Forming an American Identity: The Voice of Minorities


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covers Native Americans, the Oneida tribesman of the Iroquois Nation, Phyllis Wheatley, and Olaudah Equiano

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Forming an American Identity: The Voice of Minorities

  1. 1. Forming an American Identity The Voice of Minorities
  2. 2. DO NOT TAKEA. Pre-European culture in America 1. Native Culture a. common practice of oral literatureb. variety of languages and social organization (hunter-gatherer, nomadic,farming, etc)c. relied on chants, songs, spoken narrative (not written down until later)d. represent imaginative and emotional responses 2. Interaction between Natives and European explorersa. early trading near harbors and riversb. exchange of goods/servicesi. Indians gave survival skills, canoe making, shelters, clothing ii. Europeans gave firearms, textiles, steel toolsc. Europeans expose Natives to diseasesi. smallpox, measles, typhus, etc ii. no immunity decimated Native populations iii. survivors pushed off land, began series of attacks and conflicts
  3. 3. Native American LiteratureNative American Literature: The Art of Oral Tradition
  4. 4. Role in the Revolution: The Oneida Indians Address Governor TurnbullIn this address to Jonathan Trumbull, the Governor of the Colony of Connecticut who sided with the Revolutionary cause, the chief of the Oneida Indians declares his tribes intention to remain neutral in the impending conflict. The Oneidas express their dismay at the prospect of war between the "two brothers of one blood," and request that the colonial authorities decline to involve neighboring tribes in their dispute with the British, citing Indian unity: "Let us Indians be all of one mind" The reality turned out quite differently, with Native Americans fighting on both sides of the conflict in divisive and shifting allegiances.
  5. 5. The Oneida ("the People of theUpright Stone, or standingstone") are a NativeAmerican/First Nations people;they are one of the fivefounding nations of the IroquoisConfederacy in the area ofupstate New York. The Iroquoiscall themselves "The people ofthe longhouses" in reference totheir communal lifestyle andthe construction of theirdwellings.This portrait is comprised ofseveral important leaders andfigures in Oneida history.
  6. 6. "As my younger brothers of the New-England Indians, who have settled in our vicinity, are now going down to visit their friends, and to move up parts of their families that were left behind—with this belt by them, I open the road wide, clearing it of all obstacles, that they may visit their friends and return to their settlements here in peace."Now we more immediately address you, our brother, the governor, and the chiefs of New-England."BROTHERS-We have heard of the unhappy differences and great contention between you and Old England. We wonder greatly, and are troubled in our minds."BROTHERS-Possess your minds in peace respecting us Indians. We cannot intermeddle in this dispute between two brothers. The quarrel seems to be unnatural. You are two brothers of one blood. We are unwilling to join on either side in such a contest, for we bear an equal affection to both you Old and New England. Should the great King of England apply to us for aid, we shall deny him; if the colonies apply, we shall refuse. The present situation of you two brothers is new and strange to us. We Indians cannot find, nor recollect in the traditions of our ancestors, the like case, or a similar instance."BROTHERS-For these reasons possess your minds in peace, and take no umbrage that we Indians refuse joining in the contest. We are for peace."BROTHERS-As we have declared for peace, we desire you will not apply to our Indian brethren in New-England for their assistance. Let us Indians be all of one mind, and live with one another; and you white people settle your own disputes between yourselves."
  7. 7. Questions for Class Discussion1. Who are the "brothers" described in the speech?2. How do the Oneida view the American Revolution?3. What do the Oneida mean when they state "Let the Indians be all of one mind, and live with one another; and you white people settle your own disputes among yourselves"?
  8. 8. DO NOT TAKEB. First African American Writers 1. Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) a. Backgroundi. born in West Africa, kidnapped at age 8 ii. arrived in Boston on slave ship in 1761 iii. purchased by Wheatley family as a companion for wife Susannah iv. provided with excellent educationv. given freedom in 1773, but chose to remain with the Wheatley’s vi. married freeman John Peters vii. hard free life, poor, forgotten, unpublished until after her deathb. Writingsi. published first poem at age 13 ii. Susannah arranged publication of a volume ofpoetry in London,1773 iii. read widely in England, France, and American colonies iv. imitate the style of her contemporaries: Latin-style vocabulary, inversions, elevated dictionv. influenced by English poets John Dryden, Alexander Pope, Shakespeare vi. considered first African American poet
  9. 9. Phillis Wheatley, 1753-1784illustrated by Scipio Moorhead in the Frontispiece toher book Poems on Various Subjects
  10. 10. Phillis Wheatley “On Being Brought from Africa to America”Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,Taught my benighted soul to understandThat theres a God, that theres a Saviour too:Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.Some view our sable race with scornful eye,"Their colour is a diabolic die.”Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,May be refind, and join th angelic train.
  11. 11. DO NOT TAKE2. OlaudahEquiano (1745-1797) a. Backgroundi. member of Ibo tribe in West Africa ii. kidnapped at age 11 by African raiders iii. forced onto slaveship to Barbados iv. bought by British military officer, trained as sailor during Seven Years Warv. later bought by Quaker merchant in Philadelphia vi. earned money, bought freedom in 1766b. As a Freemani. worked as a sailor on explorations of the Arctic and central America ii. settled in England as a free servant, musician, barber iii. became active in antislavery movement iv. married Englishwoman Susanna Cullenc. Writingsi. active in antislavery issues ii. autobiography published in 1789 iii. considered first great black autobiography iv. influential with northern abolitionists through the Civil War
  12. 12. OlaudahEquiano (1745-17970)painting entitled “An Unknown Sitter”
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