Zikala-Sa's The Soft-Hearted Sioux

1264 Words6 Pages
Who is the single greatest writer of American literature? Furthermore, what text upholds said writer as the greatest? Most people would argue that perhaps Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, or even William Faulkner are top candidates for the title of the greatest writer in American literature. However, how many people would nominate a woman? How many people would nominate an indigenous woman? Not many people would argue that Zikala-Sa’s “The Soft-Hearted Sioux” qualifies her as the single greatest writer of American literature. Yes, Ralph Waldo Emerson laid the foundation for American literature with his “The American Scholar.” During which, Emerson gives a speech to the Phi Beta Kappa society at Harvard on August 31st, 1837. Oliver Wendell Homes coined the phrase “America’s intellectual declaration of independence” to describe Emerson’s speech (Scholar). Why? Simple, during his speech Emerson…show more content…
The goal of the United States was to use educations to erase Native American culture and assimilate indigenous students into European-American society (Boarding School). “Kill the Indian, save the man” stated Richard Henry Pratt—key figure in developing the Native American Boarding schools (Carlisle Indian School). The white folk saw the indigenous people as a problem. Therefore, they attempted to solve the problem through assimilation. Many indigenous people were forced to—at times—to attend the boarding schools (Boarding School). During the boarding schools, the children were stripped of their indigenous culture. Their hair was cut short, and they were forced to dress “proper.” The students were forbidden to speak their native tongue (Carlisle Indian School). Students could only speak English. It did not matter if the children were from the same tribe or opposing tribe. All students were expected to follow the strict military style disciplinary
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