Thomas S. Whitecloud (Chippewa) (1914-1972)

    Contributing Editor:
    Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr.

    Classroom Issues and Strategies

    Present "Blue Winds Dancing" as you would any well-written essay.

    The social implication of being Indian in an Anglo-dominated society gets lost for students in the larger issue of simply feeling "at odds" as a result of "gaps"--social, political, generational, etc.

    Major Themes, Historical Perspectives, and Personal Issues

    1. Self-identify, self-realization

    2. Individual caught between two cultures, one not fully lost and the other not fully gained

    3. Culture loss and acculturation

    Significant Form, Style, or Artistic Conventions

    Stress the essay structure (this one is neatly divided; how do the three parts interlock, structurally and thematically?).

    Stress the use of rich visual imagery. Which seem to be drawn from Indian heritage, which not? Is there any difference in the effects of each?

    Original Audience

    It fits into the context of the whole scene of social disruption in the Great Depression, heightened in this case by the sense of being kicked loose, out of touch with two cultures.

    For contemporary readers, it speaks to the large themes of searching out roots and self-realization.

    Comparisons, Contrasts, Connections

    For earlier generations of Indian writers who deal with the theme of being caught between cultures, see Copway and Apess, Eastman and Bonnin. For later writers, see Welch and Erdrich.