I am so fed up and tired of my credential and Masters in Education program's stress of "tolerance" and "multiculturalism" (not to mention their lack of tolerance of "white Protestant males") that I wrote the following essay for an assignment for my current online class. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope you get a good laugh. The essay was on how our students can benefit from reading Native American literature. Well, here is what I said.
By the way, most of my professors don't even care about scholarship, and they hardly ever read my papers. I've gotten A's on terrible papers before. I'll let you know what I get on this essay. It was worth 10 points. Won't it be funny if I get all 10 points? :0)
Aspects of Native American Tales
There are different kinds of Native American tales. These tales help explain different kinds of Native American beliefs and practices. In this short essay, we will be looking at some of them.
For example, http://www.answers.com/ says the following tale:
Tabaldak, the creator god, made humans and then Gluskab (several variants of whom were associated with different branches of the Abenaki, including Glooscap, Glooskap, Gluskabe Klooskomba and Nanabozho) and Malsumis sprang from the dust on his hand. Gluskab and Malsumis both had the power to create a good world, but only Gluskab did so. Malsumis still seeks evil to this day. Gluskab founded the Golden Age of the Earth by rendering the evil spirits of the Ancient Age smaller and safer, as well as teaching humanity how to hunt and fish, build shelter and all of the Abenaki's knowledge of art, invention and science. Gluskab's departure ended the Golden Age, though he is prophesied to return and renew it again. Me-koom-wee-soo was Gluskab's assistant and wields an ivory bow. He has a fierce temper and gains weight as he gets more angry; eventually, it is said, he sinks into stone. Gluskab and Me-koom-wee-soo had an archery contest once; Me-koom-wee-soo fired an arrow into the top of Mt. Washington, creating a pond, while Gluskab's arrow created a hole in the sky that was then called msatawa (the Evening Star). Gluskab realized the strain hunters can cause on an ecosystem. He asked a woodchuck spirit for help, and she gave him all the hairs off her belly, woven into a magical sac. This is why woodchucks have bald bellies. Gluskab then went to a mountain, where Tabaldak had placed a huge eagle (P-mol-a) that made bad weather by flapping its wings. After binding it, Gluskab realized some wind was necessary and loosened them slightly. Gluskab saved the world from a frog monster that swallowed all the planet's water. When Gluskab cut open the monster's belly, some animals jumped into the water and became fish. Some modern Wabanaki believe that Gluskab is angry at white people for not obeying his rules.
As we look at this, we can see how this may be used to benefit every member of a diverse classroom.
The Importance of this in the Diverse Classroom
So, how can we use this for the benefit of our students in the diverse classroom? Well, especially for our younger students, they like to pretend. These kinds of stories can help develop their imagination. It is the imagination which likes to run wild, and these stories can help contribute to an appreciation for pretend games. These stories also help our students understand the importance of tolerance of other cultures. The Abenaki is just one example of many of the different kinds of rich and interesting stories that abound in Native American literature.
It is clear to this writer that it is of utmost importance, therefore, that we carefully select our multicultural literature in such a way that it reflects the true spirit of Native American literature. What we have seen above is only one example of Native American folklore. We can conclude that there is so much more for our students’ entertainment and imagination.