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Word Count: 999
Assimilating America The United States has been called the melting pot of the world Throughout the last couple centuries this nation has incorporated many different cultures and people When reading history one is given information about time periods and past events This often leaves the reader with a cold factual account of the time However it often does not make the reader think about the people who lived during those times Gertrude Bonnins The School Days of an Indian Girl and Lorraine Hansberrys A Raisin in the Sun both illustrate various aspects of assimilation in Americas past and present In The School Days of an Indian Girl Bonnin gives first-hand accounts of the methods used to assimilate Native Americans into the white American culture In the beginning missionaries visit a mothers home with a proposal They offer a young girl an education at a school out east The missionaries lure the girl with the promise of big red apples The apples can be seen as a symbol for the American dream a promise or hope that can be realized by attending their school When she got to the school Bonnin faced a system created for the sole purpose of destroying who she was Within the first few days the faculty forcibly cut her hair The cutting of the hair is very symbolic To the Sioux people long hair is a highly valued trait Her hair signified to her that she was still Sioux The unyielding manner in which her hair was removed symbolizes the process through which the school removed her heritage and identity According to Jeremy Tucker The process to that end came in a two-fold assault strip away all outward signs of tribal identity and classroom instruction of the civilizing values Tucker The school operated to this effect After the hair was removed the children were taught these civilizing values from sources such as the Bible Ron Daniels calls this process cultural aggression
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