Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Will Fight No More Forever!

With 2,000 U.S. soldiers in pursuit, Joseph and other Nez Perce chiefs led 800 Nez Perce toward freedom at the Canadian border. For over three months, the Nez Perce outmaneuvered and battled their pursuers traveling 1,700 miles (2,740 km) across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. Finally, after a devastating five-day battle during freezing weather conditions with no food or blankets, Chief Joseph formally surrendered.
Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever!

Using the worksheet given to you in class write a 'BIOPOEM' for Chief Joseph and one for yourself.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Language Goes Extinct

Chief Marie, 89, of the Eyak tribe in Alaska, learned her native tongue from her parents, but the spread of English and competition from the Tlingit, another aboriginal tribe, meant that she was the last 'traditional' speaker. A survey backed by the US National Geographic Society found that Native American languages are some of the world's most endangered.

Every year more and more languages are gone forever as their last speakers pass away. I'm reminded of the gloomy prediction that half of all languages will disappear this century.

Some linguists argue that the birth and death of languages is a natural phenomenon that we shouldn't worry too much about. The global success of English, for example, has changed it forever. But it's hard not to mourn the loss of a language and all that it stands for.

Imagine not being able to speak ever again. What difficulties would you have?

What happens to a culture when their language is lost?

Why is preserving these languages important to the rest of us?

You don't have to travel all the way to Alaska to witness this disappearance.
Click here to learn about the efforts of the Miami Tribe to preserve their language.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

The Native Americans believed. By the 1890s a new religious practice was being taught at all of the Sioux reservations called the 'Ghost Dance.' Big Foot's band, which consisted mostly of women who had lost their husbands and/or other male relatives in battles with Custer, Miles and Crook, would dance until they collapsed, hoping to guarantee the return of their dead warriors. All Indians who danced the Ghost Dance would be taken up into the air and suspended there while the new earth was being laid down burying the white men. The new soil would be covered with sweet grass, running water and trees; the great herds of buffalo and wild horses would return. Then the Indians would be replaced there, with the ghosts of their ancestors.

Did they succeed?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Send Me a Postcard

Check out these postcards from the Chicago Worlds fair of 1893 and then design one of your own on the paper given to you in class. Be sure to tell me all about the fun you had!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Labor Songs

A Ballad is a narrative composition in rhythmic verse suitable for singing. Originally ballads were not written down. They were a way to pass tradition and culture down from generation to generation; the music helped people to remember the story. The traditional ballad form has a few easily replicated characteristics that have made it a popular storytelling device for hundreds of years.

Listen to the ballad written about the Homestead Strike (1892) and read the lyrics.

What is the mood created by the lyrics of the song? (Possible answers might include pride, anger and determination)

What words might contribute to the mood of the song? (Have students select 3 words or phrases and discuss how each word/phrase contributes to the emotional impact of the lyrics. Possible answers might include shame, bum detectives, like thieves in the night, grasping corporations.)

What words could be used to predict tension and violence?

Read 'How to Write a Ballad" and then write your own labor song about the Railroad Strike of 1877, the Haymarket Affair, or the Pullman Strike. Be prepared to share your song in front of the class.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Don't Want To Be An American Idiot

Most immigrants to the USA know more about our country than those who were born here! Sure you may know why we celebrate the 4th of July but can you pass the US Citizenship Test?

Evaluate this test. Is it fair? Too hard? Too easy?

If you were to write a question for the test what would you ask?

Is this test designed to exclude certain immigrants? How?

How were Chinese Immigrants excluded from our country over a century ago?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Industrial Revolution

When was the last time you made something with your own two hands? What was it? Describe the process.

If you wanted something prior to the Industrial Revolution could you just go to Walmart and buy it? How did you get it?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Cost of War

As we have discussed in class the Civil War was the deadliest in American history costing hundreads of thousands of lives. It was also one of the first wars where the bodies of fallen soldiers were photographed. The following clips differ greatly in their depection of war and raise some interesting questions.

Would you have enlisted after seeing this video? Do you think this director was for or against the war? What music did the director choose for this scene? Why don't you see dead bodies?

How do your feelings about the cost of the war differ after watching this clip compared to the first? Should photographers been allowed to profit from the carnage of the war? How has TV, the internet, and media further changed perceptions of war today?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Born In the USA

This song was popular over 20 years ago when I was in High School. It became a patriotic anthem selling over 18 million copies. Read the lyrics for your self to learn how Bruce Springsteen really felt about being 'American.' What do you think it means to be American?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The More Things Change....

...the more they stay the same.

The Liberty League was an organization that tried to rally public opinion against Roosevelt's New Deal. Conservative Democrats who disapproved of Roosevelt's New Deal measures founded the group. In 1934, New York Governor Alfrred Smith joined forces with wealthy business executives, who provided most of the league's funds. The league published pamphlets and sponsored radio programs, arguing that the New Deal was destroying personal liberty and leading us towards communism.

Sound familiar? How do criticisms of FDR's New Deal plan compare to criticisms of 'ObamaCare?'

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Al Capone: Untouchable

The Prohibition era gave rise to organized crime in America and a new type of criminal. No one represents this more than the original 'Original Gangster' Al Capone. He was considered a folk hero by some for standing up against an unpopular law, while others thought him a murderous and corrupt street thug. Watch the movie and then tell me what you think: Hero or Villain?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Schenck vs. US

The First Amendment of the constitution guarantees that each person has the right to free speech. But the Supreme Court has restricted free speech that includes obscenities, libel, slander, words that incite violence or words that pose a threat to the rights of individuals or national security. You do not have the right to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes pointed out in Schenck v. United States (1919), when the "circumstances are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger."

Using this precedent, are Rush Limbaugh's comments protected under the 1st Amendment? Why or why not?