I joined the Native American Literature class by an indirect route. I had originally registered for the "Black Culture in America" course because it was the only available "ethnic diversity" class that would fit my schedule. When I tried to read the textbook, I started to worry. The tone of the text was so defensive, so negative. Basic concepts were over-explained in order for them to be used in a new way. Terminology was borrowed from other ethnic groups without even a mention of their origin. Statements were made, hinting of the existence of supporting data, but no supporting data was offered. I couldn't read more than a paragraph without having to walk away. I was in trouble.
In desperation, I went to the university registration site to search for any alternative class that I might have missed in my previous search. Amazingly, one seat was available in the Native American Literature class.
It sounded interesting. It fit my schedule. I didn't know if my educational sponsors would approve of a change to my schedule, but decided I would rather ask forgiveness than permission. I grabbed the last seat.
The next day I scrambled to exchange my books and charged to my new class. I would certainly be doing more reading and writing in this class. That night, still uncertain if I had made the right choice, I opened the first book of our required reading. It was Joseph Bruchac's "Our Stories Remembered." As I read the introduction, tears came to my eyes. Overwhelming humanity and compassion were somehow conveyed in a story that spanned less than two pages. I knew that I was in the right place.
In the first week, I finished the book and took part in some classroom discussions. I had originally assumed that native Americans...