Zitkala-Sa Summary

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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…
One important instance of resistance is when she tried to resist the cutting of her hair by attempting to kick and scratch her way out of being taken to get her hair cut. Another instance in the same situation was when she was taken by her classmates and she started verbally resisting, saying“No I will not submit! I will struggle first!” Even though Zitkala-Sa did her best to resist, she was unable to stop it, with her saying that getting her hair cut was akin to losing her spirit, her identity, which was a big part of her culture and heritage. (citation here). While Native Americans like Zitkala-Sa were resistant to this change in their culture, most Americans thought they would be fine. For instance, Katherine Ellinghaus, who wrote Indigenous Assimilation and Absorption in the United States and Australia writes about how “white Americans appear to have assumed that, in most cases, Native American children could return to their communities after their education” which showed that Americans thought Native Americans would not be fundamentally changed and that the majority of them could get on with their lives after schooling, which was not the case, shown through Zitkala-Sa. The theme of resistance was prominent with Zitkala Sa’s
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