Native Americans have always been so insightful on how nature and the spirit are one. This week I had the chance to read The Conquest of Mexico from the Florentine Codex, The Night Chant from Navajo Ceremony, and Yellow Woman by Leslie Silko. Every story had a shared theme which I found to be nature and the spiritual aspect that comes from that. Native Americans have always shared stories including nature and man, intertwining and working together. Even to the point of taking the names of animals to give to men. This alone shows the respect Native American people have for nature and the creatures that live in it. Each story has a slightly different way of explaining essential parts of Native American traditions all underlining the beauty and importance of the earth we live on.
There are many examples of this in pop culture today that tell the history, traditions, and aspirations of Native American people. We can find examples here. This is not my list, however, it is a good place to start to consider films that tell the history of the Native American people. Also, the History Channel has great insight as well.
Both would be great ways to incorporate teaching especially to high school students. I have always found that movies tend to stick in the memory better than reading but every one learns differently. Also, kids in high school love visual learning even if it does lead into reading! Personally, I find the history of the United States and Native Americans extremely interesting already whether learning from a historical perspective or an English literature one. The fact that they are so in-tune with this world just adds to their traditions and history as a people.
This brings in to mind possibly bringing in a guest speaker who is of Native American descent to engage students in learning. If it is a possibility, I would certainly do this to get a real-life feeling for the content of the reading. A guest speaker could answer any questions from students beforehand or after about the reading and possibly even go into more detail on other stories as well.
Native American history is the backbone of the United States. It is very important to have a deeper understanding to truly appreciate their history.