Kylee Keenan - KY_08
journey log 2
Native American culture
While reading Alexie’s “Superman and Me,” I was struck by the phenomenon of the children acting as if they were not smart. I thought this was an interesting and rare type of mold in which people would aim to fit into. Due to my curiosity with this tradition of the Native Americans, I thought I would research more into their culture, values, and history. They have lived on the continent of North America for thousands of years, therefore their culture and belief systems are based in the roots of their beginnings. Their culture is heavily centered around agriculture and nature, but more specifically animals. They worship the spirits of these animals and see them as their own gods. They also utilize animals for food, clothing, and weaponry. In addition, the American Indians are known for their ceremonies relating to all aspects of life, including religion, death, and marriage (“Native American Culture”).
I now want to specifically discuss the history of their education. Their unique view of schooling seen in Alexie’s text is what really intrigued me to delve more into Native American’s background and ideals. As of 2010, “66% of American Indians had completed high school, compared to 75% of the total U.S. population; 9% had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 20% of the total U.S. population; and 3% held graduate or professional degrees, compared to 7% of the total U. S. population” (University of Minnesota). One primary reason for these statistics was the establishment of the American Indian Boarding School. It was “designed to suppress the culture, language, and spirituality of American Indian nations throughout the United States” (University of Minnesota). Attendance was mandatory during the late 1800s into the 1900s. The children were taken away from their families and forced to leave behind their traditions and native tongue. These schools still exists and those who show promise of high achievement are encouraged to attend; maltreatment no longer occurs, but loss of traditions and values often will transpire. Therefore, many children, like their parents, do what they can to appear unintelligent. The children choose to embrace their cultural inferiority rather than face the higher system of education.
Increased monster culture is a phenomenon occurring today. This statement is made in “Monsters and the Moral Imagination.” I never had truly thought about this idea until it was brought to my attention in this text; once I reflected upon this claim, I realized it is absolutely true. Vampire movies, zombie video games, and werewolf characters are all prevalent in our current media. Asma brings it to our attention that there are possible reasons behind this marvel taking place such as conflict beyond our borders, social anxiety post 9/11, or maybe even our economic state. These proposals sparked my interest, so I chose to research some other possible explanations for why this sensation has all of a sudden boomed.
While investigating this emergent topic, I specifically looked at Jeffrey Cohen’s thoughts discussed in his work, “Monster Culture.” He explains monsters in their connection to the culture that they emerge from. “He contends that monsters rise at the “crossroads” of a culture, where differences emerge and anxiety heightens. The monster is an embodiment of difference—of any quality, whether it be ideological, cultural, sexual, or racial, that inspires fear and uncertainty in its creators” (Bahk). In other words, the monster created is a representation of the fear of that specific culture and its individuals. It will obtain characteristics that are dreaded by the culture from which it has been established. I love how Cohen paints a monster’s image for the reader. His ideas are creative and unique and they allow me to view monsters in a way I have never perceived them before.
Bahk, Sue. "The Final Judgement in "Monster Culture"." The MorningSide Review. CDRS, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
"Native American Culture." Native Net. Native-net.org, 2016. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
University of Minnesota. "Brief History of American Indian Education." Expanding the Circle. University of Minnesota, 30 June 2015. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.