UNIGE document Book Chapter
previous document  unige:87628  next document
add to browser collection

Introduction: The Indigenous Contexts of “Native.” “American.” “Literature.”

Published in Madsen, D.L. Routledge Companion to Native American Literature. New York: Routledge. 2015
Abstract This essay argues for the editorial vision that unifies the 40 commissioned essays that comprise the volume. This vision can be explained as follows. “When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, 'Ours'” (346). In this reversal of the dominant colonialist view of New World colonial history, Vine Deloria Jr. highlights an indigenous-centered perspective that is characteristic of Native American Literature and the approaches to it used in this Companion. If asked what Indians might call American Literature, they could answer simply, “ours.” That is to say, the work of indigenous expressive artists in the Americas, since long before contact with Europeans, has constituted the literature of Native peoples in America. In Red on Red, Craig Womack uses the metaphor of a tree to challenge the genealogical assumption that indigenous literatures are only one of the ethnic or multicultural “branches” of the canonical U.S. literary tree: “tribal literatures are not some branch waiting to be grafted onto the main trunk,” he asserts. “Tribal literatures are the tree” (6-7 original emphasis). The inappropriate juxtaposition of Native American texts with other “hyphenated” American literatures (such as African- or Asian-American) obscures fundamental differences between indigenous literatures and the literatures of migrant (all non-indigenous) communities. The most fundamental aim of this Companion is to promote the reading of Native American Literature as indigenous literature by providing the contextual information that is needed in order to recognize and appreciate the complex relations among modes of Native identification, historical events, sovereign tribal worldviews or cosmologies, indigenous expressive and aesthetic traditions, and the specific traditions of Native American Literature.
Keywords Native American LiteratureAmerican Indian history and politicsCultural traditionsIndigenous expressivity
ISBN: 9781138020603
Full text
Book chapter (Author postprint) (144 Kb) - public document Free access
(ISO format)
MADSEN, Deborah Lea. Introduction: The Indigenous Contexts of “Native.” “American.” “Literature.”. In: Madsen, D.L. (Ed.). Routledge Companion to Native American Literature. New York : Routledge, 2015. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:87628

128 hits



Deposited on : 2016-09-21

Export document
Format :
Citation style :