Reading for Ethnoautobiography

The goal of the class is transformation--of heart, spirit, mind, and practice. Obviously, in eight weeks, all we can do is attempt to kindle desire, plant seed, and hope that the process begun may continue as a life journey (as it has, and continues to be, for us). For our next Session (Session 4), we hope to devote the first half of the class soliciting you for reflections, questions, and pertinent quotes that provoked you from the chapters you've read to the date and get us to some of the meat of what the EA process is about. So please come prepared to share and/or ask questions. And please try your best to arrive on time. For the second half of the class, we will plan on doing breakout groups of about 4 people to a group for the two activities (20 min. total, 4-5 minutes each), then 20-25 for plenary sharing. So here's our tentative plan: 45 min.--Class discussion of EA chapters to date 20 min.--Breakout Groups (for the two Activities) 25 min.--Plenary Sharing Here are slightly revised instructions for the two assigned activities:

Session 4: Grounding Ourselves in Place  

Assigned Readings: 1. Ch. 7, Where am I? Ethnoautobiography as Gateway to Place, pp. 195-219. 2. Ch. 8, Connecting Nature, Self and History, pp. 221-235. 3. Ch. 9, History—Memory and Imagination, pp. 237-252.

Activities: 1. Researching the Native History under Your Feet (2-3 minute oral presentation) · Read EA Chapter 7/EA as Gateway to Place. Note any thoughts or ideas that resonated with you.  · Google “Native history of Wayne or Macomb or Oakland County, or just Southeast Michigan (depending on where you live)” and click on a few of the links to see what they say about the subject. · Record your observations including what you found interesting about the information supplied by the particular website. Include in your report a selected quote from any of the assigned chapters.

    2.  Go to a Place in Nature

· Read EA Ch. 8/Connecting Nature, Self, History, pp. 221-235. Note any thought, quote, or idea that resonated with you. · Pick a place that feels comfortable to you but one that is not too familiar (e.g., don’t choose your backyard (or, for that matter, your frontyard!!! You may go to places close to an urban area or something remote. It doesn't matter. You can even choose a natural place within a city. · Spend at least 30 minutes being in the place. Find a place where you can comfortably hang out, quiet yourself, and sit. If it would feel safer to you to have somebody nearby, take a friend or partner. In this case, once you have selected your spot, make an agreement not to talk to each other for at least 30 minutes and not to intrude upon each other's space. Turn off all electronic devices. · As you sit, develop a sense of the place. See who all is there - trees? flowers? birds? butterflies? humans? What are the smells? What are the sounds? Do your best to immerse yourself. · Once you have a little bit of a sense of immersion or sinking into the place, imagine yourself backward through time. What was this place like 10 years ago? 20? 50? 100 years ago? 500 years ago? See if you can transport yourself back through time. · Using your imagination, perform an ethno-accounting: what was gained and what was lost by the changes made on the landscape? Who did the changes benefit most? What were the losses? For whom? For your Oral Presentation: · Describe your experience of projecting yourself back through time and what you learned using the ethnoautobiographical insights we’ve been covering so far and, particularly, those in the assigned chapter. · Share what you understand by the term “ethno-accounting.” What is its importance in the way you might walk differently (or move through places) in the world?

Note: We find that writing out your sharing allows for more critical reflection and beautiful (less casual) story-sharing, that is, until eloquence seeps naturally into our everyday oral communication the way our ancient ancestors naturally were used to.    Looking forward to seeing you all this Thursday!

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