Table of Contents for A Cry in the Night: A Brief History of the Wolves in North America and a Call for Resurgence

Table of Contents for  A Cry in the Night: A Brief History of the Wolves in North America and a Call for Resurgence

Introduction

Narrative-driven and one of the more personal chapters of the book.

Part 1

(A brief history of the wolves in North America including the effect of settlers from the mid-1600s, recovery and rehabilitation efforts by environmentalists from the 1960s, and modern-day conservation efforts):

Chapter 1: Legend, Lore, and Legacy: The History of the Wolves in North America

How did wolves originate in North America according to both factual evidence and Indigenous lore? How reciprocal was their relationship with the environment and other species? This primarily context chapter discusses some of the scientific origins of wolves and their characteristics. However, that flows directly into their earliest history of wolves in North America and briefly begins the narrative by expounding on their interactions with the Indigenous Americans and how they lived in harmony with people and other species. This chapter lead ups to the start of the 1600s when the colonization of America was beginning. The scientific analysis of wolves draws from multiple sources and centers on their instincts, hunting methods, pack relationships, and habitat. Still, the Indigenous American views of the wolf are the true core of Chapter 1 because of their positive and reciprocal relationship with the wolves.  Throughout many Indigenous American stories, there is an appreciation of the shared origins and destiny for man and creatures alike, and the wolf is viewed as a being to respect—he is even humanized and considered as a brother in many cases.

Chapter 2: Malicious Monsters: The Colonial Impact and the War on Wolves

This narrative chapter unfolds the destruction of the environment and the direct attacks on wolves and other predators by colonial conquerors. Since colonizer propaganda viewed the natural world as something that needed to be tamed or eradicated, the United States government created a campaign for the “War on Wolves.” Wolves were depicted as nuisances at best and terrorists at worst; never mind that this country was their home and that settler society perpetrated acts of terror on the native peoples and wildlife. Few people stood up for the wolves, and alleged environmental leaders like Theodore Roosevelt deemed them “the beast[s] of waste and destruction.” Countless photographs document the destruction of the species, showing pelts piled high for victory and profit. Americans considered the acts as a betterment to society and themselves; they were, after all, only protecting their families and livestock. To this day, the wolves are the only species to be purposefully forced into near extinction by man. By means of systematic annihilation, the US government won its war on the wolves. The most common American wolf breed, the gray wolf, was all but eradicated while the others trailed closely behind. Once roaming the lower 48 states, they were confined to sparse parts of Michigan and Minnesota. By 1960, the wolf population was scarcely 300.

Chapter 3: Answering the Call of the Wild: Deliberate and Coincidental Human-Wolf Interactions

How often have human interactions with wolves been detrimental to the participants? This break-narrative chapter focuses on personal encounters with wolves in the wild and the humans who dared to answer their call. It spans from the days of Lewis and Clark all the way to a modern-day New Zealand couple (the Thayers) who, with their dog, spent an entire year within 100 feet or less of these wilderness sages. The latter example is the key illustration because the Thayers observed the dynamics of three specific packs and discovered many human-like qualities during their daily activities, and then they left the year-long experience unharmed. To include varying views, this chapter discusses some dangerous interactions, but it explains how rare those were and how humans usually instigated them. Finally, there are also brief excerpts of fictional and/or ancient tales of wolf-human interactions, such as Native American histories and stories like The Jungle Book.

Chapter 4: Defending the Predator: The Subtle Journey from Resurgence to Silence

What caused some Americans to starting fighting for the species they had been fighting for centuries? This narrative chapter introduces the table-turning effect of the environmental awakening in the 1960s. Aided by the migration of some packs in Canada, the timber wolves were resilient and created the first natural revival of the species. The comeback could hardly be considered flourishing, but the pack numbers remained steady and expanded back into parts of Wisconsin. This revival paired perfectly with the environmental awaking kick-started by Rachel Carson in the 1960’s and the Endangered Species List that was soon to follow. By 1970, select interest groups stood up for the wolves. Still, wolves in other parts of the country struggled, namely the Mexican gray wolf that faced extinction down by the US and Mexico border. Next, it details the fallout during the 1980s and the turn from environmental awareness. The chapter closes with the current situation today, including the open hunting of wolves and other predators in many states as well as the toll people are taking on the environment. The latter portion of the chapter is heavily sourced from current online publications and government documents.

 

Part 2

(The benefit of wolves to our ecosystem and what will happen if things do not change or worsen, and suggestions to sustain and grow the wolf population):

Chapter 5: A Natural Antidote: The Wolf’s Critical Role in Restoring the Environment

Why should people care about the plight of the wolves? This context chapter explains the positive impact wolves have on the ecosystem and therefore society: what impacts one species impacts another, and so on. It is extremely research and science-driven and includes a section on the transformation of Yellowstone after wolves were reintroduced. Yellowstone had experienced a 70-year absence of wolves. Upon their return, they triggered what is known as a trophic cascade. The occurred because the wolves brought balance to the grazing animal population, which, in turn, allowed the foliage to return in places where it was previously eradicated. When the herbivore populations were abundant, they had slowly begun eliminating other herbivores through competition due to lack of resources. Other predators found balance, too, as the coyote populations decreased and the foxes increased. The wolves’ kills also fed many scavenger species who are careful not to let carcasses go to waste. Humans benefit not only through the resurgence of national parks, but also through the cleaner air and increased vegetation.

Chapter 6: And Then There Was One: The Captivity Program and Reintroduction Challenges

After dropping to the point of extinction, how did wolves begin to make a comeback in the wild? How are they faring today? This continuing narrative chapter explains the process of reintroduction efforts from the mid-80s to the present. It still incorporates hard data like wolf populations throughout rehabilitation and the exact processes used by scientists and reintroduction experts, but it also continues the narrative by discussing on-going efforts today and the challenges wolves and their protectors face. Wolves have clearly made a comeback, but if the 300 million plus population in America today was weeded out to a meager 180,000, most people would not call it a success and stop efforts at 500,000. People have spent decades repairing the damage they caused to the wolves and their habitat only to still be hundreds of thousands away from the original population. It may be impractical at best and impossible at worst to believe there is a chance for the population to reach pre-settlement numbers, but at the rate environmental awareness is dropping in both popularity and funding, even the 5,000 wolves who have struggled to revive are increasingly at risk.

Chapter 7: The Magic Pack: The Return to Glacier National Park

What has rehabilitation been like for the wolves? This break-narrative chapter closely follows a specific wolf pack. The gray wolf was officially given protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1974, allowing recovery to begin in new territories once populated by wolves. The public realized, albeit too late, the damage they had done and the uphill battle they now faced. Rehabilitation of any species is a trying process, and the Mexican gray was not saved in time. The gray wolf subspecies was declared extinct in 1980. Four males and one female were captured prior to the demise in hopes of a successful captive-breeding program. The ESA was instrumental in assigning biologists to preserve the genetic stability and diversity of the Mexican gray wolf. Meanwhile, the northern gray wolves thrived under the new laws. Known as the “Magic Pack,” these wolves became a symbol of what the natural world was and inspired the love of thousands. It will encourage readers to view the wolves in a direct narrative and personal light as it illustrates the struggles of a reintroduced pack. Emphasizing the wolves’ names and their relationships should also show the readers a human side that they should not be able to detach from easily.

Chapter 8: An Alpine Line: The Tipping Point Between Man and the Natural World and Visions of Equilibrium

What does a world without wolves and a dying environment look like? And how do we stop it from happening? Is it the responsibility of the people to make the small day to day changes to protect the wolves, or does it simply require protesting and petitions, making it ultimately the responsibility of the lawmakers and industry leaders? The final chapter is a narrative that is strongly based on my own conclusions and projections given the history and research to this point. The chapter will open with specific actions that must be taken by the following groups: citizens, organizations, and the government. After the suggestions, it will paint the picture of two possible futures: one with wolves and one without. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring greatly inspires this, only it will be my personal views and consider the changes that have happened in the past 60 years since the first environmental awakening. I will end the chapter with the hypothetical future without wolves because I want that climax of emotion prior to my epilogue.

Epilogue

It reiterates the steps people must take on individual levels to better the future of the wolves and the environment (and, ultimately, ourselves). It is part conclusion and part call to action.

Book Proposal for A Cry in the Night: A Brief History of the Wolves in North America and a Call for Resurgence

Book Proposal for A Cry in the Night: A Brief History of the Wolves in North America and a Call for Resurgence

They were all over my bedding, bleeding into my childhood roleplaying and drawings, adorning my shelves, pouring out of my toy boxes. Yellowish and amber eyes—more human than beast—accompanied by thick coats of neutral colors that provided perfect camouflage against the backdrop of their woodland habitat stared back at me, my childhood fantasies breathing life where there was none. Ninety percent of them were named White Fang because an eight-year-old lacks knowledge on the like of naming wolves, and in such cases plagiarizing Jack London seems perfectly acceptable. I suppose most children are drawn to animals at one point or another, especially due to the non-human main characters that cover the DVD cases of most animated movies. Little girls especially, I am told, are often drawn to horses, puppies, and kittens.

I love all the above creatures and will be the first to tell you I’d chose an animal’s company over a human’s most of the time (they are the best conversational partners), but something in me was drawn to the wilder nature of forest creatures. Wild horses, tigers, mountain lions, and foxes were some of my favorites, but wolves inspired a feeling in me unlike any other. They were more like cats than dogs, it seemed, fearless and self-aware. I knew they were dangerous, but every time I gazed into the eyes of one (through a screen or page, of course) I never saw savagery. Rather, they seemed to have respect for the natural order of things and a cunning that was outmatched.

Often shown as the antagonist in media, I cherished the film Balto and books like London’s The Call of the Wild because they showed a pure and reverent side of wolves. They were still fierce, but beautiful; dangerous, but just; protective, but loving. It never occurred to me that the guardians of the forest needed protection from my kind, so feeble and detached from their world.

It’s estimated that up to 500,000 White Fangs once ran free across the land we call home. All species see influxes in population; what happened to the wolves was a different story. Today, the species that once numbered fewer than 300 has rebounded to over 5,000. It’s a small victory, however, when one considers that number in comparison to the initial thriving numbers of the species. We continue to diminish this natural space needed for wolves and all wildlife to roam, impacting everything from food sources to shelter. Multiple states are currently pushing acts—proposed out of fear and greed—that would allow people to hunt wolves freely again. We are only a few mistakes away from causing irreversible damage. Since reintroduction efforts have gone so well, many people have written wolves off their concern list, considering the species flourishing and happy.

Perhaps many do not realize the precipice the wolves balance on or the indirect ways we are destroying their chances of survival. Sometimes the most harmful act is not animosity, but ignorance. Wolves are a keystone species and they play a crucial role in the “trophic cascade” and contribute to a harmonious ecosystem. Since the damage to the national forests cannot be undone, the Wildlands Project proposes a concept called the “rewilding” of America. If it’s successful, many unused rural areas and forests would return to the natural state, including the removal of fences which would allow the natural food change for species like bison and wolves to ensue. A harmonious relationship with nature is possible. Many people are simply unwilling. Perhaps wolves are out of sight, and therefore out of mind. Or perhaps we see them as savage killers and a threat to those around them, disrespecting life and destroying everything in their path.  And oh, the irony, for that is merely a reflection of what we see within ourselves; that is exactly what we have done to the wolves and the environment for the past several hundred years.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WOLVES AND WHY WE SHOULD CARE

            This book aims to derive meaning from the madness. It’s easy to argue positions, to throw out numbers, to hypothesize about the future. But I believe people do have hearts, and drawing an underlying meaning or playing this out considering the human condition can make it relevant or real. I want to take this from being just another issue or political debate and make it a matter of ethics on a deep and primal level. Wolves are a crucial part of our ecosystem and if we do not do something to address the mistreatment that has been ongoing for hundreds of years, we will wipe out yet another species and add a notch on the belt of mankind’s destruction.

1600-1960: The Settlers and the War on Wolves

Long before settlers staked their claims in 1607, wolves, like the indigenous American people, flourished in the land. Although some remind fearful of man, many lived in harmony and were even domesticated. Between 250,000 and 500,000 ran free in packs, cohabitating easily with the native people and wildlife. Wolves were an important symbol in Native American culture, signifying strength and beauty. Some stories told of the brotherhood between wolves and men and the power they could draw from one another. Even after extensive settlement—establishment of cities, the Industrial Revolution, the massacre of native peoples—wolves still found sanctuary be retreating further into the forests. Flash-forward to the beginning of the twentieth century: Americans were unrelenting in the conquest of the New World, or what remained of it. Forests were felled at alarming speeds, food sources began to deplete, and pollution started contaminating the atmosphere. All of this encroached increasingly on the natural habitat that sustained America’s vibrant ecosystem, but predators like the wolves suffered at the hands of direct attacks, too.

Continuing in the settler propaganda that viewed the natural world as something that needed to be tamed or eradicated, the United States government created a campaign for the “War on Wolves.” Wolves were depicted as nuisances at best and terrorists at worst. Never mind that this country was their home and that the settler society perpetrated acts of terror on the native peoples and wildlife. Few people stood up for the wolves, and alleged environmental leaders like Theodore Roosevelt deemed them “the beast[s] of waste and destruction.” Countless photographs document the destruction of the species, showing pelts piled high for victory and profit. Americans considered the acts as a betterment to society and themselves; they were, after all, only protecting their families and livestock. To this day, the wolves are the only species to be purposefully forced into near extinction by man. By means of systematic annihilation, the US government won its war on the wolves. The most common American wolf breed, the gray wolf, was all but eradicated while the others trailed closely behind. Once roaming the lower 48 states, they were confined to sparse parts of Michigan and Minnesota. By 1960, the wolf population was scarcely 300.

1960-Present: Resurgence

Although the war had ended, many hunters still sought out the remaining few packs huddled in the northern extremities of the country. Aided by the migration of some packs in Canada, the timber wolves were resilient and created the first natural revival of the species. The comeback could hardly be considered flourishing, but the pack numbers remained steady and expanded back into parts of Wisconsin. This revival paired perfectly with the environmental awaking kick-started by Rachel Carson in the 1960’s and the Endangered Species List that was soon to follow. By 1970, select interest groups stood up for the wolves. Still, wolves in other parts of the country struggled, namely the Mexican gray wolf that faced extinction down by the US and Mexico border.

The gray wolf was officially given protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1974, allowing recovery to begin in new territories once populated by wolves. The public realized, albeit too late, the damage they had done and the uphill battle they now faced. Rehabilitation of any species is a trying process, and the Mexican gray was not saved in time. The gray wolf subspecies was declared extinct in 1980. Four males and one female were captured prior to the demise in hopes of a successful captive-breeding program. The ESA was instrumental in assigning biologists to preserve the genetic stability and diversity of the Mexican gray wolf. Meanwhile, the northern gray wolves thrived under the new laws. Known as the “Magic Pack,” these wolves became a symbol of what the natural world was and inspired the love of thousands.

The struggle continued throughout the 80’s, and this time the red wolves, a smaller wolf species that resembled coyotes, died out save for the handful in captivity. The captive-raised generations were first reintroduced into North Carolina in 1990. Grey wolves still fought on as the packs multiplied up North. Outdoors enthusiasts and wildlife researchers started noticing trends in wolf sightings in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, confirming the successful growth rates and migration trends. By the mid-nineties, a total of seven states including Alaska confirmed active wolf populations. Yellowstone received its first “wolf transplant” in 1995, and the Nez Perce Nation was a crucial aspect of reestablishment efforts. The government continued to evolve the acclimation programs to ensure successful transitions between captivity and the wilderness.

The Future

Wolves have clearly made a comeback, but if the 300 million plus population in America today was weeded out to a meager 180,000, most people wouldn’t call it a success and call it quits at 500,000. What about the longevity of the human race? Even in an identical scenario, our race would be better off by sheer numerical values. We spent decades now repairing the damage we caused to the wolves and their habitat to still be hundreds of thousands away from the original population. It may be impractical at best and impossible at worst to believe there’s a chance for the population to reach pre-settlement numbers, but at the rate environmental awareness is dropping in both popularity and funding, even the 5,000 we have struggled to revive are increasingly at risk. I believe there are two overarching questions driving my book:

  • Wolves, and much of the American environment as we know it, were nearly eradicated until the environmental awakening in the sixties and seventies. Despite the progress and new laws, we are now—forty years later—en route to where we started. What changed to make Americans so careless and selfish again? What happened to the environmental protests of our parents and grandparents? What happened to the fight against the industry in favor of our land, animals, and well-being? Why has progress been little to none on the Homefront, the New World?
  • Following question one, question two beckons the answer as to what the solution is. What is necessary to snap people out of their cyberspace (I acknowledge I write this hypocritically from a laptop—technology can be used for good, it just often is not) comfort zones and act? Is it the responsibility of the people to make the small day to day changes to protect the wolves, or does it simply require protesting and petitions, making it ultimately the responsibility of the lawmakers and industry leaders?

WHO WILL WANT TO READ THIS BOOK AND WHY NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT

            My content is not aimed at environmental scientists and wolf researchers (although I’d hope they’d enjoy it), but rather environmentally conscious adults and people with a love for wolves or animals in general. I’m a connoisseur of this genre, and so I’m hoping to bait that niche group of readers who are already concerned about our world and what we are doing to it. It’s broad enough to grab those who aren’t necessarily die-hard save-the-wolves-junkies, but specific enough to draw those readers in. Therefore, the correct target audience is environmentally aware liberals, specifically those who are educated and interested in current affairs. Although my goal and dream would be to reach those who don’t care, realistically, readers that err towards that conservationist way of thinking are going to be most likely to pick up a book that recommends we respect non-human life.

The purpose of my book, then, isn’t to prove the opposition wrong and turn them. Instead, the goal should be to hook like-minded conservationists and empower them to make a difference. It makes more sense to strengthen an able and skilled fighter than to force a couch potato to turn off the TV. There has been an influx in conservation readership due to increasing environment concerns via the news, and there is also much controversy surrounding President Trump’s proposition to slash a significant amount of the EPA’s budget. It would be wise to take advantage of this momentum and use the Trump administration’s anti-nature propaganda against them.

The time for this book is now because the clock is literally ticking for wolves and their home. Every day people contribute, directly or not, to the decline of the natural world. Every minute we act in a way that harms the environment. Dangerous acts are being proposed. In 2011, the government began confiscating their protection under the Endangered Species Act, which allowed the individual states to make their own decisions regarding the wolves. Over 4,200 wolves had been slaughtered in just six states during the first half of 2016. Sport hunting and trapping wolves are both popular and legal in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. It’s time for a second environmental awakening, and wolves should be the symbol of the beauty of the natural world. If we destroy it and them, we will ultimately destroy ourselves.

Many activists and authors have tried the sniper (blurbs in the morning news) and drive-by (written articles) approaches to this topic, and although it may derail the average nature-appreciator from his fair-trade coffee neatly stored in an eco-friendly mug, these mediums do little to inspire the reader after the five-minute encounter. Books that are written on wolves are typically appreciative or scientific in nature and unlikely to share mankind’s dirty secrets. If these popcorn forms of media aren’t enough to draw in new supporters and only repeat information the emotionally involved ones, I believe a deeper and more insightful method is needed. If a reader is willing to invest the time in this book, to get caught up in the drama that is the history of the wolves, and to stand beside them and make a change, then this book will have achieved its purpose.

WHO THE AUTHOR IS AND WHY SHE IS QUALIFIED TO CARE

My juvenile fascination with wolves and nature never faded, but it was raised to a new level when I began taking courses at my local community college. A persuasive speech class followed by an environmental science class led me to uncover the atrocities of our food system, the guinea pig testing of humans with harsh chemicals, and the detrimental impact industry-hungry humans have had on the environment. The more I unearthed, the angrier I became. My anger turned to passion, which turned to further research. I have been blessed with teachers who have strived to show me the truth and encouraged me to examine more on my own. When it became evident to me that the forests and animals I loved were in grave danger, my tree-hugging Oregonian spirit awoke in me a desire to speak out for the voiceless.

I have been told that I’m a leader. An inspirer. But what I want to do is build a wall of protection around my sacred place and make the government and industry pay for it. The trees cannot cry out. The birds cannot protest. The rivers cannot relocate. The mountain lions cannot defend themselves. They need guardians. I want to emphasize that plural because one guardian just simply isn’t enough. If I evoke such inspiration in people and can coerce them into following my bidding, then I implore people to stand up for their earthly home. Regardless of what you believe, we are responsible and tied to this world and we do serve a purpose in it.

Wolves became symbolic of my environmental passions this past year because they are how I see the natural world: dangerous, beautiful, meaningful, and worthy of protecting. Even if you aren’t the outdoorsy type and you prefer penthouses to cabins and skyscrapers to mountains, the environment plays an intricate role in your survival and well-being. Be it a selfish motivation or not, people need to realize that they are in a symbiotic relationship with the natural world. Still, the environment is too broad an organism to be the face of this call, so in an attempt to preserve it all, I deem the wolves worthy representatives of nature in America. They are intricately woven into its purpose and their story makes them the perfect poster child for raising awareness. The wolf symbolizes everything America once stood for: independence, strong family/friend bonds with those in your community; a fresh start in new territory; establishment and sustainability with respect to the surrounding world; a natural and cooperative order of leadership established by the pack. But like the decline of American values, the wolves and their habitat are ever diminishing.

Due to the nature of this book, I believe passion and drive are of the utmost importance. Much of my twenty-five years have been spent in close proximity to nature and, given a choice, I never live without at least one non-human creature in my humble abode. I have completed copious amounts of research on wolves, and as of recently, I have been actively following and researching their stability (or lack thereof) and how it is tied directly to the environment and current events. I’m an undergraduate student at The University of Colorado Denver set to graduate this December with a major in English Writing and a minor in Political Science. I plan to work for an environmental non-profit after graduation and write freelance on the side, so I will likely be making this research and similar topics a life-long obsession. Finally, I will also be volunteering with the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center to gain first-hand experience and information for this project.

Sample Chapter for A Cry in the Night: A Brief History of the Wolves in North America and a Call for Resurgence

Sample Chapter for A Cry in the Night: A Brief History of the Wolves in North America and a Call for Resurgence

The year is 2040. The predators were the first to go, and the wolves the first amongst them. Mankind wanted to eliminate all the competition connected to food sources, and these carnivorous beasts did little to better society. As a result, the grazing animals began to overrun what meager amounts remained of the green matter. An ever-increasing population forced people to turn towards the only remaining fertile lands across the globe: National Parks.

Once protected, these sacred lands became a highly-sought commodity that caused riots. Prey continued to encroach on the lands and began to perish; people had scarcely enough land for themselves, let alone their livestock. Had more research been poured into innovative food greenhouse technologies like hydro-gardens, they may have stood a chance. But that, like the wolves and climate change, had been tossed aside for luxurious lives. As the remaining animals grew bolder and cities stretched their cement claws into the woods, an unhealthy chemistry sprouted and disease struck both man and beast alike. Scientists had long ago discovered the impact of predators on the trophic cascade—amongst other environmental dangers like deforestation and chemical emissions—and the deviations that would impact soil bacteria, water availability, biodiversity, and countless other ecosystem structures that stimulated food growth while keeping the environment habitable and healthy.[1]

Malnutrition spread and real food became scarce, so the processed food industry began to cash in on chemical dinners while simultaneously emitting more toxins into the air through their factories. People were born into sickness now; it was a potent mixture of ingesting chemicals through diet and breathing them in through the atmosphere. The world begged for foliage growth to feed livestock and cleanse the air, but there was no way to sustain such life. Scientists released new studies showing the benefit of predators. Perhaps, albeit risky, predators could have prevented part of the environmental destruction. Research groups scanned countless horizons for the tracks of a mountain lion or wolf. It was too late, however, for none remained, long-driven out by hatred and selfish ambition.

Years passed and scientists had yet to find a way to recreate the magnificent beasts. The complete extinction of a species, unlike other environmental impactors, was irreversible.[2] The air grew denser and filled peoples’ lungs with dark matter that splattered when they coughed it up on the sidewalk, parched from the water shortage and weakened from malnourishment. The few nations in power hoarded their remaining sources while their brothers died. There was no relief or pleasure for them, however, for luxury had ended. No one had the time or energy to read books or watch films. Many had lost loved ones. Work became survival. Sleepless nights plagued the masses. And art found no inspiration in an unnatural world, for the brooks ran dry, forests became deserts, and the wolf no longer serenaded the night.

***

Although there is evidence to support this fictionalized prophesy, there is no guarantee that the eradication of wolves and other predators will spiral downwards into an inescapable doom. There are those who argue that the impact may be minor, or even non-existent. People could come up with innovative technologies to combat the domino effect and, perhaps, those technologies will fare better than current attempts to popularize green living. Perchance, the whole concept of environmental conservation is nothing more than a Nation Inquirer façade, or as conservative host Glenn Beck puts it, a “reminder that humanity must be controlled, manipulated and even destroyed for the good of the planet.”[3] But what if it is not? An unchanged path could chart a worse future. Even an outcome half as detrimental as the mock scenario would be a devastating blow to humanity and life as we know it. Is that a chance we are willing to take? Is our future, our children’s future, something to haphazardly gamble with? The Earth’s ultimate demise should not be carried out willingly by the hands that call it home. Alas, the destruction of nature is not a new fad, and the wolf has long been the poster child of this targeted annihilation.

The destruction of the wolves was a global phenomenon, but North America arguably championed the raping of natural resources, species, and people. Long before settlers staked their claims in 1607, wolves, like the indigenous American people, flourished in the land. Although some remind fearful of man, many lived in harmony and were even domesticated. Between 250,000 and 500,000 ran free in packs, cohabitating easily with the native people and wildlife.[4] Wolves were an important symbol in Native American culture, signifying strength and beauty. Some stories told of the brotherhood between wolves and men and the power they could draw from one another. One Cheyenne story spoke of a valiant wolf who came to the aid of two women and two children who barely escaped the Sand Creek Massacre. The wolf had been tracking them for hours, and the woman believed he saw them as prey. When they surrendered themselves to him, though, the wolf took pity on them and brought them meat that nourished them so they could make the journey to safety.[5]

Colonial mindsets did not view wolves with such grace and it was not long before conflicts would start a battle between men and wolves that would last centuries. The New World, regarded as property that needed to be claimed and exploited, needed to be cleansed of anything that would prohibit prosperity and endanger the newcomers or their livelihood. The wolves and their predator brethren alike became easy targets, but Euro-American settlers had a special interest in wolves. For one, wolf killing was the culmination of two colonial conquering methods: legends and assets. A wolf pelt was both a bragging right and a trade item. Rumors spread quickly about the alleged atrocities committed by wolves; it was a new kind of folklore, but one far different from the stories the Indigenous Americans told. Wolves were painted as corrupt creatures that attacked the livestock of struggling farmers and stole babes away from their mothers’ breasts in the wee hours of the morning. It was not long before they became symbols of evil. While the deer were “stand-ins for ‘God’s persecuted…’, wolves symbolize[d] the ‘fierce blood-sucking persecutor.’”[6] Euro-Americans continued to mercilessly slaughter the creatures for years, driving them back as the colonial process took hold of the country.

Even after extensive settlement—establishment of cities, the Industrial Revolution, the massacre of native peoples—wolves still found sanctuary by retreating further into the forests. Flash-forward to the beginning of the twentieth century: Americans were unrelenting in the conquest of the New World, or what remained of it. Forests were felled at alarming speeds, food sources began to deplete, and pollution started contaminating the atmosphere. All of this encroached increasingly on the natural habitat that sustained America’s vibrant ecosystem, but predators like the wolves suffered at the hands of direct attacks, too. Continuing in the settler propaganda that depicted the natural world as something that needed to be tamed or eradicated, the United States government created a campaign for the War on Wolves.[7]

Wolves were depicted as nuisances at best and terrorists at worst—never mind that the land was their home and that settler society perpetrated acts of terror on the native peoples and wildlife. Few people stood up for the wolves, and assumed environmental leaders like Theodore Roosevelt deemed them “the beast[s] of waste and destruction.”[8] Countless photographs documented the extermination of the species, showing pelts piled high for victory and profit. Americans considered the acts as a betterment to society and themselves; they were, after all, only protecting their families and livestock. To this day, the wolves are the only species to be purposefully forced into near extinction by man.[9] By means of systematic annihilation, the US government won its war with the wolves. The most common American wolf breed, the gray wolf, was all but eradicated while the others trailed closely behind. Once roaming the lower 48 states, they were confined to sparse parts of Michigan and Minnesota. By 1960, the wolf population was scarcely 300.[10]

Although the war had ended, many hunters still sought out the remaining few packs huddled in the northern extremities of the country. Aldo Leopold was one of the last government wolf hunters. In 1944, as the last of the wolves died out, he noticed the havoc man had wrought on the natural world. His essay, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” included many themes that would soon be proven by science. He stated, “I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer.”[11] Leopold noted, like many researchers today, that the removal of wolves from nature was far more dangerous than their predator instincts. Rachel Carson, a scientist and nature-lover, would carry similar thoughts to a broader audience through her book Silent Spring in the 1960s. It resonated with thousands and spurred Americans on towards an environmental awakening. The environment finally became a political concern shortly after, and the remainder of the decade saw two major acts passed: The Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1966 and the Endangered Species Conservation Act in 1969. Although these acts were a step in the right direction, they were found “to lack the necessary teeth for effective enforcement,” and so congress passed (with nearly unanimous support) the Endangered Species Act in 1973.[12]

Specific species of wolves were given protection under the ESA in 1974, allowing recovery to begin in new territories once populated by wolves. The public realized, albeit too late, the damage they had done and the uphill battle they now faced. Rehabilitation of any species is a trying process, and the Mexican gray was not saved in time. The gray wolf subspecies was declared extinct in 1980.[13] Four males and one female were captured prior to the demise in hopes of a successful captive-breeding program. The ESA was instrumental in assigning biologists to preserve the genetic stability and diversity of the wolves, and the captive-raised generations were first reintroduced into North Carolina in 1990. Free of human interference, a handful of gray wolf packs multiplied up North. Outdoors enthusiasts and wildlife researchers started noticing trends in wolf sightings in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, confirming the successful growth rates and migration trends.[14] By the mid-nineties, a total of seven states including Alaska confirmed active wolf populations. Yellowstone received its first “wolf transplant” in 1995, and the Nez Perce Nation was a crucial aspect of reestablishment efforts.[15] The government continued to evolve the acclimation programs to ensure successful transitions between captivity and the wilderness.

Wolf numbers today stand around 3,500 in the lower 48 states and 60,000 in the untouched wilds of Alaska and Canada, but a combination of conquering lust and general apathy towards the environment has once again put them in a treacherous place.[16] One driving factor is that the reintroduced wolves began picking off small bits of livestock which allegedly posed a direct threat to farmers. In 2011, the state of Idaho declared a state of emergency due to the small influx in wolf hunts, stating they were a threat to the local citizens, even though the two plus decades that have spanned since reintroduction efforts in the 90s have not witnessed so much as one wild wolf-related injury in the lower 48 states.[17] Hunters, farmers, and unwitting citizens fear wolves will eat all the livestock and grow so prolifically that they will eventually threaten the lives of people. There is something bigger stake below the surface, though, and it threatens financial interest and grabs the attention of politicians: “the protections wolves require in the West can run counter to the interests of industrial agriculture businesses and the oil and gas industry, both of which want to operate on land that is currently subject to protection because it’s wolf habitat.”[18] Plain and simple, wolves are one of the many creatures in the way of the great manifest destiny. If they are protected, so is the environment. Their fates are poetically intertwined.

The wolves, and nature in its entirety, are just one of many creatures that are negatively impacted by the current administration. Even now, “a witch hunt is already underway for federal employees who support the science of climate change…protections for the 640 million acres of public land…are already being stripped away.”[19] Recent events include dangerous law proposals such as on January 17, 2017, when Republican Senators introduced a bill nicknamed, “The War on Wolves Act.” It shares eerie similarities with the campaign used against wolves over 100 years ago. If passed, S.164 will not only remove ESA protections from wolves in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, it will also strip citizens of the right to challenge it in court.

While many people are not directly against the wolves and their resurgence, they have done little to aid their plight. Even though the average liberal believes in global warming, few take the actions necessary to prevent it or care about it when going about their digitally and consumer-driven lives. Concern for wolves, and many other endangered species, is limited to brief moments of empathy combatted by months of apathy. People are too detached from nature right now to give much daily thought to the well-being of other creatures. It is also easy to forget how much the politicians one votes for impact the environment, especially on local and state levels. It comes naturally to most to vote for what benefits them—what gives them the best tax break, the most control, the cheapest products, etc.—and in doing so, mankind casts the needs of other people, species, and nature to the wayside.

People in today’s world, at least in America, often succumb to selfish desires which debilitate their ability to give a second thought to the dilemmas of others. It is made evident through their voting and consumer choices. As far as solutions go, a huge part of it is getting the right people in office. However, that starts with the citizens themselves. The decision to protect wolves seems logical. According to Wes Siler, journalist for Outside, “If killing wolves results in increased wolf conflict for farmers, if wolves pose virtually no risk to human life, and if they’re essential to ecosystem rehabilitation in the West while bringing in tens of millions in tourist dollars, then remind me why we’re going to spend a bunch of taxpayer money killing them?”[20] It is highly illogical, regardless of one’s political preferences.

But what can be done to sway those who disagree, whether out of spite or indifference? For one, there must be more options to convince people who stand in the way of conservation efforts that the wolves and the environment are worth protecting. The ESA originally got passed because certain species became a face of the movement[21]; they were a symbol, much like the wolves need to be now. The ESA presently has many flaws, though, and a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year “found that the vast majority of endangered species are getting just a fraction – around 20 percent – of the funding needed to recover their populations.”[22] Unless something happens drastically with citizens’ mindsets, the wolves are once again facing probable extinction—not to mention the rest of the environment.

Perhaps, hope for the wolves can be found in a new political science theory sweeping the environmental and welfare-centered organizations: Integral ecology, or the idea of seeing everything as interconnected parts of the large machine known as life. Environmentalism and conservation will have greater odds of being accepted by all when people see an underlying benefit and understand that their actions impact the environment, which, when it completes its full circle, ultimately ends up coming back to impact the people. It is a sort of physical karma that cannot be undone mid-cycle. Unfortunately, America’s selfish and occasionally dogmatic culture has lead people to focus on their consumerism and to toss hard science and data out the window in favor of a view that fits their wants.

Since people cannot always be reasoned with by facts, two things must transpire for the wolves to stand a fighting chance. One, people need to truly understand the benefit of wolves on society and nature. Not only do wolves stimulate the economy and cause little to no threat to mankind’s food and well-being, they also directly impact almost every aspect of the environment. For example, a recent Ted Talk by George Joshua Richard Monbiot, an author and rewilding activist, detailed exactly how wolves can impact massive organisms like America’s rivers[23]. Second, social media and other technological platforms should integrate more pro-nature marketing and easier access to green living. How can people help make a difference if they do not know? Nearly every person in America knows everything about fast-food and department sales, but how many people are truly educated on the current status of endangered species and the effects of fossil fuels? One may be only an internet click away from unlimited knowledge, but something must drive a person to that point of research. Green living and conservation advertising should be dropped in during television show breaks and plastered across city billboards, not ads for diabetes-inducing pastries masked with artificially colored frosting and wrapped in excessive amounts of harmful plastic.

A forecaster of the future, Albert Einstein summed it up best when he said the following: “the goal of all theory is to make the…basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of…experience.”[24] In light of the wolves’ dire circumstances, Einstein’s words of wisdom can be interpreted as follows: for any change or theory to be effective, it comes down to understanding the present time and presenting information in a way that most people can easily digest, all while maintaining an understanding of the multiple viewpoints people have. The key is discovering successful, non-abrasive ways to combat these varying viewpoints. Change for the wolves will not happen overnight, but people cannot idly stand by and let them or the environment continue to suffer without a fight. And to win this fight, activists must create more allies, not more enemies. We must once again become protectors of the wolves and our world, or we will all face the same fate.

Bibliography

Beck, Glenn. “Environmentalism Part IV: The Biggest Hoax of All Time.” Glenn Beck. April      22, 2016. Accessed April 26, 2017.        <http://www.glennbeck.com/2016/04/22/environmentalism-part-iv-the-biggest-hoax-of-          all-time/>.

Casey, Denise, and Susan G. Clark. Tales of the Wolf: Fifty-One Stories of Wolf Encounters in     the Wild. Moose, WY: Homestead Pub., 1996.

Coleman, Jon T. Vicious: Wolves and Men in America. Yale University Press, 2008.

“Did We Only Bring Wolves Back So We Can Kill Them Again?” Predator Defense. Accessed   April 22, 2017. <http://www.predatordefense.org/wolves.htm&gt;.

Dutcher, Jim, Jamie Dutcher, and James Manfull. The Hidden Life of Wolves. Washington, D.      National Geographic, 2013.

Kaufman, Mark D. “Wolves are targets in the Endangered Species Act.” Scienceline. May 03,      2017. Accessed May 06, 2017. <http://scienceline.org/2017/05/wolves-targets-     endangered-species-act-modernization/>.

McIntyre, Rick. A Society of Wolves: National Parks and the Battle Over the Wolf. Stillwater,      MN: Voyageur Press, 1996.

Meadows, Donella H., and Diana Wright. Thinking in systems: a primer. White River Junction,   VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2015.

Monbiot, George. July 2013. George Monbiot: For more wonder, rewild the world [Video file].   Accessed May 01, 2017. <https://www.ted.com/talks/george_monbiot_for_more_wonder     _rewild_the_world>.

Moskowitz, David. Wolves in the Land of Salmon. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2013.

Shivik, John A. The Predator Paradox: Ending the War with Wolves, Bears, Cougars, and           Coyotes. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014.

Siler, Wes. “Trump’s Presidency Means the End of Wolves in the American West.” Outside         Online. January 19, 2017. Accessed April 22, 2017. <https://www.outsideonline.com         /2151411/trumps-presidency-means-end-wolves-american-west>.

Smith, Douglas W., and Gary Ferguson. Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone.  Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2012.

Thayer, Helen. Three Among the Wolves: A Couple and Their Dog Live a Year with Wolves in    the Wild. Canada: Sasquatch Books, 2006.

White, Annie B. GrayWolfConservation.com – Wolf History in U.S. Accessed April 22, 2017.             <http://www.graywolfconservation.com/Wild_Wolves/history.htm&gt;.

Zielinski, Sarah. “What Happens When Predators Disappear.” Smithsonian.com. July 18, 2011.   Accessed April 26, 2017. <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-     happens-when-predators-disappear-32079553/>.

[1] Zielinski, Sarah. “What Happens When Predators Disappear.” Smithsonian.com. July 18, 2011.

 

[2] “Did We Only Bring Wolves Back So We Can Kill Them Again?” Predator Defense.

[3] Beck, Glenn. “Environmentalism Part IV: The Biggest Hoax of All Time.” Glenn Beck. April 22, 2016.

[4] White, Annie B. GrayWolfConservation.com – Wolf History in U.S.

[5] Casey, Denise, and Susan G. Clark. Tales of the Wolf: Fifty-One Stories of Wolf Encounters in the Wild. Moose, WY: Homestead Pub., 1996, 20.

[6] Coleman, Jon T. Vicious: Wolves and Men in America. Yale University Press, 2008, 46.

[7] “Did We Only Bring Wolves Back So We Can Kill Them Again?” Predator Defense.

[8] White, Annie B. GrayWolfConservation.com – Wolf History in U.S.

[9] McIntyre, Rick. A Society of Wolves: National Parks and the Battle Over the Wolf. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 1996, 58.

[10] Moskowitz, David. Wolves in the Land of Salmon. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2013, 178.

[11] Dutcher, Jim, Jamie Dutcher, and James Manfull. The Hidden Life of Wolves. Washington, D. National Geographic, 2013, 123.

[12] Smith, Douglas W., and Gary Ferguson. Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2012, 24.

[13] White, Annie B. GrayWolfConservation.com – Wolf History in U.S.

[14] McIntyre, Rick. A Society of Wolves: National Parks and the Battle Over the Wolf. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 1996, 92.

[15] Smith, Douglas W., and Gary Ferguson. Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2012, 28.

[16] Siler, Wes. “Trump’s Presidency Means the End of Wolves in the American West.” Outside Online. January 19, 2017.

[17] Dutcher, Jim, Jamie Dutcher, and James Manfull. The Hidden Life of Wolves. Washington, D. National Geographic, 2013, 125.

[18] Siler, Wes. “Trump’s Presidency Means the End of Wolves in the American West.” Outside Online. January 19, 2017.

[19] Siler, Wes. “Trump’s Presidency Means the End of Wolves in the American West.” Outside Online. January 19, 2017.

[20] Siler, Wes. “Trump’s Presidency Means the End of Wolves in the American West.” Outside Online. January 19, 2017.

[21] McIntyre, Rick. A Society of Wolves: National Parks and the Battle Over the Wolf. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 1996, 27.

[22] Kaufman, Mark D. “Wolves are targets in the Endangered Species Act.” Scienceline. May 03, 2017.

[23] Monbiot, George. July 2013. George Monbiot: For more wonder, rewild the world [Video file].

[24] Meadows, Donella H., and Diana Wright. Thinking in systems: a primer. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2015, 5.

Understanding the L2 Learner in Composition Pedagogy: A Comparative Study of the Chinese Style of Parenting Versus the Western Style of Parenting

Understanding the L2 Learner in Composition Pedagogy: A Comparative Study of the Chinese Style of Parenting Versus the Western Style of Parenting

Education of child begins long before she ever steps foot into a classroom. The home life, country of origin, culture, and parenting styles a child is exposed to can greatly impact the way in which she sees the world, and especially the ways she learns new skills and how well she performs in the education system. Everything from the history of her nation’s pedagogy tactics to the expectations of her parents plays a crucial role in performance, goals, and success. For a composition instructor, working in varying scenarios with both L1 and L2 learners, it is of the utmost importance to understand the potential backgrounds students may have and how those factors will directly affect the student’s ability to learn and perform well in the instructor’s classroom. A football coach would never take a player who only had experience in soccer and throw him out on the field unprepared. Instead, that coach would learn the player’s background, find comparisons between soccer and football, and, ultimately, understand and expect the confusion that comes with moving from one sport to another. Educational culture is similar in process, and a teacher must pay attention to a variety of factors in order to make L2 composition pedagogy a seamless process. Before diving into the variances between the two styles and to best understand the academic contexts from which L2 composition pedagogy is analyzed and taught, one must understand the crucial relationship between reading and writing for both levels of learner and then revisit the recent evolution of composition pedagogy for both cultures respectively.

Much like exercise and diet, reading and writing are in a symbiotic relationship and one cannot grow without the other. One can follow the strictest meal plan, but if exercise is neglected, he or she will struggle to be a healthy and well-rounded person. Likewise, if the same person works out all the time but never eats well, it will be a struggle to stay trim and healthy. A relationship with words will act in kind because one can read all the time and study the best writers, but if one never writes to put what was learned into practice, that person will not strengthen his or her composition ability. If, however, said person only writes and never reads, the writing abilities will stagnate. It is the marriage between the two concepts that creates the best opportunity for growth, and the L2 learner is no exception to this rule. John S. Hedgcock and Dana R. Ferris, professors and academic leaders in the field of second language reading and writing, strongly advise in Teaching L2 Composition that there must be a “central role of reading processes in the teaching and learning of L2 writing.” (93). Successful integration of the two is critical because they each directly impact growth in the other discipline and can easily form a cohesive curriculum for instructing both L1 and L2 students. Reading and writing are in an interdependent relationship. Not only does a student not strengthen one skill without the other, an instructor can also not successfully teach one without a proper balance of the other. Most activities should center around both reading and writing whenever possible, and in equal doses. Only by understanding the role of each discipline can L2 students successfully come to terms with the intricacies of a new language. This basic principal of approaching texts “not only increases deep comprehension but informs genre specific, effective, purpose-driven writing” for students who may initially struggle with either reading or writing an L2 language (Taking Advantage of the Reading/Writing Connection). The skills students will acquire, whether consciously or unconsciously, by studying such methods will help them devise tactics to build their reading and writing skills upon. The instructor must ensure the foundations of reading and writing are well-established with all students and that those areas are always being reciprocally encouraged.

Educator and author E. Shelley Reid believes the subject of English composition is one of the most difficult but meaningful academic topics: “I have thus come to view the pedagogy course and the concepts behind it as both impossible and crucial to teach—in part because of who and where the students are when they enter our classes, in part because of where we need them or want them to go as teachers and as scholars.” (Reid 242). The rediscovery of classics and rhetoric in the 1960s, the birth of writer’s voice and societal awareness in terms of composition in the 1970s and 1980s, the acknowledgement of the impact of discourse communities and education in the 1990s to the present—these accomplishments led to the ever-evolving composition pedagogies prevalent in today’s education systems, paving the way for the birth of L2-specific teaching methods applicable to the influx of multicultural classrooms. Studying the theories that fathered the modern English composition education system provides the awareness necessary to both understand and successfully teach L2 learners.

With the English department’s rediscovery of classic literary sources, Hedgcock and Ferris found that teachers in the 1960s spent little time “planning, drafting, sharing, revisi[ng], or editing [the] students’ texts.” (Ferris and Hedgcock 63). Schools introduced the concept of modern rhetoric through great writers of the past, but little thought was given as to how to instruct students to create their own powerful rhetoric or streamlined composition. The error of this teaching method was not realized right away, however, and teachers gave their students vague outlines and the “sandwich effect” was introduced, stipulating that students who followed certain patterns were automatically good writers. Late in the decade, the Dartmouth Conference called for “writing instruction that takes more notice of students’ needs for self-expression as opposed to their adjustment to social demands.” (A Brief History of Rhetoric and Composition). The 1970s and 1980s introduced the process approach which emphasized the writer and encouraged students to express themselves and come up with creative ideas (Ferris and Hedgcock 64). Freewriting was a frequently utilized by many instructors, and it inspired critical thinking and the concept of authors having a voice. Instead of relying solely on the inspiration of other writers and a strict paper framework, pedagogy began to consist of the overall writing process, breaking it down into distinct stages like invention, drafting, revising, editing, etc. This lead to expressivist (a creative process to discover oneself through writing with the discovery being more important than the product) and cognitivist (writing as problem-solving) writing categories that often overlapped (Ferris and Hedgcock 66). The 1990s ushered in the development of rhetorical problems in writing. Teachers began explaining writing as a simultaneous project where steps can be reversed or missed altogether—a far cry from the strict sandwich method a few decades prior. Writers were encouraged to have a voice. According to Professor of English David R. Russell, this was largely due to the fact that “historians began to question the narrative of current-traditional rhetoric as the dark ages of composition.” (33).

Robin Varnum, an instructor of English at the American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, postulates that composition pedagogy will continue to develop, and since the “field of composition studies has now moved beyond its infancy, its historians should be exercising the critical self-consciousness that is a mark of any mature field.” (52). Reviewing the difficulties the evolution of writing instruction has undergone makes it clear that L2 teachers are faced with even greater difficulties. On top of navigating the many ways to teach writing and all the crucial areas to focus on, they must also juggle working with multiple skill levels, backgrounds, interests, and intellects. The history of composition instruction reaffirms that fluidity and adaption are vital teaching qualities required to be a successful L2 (or any type, for the matter) composition instructor. L2 composition pedagogy is still a new field, but there are multiple lessons derived from historical L1 composition pedagogy theories that L2 educators can review to hopefully avoid making similar mistakes. Hedgcock and Ferris argue that all composition instructors would do well to remember that “effective writing instruction must take the context of writing into account.” (87). This generation of L2 teachers must be cautious to not lose the purpose of writing instruction by getting caught up in all the fine details. Minutiae are helpful at the right place and time, but every assignment and student should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to conclude the best form of instruction.

Chinese composition has clear fundamental variances from the English language and consequently different pedagogy systems. For example, English is an alphabetical system where the symbols represent sounds without any associated meanings attached. Chinese writing, on the other hand, is a logographical system where each symbol or mark represents a specific meaning. Since Chinese instructors are dealing with specific symbols attached to specific meanings, studies carried out in China have shown that “full literacy [of the language] requires a knowledge of between three and four thousand characters.” (Norman 1). This memorization can be an extensive process where much of the early Chinese pedagogy is devoted strictly to acquiring a vocabulary. Since there are many symbols with distinct differences, the art of calligraphy is also highly developed in China and crucial to composition pedagogy (Norman 1). For Chinese education as a whole, most pedagogy leading up to the 20th century was center on “follow[ing] the traditions and rules…there was no need for the common people to know why.” (History of Education in China). The country’s reform in the late 1970s opened its citizens up to the outside world and simultaneously ushered a new era for the education system. The National People’s Congress propagated the “Compulsory Education Law of the People’s Republic of China” in 1986, therefore “placing basic education in the country on a firm legal basis [where] China started a system of 9-year compulsory education.” (History of Education in China). Education requirements increased over the next two decades, eventually placing significant importance on higher education. Money was also poured into the research and development of pedagogical systems, and “between 2005 and 2012, the number of researchers in China increased by 38% and the number of published research articles from higher education institutions in China increased by 54%.” (History of Education in China).

It is clear that the histories of composition in China and America have varied significantly, especially in regard to the fundamental aspects and overall goals of education. Perhaps, however, the greatest differences for composition learners lie not within the classrooms, but in the homes of the two respective countries. Amy Chua, a Yale Law School professor, is one of the more recent contributors to this topic in her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, the phrase “tiger mother” commonly used to refer to a popular parenting style of Chinse parents. Although some may be opposed to the idea of stereotypical parenting styles within cultures, Chua states that Chinese parents devote “approximately ten times as long every day drilling academic activities with their children” as opposed to Western parents (5). This structured schedule which may seem excessive to Euro-American standards finds harmony with the Chinese language itself which is comprised of over 50,000 characters and requires ample time and discipline to master. According to Chua’s interview with Time Magazine, she believes one of the root causes for different styles in parenting, and therefore education, is that “Western parents seem much more concerned about their children’s psyches, their self-esteem, whereas tough immigrant parents assume strength rather than fragility in their children and therefore behave completely differently.” (Luscombe). This intense relationship between parent and child seems to generally propel the child further in the Chinese culture because the child finds her sense of drive from the parent to succeed. In Chua’s case, she makes one daughter, Lulu, “play piano late into the night until she gets the piece exactly right, with no water or bathroom breaks…she never lets her girls have sleepovers or do drama at school or get less than an A on report cards…[the] result: daughter gets to play a piano recital at Carnegie Hall.” (Luscombe).

In comparison to the Chinese style of parenting, it would at first appear that the lenient, Western parenting approach would only make a child soft and set him up for failure in education and beyond. It is quite the opposite, however, for the Western child, too, finds harmony with the parenting style he is born into. The reason for a child’s success in the classroom internationally is based strongly on motivation which is “understood to come from within an individual in Western families,” but “Asian children find strength in parental expectations.” (Parker 1). Western parents spend much of their time cultivating the child and helping him discover his sense of self, hoping that their love and confidence in him will prompt him to want to do his best. The self-discovery process is believed to foster critical and creative thinking that will not come from an authoritarian approach. In contrast, many Chinese parents insist their child dedicate herself to her duties, for “most things are not fun until [one is] good at them and to get good at them, [one] ha[s] to work extremely hard…kids on their own will not want to work hard at something.” (Luscombe). While the American parents tend to encourage independence, Chinese parents stress the need for interdependence. Fu, a doctoral student in psychology and the lead author of the Stanford study, explains that “while European American parents give their children wings to fly on their own, Asian American parents provide a constant wind beneath their children’s wings. (Parker 1). The differences were even evident in the ways that students described the parents. For example, the Chinese students were more apt to discuss the relationship they had with their parents and how they pushed them to succeed, while the American students described their parents as individuals—their parent’s interests, physical appears, memories of outings and activities— (Parker 1). Neither approach is wrong, and both have great benefits for their children when applied from a nurturing and well-intending perspective. Perhaps recent Stanford research sums it up best: “even if Asian and Western parenting styles differ radically, they represent two paths to the same destination.” (Parker 1).

There are strengths and weaknesses to both parenting styles, both cultures, and both education systems. To be an effective teacher in one’s respective homeland to students of the same nationality presents enough challenges of its own. A successful L2 teacher must be willing to go a step further and immerse herself in the background of her students. Not that she must spend years abroad in the other countries, but she should, at the very least, have a solid understanding of the social, familial, and educational norms of the L2 learner’s country. For example, based on the aforementioned data, if a theoretical Chinese student was told by his teacher to write a self-prompted piece with little to no guidelines, he may feel intimidated because not only is he struggling with a new language, he is also culturally used to guidance and structure which is lacking in this exercise; he relies on the factor of interdependence. This student needs an assignment catered to him or at the least some one-on-one time and encouragement from the instructor. Likewise, if an American student studying abroad in China was forced to partake in a far more excessively regimented school structure than she is used to with little to no creative outlet, she would crumble and feel defeated, perhaps even dehumanized. This student needs more breaks and encouragement, or at the least, a variety in lesson plans to keep her attention and give her a sense of diversity and independence. Returning to the analogy of the soccer player, a good coach knows the player’s strengths for football (being able to kick the ball well and far, having a relationship with the teammates, competitive gaming, etc.) as well as his weaknesses (not understanding the game rules, being unfamiliar with plays and positions, having different techniques, etc.) and he praises the strong areas while strengthening the weak ones. This transition would not be possible if the coach was uneducated in sports as a whole or spent little time researching the player’s past. Similarly, an effective instructor will always be aware of her students’ background and needs so she can utilize the best pedagogy methods to ensure success.

Works Cited

“A Brief History of Rhetoric and Composition.” The Bedford Bibliography: History of Rhetoric

and Composition. Bedford/St. Martin’s, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <http://www.macmillan learning.com/catalog/static/bsm/bb/history.html>.

Chua, Amy. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014. Print.

Ferris, Dana, and John Hedgcock. Teaching L2 Composition: Purpose, Process, and Practice.

Third ed. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2014. Print.

“History of Education in China.” History of Education in China – China Education Center. China

Education Center Ltd., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017. <http://www.chinaeducenter.com/en/ chistory.php>.

Luscombe, Belinda. “Chinese vs Western Mothers: Q&A with Amy Chua.” Time. Time, 11 Jan.

  1. Web. 02 May 2017. <http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/11/chinese-vs-western-mothers-q-a-with-amy-chua/&gt;.

Norman, Jerry. “Chinese Writing.” China Learning Initiatives. Asia Society, n.d. Web. 01 May

  1. <http://asiasociety.org/china-learning-initiatives/chinese-writing&gt;.

Parker, Clifton B. “Tiger moms’ vs. Western-style mothers? Stanford researchers find different

but equally effective styles.” Stanford University. Stanford University, 20 May 2014. Web. 01 May 2017. <http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/may/asian-european-moms-052014.html&gt;.

Reid, E. Shelley. “Anxieties of Influencers: Composition Pedagogy in the 21st Century.”

International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature 4.1 (2014): 241-49. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Russell, David R. “Composition’s History” Research on Composition, 1983-2003, Ed. Peter

Smagorinsky. Urbana, IL: NCTE. Teachers College Press, 2006.

“Taking Advantage of the Reading/Writing Connection.” Empowering Writers. Empowering

Writers., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

Varnum, Robin. “The History of Composition: Reclaiming Our Lost Generations.” International

Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature 4.1 (2014): 39-55. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.

And Then She Said “No”: A Brief Review of Violence Towards Indigenous Women and How They Are Fighting to Change the System

And Then She Said “No”: A Brief Review of Violence Towards Indigenous Women and How They Are Fighting to Change the System

“One in three Native women will be raped in her lifetime, and six in ten will be physically assaulted.” (Using the Declaration to End Violence Against Native Women 1). Data like that is disturbing and astronomical, but people cannot turn away from this atrociousness and hope that the matter will eventually sort itself out. This course covered ample content related to Indigenous women including their struggles, triumphs, ways of understanding, and movements. Two of the topics went hand-in-hand and demanded the attention and response: violence against Indigenous women and their reaction to it. A week was spent covering violence in Indigenous communities, but this assignment was the perfect opportunity to further explore this topic. Whether the media chooses to acknowledge the truth or not, the fact remains that sexual violence towards Indigenous women and girls across the globe is prevalent. The horrors of the violent crimes again Indigenous women are matched by their fierce, but quiet strength that is displayed as they fight the uphill battle for justice and peace. Although hostility and sexual assault towards Indigenous women date back to early settlement days when they were used as forms of subjugation or annexation, many factors are still present today and contribute to overwhelming statistics. Local political systems and law reinforcement have done precious little to combat the atrocious acts, but unexpected champions have arisen on behalf of Indigenous women: themselves. Recently, Indigenous women have united together and found a voice powerful enough to start drawing attention to the discrimination and abuse.

There are several causes that play directly into modern-day violence towards Indigenous women. One factor that contributes to violence towards Indigenous women in Canada is “social and economic marginalization…along with a history of government policies that have torn apart Indigenous families and communities…” (Stolen Sisters 2). This issue has resulted in many Indigenous women being placed into treacherous situations such as poverty and homelessness which can lead to undesirable vocations like prostitution. Some discriminatory views are also products of the colonization-centered mindset which recognizes Indigenous men and women alike as being less than first-class citizens. That mentality plagues many of those who administer the criminal justice system, including judges, prosecutors, and police. They often embrace the ubiquitous opinion that “women are responsible for violence committed against them or that they deserve to be punished for non-conforming behavior.” (Stolen Sisters 7). The fact that the previous two factors exist leaves Indigenous women further vulnerable to future crimes. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous men see an opportunity when the law is not being enforced sufficiently, and therefore the number of attacks against Indigenous women only continues to rise. The lack of police intervention only minimizes the validity of the violent acts committed against Indigenous women, creating an influx in crimes.

Indigenous women are not standing idly by, however, while their sisters suffer daily. Tamra Truett Jerue, Director for the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center and Tribal Administrator and Director of Social Services for the Anvik Village Tribal Council, is one of those women. In her response to increasing crimes of Alaskan Indigenous women— “Alaska Native women are subjected to the highest rate of forcible sexual assault in the United States; one in two experience sexual or physical violence in her lifetime”—she exposed the discriminatory legal system that plagues the state. “The painful truth of the matter is,” Jerue explains, “that although Alaska Native women have the same human rights as all other people, our women are protected less and denied access to meaningful remedies just because they are indigenous and are being assaulted in Alaska Native villages.” (Anvik Village Tribal Council 1). She, like many other Indigenous female leaders, believes much of the issue (and therefore solution) lies within the local government and its daily scuffles with Indigenous peoples. If they were acknowledged as sovereign and allowed to self-govern, they would be better prepared to address the violent crimes. More Indigenous women getting involved in government and activism at local levels will only strengthen their voices and help put an end to the violent acts.

Violence towards Indigenous women is historically linked to war and the “conquer and assimilate” mindsets that plague many colonizers. Indigenous women have stepped up in response and begun to address war itself and the detrimental impacts it has on Indigenous life. Leaders in this movement believe they are instrumental in fighting for alternatives to capitalism and colonialism. According to Maria Suarez, a Costa Rican feminist journalist and human rights activist, “violence against women is and remains a cornerstone for all other kinds of violence used to subjugate.” (Gies 1). Capitalism is the brother to colonialism, and both patriarchal systems seek to devalue Indigenous women because they only view them as a commodity. This mindset causes its followers to justify violence towards Indigenous women as a structural aspect of the system. In America, a state ripe with capitalistic mentalities, “crimes go unprosecuted, as documented in a federal report showing that, from 2005-2009, U.S. attorneys declined to prosecute 50% of all Indian country matters referred to them, 67% of which involved sexual abuse and related matters.” (Using the Declaration to End Violence Against Native Women 1). Unfortunately, this theme reoccurs all over the world because colonizers have dug their roots into every corner of the globe. Regardless of these struggles, Indigenous women from all over the word have come together to address the problems within their communities, for “their resistance is key to their own survival, the defense of their territory and communities, and the protection of the land and natural resources.” (Gies 1).

There is still much to be done. In North America alone, “although the 566 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native nations have inherent sovereign authority over their territories and people, their ability to protect Native women from violence and to provide them with meaningful remedies has been unjustly limited by U.S. domestic law and policy.” (Using the Declaration to End Violence Against Native Women 1). These systems might be a wreck, but that is not stopping Indigenous women from contributing to, organizing, working to liberate their communities. Pam Palmater, Mi’kmaw Nation lawyer, professor, and vocal activist against Canada’s state-sanctioned violence and refusal to address missing and murder women cases, believes “Indigenous women on the front lines remind all countries that you don’t need to be elected in a state system to be a leader and defend and protect lands and waters for future generations, and that is what our women are doing.” (Gies 1). Leadership through unity is the key, and these Indigenous leaders are out on the frontlines daily protesting the systems that have attacked Indigenous women for generations. These acts of violence are structural, not accidental, and the resistance of these women demands not only justice and protection for their bodies, but also for their land, sovereignty, and future generations.

Works Cited

Anvik Village Tribal Council. Social Services. Indigenous Women’s Movements to End Violence

Against American Indian, Alaska Native, and Aboriginal Women. Indian Law Resource Center. Indian Law Resource Center, 22 Mar. 2016. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

Gies, Heather. “Facing Violence, Resistance Is Survival for Indigenous Women.” The Hampton

Institute. The Hampton Institute, 22 Apr. 2015. Web. 01 May 2017.

“Using the Declaration to End Violence Against Native Women.” Indian Law Resource Center.

Indian Law Resource Center, 1 Feb. 2012. Web. 01 May 2017.

“Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous

Women in Canada.” Amnesty International Report (2004): 1-37. Web. 10 Feb. 2017. <http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/women-s-rights/violence-againstwomen/maze-of-injustice&gt;.

The Protectors of Life: Indigenous Women in Leadership at Standing Rock

The Protectors of Life: Indigenous Women in Leadership at Standing Rock

First rumored in 2014, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe immediately opposed plans for the Dakota Access Pipeline. It gained momentum with the public in the latter portion of 2016, spearheaded by a gaping controversy of the 1,200-mile project. The pipeline itself, “built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners and designed to transport as many as 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota to Illinois,” has since become one of the country’s biggest controversies (Worland). Those in favor argue that it will create jobs, help the U.S. become more energy independent, and that the oil transfer process will be environmentally friendly. Those who fought against it and stayed out the winter in Standing Rock had a starkly different view: it threatens the purity of the water in the area, directly worsens climate change by pumping shale oil into the market, and perhaps the most important point, it is a direct violation of a land treaty offered to the Sioux in 1851. The peaceful protest lasted just under a year, both sides vying for the last word. On January 24, 2017, President Donald Trump signed executive actions to advance the construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. The battle may have been lost, but the war is not over. Indigenous women led much of the protest process, including making the concern a global matter, playing vital leadership roles, and offering unique perspectives on political and cultural materials.

Indigenous women played a crucial role in each level of the movement to stop construction of the pipeline, including local, regional, and global influence. Aside from the local events surrounding the pipeline in North Dakota, such as peaceful protests and camps organization, they also helped rally the support of people across the country and globe. According to U.S. Today, “Indigenous women across the U.S. have pushed boundaries and served as guiding voices in struggles for land rights, cultural restoration and environmental justice – often quietly, in service of their own communities.” (Hult). For example, Faith Spotted Eagle, a Yankton Sioux Tribal elder and prominent voice against the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines, believes “pipeline protests are a continuation of traditional teachings” and that these teachings must be reinforced in Indigenous children to “educate and re-teach culture lost through decades of forced assimilation in boarding schools.” (Hult). Many of the Indigenous women involved with Standing Rock are actively involved with Indigenous and environmental rights daily across America. Regarding global influence, “a delegation of Indigenous women from Standing Rock and their allies who observed and experienced rights violations in North Dakota due to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, recently traveled to Norway and Switzerland to share their on-the-ground experiences as Indigenous women who are living and working in communities directly impacted by fossil fuel development and infrastructure.” (Lake). These Indigenous women believe their work is ongoing, and they know how to reach all levels of influence to impact people on the broadest levels.

Several key characteristics defined the leadership roles of Indigenous women during the movement. One major goal they had was to make sure others understood that they were not simply fighting for one cause or issue. They cared about clean water, police brutality, and the rights of future generations in America—to name a few. In a viral video shared by social justice journalist Shaun King, one such Indigenous female leader said, “in the history of colonization, they’ve always given us two options: give up our land or go to jail…give up our rights or go to jail…and now, give up our water or go to jail…we are not criminals.” (Lampen). Satiacum chose Winona LaDuke, an Ojibwe activist and two-time Green Party vice presidential candidate who ran with Ralph Nader, understands that the responsibility for change lies heavily on the shoulders of Indigenous women. “The leadership in a lot of the environmental movement and the indigenous movements has been women,” LaDuke explains, and historically, the role of women traditionally had differing but equal roles within tribes (Hult). Even when leadership was generally male, women were still always part of the conversation and decision-making process. They have grown bounds since then, and these powerful leaders believe they have more impact for change than ever before.

Legal, political, cultural, and spiritual perspectives drove Indigenous women forward throughout the protest. One perspective infrequently touched on by media is the deep spiritual perspectives that are a framework for Indigenous beliefs and actions. For example, in the Lakota way of understanding, harming the water directly harms women and their reproductive systems. Coya White Hat-Artichoker, a Lakota and active leader at Standing Rock, explained that “the Lakota word for womb is ‘tamni,’ which means ‘her water’…if the water is poisoned, then she is poisoned.” (Bogado). Legal and political perspectives tend to go hand-in-hand, and the protest at Standing Rock was yet another example of colonizers treating Indigenous peoples with utter disrespect. Corrine Sanchez, who leads Tewa Women United, adamantly stated, “Indigenous lands have always been stolen or taken as sacrifice zones.” (Bogado). Coya and Corrine are both strongly driven by cultural perspectives, and they believe tribal sovereignty is of the utmost importance. Osprey Orielle Lake, the founder and executive director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, argues that “globally, it is time for financial institutions to listen to the voices of Indigenous women leaders and their allies as they call for accountability to people and planet.” Ultimately, Standing Rock was not simply about protecting water. It was symbolic of Indigenous self-governance and sovereignty—the right to protect one’s body, mind, and soul.

Indigenous women were active change agents in the work at Standing Rock, and their efforts will only continue to impact the world. Even after President Trump signed the executive order, “Indigenous women leaders and their global allies remain unyielding in their quest for justice and healing regarding the violations of Indigenous rights and human rights being carried out through the development of DAPL and other fossil fuel projects across North America.” (Lake). Being the protectors of life, Indigenous women are adamant about protecting water, rights, and sacred ground—all three of which are now threatened with the construction of DAPL. Not only are fossil fuels exceedingly dangerous for both the climate and water sources, it is also a silent way to strip any remaining rights away from Indigenous peoples. Leaders like the Indigenous women who played an active role at Standing Rock refuse to silently accept their fate, and they will continue to fight for Indigenous sovereignty and for respect through the means of self-governances and protection over people and lands. These Indigenous women, these frontline defenders, these protectors of life, may be all that stands between the destruction of human rights and the world as we know it.

Works Cited

Bogado, Aura. “How Water Contamination at Standing Rock Threatens Women’s Reproductive

Rights.” Teen Vogue. TeenVogue.com, 28 Apr. 2017. Web. 29 Apr. 2017. <http://www. teenvogue.com/story/water-standing-rock-womens-reproductive-rights>.

Hult, John. “Women of Standing Rock aren’t backing down.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite

Information Network, 12 Mar. 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. <https://www.usatoday.com/ story/news/nation/2017/03/11/women-standing-rock-arent-backing-down/98975956/>.

Lake, Osprey. “Indigenous Women of Standing Rock Resistance Movement Speak Out on

Divestment.” EcoWatch. EcoWatch, 16 Apr. 2017. Web. 29 Apr. 2017. <http://www. ecowatch.com/women-standing-rock-divestment-2359104248.html>.

Lampen, Claire. “Indigenous women of Standing Rock release heartbreaking video hours before

evacuation deadline.” Mic. Mic Network Inc., 21 Feb. 2017. Web. 27 Apr. 2017. <https ://mic.com/articles/169085/indigenous-women-of-standing-rock-issue-heartbreaking-plea-for-help-ahead-of-evacuation#.Mjwtj1uiu>.

Worland, Justin. “Dakota Access Pipeline: What to Know About the Controversy.” Time

Magazine. Time Magazine, 28 Oct. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2017. <http://time.com /4548566/dakota-access-pipeline-standing-rock-sioux/>.