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The Courage of an Independent View and Voice: Speaking Unpopular Truths (There, There Book backdrop)

Album Description

Since Tommy Orange's first novel, There There, was published in 2019, I have incorporated its opening vignettes as an introductory bookend to help trace the evolution of American identity and values. LOC will supply needed visual and historical aids to support the author's somewhat abrupt presentation of a shared history that has been whitewashed by the victors. 

  • Goal: Students often hesitate to live their truth when it will not earn them popularity. By examining historical situations in which inaccuracies became traditions, I hope they will conclude that thorough research is a necessary step in the process of adding to their stores of reliable knowledge. 
  • Secondary Goal: Students will dig into contemporary applications and meaningful personal development of their own perceptions, as well as build a respectful bond with me. 

   nativewriters   tommyorange   nativeidentity   bestof 

**Adding video clips and external images referenced in the book's prologue.

[Curly, sole survivor of Custer massacre--scout for Custer, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left]

Teaching Notes

Students often fear standing alone in their truth. Here is a man whose very stoic presence will help them consider: are there more important values in life than preserving your personal comfort and happiness? They should write down why this survivor agreed to sit for a portrait; what might he have hoped future generations see here?   solesurvivor    9 - 12    English/Language Arts    Social Studies/History  

Reference note

Contributor Names: Throssel, Richard, 1882-1933, photographer
Created / Published: c1907.
Subject Headings: -  Curly, ca.--1859-1923
-  Indians of North America--1900-1910
-  Little Bighorn, Battle of the, Mont., 1876--Veterans
-  Crow Indians--1900-1910
Genre: Portrait photographs--1900-1910
Photographic prints--1900-1910
Notes: -  Copyright by Richard Throssel.
Digital Id: cph 3c05855 //

Ale Ko

Teaching Notes

Students will carefully note the detailed items of clothing and personal effects the individual shares through portraiture. Students should consider the stereotypes and labels, such as "noble savage," imposed upon the native populations early on. Based upon their list of items, how developed and specialized would they determine the society is/was that this woman belonged to. Explain or check off items that support their hypothesis. 

*Sidebar discussion: How did it serve the incoming groups to affix labels to the people who occupied the land? (motivation)

Reference note

Contributor Names: C.M. Bell (Firm : Washington, D.C.), photographer
Created / Published: [between February 1894 and February 1901]
Subject Headings: -  Native Americans
Genre: Portrait photographs
Glass negatives
Notes: -  Title is unverified name of sitter or person who ordered the photograph, from handwritten label on negative sleeve or negative.
-  Date from photographer's logbook.
-  Gift; American Genetic Association, 1975.
-  General information about the C.M. Bell Collection is available at
-  Temp note: Batch 20.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id: bellcm 09143 //

[Native American chiefs Frank Seelatse and Chief Jimmy Noah Saluskin of the Yakama tribe posed, full-length portrait, standing, facing front, with the U.S. Capitol behind them]

Teaching Notes

How far do you expect leaders to go to enact and protect the rights of the group they lead? Does it matter how many members belong to the group? If so, to what degree, and explain how this follows the guidelines of the country. (photo taken 1927)   minorityrights  

Reference note

Created / Published: [1927]
Subject Headings: -  Seelatse, Frank
-  Saluskin, Jimmy Noah
-  United States Capitol (Washington, D.C.)--1920-1930
-  Indians of North America--Clothing & dress--1920-1930
-  Yakama Indians--Clothing & dress--1920-1930
-  Tribal chiefs--United States--1920-1930
Notes: -  National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress).
-  In album: v. 1, p. 9, no. 40873.
-  Another copy in LOT 12337-1.
Digital Id: cph 3c11354 //
cph 3b39163 //


Teaching Notes

Students will locate modern images to complete the arc of how tribes were affected by colonization. (Students can use dates of images to organize them.)   nativegame  

Reference note

Summary: Native men and boys playing a game similar to lacrosse, near Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.
Contributor Names: Catlin, George, 1796-1872, artist
Created / Published: [1844]
Subject Headings: -  Indians of North America--Sports--Oklahoma--1830-1850
-  Choctaw Indians--Sports--1830-1850
-  Lacrosse--Oklahoma--1830-1850
Notes: -  Illus. in: North American Indian portfolio ; hunting scenes and amusements of the Rocky Mountains and prairies of America / from drawings and notes of the author made during eight years travel amongst forty-eight of the wildest and most remote tribes of savages of North America. London : [1844].
-  Published in: Many nations: A Library of Congress resource guide for the study of Indian and Alaska native peoples of the United States / edited by Patrick Frazier and the Publishing Office. Washington : Library of Congress, 1996, p. 64.
Repository: Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id: cph 3g04810 //

Wi-Jun-Jon - The Pigeon's Egg Head Going to Washington : Returning to his home / / Catlin del.

Teaching Notes

A chief in regalia enters a capitol city, and exits having adopted a new mode of dress. Students think about how clothing is a function of place, a status signal, etc. Students discuss why a leader would remove and trade their traditional regalia for a foreign mode of dress. 

Students connect this pattern to other examples of one society's impact on other cultures.

Reference note

Summary: Two views of Wi-jun-jon, first, on his way to Washington wearing traditional Native American dress and carrying a calumet, then, on his return to his village wearing a uniform with top hat and carrying a fan and an umbrella.
Contributor Names: Currier & Ives.
Catlin, George, 1796-1872, artist
Created / Published: New York : Pubd. by Currier & Ives, [between 1837 and 1839]
Subject Headings: -  Wi-jun-jon
-  Indians of North America--Clothing & dress--1830-1840
-  Assiniboine Indians--Clothing & dress--1830-1840
Notes: -  Conningham no. 5584A.
-  Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 7204
-  Published in: Many nations: A Library of Congress resource guide for the study of Indian and Alaska native peoples of the United States / edited by Patrick Frazier and the Publishing Office. Washington : Library of Congress, 1996, p. 172.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id: pga 05077 //
cph 3b51187 //