Native Humor Lesson Plan

 

  1. Next, watch the humor sections of A Seat at the Drum. If you have a video projector, play students the videos from this web page. Students will take notes on their initial reactions. How did it make them feel? Did they consider the jokes to be funny or demeaning? Have a five-minute class discussion about their reactions. Now, have students present a few authentic Native jokes to the class that they found during their research. Read an example of satirical Native humor such as Rayna Green's "The Museum of the Plains White Person." Discuss how authors and storytellers use satire to make social and cultural commentary.
  1. Have a 15-minute class discussion about the literature. Here are some questions to get students thinking about satirical humor:
    • In the Rayna Green "proposal," who is the dominant culture?
    • How do we know that these people control the "system?" Give specific answers from the literature.
    • What is the significance of the bone collection?
    • Why would they be worried about the "surviving white people?"
  2. Next, discuss a local museum that most students have visited before. Or better yet, take a field trip to a local museum. It is important to point out how a museum displays their "artifacts" or "museum shows." Students will take notes on their observations of a museum. NOTE: If your students do not have access to a museum, adapt this activity by visiting an appropriate online, virtual museum from the International Council of Museums’ Virtual Library Museums Pages at http://icom.museum/vlmp/.
  1. Next discuss how museum guides tell us about the museum displays.
    • Do museum officials use present tense language when they talk about their displays, or past tense language? 
    • How are the museum displays set up? Do the background pictures look current or dated?
    • How do museums display people?
    • How do museums display cultures? Modern or dated?
    • What is the definition of "museum"?
    • Are Native people still living today?

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