Native American Studies
Publication Year: 2002
Arnold Krupat, one of the most original and respected critics working in Native American studies today, offers a clear and compelling set of reasons why red—Native American culture, history, and literature—should matter to Americans more than it has to date. Although there exists a growing body of criticism demonstrating the importance of Native American literature in its own right and in relation to other ethnic and minority literatures, Native materials still have not been accorded the full attention they require. Krupat argues that it is simply not possible to understand the ethical and intellectual heritage of the West without engaging America's treatment of its indigenous peoples and their extraordinary and resilient responses.
Criticism of Native literature in its current development, Krupat suggests, operates from one of three critical perspectives against colonialism that he calls nationalism, indigenism, and cosmopolitanism. Nationalist critics are foremost concerned with tribal sovereignty, indigenist critics focus on non-Western modes of knowledge, and cosmopolitan critics wish to look elsewhere for comparative possibilities. Krupat persuasively contends that all three critical perspectives can work in a complementary rather than an oppositional fashion.
A work marked by theoretical sophistication, wide learning, and social passion, Red Matters is a major contribution to the imperative effort of understanding the indigenous presence on the American continents.
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
Series: Rethinking the Americas
The title I've chosen for this book is neither original1 nor, strictly speaking, adequately descriptive of what the reader will find here. Nonetheless, I've chosen Red Matters because red has not much mattered as yet, not in the aura of the postcolonial, gender and race, borderlands, cultural, or subaltern studies.
I come now to the pleasant task of thanking those who, in many and various ways, have sustained my work and in a variety of ways have contributed to the making of this book. I've chosen to dedicate specific chapters to specific persons rather than to offer a dedication to the book as a whole. Their names, and those of other friends, colleagues, and co-...
1. Nationalism, Indigenism, Cosmopolitanism: Three Perspectives on Native American Literatures
Criticism of Native American literatures today proceeds from one or another of the critical perspectives I call nationalist, indigenist, and cosmopolitan. The nationalist and indigenist positions sometimes overlap, and both nationalists and indigenists tend to see themselves as apart from and in opposition to the cosmopolitans. Nonetheless, as I will try to show,...
2. On the Translation of Native American Song and Story: A Theorized History
This chapter reprints an essay published ten years ago in Brian Swann's edited volume On the Translation of Native American Literatures. After a good deal of reflection, I decided to leave it in its original form with only this prefatory note to serve as an explanation of that decision. As the preceding chapter should have made clear, translation in the figurative mode...
3. America's Histories
This chapter's title means to point to the fact that the history of America most of us know is not the only history of America. The indigenous oral tradition, for example, abounds with narratives that the contemporary Wyandot historian Clifford Trafzer calls, "the first history of the Americas" (474). This is "history," Trafzer notes, "in the native sense of...
4. From "Half-Blood" to "Mixedblood": Cogewea and the "Discourse of Indian Blood"
Published in 1927, and until recently thought the "first" novel by a Native American woman,2 Mourning Dove's Cogewea: The Half-Blood was paid little critical attention until 1978, when Charles Larson commented upon it in an appendix to his American Indian Fiction in regard to the issue of dual authorship. Mourning Dove —or Hum-ishu-ma, also known as Christine Haines and Christine or Chrystal Quintasket — this is to say, had completed a first draft of the novel in the years 1912-14, but, after meeting Lucullus Virgil McWhorter...
5. The "Rage Stage": Contextualizing Sherman Alexie's Indian Killer
Sherman Alexie's Indian Killer (1996) begins in the "winter" of 1968-69,1 in the delivery room of "An Indian Health Service hospital," on "this reservation or that reservation. Any reservation, a particular reservation" (3). There a dark-skinned boy is born to a fourteen-year-old Indian2 woman who has apparently agreed to give him up for adoption. The transfer of the infant to his adoptive parents is violent...