- From The Editor
aya aya niihkaania!
Aya aya all my SAIL friends and relatives. This issue of SAIL marks our thirtieth anniversary of publication—a tremendous testimony to all of us who participate in the field of American Indian writing and literary studies. While this journal began in the hearts and minds of those who created the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures and the Division on American Indian Literatures at the Modern Language Association, it has been sustained by generations of scholars, writers, and teachers who see the study of Native writing, music, art, film, and performance as significant to all academic endeavors and, more importantly, as central to understanding the creative, intellectual forces that are integral to the lives of millions of Indigenous peoples who claim the American continent as "home."
The writings selected for this thirtieth anniversary issue are diverse because our field is increasingly diverse. This issue includes critical essays, poems, a short story, and a special section of revised conference papers written by established scholars and writers as well as "new" and upcoming scholars and writers. This spectrum of creation to critique across the generations has wrought this fields into a community; that community has always been, and will continue to be, SAIL's greatest strength. As many of us enter a larger conversation focused on creating an umbrella organization for American Indian and Indigenous studies over the next few months, I hope that this strength translates outward to other fields and becomes part of [End Page vii] that larger conversation. After all, a community behaves in ways that a loose collection of interested individuals cannot. A community is a homeplace, a support structure, a center; being a member of a community is a responsibility, not a hobby or an entitlement.
I have been privileged to be SAIL's editor for the last seven years. When I began this endeavor back in 2001, there was no way that I could anticipate the joy, or the pain, that editorship brings. A lot has changed since then. We've gone from being locally produced using Microsoft Word and a copy machine to being produced by the University of Nebraska Press; from being searchable only through the MLA index to being abstracted and indexed in Anthological Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Bibliography of Native North Americans, Current Abstracts, Current Contents/Arts & Humanities, ERIC Databases, IBR: International Bibliography of Book Reviews, IBS: International Bibliography of Periodical Literature, TOC Premier, as well as the MLA International Bibliography; from being available online only through Bob Nelson's killer ASAIL Web site to being a Project Muse journal. These are big changes, good changes.
When I agreed to step into the editorship way back at that last Puerto Vallarta conference, I made a lot of promises about quality—both content and production—and about community. I've tried my very best to fulfill those promises over the past twenty-seven issues under my editorship. But I haven't been alone in that work. There are scores of people to thank, and I want to take some space here to do just that. Thanks to the University of Nebraska Press, especially to Gary Dunham and Manjit Kaur, who have been my most steadfast allies over the past five years and to whose credit our impressive scholarly presence (in indexes and in fact) is much indebted. Thanks to all of the editorial assistants who suffered me with such good humor and grace—Daniel Justice, Mark Wojcik, Shadiin Garcia, Rain Cranford, Tina Urbain, Angela Haas, Deb Grace, and Sue Webb—and to Kim Lee who has served as my assistant editor for the past year with equal grace and humor. Thanks to the English Department at the University of Nebraska for providing initial support for SAIL; and enthusiastic thanks to the College of Arts and Letters; the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures; and the Rhetoric and Writing program [End Page viii] at Michigan State University for providing generous financial and intellectual support for the work of the journal. Thanks, too, to all members of my editorial board—Chad Allen, Dean Rader, Eric G. Anderson, Joe Bruchac, Daniel Justice, Gwen...