Assignment: Contextualizing Literature


This two-page assignment provides an opportunity to summarize the novel and to contextualize it in relation to a key topic. It involves library and Internet research and requires proper documentation.

Complete the assignment as a two-page handout for your classmates; whether it is done on paper or in electronic format, it should be easily accessible to everyone. For the purpose of practicing contextualization in literary criticism, each topic below pairs with the novel. If possible, please pick an unfamiliar topic.


In your two-page handout, please provide:

  1. General information about the topic.
  2. An explanation of the topic’s relevance to the novel through a very short summary of the text.
  3. A discussion of the connection between Indigenous people and the topic.
  4. The most recent and relevant sources.

This assignment, when collected, will become an invaluable resource for key topics and insights into the novel.


Pick one of the following items and relate it to Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water:

  • Clifford Sifton
  • Sequoia
  • Cherokee syllabics or First Nations writing systems (pick one)
  • Dawes Act, 1887
  • Fort Marion
  • Wounded Knee
  • Turtle Island
  • First Woman
  • Holm O. Bursum
  • Battle of Little Bighorn
  • Elijah Harper
  • James Bay hydroelectric project
  • Oldman River Dam
  • Tecumseh
  • Changing Woman
  • Coyote
  • Sand Creek Massacre
  • Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance
  • John Richardson
  • Batoche
  • Samuel Hearne
  • Hernan Cortes
  • Fredric Remington
  • Pequot War
  • 1969 White Paper (Canada)
  • Thought Woman
  • George Custer
  • the Hollywood Indian

Works Cited

    • King, Thomas. Green Grass, Running Water. Toronto: HarperCollins, 1993. Print.