Native American Indians-Cherokee

American Identities

This project requires you to collect data through a search of the internet, on-line anthropological journals, or edited volumes in the library dealing with a specific indigenous or immigrant American people, their history, and cultural identity. You will need to provide an ethnographic and historical overview about 1 page in length and then hone in on a more focused topic to reach your own understanding of the group’s history and identity.

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In your essay, you will need to make use of at least six (6) of the following fifteen (15) concepts which are defined in the essays by Jonathan Hill, “Introduction: Understanding American Cultural Diversity” (pp. 1-27 of textbook) and Janet Fuller, “Linguistic Diversity in America” (pp. 28-35).

 assimilation

 acculturation

 forced assimilation

 cultural diversity

 multicultural society

 multiculturalism (difference vs. critical)

 community of memory

 code switching

 social identity

 ethnohistory

 ethnogenesis

 transnationalism

 diaspora

 ethnocentrism

 cultural relativism

Specific instructions for first project: You are free to choose any existing indigenous or immigrant American group living in any part of the US so long as this group is substantially different in terms of ethnic, racial, or geographic heritage from your own family’s history and social identity. Please limit the group you choose geographically if the group is a large one (e.g., German Americans in a southern Illinois town or Mexican Americans in a specific neighborhood in Los Angeles). Also, do not confuse a religious group with an ethnic group; although there is overlap, the focus here is on ethnicity. Some suggested groups are given below and you can discuss your topical choice with your TA during next week’s discussion section.

Your choice of topic should also take into account the availability of relevant anthropological or other social scientific publications. The paper will need to provide a short (approximately 1-page) ethnographic and historical overview of who they are, including language(s) spoken, linguistic classification (if known), population history, major historical events, economic activities, and religion(s). After this concise overview, zero in on a particular topic (e.g., food, language, political organization, or religion) that is especially interesting to you and important for this group’s sense of identity.

The paper should be approximately 3-5 pages long.

Required bibliographic research:

–Three (3) or more peer-reviewed, anthropological or other social scientific sources (Use search engine on AnthroSource; JSTOR; EBSCO; or Ill-Cat)

–Three (3) or more reputable sources from popular media (newspapers, websites, etc.)


Examples of groups to study: Navajo (southwest) Chinese Americans in California Hopi (southwest) Puerto Ricans in New York Melungeon (southeast) Italian Americans in Philadelphia Lumbee (North Carolina) Inuit in Alaska Cherokee (e.g., in Oklahoma) Native Hawaiians Lakota (N and S Dakota) Indians (i.e., from India) in Los Angeles Cuban Americans in Miami German Americans in Wisconsin Mexican Americans in Chicago Gullah (coastal South Carolina)

Please consult the instructor of your discussion section about your selection of a group to study, and let him/her know of your choice by the second week of the semester.

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