Cover

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Frontmatter

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction: Diving into Deep Waters

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pp. xi-xxii

My elders say this is how our world was created. Before there was this solid earth on which we live, the place we call Elohi, there was only Galunlati, the Sky World, which exists high above the arch of the Sky-Vault. A long time ago, before humans, the ancient animals grew...

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1. The Oral Impulse, the Graphic Impulse, and the Critical Impulse: Reframing Signification in American Indian Literary Studies

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pp. 1-52

On a warm July afternoon north of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, I sit with Sequoyah Guess and Sam Still under a shady canopy of trees telling stories. Sequoyah and Sam, Cherokee language teachers and cultural traditionalists, are teaching me the language of my family’s kinship. As my nephew, Matt...

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2. N. Scott Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain: Vision, Textuality, and History

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pp. 53-94

Offering both a critical methodology and an articulation of key critical concepts in ways that resolve the apparent binary of oral and literate elements, N. Scott Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain provides a model for interpreting American Indian literature. The narrative describes a transformative intellectual journey in which a tribe reconceives...

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3. Trickster Leads the Way: A Reading of Gerald Vizenor’s Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles

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pp. 95-144

The Anishinaabe writer Gerald Vizenor begins his groundbreaking 1978 trickster novel Darkness in Saint Louis Bearheart at the heart of a colonial struggle, during the 1972 takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington DC. In the epigraph above, a dialogue between Songidee Migwan, an American Indian Movement activist, and Saint...

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4. Transforming "Eventuality": The Aesthetics of a Tribal “Word-Collector” in Ray A. Young Bear’s Black Eagle Child and Remnants of the First Earth

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pp. 145-182

In the preface to Remnants of the First Earth the character Edgar Bearchild creatively blends Black Eagle Child mythology with his unique perceptions of his homeland to describe the way the Black Eagle Child settlement looks before daybreak. Bearchild, Ray A. Young Bear’s fictionalized alter...

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5. Interpreting Our World: Authority and the Written Word in Robert J. Conley’s Real People Series

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pp. 183-214

The summer 2001 issue of the Cherokee Phoenix profiles the Cherokee painter Talmadge Davis, a self-taught artist who turns for his subject matter to the traditions and history of his people. The Cherokee journalist Will Chavez writes that Davis “wants his paintings to teach people about Cherokee history.” Chavez describes Davis’s depiction...

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Epilogue: Building Ground in American Indian Textual Studies

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pp. 215-220

Dypaloh. A word, an invocation. This one Jemez phrase signals not just the beginning of N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn, but a key moment in the development of a critical awareness of the relationship between oral and graphic discourses in Native American literature. Since the publication of Momaday’s watershed novel, Native...

Notes

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pp. 221-224

Works Cited

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pp. 225-234

Index

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pp. 235-245