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j         Every field project has an afterlife. Telling a Good One has had an exceptionally long prepublication afterlife, some of which has been alluded to in the preceding chapters.1 But if Native American collaborative personal narrative is to be taken seriouslyas a process, not simplya vehicle for ‘‘amplifying ethnographic questions, examining ethnological questions or providing insight into personality formation’’ (Blackman b: ), the afterlife of the collaboration requires thorough and intensive scrutiny. Like all other increments and aspects of the collaboration , the post-field history of the Rios-Sands project offers insight into the text of the personal narrative that is otherwise inaccessible. As a metatext of the collaborative narrative itself, the afterlife of Telling a Good One falls into two distinct categories. Some of the afterlife has been personal—a relationship between Ted and me that lasted beyond the informal verification interviews that extended into . Most of the afterlife of this project, however, has been a struggle with the ethical , political, and theoretical issues that have both facilitated and impeded the completion of the project. These aspects of the post-field part of the project have become increasingly complex as it has neared publication. Perhaps, then, it is best to begin with the personal, the sequence of events in the face-to-face relationship Ted and I continued after the twelfth formal interview was completed, and then to take up the more complex elements of the political and ethical aspects of the project.  The Poetics and Politics of Collaborative Personal Narrative When Ted and I finished our formal interviews in June of , he expressed concern about what the future would bring. He was eager to be back home at San Xavier and planting crops but worried that he might not be up to the work that he liked and needed to do in order to identify himself as an active member of his community. Nostalgic for the past and anxious about his future, the tone of the last formal interview is ambivalent and tentative. The aftermath of his accident was uncertainty.The flowof his life, erratic as it was afterWorld War II, had been seriously interrupted.The body that had served him so well in all his work was healing, but whether there would be long-term disabling effects, he was unsure. When we next met in September of  at his home at San Xavier, Ted was more confident and more content. And he seemed vigorous. Our follow-up interviews concentrated on verification and variants, not on his present activities, so I don’t know how much work he was able to do as time progressed into . I do remember, however, that in the November of that year, he cut a cord of mesquite firewood for me by hand, hardly a task an infirm man could accomplish. We stopped all follow-up taping in late fall of . There was no reason to retrace his life over and over, yet Ted seemed willing to go on indefinitely, even though the grant money had all been paid to him by May. Without tape recorder or notepad, I continued to visit Ted sporadically throughout the rest of my graduate studies. When I moved to Phoenix in , I visited him occasionally on trips to Tucson. In  or ’—memory fails me here—he called me from a convalescent and retirement centeron the Gila River Reservation near St. John’s just southwest of Phoenix, and I went to visit him there several times. He never told me exactly why he was there, and he dearly wanted to go home to San Xavier, which he did after a few months. I saw Ted only one time after that, and we visited only briefly. He was thinner than ever, frail and distracted. I don’t remember what we talked about, and I didn’t realize at the time that that would be our last contact. There  The Poetics and Politics of Collaborative Personal Narrative was no more closure to our relationship than there has been to this project. The afterlife of the project for Ted was relatively minimal—repeating narrative episodes, discussing dates and data for verification, guiding me around to sites of episodes in his life,2 making the videotape and attending its showing, perhaps some recognition at San Xavier though I have no indication what form it might have taken, and undoubtedly Ted’s anticipation of a book and his disappointment that it never was published...


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