This is my last post for my American Indian Studies 101 blog. It has been quite a journey in this class; I’ve come a long way in terms of understanding a culture. Our first assignment for the class was to write a paper on why we wanted to take American Indian Studies. When I take a glance at it now, I start to laugh. I would imagine that our papers game our professor quite a laugh too. I guess I imagined the class being a history of the American Indians including going over some of the most (in)famous events more closely from the perspective of someone who has lived the culture. My thoughts were that American Indians were a race and subculture of the past. Obviously I knew some were still around mainly by the stereotypes and controversies, but I thought they were just a stagnant race relegated to the history books. I was pretty naive.
But, you can’t put me at fault for that. I am a product of a public school education and the textbooks we use like to refer to American Indians as a thing of the past. We learned things like the Europeans coming to America, Thanksgiving, Trail of Tears, but that was the extent of my knowledge. So, this class has done a good job enlightening me.
We learned a lot about the last one hundred years up until now and our readings did a good job providing in-depth information and perspective. While some of the readings may have been excruciating, there were others that were actually very interesting. Also, over the course of this class because of the blog, I’ve been introduced to many prominent members of American Indian culture: Hockey players Jordin Tootoo and Carey Price, College basketball player, Shoni Schimmel and Tahnee Robinson (now in the WNBA), baseball players Joba Chamberlain and Jacoby Ellsbury. I wrote about Dennis Banks and another polarizing figure, Sherman Alexie. But, I think my favorite and most reverant is Billy Mills. Every time I watch that video and hear “Look at Mills, Look at Mills”! I get goosebumps. Being a runner, seeing moments like that is just inspirational and motivational.
So am I glad I took this class? Yes, actually I am. It’s been fun. I enjoyed the discussion in our class and the people in it and especially cheering on our professor, Matt Sakiestewa Gilbert, in his 5k run. Like I said, the last four months have been a journey and I’ve enjoyed almost every step of it.