November is National Native American Heritage Month and in this What We’re Reading we bring you three sites with information on events, activities, lesson plans, and resources on various topics pertaining to Native Americans. From the National Coalition for History read up on all the budget updates, new commissions, and nomination progress happening in Washington. Two articles focus on assessments and suggestions: the first on PhD programs, and the second on natural-history museums. Finally, learn more about photographer Roy DeCarava, look back at Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation: A Personal View, consider hiking the Ridgeway National Trail.
Native American Heritage Month
- EDSITEment celebrates Native American Heritage Month
EDSITEment is recognizing Native American Heritage month this November, by highlighting the PBS series We Shall Remain. Also new on their site this month: origins of “City on a Hill,” “Homer’s Civil War Veteran” in honor of Veteran’s Day, and over 30 lesson plans on American Literature in the 19th century.
- American Indian Heritage Month at the Smithsonian
The Smithsonian is hosting a number of events in D.C. in this November in honor of American Indian Heritage Month. See the complete calendar here. Also check out the National Museum of the American Indian’s press release (PDF) on their feature event weekend: “’From Deer to Dance’ is a weekend of music, dance and hands-on craft activities that will be held Saturday, Nov. 14, and Sunday, Nov. 15, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.” Educators may also want to check out the Smithsonian’s teaching resources for American Indian Heritage Month.
- Native American Heritage Month
And finally, visit nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/, a collaboration of the Library of Congress, NEH, National Gallery of Art, NPS, Smithsonian, Holocaust museum, and NARA, for assorted events, information, images, audio and video, and more.
- News from the National Coalition for History
In recent news from National Coalition for History, Congress Passes Second Continuing Resolution, budget updates (NEH, NPS, Smithsonian, and the Library of Congress), a Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission Bill has been introduced, new Founding Fathers Documents are now available online, and a Senate Panel Clears Ferriero Nomination to be Archivist of the United States.
Assessments and Suggestions
- The PhD Problem
Louis Menand offers a sobering assessment of the self-replicating nature of many PhD programs in the humanities, and asks whether we have been looking to the wrong solution to the imbalance between academic jobs and PhDs. He observes that “Possibly the story has a different moral, which is that there should be a lot more PhDs, and they should be much easier to get.”
- Preserving the Future of Natural-History Museums
William Pannapacker (under the pen name Thomas H. Benton), an associate professor of English at Hope College, “humbly submit[s]” a list of suggestions to natural-history museums. The first recommendation being, “Do not sacrifice the history of your museum for the sake of being up-to-date everywhere you look.”
- DeCarava’s Photos Improvised The Music Of Life
Roy DeCarava, the first black photographer to win a Guggenheim, had an eye for capturing life in Harlem, “a mix of quiet, ordinary moments, everyday struggles, tiny triumphs.”
- Forty Years of ‘Civilisation’
In our culture of 30-minute sitcoms devoid of much meaning (if any at all), the thought of watching a thirteen-part TV series seems inconceivable. In 1970, however, Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation: A Personal View was a hit, as he journeyed through thousands of years of cultural history. Although Clark died in 1983, his words still ring true today: "It’s worth trying . . . to make people realize how fragile civilisation is and how easily it might slip from our grasp."
- Hiking History: England’s Ancient Ridgeway Trail
The Ridgeway National Trail in southern England “takes you past some of the best Neolithic monuments on earth, and through ancient landscapes.”
Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend