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Lesson Plans

one more totem pole...

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Bunki Kramer (
Wed, 15 Oct 1997 17:42:43 -0700

Hi.....I have been reading with interest many thoughts of using
(ie....totem pole) other cultural beliefs, mores, artwork, etc. and putting
those into our cultural place and time. I think, BTW, we have been handling
this potential firecracker rather well between all of us. I have some
thoughts for pondering...

If you are comparing Christianity and the "cross", you might think also
that in our own Christian culture, we have ALSO used the "cross" to mean
many other things other than spiritual. Instead of original wood, WE'VE
used wire, jewels,
paper, toothpicks, TP rolls, pretezels, etc. for materials. Think Madonna.
Think Klu Klux Klan and burning cross.

I will never know "exactly" what the Northwest Indians might really have
intended when they made their masks, but what I do know, or research, I
intend to share with my students when we make our own. To know that there
are other cultures who also make masks and also other reasons to make them
is beneficial to my kids. It broadens their scope in many ways. So the
Indians make them out of wood and natural fibers, etc. That's not what is
all-important to me. There's much more than this to discover.

One last thought....
We have been enlightened, pushed, forced, asked, required (you supply your
own verb) into including and enlarging our "take" on diversity/integration.
Until this past year it had been left up entirely to me. I personally love
this exploration but only when it enriches what I'm teaching as in
everything else I use. But....and a big BUT....doesn't "diversity", in a
sense, deepen isolation? We should all relish our heritage...don't get me
wrong. But shouldn't we ALSO be pushing what we have in common? Wouldn't
this commonality make for a better world and a better
brotherhood/sisterhood of man? We're different, to be sure, but also aren't
we all the same in humanity? Just a thought.....

Bunki Kramer
Los Cerros Middle School
Danville, California 94526

  • Maybe reply: Judith Auslander: "Re: one more totem pole..."