essay involves researching an Indigenous issue of your choosing and setting forth an evaluation in contemporary and historical contexts. This assignment requires you to research and analyze Indigenous issues within its proper context.  For our purposes, Indigenous will be applicable to people and communities that originate from a landscape, environment, and locale.  Your task is to present the state of the issue, event, history, evolution, development, or lack thereof that lies within.

Evaluative essays involve answering the question “What is the quality of the thing?” This “quality” is an inquiry into the thing itself, what it is like, and how it compares to other things in its same class and as well as things in other classifications. So, the idea of defining things and classifying takes precedence in this essay.  One must also consider how does one X compare to other Xs?  What are the bases of comparison?  In other words you will be placing a value judgment about your indigenous issue in a comparative way.

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The Assignment

Once the X or issue is identified, criteria must be established.  It is important when setting forth criteria that you don’t privilege causal argumentation (unit 2).  When the issue and criteria is identified, argumentative strategies then become easier to manage for this essay.  It is then when you are to use logic to show how your issue matches up to the criteria.  An example would be the state of the American Indian Studies Program (the X).  Criteria created by my research would then seek to identify a successful AIS program with these goals: A=the program has established academic figures within the field teaching the content; B=the program offers a wide range of classes at the undergraduate and graduate level; C=the program’s philosophy works towards helping students using their degrees in a chosen profession.  Then through a delivery of logic, I would then argue where AIS program meets my criteria and present reasons why I feel this way with evidence.

For our purposes the term “Indigenous” has many applications throughout history.  For example, American Indians are indigenous to North America.  More specifically, the White Mountain Apache are indigenous to northern Arizona and New Mexico.  Some issues that can be evaluated are health, education, opportunities that are either available or not available for the given community.  The choices are endless.  Another example of Indigene would be the colonization of communities indigenous to Mexico or Central America.  Here, the history of colonization is very different than American Indians in American.  One can evaluate these representations comparatively.

Your task is to evaluate an Indigenous issue, ultimately providing your position of how the issue affects people; and operates and in what context.  Identifying stakeholders and its relationships with other issues are definitely required for this in developing your credibility. For example, if I want to argue my position on “Sexual Violence within Indian Country” it would be favorable for me to yes, provide a historical context with the staggering statistics; however, I would mainly privilege how it is a tragic condition within our own US nation and is far too ignored. I would also further my position into why I think it is ignored. In terms of its relation to other issues, it would be good to group it within the contexts of substance abuse; intergenerational trauma via boarding schools and other rooted causes; policies within federal and state courts; and how Native females are a disenfranchised group within a larger marginalized population and are voiceless. And of course I would need to provide evidence supporting all of my points and claims.

Citations will be required


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