Topics for Further Study

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Research Native American history in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. What did Native American communities go through in the adjustment to reservation life? How did U.S. government policy towards Native Americans change, and what were the effects of these policies? How did the experience of Chippewa tribes in North Dakota fare in comparison to other tribes across the country?

Fleur and Pauline appear in a variety of Erdrich’s works, as do their relatives and descendents. Assign a group of classmates to each read a novel from Erdrich’s saga that begins with Love Medicine (1984) and continues through The Painted Dream (2005). Then, have a group discussion about what happens to these characters, how they relate to one another, and how “Fleur” is important to Erdrich’s saga as a whole.

Research the history of violence against women in the early twentieth century. How was violence against women reported and documented? What organized attempts were there to combat it? What was the status of the Women’s Rights Movement? How would you characterize male attitudes towards women during this period?

Research the history of North Dakota and the Great Plains, paying particular attention to Chippewa history. What kinds of immigrant groups came to this part of the country during the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries? Where did the Chippewa migrate, when did they do so, and how were reservation boundaries chosen? How did the disappearance of the buffalo affect life on the Great Plains? What is life like now on North Dakotan Chippewa reservations such as Turtle Mountain?

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