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昂立教育 > 项目总揽 > SAT > 学术动态 > SAT阅读背景知识整理——Gertrude Simmons Bonnin

SAT阅读背景知识整理——Gertrude Simmons Bonnin
发布时间:2013-05-30 作者: 来源于:昂立外语网站

SAT阅读背景知识整理——Gertrude Simmons Bonnin

 

Native American writer Zitkala-Sa, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin

 

Zitkala-Ša (1876–1938) (Dakota: pronounced zitkála-ša, which translates to "Red Bird"), also known by the missionary-given name Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was a Sioux writer, editor, musician, teacher and political activist. She wrote several works chronicling her struggles in her youth as she was pulled back and forth between the influences of dominant American culture and her own Native American heritage, as well as books in English that brought traditional Native American stories to a widespread white readership for one of the first times. With William F. Hanson, Bonnin co-composed the first American Indian opera, The Sun Dance (composed in romantic style based on Ute and Sioux themes), which premiered in 1913. She founded the National Council of American Indians in 1926 to lobby for the rights of Native Americans to American citizenship, on which she served as president until her death in 1938.

Literary Life

Zitkala-Ša had a fruitful writing career that can be seen as falling into two chronologically separated periods. The first period was from 1900 to 1904 and was composed mainly of legends collected from Native American culture and autobiographical narratives. She continued to write during the following years, but she did not publish. These unpublished writings, along with others including the libretto of the Sun Dance Opera, were collected and published as Dreams and Thunder: Stories, Poems, and the Sun Dance Opera by P. Jane Hafen in 2001.

The second period was from 1916 to 1924. This period was almost exclusively made up of political writings. In this period, Zitkala-Ša moved with her husband to Washington, D.C. and published some of her most influential writings, including American Indian Stories in 1921 with the Hayworth Publishing House. She co-authored Oklahoma’s Poor Rich Indians: An Orgy of Graft and Exploitation of the Five Civilized Tribes, Legalized Robbery (1923), an influential pamphlet, with Charles H. Fabens of the American Indian Defense Association and Matthew K. Sniffen of the Indian Rights Association. She also created the Indian Welfare Committee of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, working as a researcher for it through much of the 1920s.

Her articles in the Atlantic Monthly were published from 1900 to 1902. They included, "An Indian Teacher Among Indians" published in Volume 85 in 1900. Included in the same issue were "Impressions of an Indian Childhood" and "School Days of an Indian Girl". All of these works were autobiographical in nature, describing in great detail her early experiences both on the reservation and her later conflict with dominant American culture and its assimilationist influences.

Zitkala-Sa's other articles ran in Harper's Monthly. Two appeared in the October 1901 issue, Volume 103. They were titled, "Soft Hearted Sioux" and "The Trial Path". She also wrote "A Warrior's Daughter", published in 1902 in Volume 4 of Everybody's Magazine. These works also were largely autobiographical in nature, though there were some that told the stories of those she knew or taught in addition to her own personal story.

In 1902 she published another article in Atlantic Monthly, volume 90, entitled, "Why I Am a Pagan". It was a treatise on her personal spiritual beliefs in which she countered the trend of the time towards showing Native Americans as readily conforming to the Christianity forced on them in schools and public life.

Much of her work is characterized by its liminal nature: tensions between tradition and assimilation and between literature and politics which are particularly clear in her autobiographical works. In her one of her most famous works, for example, American Indian Stories there is the obvious tension between her desire to provide a literary account of her life and to deliver a political message through the telling of the story. There is also the conflict which is the focus of the narrative itself between her desire to remain true to the traditions of the Yankton Dakota while as the same time being educated in an assimilationist manner. This tension, however, has been said to provide for much of the dynamism of her work.

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