Q1. Based on this chapter, in what ways does Eastman seem to distance himself from white culture and ally himself with Native American culture?
In the midst of the Ghost Dancers uprising, Eastman declares that “it is [his] solemn duty to serve the United States Government” (718). Though he does not side with the “malcontents” (719), Eastman allies himself with the Native American people. Eastman refers to his fellow Native Americans as “my people” (717), identifying himself with them. He attempts to explain the ghost dancers uprising. He reveals that “the Sioux had many grievances and causes for profound discontent” (719). He censures the “politicians” for their “ruthless fraud”. All the Indian treaties were a sham, and the Native Americans suffered from prevalent sickness and death. He recognizes the injustice which has been done to his people.
Eastman has not fully assimilated into the white culture. He still holds onto his Native American culture. When American Horse asks Eastman of his opinion regarding the uprising, Eastman ponders before he answers, “thanks to Indian etiquette” (718). This signifies that Eastman has still allied himself with Native American culture, though he does not support all their causes. Eastman was among the more Anglicized of the Native Americans; he had “lately put all his faith in the Christian love and lofty ideals of the white man” (723). His faith in those ideals was shaken by the “ordeal” (723), but Eastman is still grounded and knit to his native culture.
Q3. What and how does Zitkala Ša learn about her cultural heritage and social customs?
Zitkala Ša learns of her rich cultural heritage and social customs through listening to legends and observing others. Zitkala...
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... abundance and an “iron horse” to ride on (1112). When the children finally arrived at school, they were forced into an “iron routine” (1117). They were the subject of “rude curiosity” (1114) and blatant animosity by white students. The East was not the fairyland the missionaries had painted. The Native Americans are not scoundrels. They have been defrauded of their land and culture.
Eastman and Zitkala Ša reveal the truth regarding of their people’s culture and history. Their memoirs give readers an understanding of their government, religion, and customs. They show their people as respectable and hospitable beings. Furthermore, they reveal the deceptions and frauds which Native Americans have suffered. They dispel misconceptions and prejudices regarding Native Americans and demonstrate that their people are deserving of the white’s sympathy, justice, and respect.
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