I have to write a critical thinking essay using this aboriginal quote: Scout's Song (Cheyenne) "take courage; Do not be frightened; Follow where you see me riding my white horse" This essay...

I have to write a critical thinking essay using this aboriginal quote:

Scout's Song (Cheyenne)

"take courage;

Do not be frightened;

Follow where you see me riding my white horse"

This essay will be going into a Native American role model scrapbook for marking. I am very lost on how to make an essay out of a single quote like this.

Asked on by kam

1 Answer

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that there are different paths to pursue with this assignment.  You will have to compose it yourself, but a starting point might be to take the quote, analyze it, in terms of giving meaning and context behind it, and then connecting it to different aspects of the Cheyenne Tribe's history.  In this, you would be able to connect the essay about the Cheyenne around this particular quote.

If you were to follow this, I would suggest that a part of the essay be focused on how the Cheyenne narrative involved much in way of movement.  The Cheyenne Tribe's history in America was predicated upon movement around the country.  The Cheyenne did not call one particular area of the nation home. Rather, they moved around quite a bit.  From the Great Lakes, to migrating to the Northeast, and then moving West, and finally being forced to live on Reservations, the song can serve as a rallying cry to a group of people who have not experienced a sense of solidity in terms of location.  The need to "take courage" is evident in having to endure such trying moves.  The reality to "not be frightened" as well as ensuring that the tribe "follow" the guidance of a "white horse" or leader is a critical aspect of the Cheyenne narrative.  In using the past history of movement amongst the Cheyenne people, an essay can be constructed out of the applicability of  Scout's Song.

Another similar path would lie in the interactions that the Cheyenne had with White Government.  Conflict with White Settlers in Colorado and resulting in the Sand Creek Massacre as well as Cheyenne participation in The Battle at Little Bighorn caused many moments where Scout's Song is quite relevant. At the same time, the army's attempt to control and suppress the Cheyenne following the Battle of Little Bighorn reflects more applicability of Scout's Song. The song can articulate how struggle and pain is an intrinsic part of the Cheyenne narrative.  The song is about the need to maintain collective identity and trust in something larger during wars and times of challenge.  Episodes from the Cheyenne history where these moments have been evident can prove to be another domain where the song can reflect the Cheyenne experience.

In the construction of a scrapbook, it is essential to find aspects of the cultural experience that have a wider meaning.  These objects that are able to highlight the patterns of existence in a particular person or group of people are critical to enhancing the meaning of the scrapbook, which becomes a collection of the artifacts. Scout's Song can serve as one such artifact as its words speak to the condition of the Cheyenne people and reflect the historical development behind the culture.  Being able to generate a paper in which the song's lyrics can be linked to the Cheyenne experience might be one approach to take with this task.