Larry McNeil, Tonto's TV script revision, 2006

American Indians

Philosophical and Historical Perspectives

There there (Tommy Orange), systemic racism, history and memory, family, American schools and society, language, democracy, emancipation



Nothing in American history exceeds the historical and ongoing violence against indigenous children, adolescents, and families waged by and inside schools — boarding schools, reservation schools, ‘ghetto’ schools, well-funded schools in mostly White suburbs … For the most part, the very existence of modern day Indians goes unrecognized has gone unrecognized by most non-Native Americans, including college students, for whom Indians are a colorful, if unfortunately mistreated, relic of the past. One positive side effect of the more visible Black and Latinx movements for racial justice is the re-appearance of indigenous people at the margins of public attention. In this unit, centered around the novel, There there, by Tommy Orange — set not in a remote reservation, but in downtown Oakland, CA — we will try to bring this American Indian history and the current state of indigenous peoples into the center of our attention. Orange tells the interlocking stories of a large and diverse cast of indigenous characters trying mostly just to survive. Their struggles always involve education and schooling, formal and informal, and the ways in which Native children in the city — often unrecognized by themselves or others as belonging to Native cultures or history — are deprived of meaningful or useful education.


The dis-placement of American Indian children (Reading comprehension)




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