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Vista Entry 7 - Polingaysi’s father is more open to the...

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HON 191 | Katie Sheridan | Vista Entry 7 I remember briefly learning about the white man trying to assimilate Native Americans into his culture during the early 20 th century. Reading about the experiences of a Hopi woman has really added some depth to my education in the matter. I find it quite interesting the drive within young Polingaysi to break free of tradition and learn something new. Again we see the theme of economics playing a factor in her life. She wants to live in a world where food, clothing, and shelter are not a concern; where she might be able to thrive in a way Hopi tradition cannot provide. We see her assimilation come quickly – in her desire for new clothing when she tries on her friend’s dress. Later, when it has really set in, she tries to bring house wares and Christianity to her parents. She is the Hopi version of the “oreo cookie,” assimilated to the white way. It is interesting seeing the struggle within her parents. They differ greatly from one another, though they both hold common ground with tradition.
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Unformatted text preview: Polingaysi’s father is more open to the ideas of the white man, as he is the one who says she may go to the school in California. In contrast, her mother is ashamed when Polingaysi buys her white man’s dishes and furniture. Polingaysi sees through white eyes now, it is almost as though she is prejudice against her own tribe, her heritage. Trying to assimilate her parents, she finds constant failure. It is not that they ignore her or lash back at her, but they politely do not accept any way that is not tradition. There is no turning back. Not after experiencing a better life. Not for Polingaysi, and really anyone. It is the nature of mankind to gravitate toward a better life, as defined on a personal level. And it oftentimes becomes an obsession once that better thing is found, trying to “bring the light” (in more ways than merely religion) to family members, that they may, too, know our definition of a “better life.”...
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