Reflection Paper Assignment.

Reflection Paper Assignment.

As you read your reading assignments, lectures, and documentary watching you should take notes, and you should reflect.

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The reflection paper it’s all that is “Indian of Minnesota”. As you are well aware with knowledge comes responsibility, You as you read, watch, and listen what kind of responsibility do you feel to this knowledge so that past wrongs will not be repeated.

 

Please use Books:

Indian Boyhood(http://www.gutenberg.org/files/337/337-h/337-h.htm)

Night flying Woman (PDF)

 

Documentaries:   Dakota Conflict (https://www.tpt.org/dakota-conflict/)

Nokomis voices of Aanishinabe grandmother

(http://www.mnvideovault.org/mvvPlayer/customPlaylist2.php?id=15525&select_index=0&popup=yes)

Oceti Sakowin

(https://www.pbs.org/video/south-dakota-documentaries-oceti-sakowin-seven-council-fires/)

 

Lecture:  POWWOW

 

 

Seven pages double spaced the style you should use is MLA.

  • Type your paper on a computer and upload to canvas.
  • Double-space the text of your paper and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are each distinct from one another. The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise prompted by your instructor).
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the “Tab” key as opposed to pushing the space bar five times.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: I ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow my guidelines. 🙂 )
  • Use italics throughout your essay to indicate the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, provide emphasis.
  • If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page. Entitle the section Notes (centered, unformatted).
  • I have an example of a student reflection upon the material the student was exposed.

 

Exploring the Indian Community in Minnesota

 

Home, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a place where something

normally or naturally lives or is located. Many people refer to Minnesota as home but

for some it is much more than home. It is the location of the origin of the Dakotas.

The language, the culture, the tradition, it’s all a part of Minnesota. Amidst of the

tumult of the fast paced city life of today, we have somewhere lost our connection to

the native practices of this land and its origins. Living in what we call our home, we

have forgotten to appreciate and understand the importance of home for the native

people of this land. Many native American tribes have been trying to make people

aware of their existence and have tried to pass on some of the values that have been

passed down to them by their ancestors. Having knowledge and being able to

understand and appreciate that knowledge are two very different things and are both

equally important.

‘Coming to know’, as defined in class, is active participation of new

knowledge and acquisition. It defines active learning. Through the medium of this

class, we have engaged in a lot of learning by watching documentaries, reading books,

listening to different perspectives and discussions. We are now more equipped with

new knowledge about the indigenous people of the land. We have learnt about the

history and the origins of the people and how they and their land has developed since

the interference of the Europeans. We have talked about some of the cultural practices

that are prevalent in the community and also talked about how things in the modern

 

world have shaped the life of the Indians. This papers aims to explore more of what

we have learnt in this course about those topics and how we could use that knowledge

effectively to make a positive impact or prevent a negative action being taken. Anton

Chekhov says, “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice”, and this is

very true in the context of this class as it will help us make wise decisions in regards

to the Indian Community in Minnesota thus adding a big responsibility on our

shoulders as we conclude this class with the immense wealth of knowledge we have.

We know that the use of the land the general society that exists in

Minnesota is way different from what it was back in the 1600’s. It is thus very

essential for us to explore what made those changes and were the changes justified.

We know from accounts by various historians, that before the 1600’s, all of

Minnesota land was habited by the Ojibwe and the Dakotas. They had about 55

million acres of land to use as they pleased. Today the Dakotas have about 5 million

acres of land for their use. This is a great shift in land use power. I believe that this

does not seem fair that about 50 million acres of land of the original inhabitants was

taken away with time. The means that were employed to acquire the land were also

not fair. “From 1819 to 1825, the US army built the first white settlement in what

would become the state of Minnesota. (Treuer 24). This was the start of a big decline

in the land of the natives. “ Within the living memory of an Ojibwe person, the

Anishinaabe went from being a regional power with sovereign control over large tract

of territory to being disempowered occupants of a small portion of their original

homelands” (Treuer 24-25) This is the sad truth of how things progressed for the

native nations. The Americans were flooding in to the land and randomly placing new

policies onto the original people without their consent. It is also important to be noted

that this period was a hard period for the Anishinaabe nation as everything was going

 

against them. The number of American civilians was increasing and they were losing

money in the fur trade as the Americans had placed their own licensed traders

throughout the continent. To combat this severe loss of trade and money, “the US

government initially asked the Ojibwe to sell land in Minnesota in 1837.”(Treuer26).

The Ojibwe were ready to do anything out of desperation to make money for

sustenance. Taking advantage of this desperation, the Americans signed treaties with

the Ojibwe people. The Ojibwe were/are community people and were alien to the

concept of individual ownership. The Americans had realized that they could tap into

this negligence of the native people and reap the benefits in the long run. This was

just the start of a big downhill journey for the Ojibwe people. One decision led to

another and each of them resulted in the worsening of their situation. As Alex

mentioned in class, the Ojibwe were lured or seduced to sell their land for a short term

benefit which could never compensate for the long term loss of the loss of the access

to the land. Treuer describes it as, “As the land used by the Ojibwe declined in size, so

too did their economy and standard of living. These factors created greater pressure

on the Ojibwe to sell more land to produce more cash to feed families in increasingly

dire straits. Traditional lifeways were irrevocably altered and poverty became a

common experience for the Ojibwe.” (Treuer 27). The Ojibwe were forced to sign one

treaty after another as they had to choose between giving into the demands of the

Americans or go to war with them. Since the Americans had better war equipment

and even more number of soldiers ready to fight, the Ojibwe knew that it wouldn’t

have been a wise decision to go to war with the Americans. Thus forcefully they had

to give in to the demands of the Americans. Even after the Ojibwe were left only to

small reservations on the continent, the Americans wanted more. “The US

government made clear that its goals was to assimilate Indians in to the broader white

 

culture.” (Truer 31). The whites had the intention of completely eliminating the rich

culture and tradition of the natives and impose the European values on them. The

went on to set up compulsory boarding schools for kids to keep them away from

home so that they are disconnected from their culture and grow up experiencing the

white culture. The native languages were also targeted and were discouraged from

being used. Ojibwe weren’t allowed to practice their religion and Christianity was

promoted. The effects of that are even prevalent now as most of the natives are

Catholics.

The overall goal of the Americans seemed to be convert the native people

from being independent entities to being dependants of the white authorities. The

Americans wanted to take over the state of affairs in the land and reduce this entire

mass of population to mere puppets that would sway in the direction that the “big

white father” wanted them to move in. These were the injustices that were done to the

Indian people in due to the effect of colonization. Many attempts have been done in

the recent past to reverse the wrongs done to the native people by the intimal

European settlers especially since the 1970’s. “Since the 1970’s, the tribes have been

more proactive in testing the limits of their sovereignty” (Treuer 49).There have been

other efforts taken too to protect the interests of the Anishinaabe people. “The Indian

child welfare Act of 1978 sought to address the problems in adoption and foster care

of the Anishinaabe children.” The gaming industry and the rights that the natives had

in the casinos have also helped a lot of communities. “Tribal gaming operations in

Minnesota have had a profound influence on the Ojibwe. Unemployment rates had

dropped from 50% in many communities to about 20% in just a few years” (Treuer

57). Although there are many challenges with the fast growing gaming industry

within the tribe and concerns have been raised about its effectiveness, it can be safely

 

said that,” The development and growth of tribal gaming operations for the Minnesota

Ojibwe have generated economic and political power for tribes like nothing else since

the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934” (Treuer 59). There have been many steps

taken in the right direction to negate the damage that had been done in the past.

Eliminating poverty by providing employment, reducing the alcohol and substance

abuse through remedy programs, a great emphasis of good education setting up of the

Indian Health Services are a few to name. (Treuer 68-69). I believe that the steps

taken in the past were not just towards the Indians and the steps taken now, though

proven to have good results are not sufficient to compensate for the harm done in the

past.

Moving away from my personal opinion, we can explore about a few things

about how the native people might define Justice. One might think that once Justice is

granted in any form of court, it is actually justice but that may not be the case with

many of t native people. Although most of the Dakotas have a house to live in and

dwell but “the vast majority of the Dakota people are still in exile. That is most of the

people still have no home in our ancestral homeland” (Waziyatawin 10). Waziyatawin

believes that the problems that most of the Dakotas are facing are “not attributable to

Minnesota’s extermination policies but those policies laid the groundwork for

subsequent and extraordinarily successful colonization of the people.” (Waziyatawin

10). The end goal of justice should be the creation of a moral society. Waziyatawin

believes that the way to do that is through land return and reparations. He also

believes that “land return alone, however is not enough to create justice. Instead,

Minnesotans also have to restore the lands to a pristine condition.” (Waziyatawin 12).

He also believes in the creation of an oppression free society. “Colonization by its

very nature, I antithetical to justice.” (Waziyatawin 13). He also asks of the non-

 

Dakotas to “challenge, re-examine and reject the racist and colonist programming to

which you have grown accustomed. IT also asks that you rethink the values of

domination, consumption and exploitation that have become a part of the American

Society” (Waziyatawin 14). On the other hand, he also wants the Dakotas to rise and

acknowledge the potential for liberation.

Waziyatawin’s views are the views of a very idealistic society. It will take a

long time before that stage is reached when the Dakotas realize that they need not feel

oppressed any more but more importantly, the whites feel that they need to right the

wrongs of their ancestors and give equal footing to the natives. It is really hard to

change the thought process of someone that has such deep roots but I agree with

Waziyatawin that one day eventually we will get there. This is where the

responsibility of having the gift of knowledge becomes evident. WE know that

eventually we all have to co-exist and being in 2016, we all have to appreciate the

variety and variability in the world. We know that cultures are dying out and we are

trying our best to preserve them. Having a basic knowledge of what culture looks and

feels like is one of the most essential steps to take. I believe that one will want to

preserve something only if one appreciates it and values it and so this course has been

a great method for me to learn about a different culture that I value and respect and

feel obliged to introduce other people to. It is a responsibility to share the positives of

this culture to be able to move towards the idealistic society as mentioned by

Waziyatawin which is when true justice would be done towards the natives and all

wrongs would be reversed.

Having talked a lot about the political aspect of things, this course was not

only about political knowledge but also a lot of cultural enlightenment which was

focused on some of the practices and the values that defined the Indian culture. Many

 

of the values that are embedded deep in the Indian philosophy are very applicable in

today’s society and thus the gift of knowledge about them is something that needs to

be preserved and passed on to the right people who can preserve it further and prevent

its extinction. It is rightly said that Nature is the best teacher. The natives are very

much involved in nature and learn a lot from it. As Eastman mentions in his book,

“We are not only good mimics but we were close students of nature. WE studied the

habits of animals just as you study your books.” (Eastman 3) It is important for us to

recognize that the Indians possess this immense amount of knowledge about nature

that scientists all around the world are spending millions of dollars to emulate nature.

One of the other things that is very important for us to imbibe within us is the spirit of

oneness amongst the Indian people. “The Indians are a patient and a clannish people;

their love for one another is stronger than that of any civilized people I know.

(Eastman 14). In this world of cutting throat competition, having the feeling of

oneness and community is very essential for stable sustenance. The books brings out

strong contrast in the ways of upbringing of city kids and Indian kids. In the chapter

about An Indians Boys training, Eastman talks about how the Indian kids were raised

to do very practical things like hunting and the like. They were trained to face

hardships both emotionally and physically without showing any sign of weakness or

complaint. “All boys were expected to endure hardship without complaint.” (Eastman

47). Kids and students are losing this somewhere and due to the connection with the

conveniences in life and becoming weaker by the day. It is really a gift to be able to

learn about these ways of upbringing and respect them. Indian philosophy relies a lot

on the principle of reciprocity. Based on the discussions in class, we know that

tobacco was offered for everything that was taken from nature. It was a way of giving

back and preventing over –exploitation. The Indians knew the importance of

 

preserving the natural resources and had a system to balance the amount of intake.

This is also a great knowledge which is so applicable in today’s times with the

extensive over utilization of resources that we promote. Some of the other knowledge

that I have learnt from this class is the philosophy and the meaning of powwows.

They are a result of modern influence on the Indian culture which serves a perfect

example of how Indian tradition has kept up to the times and adapted itself and

proven that it is ongoing. The dances and the drums of the powwow are a wonderful

display of talent and skill. It’s an exuberant display of colour and entertainment

galore. All these are intricate parts of the Indian culture which, living in the big cities,

we tend to ignore but are close to every Indians heart.

Following an intense discussion about the political injustices of

colonization, what is being done to rectify those injustices, what is true justice in the

minds of the Indians and how we can learn from their culture and tradition, it brings

us to a point where we can see the importance of reflecting on these questions. I

believe that the Indians were the first inhabitants of the land and thus it is essential for

our existence on the same land that we know what occurred on this land before our

presence. It is important to know about the issues faced by people sharing this land

with us and understand what steps need to be taken to improve the quality of life for

everybody and reach the stage of the idealistic society as mentioned by Waziyatawin.

We need to gain knowledge about the natives and use it wisely as wrongly used

knowledge could worsen the situation. Since we are the privileged ones to have access

to this knowledge by means of this course, it is our duty to show respect to the things

that we learn in this course and comprehend that it is a totally different culture that we

are learning about in this class. We also need to share this knowledge with others

giving due respect to the natives as we are now their representatives when we share

 

with knowledge. Representing an entire section of population of this land is a great

responsibility and thus it is important to reflect on the significance of the knowledge

we have gained in this class. Thus to conclude, it can be said that this has been a great

class in terms of the amount of and variety of knowledge learnt and I understand the

responsibility that comes with the knowledge I have learnt through the medium of this course.

 

 

 

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