Gerald Vizenor's Blue Ravens was an interesting piece to read. To learn about what native peoples did during times of war showed me how willing these people were to lay down their lives for the country that they called home. They were a culture and a people that are very patriotic. Some could say they are more patriotic than other groups of people that actually have a lot easier lives. I liked how the reading for this week had a facts section to help you as a reader delve deeper into the lives of these people. One fact that interested me was that the people of the Anishinabe tribe survived off of wild rice which I did not believe was a crop that grew in North America. Another fact that I did not know was how many people were involved in World War II. Even though 44,000 Natives seems like a small number in comparison to the overall war it is still an impressive number and shows what kind of people these natives were. Many of them volunteered and did not even have to be drafted. This proves how they are true heroes.
Response to Vizenor/Natives in the Military
Vizenor's piece is the first article that I have read on anything to do with Native American's fighting in a war. I thought the fact sheet was very interesting because I would have thought that the Native's would have been on the same page as the blacks and be put in their own segregated units. The only reason that I thought this is because of all the other articles we have read so far that depict the Natives as savages. This time in history that Vizenor is writing was different. I also thought it was interesting that from WWI-WWII, native Americans were given the acknowledgement of having the highest record of service in an ethnic group.On page 131 of the article, I noticed how it says Aloysius shouted a curse to the enemy, and then the enemy ended up running away because he was scared of being scalped by this Native man. The fear that was instilled in other people by the Natives was evident throughout this article.
In the section Montbrehain, it was nice to read that Frances Gulick, who was a woman in their lives, noticed how his work from the war was published on his reservation. As she mentions, she did not even know that so many natives participated and fought in the war. Recognition is something that Native Americans should get, especially surrounding the wars. They too, like all other races and ethnic backgrounds did their time to keep others safe. Ones background should not take away from their jobs helping people in the war.
Once I discovered what the excerpts from Gerald Vizenor’s Blue Ravens would be about, I became excited to see when, where, and how Native Americans would come into play. This may sound quite naïve of me, but I had never before thought about Native American involvement in World War I. Granted, I’m not a history major, so perhaps I know much less about the war than some other students. However, from what I can remember from past history classes throughout high school and college, I don’t recall any primary focus on native warriors and their participation in The First World War.
In the opening of this excerpt, it was interesting to see how the people of the Anishinaabe tribe relied solely on the Tomahawk newspaper for information about the war. First they learned about the German submarine that torpedoed an American ship; they then learned that the Germans began dropping bombs on London and Paris, in which the United States decided to join the war three year later. Vizenor explains how their uncle released articles about the war every week, angry about the “obvious consequences of the hesitant politicians.” His anger was evident as he explained that despite the fact that natives served the American government in various wars, putting their lives on the line and ready to fight whenever needed, they were still not considered to be American citizens. This was appalling to me.
The article that provided historical information about the White Earth Nation and native warriors in WWI was extremely helpful when going into Blue Ravens. These facts helped me, as a reader, more thoroughly understand the Anishinaabe people and their involvement with warfare. It was astonishing to see how many thousands of natives participated and how often this goes overlooked. It was also interesting to see how they were not segregated into separate units like African Americans were – this was something else I may have haphazardly assumed about their role in American warfare.
Another part of the reading that stuck out to me was how afraid The Boche soldiers were of the native warriors. Vizenor describes how Aloysius shots a curse at the soldiers, and how dumbfounded they were by the natives’ face paint and speech that they surrendered out of fear of being scalped. It is evident that the natives played an important role in this war, regardless of how small or large that role was, it is important that students learn of their involvement and significance in American warfare.
While reading Blue Ravens, it became clear to me that Native Americans have truly been courageous heroes throughout history, which was made especially clear during The Great War. It is amazing to read about how willing the natives were to lay their lives on the line for the land of the country in which they lived.
Native American Lit.
October 13, 2014
Response to Gerald Vizenor’s Blue Ravens
I found the excerpts from Gerald Vizenor’s Blue Ravens to be loaded with information that I previously knew nothing about. The information provided for us about Blue Ravens and Native American involvement in World War I was surprising to me, as I had not realized that any natives had fought in the war. I found it interesting that so many Native Americans signed up to fight willingly, rather than just being drafted. I also was amazed to learn that a vast amount of American Indians were not even considered U.S. citizens until after they fought in the war and the Indian Citizen Act of 1924 was enacted. Meaning as the Native Americans resided in this land first, I could not believe that many were still not considered citizens. I found it extremely brave of those natives who did volunteer to fight in the war, especially whereas they had no obligation to the U.S. In a way, the natives who fought in the war were not just fighting for the United States, but they were fighting for their fellow natives. Because of the many brave natives who fought to defend the U.S. many more Native Americans were offered citizenship.
I enjoyed reading about Vizenor’s uncle Robert. As a photographer, Robert refused to stage his fellow natives in a stereotypical way whenever he photographed them. Robert’s deliberate photos of modern Native Americans were highly innovative for his time, and his pictures should be more popular. I could not help but think of the photos that we recently looked at in class, in which all of the natives wore headdresses and feathers and looked mystical rather than realistic. The photos we looked at in class are extremely popular, yet Robert’s photos are not, proving the ridiculous level that Native American stereotypes have reached.
I found the section in which Vizenor mentions Aloysius painting the blue ravens extremely haunting. Vizenor writes, “Aloysius painted four blue ravens that afternoon on the shore of the river, reclined, wings expanded with a touch of rouge on the flight feathers, and blue heads of seventeen soldiers afloat” (114). The description of the blue ravens on the shore at first seems somewhat beautiful, as if a temporary escape from the hellish war that the men are currently facing. The description ends, however, with the words “-and the blue heads of seventeen soldiers afloat” (114). The contrast between the ravens on the shore and the dead bodies nearby is extremely terrifying and helps the reader to better imagine the daily horrors that these soldiers went through. I found it great that Vizenor named his book after Aloysius’ painting as it seems to capture the constant terrors that occurred during World War I.
The assigned excerpts from Gerald Vizenor’s historical novel Blue Ravens helped me to better understand the role Native American soldiers played in helping the United States military fight in World War I. I was aware that a large number of Native Americans participated in both of the World Wars (as well as numerous American wars) but until reading Vizenor’s text I was unaware of the repercussions the war had specifically on American Indian peoples. I was surprised to read that even in times of war and destruction, the United States seized the opportunity to control Native Americans for their own benefits.
One thing the readings made obvious was the destruction by American corporations of lands on American Indian reservations during World War I. Vizenor’s text discussed the White Earth Reservation in particular, which was harmed by companies seeking timber and other natural resources to make weapons for the war. Sacred lands, forests, and places of the United States that were supposed to be “reserved” for Native peoples were suddenly stolen from American Indians to help the United States military.
Another short passage from Vizenor’s text discusses the way Americans desperately tried to convert Native Americans to Christianity, even in the midst of war and devastation. Vizenor remarked in his novel that Native American soldiers who were entering battle and fearing for their lives were taken advantage of and quickly baptized before heading off to war. Even though this baptism might have been a choice for some Native American soldiers, I feel as though taking advantage of someone’s vulnerable state of mind and using their fear to convert them to a religion they do not necessarily believe is morally wrong.
The excerpts from Blue Ravens mentioned many times the fact that most Native American soldiers helping the United States in World War I were not even considered American citizens. It is baffling to read about how the United States unquestionably allowed people to put their lives on the line to fight for an American cause, but still refused to allow them the most basic rights of their fellow Americans. It was refreshing to read, however, in Vizenor’s background information sheet, that World War I did help establish the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, which was created to help acknowledge the efforts of American Indians in the military.
"Blue Ravens" by Gerald Vizenor was, as most of these readings have been, very eye-opening for me. I had never considered that World War I (or World War II) may have had an impact on Native Americans. I never learned in history class that Native Americans were drafted, though I shouldn't be surprised that they were. These just aren't things that I think about, or that most people consider, when studying different periods in history.
Another thing which was brought to my attention by this article was nonverbal documentation of Native American life by Native Americans. It is a very different thing for one to photograph one's own group than for an outsider to photograph one's group. One way may be more idealized or more slanted one way. Outsiders may filter things and insiders may filter them, depending on their viewpoints and objectives. However, like written documentation, it is vital that Native peoples can share their own story through photography, to have their voice heard in addition to outsiders' photographs.
This article made me realize that soldiers are regular people, too. People who need to be entertained with books or gossip. People who are scared and miss home and spend a portion of their lives on the battlefield, not apart from their lives but a continuation of their lives, possibly the end of their lives, possibly finding their future there. Finding friends, wives, starting new lives after the war. The article states that in one hour more people died than the entire population of White Earth Reservation added to all those who had ever lived there before. The number of lives lost in war is horrific from any perspective.
Some of the things which I'd learned, for example the Christmas truce, were, according to this article, a lie. This reinforces the idea that truth is always slanted and we can really only ever know things which we witness personally and examine from various perspectives; I've been learning this through our school musical, "Assassins," which gives the perspectives of those who assassinated the former presidents of the United States. I've concluded that no one knows the whole truth about anything, nor can anyone know everything about an event or aspect, especially in history, since we could not observe it ourselves.
This article helped me to realize more fully the range and scope of World War I and to realize also that we really don't know half as much as we say we do. In the scheme of things, we don't really know anything, and it is only when we realize this that we can begin to really learn about everything.
Gerald Vizanors novel, Blue Ravens, taught me things I have never learned about in a history class. I had no idea Native Americans were involved in World War I, or the impact the War had on them and their culture. Vizanor claims that Native Americans were always ready to fight before they were even considered citizens of the US. As Native Americans society began to develop even they were documenting the most recent changes and not their native traditions, beliefs, families or stories.
After many of these Native Americans were drafted some of them were christened/ baptized on their way to war. They were given new nicknames such as “Porky, Banjo, Stinky, Chief, etc.” which are ironic towards the way they live. Even with these nicknames and the similarity in religion there is still clearly a difference between these soldiers. Many reservations were destroyed during the war to “help” the US military.
A large part of the reading was designated towards the blue ravens. I thought it was particularly ironic how the ravens were supposed to be made on wood that died of natural causes rather than being chopped down. Similar to the soldiers who are fighting and may potentially die for a cause that could be resolved in a different way. I remember the time in class when we discussed that headdresses and how the people received the feathers when they decided not to fight and kill someone but what they took the higher route and walked away.
At one point in the novel they say that more people had died in one hour than the entire population of White Rock Earth Reservation. That is horrifying to think about. I cannot imagine seeing more people dead than the amount of people I live with. The images described in this novel are also especially horrifying. I understand it was a war, but imagining bodies laying all over the streets stacked on top of each other, with blown of limbs and faces. Watching animals picking off parts of bodies and seeing blood painting the streets. It really painted a horrific picture and I cannot imagine being involved in this and not receiving the same credit as the person next to me. Native Americans are still seen as below us today when they have helped us in ways that we may never be able to repay them.
14 October 2014
Critical Response – 10/9
Today’s reading pointed out quite a few things that I had neglected to be told during my history classes many years ago. In this class in particular, I had heard the fact that Native Americans, by percentage, were the most enlisted people in the United States military, but it wasn’t until I read this excerpt that I saw the proof for myself. We often see films or hear stories about the brave acts that both men and women did during both World War I and II, but there is almost never a mention of the role of minority group and their own contribution to the war effort.
In the reading, there is a remarkable display of bravery throughout native society. Native Americans, most of whom did not even have citizenship in some of these early wars, were not simply draftees who wanted nothing to do with the war. In fact, a large number of them were volunteers. I found it fascinating to consider that people who may not even be citizens wanted to do whatever they could do to defend the country. I think that is noble in a way that I cannot even begin to describe with words, and at the same time, my heart breaks for these people. Their ancestors, who inhabited the land well before the European settlers even set foot on American soil, had been marginalized, pushed west, and systematically barred from citizenship still had the courage to do what they thought was right, sometimes, thinking solely of the safety of other people.
It is a shame we do not hear more about these stories from the media. There is a wealth of information about native people who did heroic things for a country that barely accepted them and their way of life, and yet we refuse to tell their story. The reading reminds me a bit of what I learned about the Navajo code talkers who were instrumental in helping the United States during the Second World War Outside of a few, brief mentions in a high school textbook. I do not think I have heard much about their story. The average American can be forgiven for not knowing much about their contribution, but with the wealth of technology and information available to us now, there is no excuse anymore for stories like these to simply fall by the wayside. We have to learn to do a better job to honest about history and not whitewash the things that happened in our past. There are people, of all walks of life, who did bold deeds long ago that most of us would shy away from today. Those stories deserve to be told, so that people can remember history how it really happened.
Critical Response 11
In excerpts from Blue Ravens, a historical novel by Gerald Vizenor, we are presented with a first-hand account on what it’s like to be a Native American drafted into the US army during the First World War. Accompanied by his reservation buddy Aloysius, Vizenor describes what their missions were as military scouts, as well as how he and his friend managed to incorporate Native art and rhetoric into their travels.
Initially, upon reading the article, I expected Vizenor to highlight issues and reasons why Native Americans were mistreated by the army. On the contrary, this was not at all the case. Though he describes being assigned missions that were far too risky for “American” soldiers, he and his fellow Native comrades were typically deemed military scouts. The generals of the army, assuming that Natives were much stealthier than the average soldiers, as their ancestors had proved on the plains of the Americas, would send the Natives on recognizance missions. They would go out into the battlefield and attempt to gather enemy intelligence, as well as capture military prisoners. Though on their first mission Vizenor managed to get jumped by a pair of fellow Native soldiers, they ended up being worthy comrades and even qualified for high military honors as they brought down a German line as well as capturing seventeen enemy soldiers. During this mission, the German soldiers were so stricken by the image of Natives wielding bloody knives that they all surrendered in fear of being scalped. Apparently in this case, the stereotype served the Natives well.
Another thing that was rather surprising was the general acceptance of the Natives warrior culture. Aloysius was a gifted artist, who, on their journeys, would paint pictures of blue ravens to symbolize “peace, sway, irony, and, of course, a native sense of presence” (Vizenor 126). These paintings were depicted all over France, and typically were in memorial of fallen soldiers or cities trumped by the war. Aloysius would also paint his face before a mission. Vizenor leaned more towards camouflaging himself with his surroundings, but Aloysius would depict himself as the blue raven. At one point, a team of their comrades all wanted to be painted similarly to Aloysius.
Overall, it was refreshing to see that Natives were finally treated as US Citizens. Though ultimately, I’m sure it is not the goal of the Natives to assimilate with US culture and their military, they were able to do so and still maintain a piece of their Native tradition, something which is a rarity in most of our readings.
In reading through Gerald Vizenor’s Blue Ravens, I think I am most intrigued by his ability to capture the human experience of being at war. It is something I’ve noticed in many narratives concerning war, such as Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. Vizenor enters that human space in a very reflective way; the recurring notion of the Blue Ravens reminds us of the Native American story Vizenor tells, but, at the same time, he also recounts an experience that saw humanity enter one of its darkest scenarios. In a text like this, I think it’s often important to appreciate some of the writing for the inherent power it contains. One particularly affective passage details the somber sight of bombed and blasted towns. Vizenor writes “A carved interior door was cocked on a single hinge, a stiff gray towel covered a wooden chair, broken crockery, and the legacy of lace curtains set sail for liberty” (Vizenor 116). He continues to write “Familiar shadows were disfigured at a primary school, and children searched for the seams of memory. The scent of ancient dust lingered forever in the favors of the country” (Vizenor 116). Vizenor’s scenes are striking, sharply grooving out an image of some ruined location. He is able to capture how war ravages everything it touches. It has left this town a useless husk of a once inhabited place, and it now carries the “scent of ancient dust” with it. War leaves such a permanent change, and it’s fascinating to see what an author chooses to express about it in narrative.
This was a reading that raised my curiosity. I never have been taught in high school that I can remember of Natives contributing to World War I. It was interesting to see how the Tomahawk provided somewhat of a technology when they created the newspaper. They informed other tribes like Anishinaabe tribe. They learned of the German submarine that took down the American ship with a torpedo, they learned Germans were also dropping bombs on London and Paris.
The mood of anger from the writer filled this reading as the United States did not enter the war for the three more years. The natives kept in touch with the info that was present each week in their newspapers. The natives joined the war with the United States and still were not considered American citizens. This portion of the reading stunned me. Today what we consider the highest sacrifice a person can give by joining the military and during the war some of these people weren’t even considered citizens.
When Visenor talked about his Uncle I found this quite interesting. Robert is a photographer and in one of my other classes I am taking we are talking about how Art is more concrete than nature because art stays the same while nature is constantly changing. The photographs were a concrete form of art. Robert did not photograph his fellow natives in a stereotypical way at all. We have talked about this a lot in class and when people think of Native Americans they look at photographs that are completely inaccurate yet quite popular. This puzzles me because Robert’s photos were very accurate yet not popular.
Critical Response 11
October 14, 2014
It is interesting to read an excerpt from a text about natives in the military. All of the texts we have read so far are from different view or vantage points, but this is the first that we get to see the natives actually talked about in the context of war. For starters, it is very interesting to see that Native Americans counted for the highest ethnic group serving in the military. Whether this is due to volunteering to serve for the United States, having no other option for money, or being pressured into it, it is still amazing to me.
Another very interesting aspect from Vizenor was when he said, “Wars changed familiar native stories.” He is referencing how he created stories about the Kaiser, or ice monster, and related it to age-old stories about the ice woman in the Anishaabe stories. I would not think that anyone, from any culture for that matter, would change traditional stories or add onto them. However, when I think about it, it does make sense. Why would you not create stories or relate your current situations with stories that you grew up on if it meant helping you mentally and physically get through whatever is going on? This reminds me of the Selu stories and about the creation stories. While those stories have much more weight and bearing on them, they served a purpose, which was to offer explanation to that which could not be explained otherwise. The purpose of stories during war is to give relevance to what you are doing, and to help get yourself through it. As for traditions, it was also nice to read that the even when a French poet died, a blue raven would rightly honor him. It seemed to me that the blue raven was a tradition native to their own culture, but the fact that the narrator and his brother were willing share it to honor another fallen soldier shows the kind of brotherhood that man can create, regardless of skin color or heritage.
I loved reading the part when the narrator talks about his brother carving blue ravens out of chunks of wood shattered by artillery explosions. He discusses how he came to be in possession of the knife and how the ravens created a sense of peace, and reminded him of his native visionary totem. This extends beyond just Native Americans or any one particular culture, but to every man or woman in war. From personal experience I know that when deployed overseas in a war zone, every person has that one keepsake, item, or picture that he or she holds onto and looks at when in distress, or in need of a reminder of why they are there. It could provide a sense of peace, or provide bravery. This is what the blue raven reminds me of.
The excerpts from Gerald Vizenor’s Blue Ravens, were very eye opening. It was heartbreaking to read about brothers and family members who enlisted during the war but were separated from one another. In addition to being separated from their only sense of normalcy, they continued to watch trees on reservations be cut down, not for their benefit but for the benefit of the government to build more buildings for non natives and businesses. However, this showed the great bravery and pride of the Natives and speaks volumes about their character because they were willing to fight for a country that they were not even considered as being citizens of. We are often neglected to be shown that the bravery to fight came not only from citizens, but a majority of ethnic groups who fought during World War I and World War II were the natives.
As a reader, I could not help but feel on edge when reading about the first night of stealth and surveillance. As Vizenor noted, these were very risky as they took place in the dark of the night. It was very brave of the natives to accept these missions (regardless of the fact that they essentially had no choice).
I enjoyed the portion on Aloysius painting the blue ravens and found it to be quite impacting. Blue Ravens are typically an animal that to me has represented harmony and peacefulness. In this piece although they are a symbol of peace, there is still the impact and violence of war surrounding him. Vizenor states, “ The blue ravens created a sense of peace, and that touch of rouge on the ravens reminded me of the red crown of the totemic sandhill crane” (120) The contrast of the blue (a peaceful color) blue raven to the red (color of blood and violence) totemic sandhill crane shows the desire to find peace during war, however, remembering that it is still a wartime.
The articles that were assigned to read for this inkshedding assignment were very different then the other articles we have read so far in class. Most of the articles we have read are about the reputations of Native Americans, their history, the way they are perceived by society now and in the past, and who the Native people really are based on facts not the stereotypes we have listened to or heard about. This assignment was based on the Native Americans and the role they played in war. Until now, after reading both articles I had no idea the Native people even were apart of WWI let alone any war because it’s not common that when reading about WWI you come across Native American involvement let alone the fact that there were more then 12,000 Native Indians that served in WWI and more then 44,000 that served in WWI. I found it interesting that so many Native Americans signed up to fight willingly, rather than just being drafted. I also was surprised that a large amount of American Indians were not even considered U.S. citizens until after they fought in the war and then when the Indian Citizen Act of 1924 was enacted. The brave Natives that fought in the war were not mandated to do so and the thought of them volunteering to fight for the U.S. in war shows how much heart and courage they have. I do not think they were actually fighting for the U.S. but I think they were fighting for their people because if the U.S. lost that means that they would lose everything too because their land and homes were in the U.S. so they were fighting for themselves not as much for the U.S. The people who wrote the history books for middle school and high school children forgot to leave that big part of history out and if they did include it in their textbooks the teachers definitely left that out. It seems like the more I learn about Native people and their history the more angry I get because the teachers and textbooks felt the need to focus on what they thought was important to teach us and not on the facts of everything and everyone in history. If it is about a white soldier or a white hero of course that will be in the textbooks and of course the teachers make a point to talk about it either for a whole class or even a whole session plan based on it because they want us to know how great these people are, but never did they base a whole lesson plan on the Native American people and their huge impact on the world and everything they did for their people.
Another part of the reading that was interesting was how afraid The Boche soldiers were of the native warriors. On page 131 of the article, I noticed how Aloysius shouted a curse at the soldiers, and how astonished they were by the natives’ face paint and speech so they ended up running away because they were scared of being scalped by this Native man. The fear the natives gave the enemies is pretty evident throughout the article. It is pretty obvious that the natives played an important role in this war and it is important that students learn of what they did and how important it was in the war itself.
Another thing that stuck out to me in the reading was the traditions of the natives in the war. When a French poet died, a blue raven would rightly honor him. Even though the poet was not native, but French they still used their traditions to honor another human. I loved reading the part when Aloysius is carving the blue ravens out of chunks of wood shattered by artillery explosions. Aloysius would paint pictures of blue ravens to symbolize “peace, sway, irony, and, of course, a native sense of presence” (Vizenor 126). The color blue on the raven represents a peaceful color while the color red represents the color of blood and violence. To me this shows that there is a desire to find peace and a way to end the war but still they needed to be reminded that they are still in war and lives will be taken and things need to be done in order to survive.
October 14th, 2014
Gerald Vizenor’s piece Blue Ravens was an intriguing read. In my opinion I believe it was intriguing due to the fact that it provided a different perspective on Native Americans and the war. One of the different things that this reading did compared to some other assigned readings we’ve had is that this specific reading had a facts section in order to really learn about the Native Americans. As a reader this was helpful because it gives you vital information pertaining the reading that you did not know beforehand. The facts were immensely helpful to me as a reader. One of the facts that really stood out to me was the fact that Native Americans were not considered U.S. citizens until they fought in the war. I think this fact really touched upon the injustices that we have seen in previous readings this semester where the Native Americans were treated unfairly, and were not on equal footing as other people who inhabited the land. Gerald Vizenor’s Blue Ravens was not exactly my favorite piece to read this semester, but it was still an amazing experience to be able to acquire knowledge of Native Americans in the war.
October 14, 2014
To read about the Native American’s role in the military was ironic to me because of the maltreatment they endured from the United States government. Despite this, Native Americans still volunteered, regardless of the reasoning, it was an admirable thing to read. They took on the duties of a soldier when, in my opinion, it wasn’t really their responsibility and for that I have a lot of respect. The fact they were the biggest portion of the military in terms of minorities was also a shock. Of course like any culture the Native Americans stories changed to fit their current struggles during war. In a sense it was a coping mechanism for the Native American soldiers, war is obviously an ordeal on the mental state of a person. They relied on their strong and rich heritage to get through it however. The story about the ravens and the knife and what they symbolized was an example of this. The imagery was impactful for me as a reader and was also entertaining. I could honestly see a moment like the one depicted in the excerpt being used in a war film. Naturally though this common struggle a sense of bonding was made between the soldiers, a creed shared among soldiers. This isn’t an uncommon thing in the military and it is good to see common traits and themes being shared across different cultures, even Native Americans.
Joyce Rain Anderson
November 20, 2014
What a shame it truly is to just be learning about Paul Cuffee, his life and his accomplishments. As a side note, it is always interesting to read a piece that hits close to home and speaks of a trade that is very important to New Englander’s culture. Many of the pieces we have read have focused on the land and its great importance to the Native culture; however, it was great to see how important and useful the sea was to people, especially Cuffee. The fact that he risked his life continually returning to the sea and all the possibility of dangerous encounters it held, shows that he was not a coward (as Natives are often portrayed). This reading reminded me of Gerald Vizenor’s piece Blue Raven, in a sense that the military men enlisted and risked their lives regardless of the danger that they faced and possible death.
As identity has been a very important topic, usually focusing on Native peoples identity as a Native American being stripped away from them and being given English names, I thought it was interesting to see that Cuffee himself was unclear of his identity. First misidentifying as a Pequot, as well as being Wampanoag and African, he struggled with how to identify. This was quite different from what we have been reading because rather than having his identity taken from him (although you could say his “Pequot Identity” was stripped from him although he was never truly Pequot) Cuffee has many cultures in which he can identify with. As a parting note from this piece, I think that if more people were exposed to the lives of Native people like Cuffee, a man who defies the stereotypes that the media and American cultural system portray, the stereotypes in association with native people would slowly diminish and the truth could begin to be told.
Space to comment on the readings for each class...