Liberty, Equality, Power: a history of the American People 5/e



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Questions to consider:
1. What cultural differences obstructed mutual understanding between whites and Indians? Were these differences insurmountable? Might the whites' goal of assimilation have been accomplished more quickly and peaceably if they had accepted the retention of some Indian customs?

2. Based on Zitkla-Sa's excerpt, was Pratt's advice to "kill the Indian, and save the man" any less violent than the earlier practice of killing "Indian" and "man" alike? How traumatic was the experience of losing one's native culture? Did the means by which whites stripped Indian children of their culture aggravate the emotional violence of the process?

3. What does Captain Richard Pratt mean by “kill the Indian … and save the man”?
4. How does he justify the Americanization program at Carlisle, and why might some whites at the time consider his reasoning to be “enlightened”?
5. What effect do efforts at Americanization, in particular hair-cutting, have on Zitkala-Sa?
6. In your view, who is more “civilized,” Pratt or Zitkala-Sa?

Primary Source-Americanizing the Indian


1. What cultural differences obstructed mutual understanding between whites and Indians? Were these differences insurmountable? Might the whites' goal of assimilation have been accomplished more quickly and peaceably if they had accepted the retention of some Indian customs?

Your answer should include the following:


tribalism versus nationalism
• individualism versus communalism
• significance of seemingly superficial attributes such as clothing and hair
centrality of family
• cultural chauvinism--insistence on assimilation

2. Based on Zitkla-Sa's excerpt, was Pratt's advice to "kill the Indian, and save the man" any less violent than the earlier practice of killing "Indian" and "man" alike? How traumatic was the experience of losing one's native culture? Did the means by which whites stripped Indian children of their culture aggravate the emotional violence of the process?

Your answer should include the following:
reality of massacres
• trauma of cultural assimilaition
• loss of identity
• physical changes to Indian bodies accomplished through force (haircutting against Zitkla-Sa's will)
• disruption of Indian practices and communities
• rewards for successful assimilation--individual autonomy, property

U.S. History

Mr. Detjen

Source Analysis





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