Abstract

Raymond Carver grew up in Yakima, Washington, yet his work is rarely interpreted as an engagement with the social, ecological, and economic histories of the Pacific Northwest. In an attempt to reconnect Carver’s work to place, this essay looks at “Sixty Acres,” an early and nearly forgotten story set on the Yakama Indian Reservation at mid-twentieth century. While reading the story alongside histories of federal land and water policies in the Columbia River Basin, the essay traces how the Yakama War, the inequitable irrigation of the Yakima Valley, and the construction of The Dalles Dam and inundation of Celilo Falls have marginalized the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. However, the essay also considers how Carver—like many white writers from the Pacific Northwest during the 1960s—was attempting to identify with Native Americans by creating an image of a Columbia River Indian that corresponds more with his own feelings of social and economic marginalization, than the actual experiences of indigenous peoples.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 54-79
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-12
Open Access
No
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