Native Americans and Christianity

In keywords essay written by Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, she attempts to deconstruct the meaning of the word “Girlhood”, which she interprets as having a meaning open to a variety of interpretations. To this effect, she mentions a variety of ways in which people have interpreted girlhood and includes parameters such as age, gender, sexuality and development. She even goes on to mention that in the late twentieth century, authors such as Nancy Garden and Francesca Lia Block began to explore lesbianism and polymorphous sexuality.

Furthermore, the book, “The Choctaw Girl”, presents a variety of themes to the reader such the Indian removal as well as the presence of Christianity in Native American settlements. But what stands out in the story, is the selfless devotion of the girl Tewah-hokay to Jesus Christ. Tewah-hokay is a girl with a disability and cannot speak English and so she spends her time developing her devotion to Jesus Christ. Thus, her form of girlhood was very different from the version of girlhood described in Jacqueline-Reid Walsh’s keywords essay. While most other girls of her age might be going to school and spending time doing household chores, she sought out her education in the form of devotion to Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, in the article titled “American Indians balance native customs with Christianity”, we can see how Native Americans in the 21st century are developing mixed feelings about devotion to Jesus Christ and Christianity. While many American Indians consider themselves to be staunch Christians, many are also rejecting Christianity due to its association with the destruction of their own culture. On the other hand, some American Indians are accepting both, Christianity and their own Native American customs.

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4 thoughts on “Native Americans and Christianity”

  1. I think it is very interesting how you brought in the aspect of Christianity because of how prominent the religion was during that period of time. Tewah-hokay had a much different experience growing up as a girl than others that we have studied. It is important to note how most girls spent their time doing basic chores around the house, playing with dolls, and going to school while Tewah-hokay focused on her devotion to Jesus Christ. Since there is such a large generalization of girlhood, Tewah-hokay helps readers understand that it is okay to be different and to have other interests

  2. This is an intriguing thing to look at. As stated in class, “The Choctaw Girl” appears to be written for possibly younger white children in a Sunday school class. Tewah-hokay is portrayed as a role model because she never complains and instead chooses to love Jesus despite her hardships. Complaining is a prevalent occurrence when it comes to young children. I think we should consider how the writer portrays Tewah-hokay and how he wants young white girls to behave based on her. Does the writer view this as a chance to tell little girls they should be spending more time praying and following Jesus instead of running around and playing?

  3. I found your comparison between Jacqueline Reid-Walsh’s keyword “Girlhood” and the way in which girlhood is presented in “The Choctaw Girl” to be very interesting. I never really thought about these forms of girlhood being different, but seeing this post got me thinking. I like how you compared the keyword of “girlhood” the contrasting idea of Tewah-hokay practicing Christianity and devotion to Jesus Christ as her girlhood. I also like your use of the 21st century article, I thought it was very interesting and a good touch.

  4. Tewah-hokay did have a different girlhood experience compared to those around her, although it seems this was the case due to her permanent injury and illness. I actually interpreted her devotion to be an intentional demonstration by the publisher of the kinds of morals and Christian values young girls were expected to uphold at the time. The article you cited from was interesting in terms of explaining how American Indians may unsurprisingly associate Christianity with the deconstruction of their culture. This is surely a more realistic example of many Native Americans’ understandable relationship with Christian beliefs and teachings compared to The Choctaw Girl.

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