Native Americans - Zitkala -Sa
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Effie Rozanitis Hist 160D/Goudsouzian Native Americans February 3, 2003 Zitkala -Sa Zitkala -Sa's talents and contributions in the worlds of literature and education challenge long-standing beliefs in the white man's culture as good, and Native Americans as sinful savages. She aimed at creating understanding between the dominant white and Native American cultures. As a woman of mixed white and Native American ancestry, she embodied the need for the two cultures to live having a mutual understanding of both cultures within the same body of land. Zitkala -Sa faces various conflicting instances in her autobiographical essays. Her early childhood consisted of a very simple and loving upbringing from her mother and other surrounding family members. Zitkala-Sa and her mother were very close. Both Zitkala-Sa and mother performed various chores together and the occasional beading, an Indian tradition. Like many women during that time Zitkala-Sa's mother could not adapt to white culture nor did she want to. "The paleface has stolen our lands and driven us hither.
She found it almost jail like. The missionaries forced abuse as punishment and stripped them of their Indian culture. Their first attempt to demolish their culture was to give them new clothing and cut their long black hair short. By doing this the Indians were one step closer into the assimilation of American Society. Zitkala-Sa was petrified to have her hair cut short. She felt dead and helpless in a place where she had no support and no religious aid. In the Institute Zitkala-Sa was taught by the white man's bible. When she seeked religious aid it was through a God that she had not herd or even thought about. There were many nights where she cried herself to sleep hoping that the Great Spirits would save her. But there was no hope, she put herself in a situation where she was forced to abide by unknown and unfamiliar customs of the whites. She described that the assimilationist schooling left her "neither a wild Indian, nor a tame one" (74).
This was a flashback to her early years of schooling where she was treated like an animal. Her tough regimented schooling and or lack of schooling was later figured out that it was not the right approach to take when teaching Indians. Her activist commitment to these goals became a full-time job. Her struggles to inform of these prejudices of Indians, not getting proper schooling and consideration was through writings and spoken word where she was able to reach an audience and get her point across. She embedded thoughts that missionaries were not good enough for her people to be educated by and that they deserved equal education as whites. Zitkala-Sa had a masterful use of language and a grasp on western suggestions that adds to the effectiveness of her writings. Like many other minority authors, Zitkala-Sa uses her experiences as growing up a part of the oppressed society to hopefully reach her target audience, the white man. Her tireless advocacy of improved education and respect left an impression on American Culture that all people are equal.
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