Early American History Assignment due tonight in 2 hours!


Name: ______________________________

The Historian’s Portfolio #1

Skills: Close Reading, Citation, and Content

Two Sisters and Acoma Origins (Dubois, p.8)

Read this source out loud (or have someone read it to you) and stop any time something seems interesting or confusing. Every time you stop, write something down. Underline, circle, make notes, add questions – anything that will help you to better understand the source when you want to come back and use it again. This is called annotation and you should plan to annotate every source you read for our class.

According to the Acoma Pueblo Indians’ origin story, the first women in the world were two sisters, born underneath the ground and sent above by Tsichtinako (Thought Woman). She first taught them to plant corn, tend and harvest it, grind it for food, and use fire to cook it. What follows is an excerpt from one such story told in 1928 by residents of the Acoma and Santa Ana pueblos to anthropologist Matthew W. Stirling. Native peoples’ oral traditions recorded by ethnographers, have become the source of much knowledge of Native history.

Tsichtinako spoke to them, “Now is the time you are to go out. You are able to take your baskets with you. In them you will find pollen and sacred corn meal. When you reach the top, you will wait for the sun to come up and that direction will be called ha’nami (east.) With the pollen and the sacred corn meal you will pray to the Sun. You will thank the Sun for bringing you to the light, ask for a long life and happiness, and for success in the purpose for which you were created.” Tsichtinako then taught them the prayers and the creation song, which they were to sing….

They now prayed to the Sun as they had been taught by Tsichtinako, and sang the creation song. Their eyes hurt for they were not accustomed to the strong light. For the first time they asked Tsichtinako why they were on earth and why they were created. Tsichtinako replied, “I did not make you. Your father, Uchtsiti made you, and it is he who has make the world, the sun which you have seen, the sky, and many other things which you will see. But Uchtsiti says the world is not yet completed, no yet satisfactory, as he wants it. This is the reason he has made you. You will rule and bring to life the rest of the things he has given you in the baskets.” … Tsichtinako next said to them, “Now that you have your names, you will pray with your names and your clan names so that the Sun will know you and recognize you.” Tsichtinako asked Nautsiti which clan she wished to belong to. Nautsiti answered, “I wish to see the sun, that is the clan I will be.” The spirit told Nautsiti to ask Iatiku what clan she wanted. Iatiku thought for a long time, but finally she noticed that she had the seed from which the sacred meal was made in her basket and no other kinds of seeds. She thought, “With this name I shall be very proud, for it has been chosen for nourishment and it is sacred.” So she said, “I will be Corn clan.” …

When they had completed their prayers to the sun, Tsichtinako said, “You have done everything well and now you are both to take up your baskets and you must look to the north, west, south, and east, for you are now to pray to the Earth to accept the things in the basket and to give them life. First you must pray to the north, at the same time lift up your baskets in that direction. You will then do the same to the west, then to the south and east.” They did as they were told and did it well. And Tsichtinako said to them, “From now on you will rule in every direction, north, west, south, and east.”

Citation: Who created this source? When?

Content: Content refers to the main ideas of the source.

What was the overall point of this origin story?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of oral traditions recorded by outsiders as a source of historical knowledge?

What does this reveal about gender norms among the Acoma?