Wendy Rose (Hopi)
Contributing Editor: C. B. Clark
Classroom Issues and Strategies
Background knowledge about Indian culture and history will help students
pick up on comments about imperialism, removals, atrocities, resentments,
Major Themes, Historical Perspectives, and Personal Issues
Themes are colonialism, imperialism, dependency, nostalgia for the old
ways, reverence for grandparents, resentment for conditions of the present,
plight of reservation and urban Indians, sense of hopelessness, the power
of the trickster, feminism as synonymous with heritage, deadly compromise,
symbolism of all that has been lost (such as land), tension between the
desire to retrieve the past and the inevitability of change, arrogance
of white people, problems of half-breeds (or mixed-bloods).
Significant Form, Style, or Artistic Conventions
Rose uses free verse. She is aware of classical European form but chooses
not to use it. In addition, she is less an oral poet using chants and more
of a lyric poet. She is not in any school, except American Indian.
I ask this question: Is there an audience outside American Indians?
A second audience, of course, would be the students in class. A third audience
would be the general reader.
Questions for Reading and Discussion/Approaches to Writing
1. What are major themes of Hopi religion? Who are the Hopi? Where do
they live? Why do they live atop mesas? Where do the Hopi claim to come
from? What contemporary problems do they face? Who are some Hopi leaders
today? How do the Hopi view the world?
2. Hand out a reading list on the Hopi, containing ethnographic, historical,
and contemporary works. Hand out a theme list, containing topics like manifest
destiny or acculturation. Hand out a subject list, with subjects like alcoholism,
jails, and kachinas. Then, ask students to write an essay using Rose's
works in reference to any of these topics.
No single biographical or critical work exists on Rose. Information
must be gleaned from critical pieces, collections, and book reviews. Additionally,
information can come from autobiographical statements preceding selections
printed in anthologies of American Indian works.
Rose is included in Joseph Bruchac's Survival This Way, Swann
and Krupat's I Tell You Now, Andrew Wiget's Native American Literature,
and in Winged Words: American Indian Writers Speak, edited
by Laura Coltelli.
Wilson, David Babe. "Review of Bone Dance." American
Indian Culture and Research Journal, 18 (1994): 274-78.