround us. By doing so I believe that we could come away with a deeper understanding of everything around us.
9/10/2014 09:37:04 pm
In “Rhetorical Powwows” and “The Land has Memory” the importance of the land and nature to their people is very important. One portion of the Rhetorical Powwows I found interesting was how they described creating jewelry and baskets as an art and how it can be as important as passing on stories verbally and written in keeping the traditions and realities of the natives alive. In “The Land has Memory” the relationship between nature and the people of the land was given a strong bond because they saw from a perspective that the land provides for them and they give back to the land by taking care of it. The land was almost like something they worshipped. The ideas I had in my head for all of my life of what the Native American actually is, is proving to be entirely wrong one reading after another and I am sure by the time this class is complete I will have a completely different perspective on the Native American ways. Reading these texts together was perfect because it showed me the difference between the Native American tradition like jewelry making and written stories versus the actual Native American past. These readings solidified the idea that the Native American culture and life must be fully understood accurately before it can be transformed into ideas or thoughts to teach the future.
9/10/2014 10:45:22 pm
The new readings for today with Powell and The Land Has Memory made me think of the culture from the stereotyped images given to us by the media but to see it from the perspectives of the actual natives was better. The opening of the presentation by Powell talks about the culture of who the Native people are and their story while also showing the basket weaving techniques involved with their traditional weaving. I never expected there to be so much information on basket weaving and it truly surprised me to read up on the different techniques. The main discussion that interested me was on the subject of the fire story, how fire came to be for the Cherokee people. The story is very nature centered and filled with a love of animals which is one of the reasons why I love the culture, because of their desire to for conservation. The article of The Land Has Memory discussed this more in detail about the idea of conservation and protecting the land. There is a lot of respect for the land by this group of people and a lot of community bonding through the things that they do whether it be functions, rituals, or the conservations.
9/10/2014 10:55:09 pm
The reading assignments expanded my mind as new and old concepts were investigated. The connection between all beings appeared throughout the readings. These readings explored far into commonly held beliefs about the world around us, exposing histories and beliefs among Indians. Although I found Rhetoric Powwows confusing, the Land Has Memory and Selu gracefully illustrated the connection between Mother Earth and all beings. A sense of spirituality and perceptiveness among Indians shined throughout these pieces. Mother Earth encompasses a “living, sentient being” in these readings, as Indians respect and love for her shines through. I admired the manner in which the National Museum was constructed, as a living being itself. The museum embodies common beliefs in a beautiful, graceful manner. I found Selu’s creation story to be intriguing and satisfying, as it teaches to be kind and gentle with our Earth.
9/10/2014 11:13:14 pm
In “The Land Has Memory”, the author conveys the deep connectivity between the land and Native American beliefs. The most disheartening aspect of this piece was the comparison between the manner in which settlers treated the land and the respect that the native people paid to it. The author states that the settlers viewed the land as “primarily the object of Manifest Destiny and a mere backdrop for American civilization.” When contemplating the disturbing manner in which the Europeans disrupted the lifestyle of the Indigenous, it had never occurred to me that the destroying of the land insulted their spiritual beliefs in a catastrophic manner. By mistreating the land, settlers were shaking the core values of the native citizens.
9/10/2014 11:23:25 pm
“The Land Has Memory” and “Rhetorical Powwows,” offer a glimpse into the Native American beliefs and traditions and shows the reader how there is no separation in life to Native Americans—everything is connected in all ways. Rhetorical Powwows explains the process of basket weaving and the complexity of everything being intertwined. Although she was relating the majority of her essay about basket weaving to writing in rhetoric, it was clear to see the importance of something so simple. “The basket becomes an intersection of history and creation, a constellation of epistemology and existence.” (13) The process of making a basket clearly showed the discipline and knowledge needed to make as well as the passion for harvesting the products again for the following year. The writing also talks about the authors research on alphabetic letters and writing which I found confusing and challenging to read.
9/10/2014 11:37:56 pm
9/11/2014 12:29:45 am
9/11/2014 08:08:05 am
I think it's interesting that in “The Land has Memories” they explain how Native Americans viewed the world, not only where they lived but everywhere. The land and nature was sacred, and took care of each of them. This made them take care of the land. The gift Mother Nature gave the Native Americans each day was not something they took for granted. As settlers came over and colonized the land Natives watched as they built and destroyed Mother Nature. Not until recently are we regretting those mistakes and realizing that the Native Americans were possibly right. "These progressive ideas are in response to cutting-edge scientific research, but they reflect the ancient and deeply held Indian concept that the Earth herself is a living being, sentient and self-aware."
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