The activities in this module directly correspond to the information in the Thinking like a Historian section. The first activity is also built upon the “Indigenous Ethics Material” found in the Teaching Guide section. If you have not done so, please read these sections before attempting the activities.
Research Consent Activity
“Into each life, it is said, some rain must fall. Some people have bad horoscopes, others take tips on the stock market. McNamara created the TFX and the Edsel. Churches possess the real world. But Indians have been cursed above all other people in history. Indians have anthropologists.”Vine Deloria, Jr., Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988), 78.
This first activity centers around Indigenous ethics for conducting research. When engaging in research with Indigenous communities or handling Indigenous sources, researchers are expected to follow standard ethical guidelines established by Western institutions. However, the long history of colonial interference and disruption of Indigenous ways of knowing and living have caused Indigenous communities to be more hesitant of researchers, even those following the proper procedures provided by their institutions. In order for the research community to garner credibility, they need to show respect for the rights and decisions of the historically marginalized. This means abiding by the procedures set, not by Western standards, but by the community receiving the researcher. One potential situation researcher(s) might encounter is the requirement to file additional paperwork to get permission or consent to conduct their research. The online Native American community on Reddit.com known as /r/IndianCountry has implemented such a requirement. This activity allows you to get a feel for what this additional scrutiny might be like.
Instructions: Complete the Research Consent Form below. In order to move onto the next activity, you must receive all possible points. You should read the items under the “Indigenous Ethics Material” located on the Teaching Resources page before initiating this activity. Once you have completed the Google Form, either download and fill out electronically or print and fill out the Part A Worksheet listed here:
(Note to faculty: The embedded form is for test and display purposes only. You will want to recreate this form in your medium for this activity if you wish to retain the results.)
Practicing Historical Thinking with Indigenous Primary Sources Activity
Once you have received permission to study the Indigenous primary sources, you will use another worksheet to conduct an analysis of the sources. This worksheet corresponds to the historical thinking process covered in the Thinking like a Historian section.
Instructions: Either download and fill out electronically or print and fill out the Part B Worksheet listed below. You will listen to both creation stories as you will compare and contrast them in the first part of the Worksheet Part B.
Indigenous methods of research are typically qualitative in nature. The Elders of Indigenous communities are primarily responsible for transmitting knowledge and preserving traditional culture. To this day, the cultural knowledge of many Indigenous Peoples is still transmitted via the Oral Tradition and oral history. “Oral Tradition” refers to the stories, legends, and beliefs delivered through spoken word as opposed to written documents. “Oral history” refers to information and knowledge, delivered by oral traditions, collected through interviews and recorded with a recording device and/or transcribed into writing.
This activity is utilizing creation stories from the Nez Perce and Yakama Peoples of the Plateau Region. The Nez Perce and Yakama Peoples live in close proximity to each other and share some cultural customs. The stories provided here are similar in nature and are in essence the same story, but with significant differences between them. Two audio files are listed here where the creation stories are read allowed. As these stories would traditionally be transmitted orally, this medium of communicating the information helps to instill the respect necessary for Indigenous methodologies and ways of knowing.
Instructions: Listen to both of these creation stories. Pick one to analyze with the Worksheet Part B. Listen to the creation story. The goal is to interpret this source as a piece of historical evidence rather than purely analyzing its literary value. Use the Worksheet Part B to see what steps of the historical thinking process you should be observing from the source. Pay careful attention to the description of the landscape, the actors mentioned in the story, and what this could mean to the people the story comes from. This may require additional research outside of the primary source. After the analysis, you will answer some interpretative questions about the source.NP_Legend_PDF
“Coyote and the Monster of Kamiah,” Nu Mee Poom Tit Wah Tit – Nez Perce Legends, written source.Yakama_Legend_PDF
“Spilyay and the Monster,” The Way It Was (Anaku Iwacha – Yakima Indian Legends), written source.