Elias Boudinot (Cherokee)
Contributing Editor: James W. Parins
Classroom Issues and Strategies
Boudinot seeks to and succeeds in breaking the stereotype of the Indian
established by Irving's
"Traits of Indian Character" and other writing that established
the Indian as uneducated and shiftless.
Two major issues that interest students are cultural discontinuity and
the position of minorities in American culture.
Major Themes, Historical Perspectives, and Personal Issues
Major themes include the perceptions of minorities by the dominant society,
the role of the government in protecting the minorities against the majority,
and the social responsibilities of the majority toward minorities.
Significant Form, Style, or Artistic Conventions
In many ways, Boudinot is using "standard" methods of persuasive
discourse in use at the time. Students should examine his oratorical and
rhetorical devices including diction and structure.
It is important to stress that Boudinot was trying to persuade his white
audience to take a particular course of action.
Comparisons, Contrasts, Connections
Boudinot was writing in the oratorical mode used by mainstream writers
at the time. Compare with works by Ralph
Waldo Emerson, Frederick
Douglass, and Chief Seattle.
Questions for Reading and Discussion/ Approaches to Writing
Students should explore the historical situation in which the address
was written, should do comparative studies, and should examine rhetorical
and oratorical devices.
See any history of the Cherokees.