Thursday, May 6, 2010

Here Is to History: Conversations from Early Oregon History

[Editor's note: These dialogues come from a high school Language Arts "Oregon History Through Literature" unit. Students were asked to create and take on fictional characters from the early to mid-1800s in Oregon and to have conversations on paper with each other from their character's perspective.]


William: "My name is William Smith. I am twenty-three-years-old. I am coming to Oregon from England. My reason for coming to Oregon is for land. I am going to plant plants and sell them back in England. I am also coming to Oregon to tell the Indians about God."

Beth: "It is very nice to meet you, William. My name is Beth, and I'm twenty-one years of age. Those are very interesting thoughts. What kind of plants are you going to be growing? Are you coming here with your family? The reason I'm coming to America is to find big, beautiful stones that sparkle. The Americans call them diamonds, I believe."

William: "Oh, yes. Diamonds. I've heard. I am not much of a looker. No, I came here by myself. My family died on the way here. We didn't have enough food. I had a brother. He was ill when we decided to travel. My parents were old and did not get enough food. I did my best to keep them alive. How many people are in your family?"

Beth: "Oh dear, I'm so sorry! But I feel your pain. My mother passed not long before I left. And my Papa stayed in Italia. But I came here with my older brother. He's very rich and decided to put that money somewhere useful. He's going to help me with the diamonds."

William: "I am sorry, Miss Beth. Well, best of luck to you and your brother. Hope you find everything you're looking for."

Beth: "Thank you, Mr. William. Best of luck to you too. Farewell."


Isabell: "My name is Isabell Swan, and I'm coming to America to find my grandmother. Also, to find love... I'm a faithful follower of God and I want to come here to spread the word of his love."

Sakalama: "Dear Isabell, in your religion, what does your God do and what are his powers? What type of love are you looking for? Don't look too hard, because your true love could be always right next to you without noticing. And if you are the faithful believer, you should have your soul mate following you and finding the connections between you two. Let your true love find you instead. Sincerely, Sakalama, a.k.a. Bird"

Isabell: Oh my dear Sakalama, I listened to your advice and love found me! We're getting married. I'm so blessed. My God is the all mighty. He has the power of all. He made my planet and galaxy, all of existence."

Sakalama: "I am extremely happy for you, my dear child. I hope that your love will last for decades and will continue like the stars in the sky. I see that we are different from each other, but I do relate to your life. I do hope that your God will continue blessing you with happiness. - Bird."


Stella: "Hello, my name is Stella Garbachova. I'm coming to Oregon to save the people."

Lulu: "Hello, my name is Lulu. Where are you from?"

Stella: "I come from Paris. And I'd like to know who you believe in and what kind of belief it is? Do you think I have the chance to save many people in this place? What kind of food do you eat? Is it safe here?

Lulu: "In the Takeima tribe, we believe that our best chance for productive lives depends on our learning useful skills and the English language. You might have a chance. We eat lots of foods. One of them is corn. It was safe here until the bad people started coming."

Stella: "Why and when did the bad people come? Could you please tell me where I can meet them? Maybe I could stop them and save them and tell them about God."


Bill: "My name is Bill Gates and I'm a missionary that came to Oregon in 1812 to give people a chance to know the Bible and to save their souls."

Bob: "My name is Bob and I was a fighter for twenty years. No more."

Bill: "Now I call on you to fight for religion and to kill people with the word that is given in the Bible."

Bob: "This is the end."

Bill: "For you the end will be if you don't save your soul."


Oleg: "My name is Oleg. The reason I came as a missionary to Oregon is to tell Native Americans about my religion and try to convert them to forget their religion and believe in mine."

Chiku: "My name is Chiku. I've been a fighter for ten years. I will fight for my people and my beliefs. I have and I want to be free from the white religion because I trust my beliefs that have helped me every time in war, hunting and family life."

Oleg: "Ok, then we will take your kids away from you and send them boarding schools and we will teach them the religion we believe in."

Chiku: "I will kill you now or then, but I will kill you and your family when this happens. Our people will fight till the end and I bet our people are stronger than yours and pretty good with shooting arrows and throwing knives."

Oleg: "You and the other Native Americans will be asked nicely to move onto reservations. If you won't, you will be forced to move there in a while. If you fight, we will kill all of your tribe."

Chiku: "You are taking our land and now you want war after we did good for your people. You are so greedy that you shall die here."


Seth: "My name is Seth. I decided to come to Oregon, because of the land and to preach to the Indians. Also, a lot of my family came to Oregon and I want to be with them."

Abhilasha: "Hello, my name is Abhilasha. It means 'wish' or 'desire.' I wish we weren't being chased off our land. We don't mind sharing it with you and we're very friendly. Why do you want to preach to us? About what?"

Seth: "Abhilasha--very beautiful name. You sure do seem friendly and so are we. We want to preach about the good news and salvation. It's very important to know about it."

Abhilasha: "Thank you! I see. That sounds interesting, but I'm a little bit confused. What is the good news?"

Seth: "The good news is that God died on the cross for us and our sins. There is much more to that, but I prefer talking about it in person."

Abhilasha: "That is very interesting. I want to know more. We should meet soon to talk about it."


"My name is Safia. My husband is Sabal. We have two kids, Sakki and Salima. We came here to Oregon for fishing and animal fur."

"Really? How old are your kids? Where are you planning to live? You should join our group. We are the best. We fish together and hunt for deer together."

"My kids are twelve and thirteen. We are planning to move close to your tribe. We love to fish and hunt. What is your tribe's name?"

"Our name is Tututni. Yes, you should join us. We would love you. Come!"

"I have heard of you. I will talk with my family first."

"I hope to go fishing with you soon!"


Bill: "My name is Bill Montgomery. I have decided to move along with my family to Oregon. We have heard that there is great soil and much of it there. I want my family to have a better life. I dream of my own big farm and house. Also, of building a church for us and the natives."

Lila: "Hi, my name is Lila. I am sixteen-years-old. I very strongly agree with you. I love the fact that Oregon has good soil. That is also why I love Oregon! I want to start coming to church also, but I don't know where or how."

Bill: "It is very nice to meet you, Lila. I have a son your age. You say you want to start going to church. We'd be more than happy to have you join us. We don't have a building yet, so we gather in our homes. You are welcome to come over and go with us."

"Really? Will you meet us? I would be more than happy to! Thank you so much. That really means a lot to me. We can also build a church together. What do you say?"


Victoria: "My name is Victoria Walker and I'm coming to Oregon to tell people about God and to help the poor."

Chaska: "I'm Chaska. I would like to know about your God and I would like to know how your God helps you."

Victoria: "I think my God is the best. When I need help, I go to my room, close the door and just pray. After praying, I hope and believe he will help me. And yes, God helps me a lot."

Chaska: "Well, we believe in the Great Spirit and we think that he knows what is best for Indians. Also, to get something, you need to give something. What does your God want from you?"

Victoria: "My God just wants me to tell his Word to the people who don't know Him. Also, I want to help the poor and homeless. I hope you will welcome me as your friend, and let me tell you about my God."

Chaska: "You can tell us about it, but don't try to force us to believe in it. Also, you can help the poor."


Sarah: "I am Sarah Dear, and I'm coming with my family to Oregon because I want the Indians to learn our beliefs and to be saved."

Kachika: "My name is Kachika Puchi and I come from a Native American tribe. I help my parents with the younger children and I love bead work. But there are different people coming to live on our land. They want us to believe in their God! We have our own gods. What do you want from us?"

Sarah: "I don't want you forcing yourself and believing in my God. I just believe that my God is the best. Also, I want you to believe in that. You don't have to. I want you to know that there are lots of others who believe in my God, or say so, and some of them will come here in the future."

Kachika: "That is amazing. Because I didn't know there were other people who believe in your God. What is your God like? What kind of sacrifices does he like? And, thank you for not forcing us to believe in your God."

Sarah: "Our God is loving and forgiving. He knows what's best for us. He gave us forgiveness. His Son died for our sins. We don't need to make sacrifices to get his help. He gives it to us because he loves us. Tell me what do you believe in and what is your God like?"

Kachika: "Your God is like my gods, but my gods didn't die for their sons! Our gods need sacrifices because if we don't give them sacrifices, they won't give us food or water."

I: Victoria Kharitonenko & Kristina Pleshakova
II: Kristina Pleshakova & Natasha Dumitrash
III: Julia Salyuk & Sveta Trivol
IV: Aleksandr Bakhmatov & Yonatan Tzafir
V: Sergei K & Alex Bakhmatov
VI: Taya Khrupina & Yana Yukhimchuk
VII: Tanya Kulikova & Sveta Demenko
VIII: Yana Yukhimchuk & Taya Khrupina
IX: Tanya Popovich & Tania Kuzmich
X: Tania Kuzmich & Yana Korneychuk

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