On the Rez

Seminar Notes Format

Post the following information about your chapter:

  • Title your post with the chapter number and name
  • Post one significant quote from your chapter
  • Explain in 5 sentences why you chose this quote and how it summarizes a major point of this chapter.
  • End your post with a at least two discussion questions--discussion questions should help the class to delve deeper into the material

Format your comment leaving a line in between each point listed above.

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2 years ago

Chapter 12
"What SuAnne Big Crow demonstrated in the Lead high school gym is that making the leap is the whole point. The idea does not truly live unless it is expressed by an act..." (Fraizer 213).

This chapter revolves around SuAnne and how her basketball court dance impacted the reservation's community. I chose this quote because it conveys what her dance symbolized to Fraizer and the Native people. In this chapter, Fraizer argues that success and the American Dream can only achieved through action. SuAnne embodies this idea through her "leap" or attempt to creating a more equal and culturally connected community. By using her track suit jacket as a shawl, she went against the status quo and was able to harmoniously mesh two completely different cultures together.

Question 1: How do you think the intertwining of Native and American culture has affected Native youths?
Question 2: Do you think that SuAnne actually meant to make this symbolic statement when she did the dance, or was this just a teenager goofing around?

2 years ago

Chapter 9

Summery: chapter 9 focuses on the relationship between the narrator and Le as it changes through out the chapter. At the beginning Le drops by randomly and the narrator treated him very poorly. The narrator is bothered by this for the entirety of the chapter but blames the reason he is rude to Le on Le himself. It isn't till the end of the chapter when the narrator gets in a car crash that he realizes Le is a good friend and the shouldn't be so hard on him.

"'You got beautiful children.” That reminded me of the eagle feather Le had given me for Thomas, so I jumped up from the table and went down to my office in the basement and got it. I showed it to everybody and passed it around, and then absentmindedly set it on the table among the lunch fixings. Mike winced slightly and picked the feather up with the tips of his fingers and handed it back to me: I recalled that an eagle feather isn’t something you leave lying around next to the mayonnaise.

In Native American culture eagle feather are seen as great symbols of prowess and protection. In the chapter the narrator treats it like any old house hold item, because he forgets it's significant. This is most likely because the narrator was to focused on being angry at Le and wanting him to leave.

Why do you think it takes a car crash for the narrator to fix his relationship with Le?

The Native Americans culture use many objects as symbols, .ike the Eagles feather. What is and important symbol for you?

2 years ago

Chapter 12:
"Back in the days when Lakota war parties still fought battles against other tribes and the Army, no deed of war was more honored than the act of counting coup. To count coup means to touch an armed enemy in full possession of his powers with a special stick called a coup stick, or with the hand. The touch is not a blow, and only serves to indicate how close to the enemy you came... Counting coup was an act of almost abstract courage, of pure playfulness taken to the most daring extreme"(Frazier 211).
Chapter twelve focuses on SuAnne and her actions that caused the majority of her native community to admire her. I chose this quote because it connects SuAnne's actions with the bravery of Lakota warriors in the past. SuAnne's dance is symbolic of counting coup, and it empowered her peers. Instead of being intimidated by the taunts of the other team, SuAnne displayed daring courage. She stunned those that mocked her native culture by showing them that their taunts and fake Indian chants couldn't hold up to the true beauty of real Lakota dances and songs.
Discussion questions:
How do you think the opposing team's crowd felt when they saw SuAnne's dance?
How has SuAnne impacted her native community?

2 years ago

Ch. 8:

“Alcohol is the bitterest curse we have, and it has done more to weaken and destroy us than anything else. We had no strong drink, no such thing as whiskey, before the white men came to our country. We didn’t need it then and we don’t need or want it now.”

I chose this quote because it shows how prevalent alcoholism is and how much of a problem it is. The first half of the chapter is Frazier talking about all the bars that used to be friendly to Natives. There's a point where he and Le are driving along, and he notices all the Budweiser cases along the road. Le says that the Natives drink Budweiser because it's cheap and easy to get. The court fights and rioting that happen later in the chapter are the result of a drunken bar fight. Alcohol has brought nothing but pain to the Natives.

Why do you think that people who distribute alcohol to the Natives don't do anything to help the individuals affected by alcoholism?
How do you think the Natives would be different if they were never exposed to alcohol?

2 years ago

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 follows the rise of Pine Ridge's own SuAnne Bigcrow, the star of her high school basketball team, and their successful bid for for the Class A South Dakota state championship. In the words of SuAnne's teammates and coach's, we learn that she was not only a brilliant athlete, but a person dedicated to her culture, who was humble and kind, but also asserted herself, who stood against injustice, and who was beloved by her peers.

Quotation: Dennis Banks, Aim Leader [on Lady Thorpes]:

"It’s really exciting to see kids like that pushing and excelling, but with incredible allegiance to each other. For me as an AIM leader it was great the way SuAnne and them were against racial slurs, taking a stand on their own, letting it be known they weren’t going to accept it. I became a big fan of Lady Thorpes basketball and went to a lot of their games, and my daughter, Chubs, became their mascot. She was about five years old at the time. SuAnne and another girl made outfits for her"

I think to Banks, SuAnne became as much of a symbol as a human being. Here is someone who spent most of his life campaigning for Native American civil rights, and here he is watching a community representative of his struggle: a team, The Lady Thorpes, like a tribal microcosm, playing against other better funded, and whiter teams, struggling together against racism and bigotry, sort of encapsulating the greater centuries wide struggle of his people. Then here he is watching them win, and I bet this success is no longer about sports or teams, but a sort of implied triumph over oppression. Now SuAnne becomes a figurehead of success and a symbol of hope, now it becomes easier to understand why she was valued so highly, by not only Dennis Banks, but by her the entirety of the Oglala Sioux.

Discussion questions:

Why was NBC wrong to title a segment about SuAnne's home "Tragedy at Pine Ridge" ?
Why do you think SuAnne was so popular?

2 years ago

Chapter 8

2 years ago

Quote :
" As the train moved slowly, clanging through the center of town, a person could roll off onto the gravel right-of-away and take his pick among dozens of bars lining the tracks for blocks on both sides. A person might begin drinking in Billings one morning in midwinter and still be drinking there in spring" (Frazier 130).

I chose this quote because it is an example what it is like on the reservation. The conditions on the reservation are so bad that all they do is drink. It shows how there is nothing on the reservation and nothing to do. Native Americans would be non stop drinking which would be putting their health and life at risk. It is not fair for the way the Native Americans live they are just like use but not respected. Also in the chapter they compare the reservation to more advance bars for example in Las Vegas or in Los Angles.

Do you think it is okay that native Americans use drinking as an escape to their oppressed way of living?
Do you think anything should be done about the way the Native Americans live?

2 years ago

Chapter 15
"Pine Ridge was Pine Ridge still. It's hard times, sadly, seemed to have no end; by phone and occasional visits I kept up with the news. Twelve people died as a result of alcohol-related car accidents on the reservation's roads in 1996, and seven in 1997 and at least five in 1998" (Frazier, 258).

I chose this quote because it really shows the tragedy of the Native American reservations. After all these years they are still in some of America's worst poverty and many of them are emotionally unstable which leads to drinking, drugs and suicide. As this book comes to a close you see some of the characters get closure but it doesn't necessarily make the book seem happy. All the facts that Ian Frazier lists about deaths, suicides, violence and alcoholism are just a sad reality. After reading the end of the book it made it seem like he has no hope for the Native Americans and their future. This quote shows how much hurt is still on the reservations and how much work there has to be done to get he reservation and the people of the reservation to a better place.

Question #1
1. Do you think that there is hope for the Native Americans who still live on the reservations and is that hope in the near future?
2. How do you think we, as american citizens can make a difference in Native American lives?

2 years ago

I asked how he was doing. He said, “How’m I doing? I’m myself, and I’m glad I am. I’ve got my self back. Been sober for ten months now.” Le got in and shook my hand and closed the door.

2 years ago

Chapter 14

Siddharth Kulkarni

"So much is so wrong on Pine Ridge. There’s suffering and poverty and violence and alcoholism, and the aura of unstoppability that repeated misfortunes acquire. But beneath all that is something bigger and darker and harder to look at straight on. The only word for it, I’m afraid, is evil. News stories emphasizing the reservation’s “bleakness” are actually using this as a circumlocution for that plain, terrible word. For journalistic reasons the news cannot say, “There is evil here.” And beyond a doubt there is. A bloody history, bad luck, and deliberate malice have helped it along."

This quote from On the Rez cuts straight to the point, exposing the underlying darkness on the reservation. Many of the problems on the rez are both deliberately caused and have a definite cause. For example, alcohol abuse is exacerbated by the ease with which reservation residents can obtain alcohol, as well as its relative cheapness. Many bars and alcohol companies deliberately try to market to Native Americans, knowing that they will be an easy target for addiction, therefore creating a lifelong customer. Gang violence is another example of the premeditated evil on reservations; many young people on the rez are recruited by gang members, who seek to use them for their own nefarious purposes, and turn them on to a life of crime. The bleakness of Pine Ridge isn't just some all encompassing unstoppable force, it's something that needs to be actively combated and stopped. In this way, the legacy of SuAnne Big Crow lives on, through the Big Crow Center for Boys and Girls.

Why do you think most outsiders are afraid to directly talk about the evils that affect most native American reservations?

Do you think that the Native American's history still directly affects them?