Wednesday, November 16, 2011

MN American Indian texts, Part 1

Minnesota Teachers are really interested right now in resources available to meet the ELA standards around texts written by and about Minnesota American Indians. Though there have previously been some standards relating to MN American Indian texts, it has not been as explicit as it is now. Because schools need to be meeting the new standards next academic year, teachers are working on compiling resources now to begin making shifts in their curriculum to match the new standards. These standards relate mostly to grades 4 and 6-12.

Here are the specific standards at those grade levels:

Grade 4:
Standard Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures, including American Indian. 
Standard Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account, including those by or about Minnesota American Indians, of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Grade 6: 

Standard Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres including those by and about Minnesota American Indians (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics. 
Standard Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events, including events related to Minnesota American Indians, with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

Grade 7:

Standard Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal, including those in stories, poems, and historical novels of Minnesota American Indians, of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history. 
Standard Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic including topics about Minnesota American Indians; shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts. 
Standard    Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
a.      Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal, including those in stories, poems, and historical novels of Minnesota American Indians, of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history”).

Grade 8:
Standard Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, including stories, poems, and historical novels of Minnesota American Indians, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new. 
Standard Analyze a case in which two or more texts, including one text by or about Minnesota American Indians or other diverse cultures, provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.

Grades 9-10: Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare or how a Minnesota American Indian author uses oral tradition to create works of literature).

Grades 11-12: Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including American Indian and other diverse cultures’ texts and how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics. 

Right now, the MN Reading Association is planning a symposium for K-12 teachers around this topic, to be held at Tartan High School in Oakdale on Saturday, Feb 18th. The workshops are intended to provide resources for teachers to meet these standards. Registration is not yet opened, but I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, here are some resources for you as you begin looking at incorporating more MN American Indian texts into your curriculum. This post will mostly contain resources for your own professional development in this area, though some are texts/videos/exhibits you can certainly share with students.

To build your own background knowledge on the Minnesota American Indian Tribes, you can visit Minnesota North Star's page compiling the websites for each of the seven Anishinaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe) reservations and the four Dakota (Sioux) communities. Additional information can be found on the State Indian Affairs website.

The Minnesota Humanities Center is a terrific resource. The exhibit Why Treaties Matter, and the companion website Treaties Matter, is a joint project between the MN Humanities Center, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, and is designed to provide context to the treaties between the US government and the Dakota and Ojibwe Indian Nations. Also on the Center site are videos recording stories of MN Dakota and Ojibwe people about how MN statehood affected their homes, their families, and their future. Additional videos of community members speaking about our Minnesota Narrative can be found here. Resources from past workshops centered on MN American Indians sponsored by the Minnesota Humanities Center are also available,

The Bdote Memory Map on the Minnesota Humanities Center site provides information about Dakota history and the Dakota people. More information about this can be found here.

The following resources were on a handout from the Minnesota Writing Project Fall Workshop, held Sept. 24, 2011.
  • MNVideoVault  (Twin Cities Public Television) The MN Video Vault is a project of Twin Cities Public Television. The Vault contains hundreds of programs from the TPT archives: classic interviews and performances from Nighttimes Variety, Newsnight Minnesota and Almanac as well as a broad cross-section of TPT documentaries. All material in the MN Video Vault is fully searchable. Programs have been broken into segments and tagged with key information to make specific videos easy to locate. In addition, all of the material is closed-captioned and, through advanced search functions, these captions can be searched to locate any word spoken within a program. Finally, many of the video segments will be tagged to relevant Minnesota State Academic Standard benchmarks, to facilitate classroom use.
  • Surrounded by Beauty Curriculum (Minneapolis Institute of the Arts) This curriculum explores the art of daily life created by American Indian people throughout the United States. Sections include Northeast Woodlands, Mississippi Valley, Plains, Southwest, and Northwest Coast. Students explore history, quotations, photos, and objects that are both functional and beautiful.
  • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.This site provides history, tribal information, special events, government affairs communications, and education materials. FAQs on Ojibwe culture are answered with thoughtful stories from Mille Lacs Band
  • Waasa-Inaabidaa: We Look in All Directions, (Duluth, MN: PBS Eight, WDSE-TV, 2002). This site accompanyies the six-part historical documentary series for public television featuring the history and culture of the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe people of the Great Lakes. Classroom resources include wigwam “storytelling,” community outreach, bibliography/resources, chat room, and
  • We Shall Remain. (Public Broadcasting System.) This website accompanies the five-part series for public television shows how Native people valiantly resisted expulsion from their lands and fought the extinction of their cultures. We Shall Remain represents an unprecedented collaboration between Native and non-Native filmmakers and involves Native advisors and scholars at all levels of the project. This multimedia site includes behind-the-scenes footage, a section for Native Americans to tell their own video stories, and a teacher’s guide.
  • Album. (Duluth, MN: PBS Eight, WDSE-TV) This public-television series of historical documentaries celebrates the Lake Superior region’s heritage and history—chronicling the events and people who have shaped this place.
The next post will include specific titles and lists of books as you work with your team, schools, and districts to integrate more texts by and about Minnesota American Indians into your curriculum. More to come...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this excellent post. It's great to have all these resources listed in one spot. Another good book on this subject is North Country: The Making of Minnesota by Mary Lethert Wingerd (2010).

    I just finished the book The Journey of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III. It's a thoughtful and thought-provoking account of a mythologized period in Lakota history. Well worth reading, and then discussing.

    Thanks for the tip about the February event.