Next year, for the second time in many years, I will be teaching Honors US History II/Civics and Journalism. All classes will be block classes of about 80-90 minutes each, two or three times a week. This should present greater opportunities for a rigorous, rewarding and deep treatment of the subject.
My students generally understand the fact that reservations came about, but have little understanding of their evolution, purpose and near extinction during the termination era during the 1970’s. One of the problems with understanding Native American tribes, their rights, and their supporters is that “[p]ublic understanding of distinctive Indian issues comes slowly, and understandably so. Indian rights are indeed “special” in that they are uniquely complex and history-based, emerging from the distant past rather than arising from well-known modern circumstances.” (Wilkinson,
, at 266-267)
US History II and Civics are consecutive half-year courses, and the unit could be taught in either. The unit could be taught in an honors class, and perhaps also in a college level class. Journalism class may be a better fit for the unit, as it’s focus is a writer who has a journalistic, conversational, ironic and inviting style. The segments of the unit have as their objectives improvement in writing in a memoir style. Journalism students will find Alexie inspiring as a writer, screenwriter, and filmmaker. Part of the unit has been previewed by having students in Journalism class read ATDPTI excerpts and actively view
The reaction has been positive, very positive.