Native Signatures of Assent
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Series: Indigenous Americas
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
I grew up on the border—literally and figuratively—of the Leech Lake Ojibwe Reservation in northern Minnesota and, as everyone already knows, life on an Indian reservation can be a hard thing to endure. The difficulties of Indian life are complicated by the shade and color of your skin, which in my case is fairly light. ...
An x-mark is a treaty signature. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was a common practice for treaty commissioners to have their Indian interlocutors make x-marks as signifiers of presence and agreement. Many an Indian’s signature was recorded by the phrase “his x-mark,” and what the x-mark meant was consent. ...
1 Identity Crisis
It was the last night of the powwow, and my twelve-year-old daughter was walking around with her girlfriends, or, more precisely, walking back and forth in front of a group of boys their age. This was during that awkward but sweet time of life when formerly distinct groups of girls and boys start to merge, and my daughter and her friends were justifiably ...
2 Culture and Its Cops
In 1961, 420 Indians representing sixty-seven nations held a small but historic conference at the University of Chicago. The American Indian Chicago Conference discussed numerous aspects of Indian life, formed policy resolutions, established work committees, set agendas, and catalyzed the creation of the National Indian Youth Council, an early Red Power group. ...
3 Nations and Nationalism since 1492
This was the voice of decolonization at the dawn of the postcolonial era, and it was uncompromising and pragmatic. Césaire’s “new society” wouldn’t be exotic, nostalgic, or utopian; rather, it would blend the best of old and new—yesterday’s “fraternity” with today’s “productive power”—and with no contradiction therein. This vision entailed a rejection of racism and illegitimate rule, the destruction of empires, and the making of ...
Long before the new traditionalism appeared on the scene, the cantankerous Ojibwe polemicist Wub-e-ke-niew (Francis Blake Jr.) did something remarkable: he disenrolled himself from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. I repeat: he disenrolled himself. Wub-e-ke-niew was a fluent speaker of Ojibwemowin, a member of the Midewiwin (Grand Medicine Lodge), a regular columnist ...
About the Author
Scott Richard Lyons (Ojibwe/Dakota) is assistant professor of English at Syracuse University, where he teaches indigenous and American literatures. He has also taught at Leech Lake Tribal College, the University of North Dakota, and Concordia College, Moorhead. The author of numerous critical and scholarly essays (including “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What Do American Indians ...