Discuss Blackbird's Description Of White People: Church, Schools (Essay Sample)
On January 25, by the end of lecture (or as per your TA's instructions), you will hand in a two/three-page paper (approximately 1000 words) written in response to ONE of the following prompts. I would like hard copy from the students I am grading. Format: double-spaced, one-inch margins, 10-12 point typeface, and a readable font (Times, Courier, etc.). No title required; MLA format for quotes. Example: “… end of quote” (37). Stay to the assigned text. Your thesis sentence subject will be about Blackbird. Don't over-reach.
1. Discuss Blackbird's description of white people and their institutions (the church, schools, government, etc.). How is critical of them? How does he accept their dominion? How does he balance the unfortunate necessity cultural absorption or assimilation with resistance and insistence on maintaining tribal identity, culture, and language? What is lost, as Indian culture recedes? How does religion affect this? What is the role of disease? Is disease ever used as a weapon?
2. Discuss Blackbird's representation of non-Ottawa (Odawa)? How does he address the fact that Odawa and other Algonquian tribes were forced into Michigan from further east? Does he think settlers set tribes against each other to make it easier from them to seize the region? How does he discuss traditional enemies, such as the Sioux. In this book, was pre-colonial life simple and peaceful? Or was there conflict with other tribes, especially as the Ottawas kept moving west?
3. Does Blackbird identify primarily racially, tribally, or individually? How do these concepts affect issues of assimilation, especially as he endorses the Dawes Act. Or is there some priority of his sub-identities? What about his own familial origins? What is the role of language in defining tribe? How does process put him in conflict with the goals of assimilation?
Semester-Long Guidelines for Working with Watts's Prompts
You are expected to write in Standard English and your grammar and mechanics will be policed according to the policies set forth by your TA. On the prompt itself, do not try to answer all of the sub-questions. Instead, just try to get a sense of what parts of it are most important to what you want to say and let your thesis direct the scope and range of your own essay.
Also, this is not a paper about the present or any seemingly similar issue currently in the news (casinos, water rights, etc.). Stay to the assigned text. Moreover, no “information” not presented in the text or in class will be needed.
You are expected to have a thesis that is argumentative, persuasive, and/or analytical—not just observational or obvious. In general, we're looking for depth rather than breadth—no plot summaries or book reports.
Discuss Blackbird's description of white people and their institutions (the church, schools, government, etc.). How is he critical of them? How does he accept their dominion? How does he balance the unfortunate necessity cultural absorption or assimilation with resistance and insistence on maintaining tribal identity, culture, and language? What is lost, as Indian culture recedes? How does religion affect this? What is the role of disease? Is disease ever used as a weapon?
The Omaha Indians are a people with a rich and a proud culture. While in the Big Village from 1775 – 1819, the Omahas managed to create a name for themselves and to cement their place in the American history books. Their leaders were shrewd and helped them to increase in strength and stature to the point where they could project their power over their neighbors. However, what many people and many historians are often fascinated about is the rise of the first Omaha Chief known as Blackbird. Blackbird was one of the most tactical and visionary people and he is often credited to being one of the leaders who propelled the Omaha Indians to their current name. O'Shea (24) says that “there can be no doubt that the remarkable rise of Omaha power and influence was due in substantial part to the talent and ambition of this great chief.” Blackbird was not an ordinary chief and his actions will forever be immortalized. Few could match his wit and none of his counterparts could compare to his bravado and charisma. While assessing the Omaha Indians in greater depth, this article seeks to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the actions of Chief Blackbird and his role in helping the small Indian community survive the lurking dangers in the 18th century.
Blackbird was fond of the white people and this helps to explain why he would trade with them and toy with the rest. He gave the English privileges the other traders including the Spanish would never get. He was fascinated by their way of life including their institutions (schools, governments, and churches). Even though he was curious, he was always cautious and knew the English settlers were also cunning in their own ways. According to Jensen (75), Blackbird's “last request was that he should be buried on a high bluff overlooking the Missouri, so that he could see the white people in their travels up and down the river, as he was very fond of them.” He did have a soft spot for them but was wary of their eventfulness.
Chief Blackbird knew that his people were limited in a lot of ways and therefore, he sought to befriend the Europeans. Blackbird according to Fontenelle (78, 1885), “was the first great chief known to white people…He held supreme command over his people. His words were law and obeyed as such.” No one dared to disobey Blackbird and the Omaha Indians believed in his leadership. While dealing with the Europeans, Blackbird showed a lot of wisdom in that he made sure he got what he wanted all the time. According to O'Shea (27, 1992), “Blackbird and Big Rabbit would force traders to exhibit all trade goods in their outfit, from which the chiefs took for their own “whatever is pleasing”. The trade with the rest of the Omahas was profitable, but on these terms a trade could at best only break even.” This, however, happened to other traders including the Spanish and French traders. Conversely, when the English came, business was conducted differently and this was mainly because Blackbird recognized the English's' dominion. Blackbird understood that he was b
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