Definition and Purpose of Marriage

Quote

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The following quotes all occur within a few pages (or paragraphs) of each other.

Quote 1:

The territorial, state, and federal governments of the United States were built upon a particular vision of civic responsibility—that men, as heads of households, entered civic life on behalf of their dependents: wives, children, servants, and slaves. The political system of the United States was predicated upon this vision, overwhelmingly reserving suffrage, jury service, elected office, membership before the bar, and judicial appointments to white male heads of household and limiting the legal rights of all others by their degree of separation from that ideal.

Quote 2:

These ideas clashed forcibly with the conceptions of kinship and social order that existed among the Upper Midwest’s long-established Dakota, Ojibwe, and mixed-heritage communities.

Quote 3:

Marriages of all kinds, and the households that marriages created, were inextricably bound up with questions of nation and identity for the Dakota, the Ojibwe, mixed-heritage individuals, and Americans alike.

Making Marriage: Husbands, Wives, and the American State in Dakota and Ojibwe Country by Catherine J. Denial

Article about this book: There’s never been ‘traditional marriage’ in Minnesota, says author Catherine Denial, Minn Post, Amy Goetzman | 09/27/13

Johnny Is Hungry

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I am not a teacher or an expert in Native American culture (or language or history or…), but when I read this book it occurred to me that this might be a particularly useful story for Native American Heritage Month. The reason is that the story is about an Ojibwe boy who arrives at a community event feeling very hungry. Ojibwe traditions require allowing the elders to eat first, so Johnny (who loves to eat), must learn to sit patiently and wait his turn.

It’s a very simple story about a cultural tradition that kids can readily understand. It’s also the kind of thing that exists in many cultures, in one form or another, so it’s an easy thing to talk about.

Again, I’m not an expert, and I most certainly could be wrong about all of this, but those are my thoughts. Take them for what you will.

Quote:

“He looked at all the people still waiting to eat and started to count them. “One, two, three…” Grandma tapped Johnny’s knee. “It’s Time to eat.””

Hungry Johnny, written by Cheryl Minnema and illustrated by Wesley Ballinger