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Lesson Plans

Re: culture loss

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Maggie White (mwhite)
Wed, 26 Nov 1997 23:36:17 -0800

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Daisy wrote:
> Rachel,
> Thank you for replying to my e-mail. In my lesson plan, I want
> the children to look back into their heritage to show their culture
> loss. I want the highschoolers to go back and research their European,
> African, etc. roots and then make an artwork about their own culture
> loss. For an example: I am Irish, German, Dutch, and Native American,
> however, St. Patrick's Day is not a religious holiday to me, I
> absolutely hate German food, only recently did I discover I had Dutch in
> my blood, and I am not aware of many Native traditions. In learning
> more about myself and the cultures/traditions of my ancestors I can
> identify with my families culture loss. Please reply back and tell me
> what alse I can do with the lesson plan. If you have any other
> suggestions, please do not hesitate to send them.
> Thank you,
> Daisy


I didn't see the message you are responding to, so perhaps I'm misinterpreting what
you're doing here. I find it sad and somewhat appalling that a native-born American
would feel she has "lost" her culture simply because she doesn't
eat/dance/speak/worship/whatever the way her ancestors did in their various homelands.
Your "culture" is more than occasionally eating certain foods, celebrating certain
holidays, or wearing a costume on special occasions. It is all the infinitesimal things
we do on a daily basis that make up our particular national character.

Though I teach on a reservation, I've never felt it to be part of my job to teach my
students their culture; that is the job of their parents or other elders. That many of
the parents have failed to do so says something about what they value, whether it's a
desire to become more mainstream, or just from sheer apathy. It is not the school's job
to take up the slack simply because _we_ think they should live up to our notions of
what their culture is.

You and your students already have a culture--it is American culture, and yes, _part_ of
that culture is the fact that our ancestors came from other places (including the
Indians'; theirs just got here sooner). But then, any country is essentially a melting
pot; what country has been completely stable and homogenous since the dawn of human

Maggie**remove x in address to reply

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