In April, our class took a trip to New Mexico where we explored and learned from the To’hajiilee reservation community, Acoma Pueblo, city of Santa Fe, and city of Albuquerque. At To’hajiilee, I practiced my reading and jungle gym skills with my second grade buddy. When we visited the Acoma Pueblo, we got to meet some of the generous residents still living on the mountain (after several generations, over thousands of years). Touring the cities of Santa Fe and Albuquerque gave us insight into how Native American history and identity is intertwined with the current culture of New Mexico and the stories behind that identity. For example, in Santa Fe, we met several indigenous vendors selling their handmade creations. I loved hearing the stories behind each symbol and rock type involved in their art- from jewelry to bookmarks to arrows. It was especially interesting to me how many Natives sold items related to Christianity, such as cross necklaces, even though I thought, for many Natives, such a huge part of their identity is their religious heritage. This fits within the pillar of Take Action because we had the opportunity to hear the authentic stories behind what our textbooks taught us and make a true impact on a Native community, the To’hajiilee. This experience addresses my overarching question in that it shows an example of modern day cultural diffusion, or “compromise.” While we as students gained invaluable knowledge visiting the To'hajiilee, we also left a bit of our culture, the majority culture, there. This exchange of experiences, while beneficial in many aspects, may inevitably hurt the community’s cultural preservation because of increased exposure to the “majority culture,” or us.
IBL Project: Documenting Mainstream Understanding
Two friends and I created a documentary to highlight how prominent figures in history, such as Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, are viewed in a different light by Native Americans. For example, Lincoln authorized the hanging of 38 Native Dakota men, women, and children without a fair trial, despite being celebrated as a civil rights hero and advocate. This project fits within the pillar of Take Action because we asked (educated) members of the public if they knew about certain atrocities and who was responsible, and gave people a different perspective on American leaders. Furthermore, this project supported the concept of this pillar in that, after filming our interactions will these students, we created a documentary to further spread the knowledge and show just how little the public is aware of the Native perspective. This project addresses my overarching question in that it represents yet another paradox relating to Native Americans. Unfortunately, their experiences are so commonly left out of the education system, that one of the biggest (supposed) advocates of civil rights, Lincoln, can commit a crime against them and few will hear about it.