The essay on Vine Deloria’s book should engage with his central argument about the sovereignty of American Indian nations. Please make sure to touch upon the legal basis of Deloria’s argument–that sovereignty is an inherent right of Indian “tribes” and that the U.S. has, in fact, many times itself recognized the sovereignty of Indian nations (feel free to bring in the Wilkins and Stark reading if it helps, but this is not necessary). You may focus on a specific part of his argument, if your prefer, or on the general issue of Indian sovereignty. TIPS 1. The best essays effectively blend the readings and lectures. (On question the grader asks: does this essay evidence that the assigned readings were digested and the classroom lectures were absorbed in a comprehensive way?) 2. Make sure to use concrete examples (dates, places, peoples, facts) to illustrate complex ideas. 3. Avoid writing your essay directly from the assigned reading. Get your ideas from the reading down in notes, and then write the essay from your notes, going back to the reading if necessary. The essay needs to be your words, not the authors’ of the assigned readings, although you may certainly briefly quote passages, using quotation marks and citing your source. No formal citation system is required, and you can simple cite the source as, for example, (Biolsi 1995). 4. Write your essay to an “imaginary reader” who is intelligent but not informed on the topic. This could be, for example, a high school teacher who needs to plan a lecture on the topic for her students. If you were preparing a background reading for this imaginary teacher, what would you want to say in your essay, and how would you want to say it? 5. Many good essays are downgraded by a failure to proof read and do at least one second draft. 6. A second draft—in addition to simple proof reading—is highly advisable: Pretend you are the “imaginary reader,” and read the essay aloud to yourself. Is it clear? Does it flow from word to word and paragraph to paragraph? Are complex ideas explained enough? Are there enough good examples? Demonstrates a very clear understanding of the histories and concepts discussed in the classroom and the readings, as well as the overall theme of the course. Uses effective examples to support a clear thesis or set of related ideas, and demonstrates analytical depth in analysis. Balances ideas or generalizations and examples effectively. Is well written and grammatically correct.
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