Zitkala-Sa Analysis

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Zitkala-Sa: An analysis In the early 1900s, Native Americans went through a period of assimilation; That is, they were forced into adapting to American culture and customs. There were many methods to achieve this assimilation, including putting Native American children in US schools to teach them American ideals and values and to really Americanize them. One of these children was Zitkala-Sa, who was a Native American child that went through a US boarding school, where she did her best to resist the American assimilation and subsequent eradication of her culture. She was unable to, and in the process, demonstrated that the impact that boarding schools had on Native Americans was one of terror and indoctrination, which did not bode well for…show more content…
She writes that she screamed for her mother when her hair was being cut and how she began crying when she messed up the routines of eating at a meal, showing that she felt alienated and alone since she did not fit in with the other schoolmates. A historical reason for this was how the Federal government pushed for the assimilation, with Becky Little writing again that the “Boarding schools forbid Native American children from using their own languages and names, as well as from practicing their religion and culture. They were given new Anglo-American names, clothes, and haircuts, and told they must abandon their way of life because it was inferior to white people’s.” (Citation here). This showed a fundamental cultural change was starting with the Native American population and how some were feeling alienated because they had to change their entire culture in a few short years, with most, if not all, Native American children feeling alienated with this sudden cultural shift, and Zitkala-Sa was one of them. For instance, Zitkala-Sa writes in her memoir that she felt embarrassed when other parents and their children would look at her since she was a Native American and they would take notice to her blanket, which for the white children, was a strange thing. She recounts how she cried over being tossed in the air by a women, not realizing that this is what
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