Summary: Custer Died For Your Sins

1682 Words7 Pages
In the third grade, I was asked to draw a picture related to Thanksgiving for a drawing contest to win a Toys R Us coupon. I remember the only knowledge I had of Thanksgiving was what my grade school teachers had taught me: the Pilgrims, people who wore tall, black hats shared a joyous meal with Indians, who were known as wild people who wore togas around their waist and feathers on their heads. Being a ignorant little boy, I drew what I thought Indians had to do to catch the turkeys as my picture; I drew an Indian man with a bow shooting an arrow right through the body of a turkey. With that picture, I won the contest. This thought of Indians in togas stayed with me until 9th grade when my world history teacher taught the class about the effects…show more content…
Graphic documentaries, even though some may be too graphic in terms of violence, should still be presented in this class as they help to truly present the oppression Indians have gone through and be memorable for the rest of the students’ lives. Readings such as Custer Died For Your Sins, for example, would be ideal because it is simple to interpret, high school students would enjoy it for its humor and cursing, and because the author, Vine Deloria Jr., is intensely blunt and acute like stories are in dramas, which many high school students in high schools would enjoy. For example, in criticizing anthropologists, Deloria writes, “[Anthropologists] can readily be identified on the reservations. Go into any crowd of people. Pick out a tall gaunt white man wearing Bermuda shorts, a World War II Army Air Force flying jacket, an Australian bush hat, tennis shoes, and packing a large knapsack incorrectly strapped on his back. He will invariably have a thin sexy wife with stringy hair, an IQ of 191, and a vocabulary in which even the prepositions have eleven syllables” (79). In this text, Deloria argues how anthropologists purposely contrast themselves from Indians on reservations with how they dress to show their overwhelming wealth and intelligence over Indians while also crudely mocking how anthropologists pretend to be hierarchical snobs. High school students would be intrigued with the sass Deloria uses in his writing. Another appropriate type of reading would be Native Americans’ personal narratives of their own experiences on colonization, American politics, cultural appropriation, and more. Dawnland Voices edited by Siobhan Senier, for instance, would be a spectacular reading for this proposed class since it includes intimate indigenous short stories, poems, and writings from the New England region. From these
Open Document