"Cultural Resistance and 'Playing Indian' in Thomas King's 'Joe the Painter and the Deer Island Massacre'" by John Glenn argues that King's story rejects monolithic, "objective" historical narratives in favor of communal, collaborative historical representation. The article contends that by playing the part of massacred Indians in a stage play to celebrate the centennial founding moment of a California town, the story's Native family inverts racial stereotypes from limiting roles to fluid opportunities for selfcreation. In the process of acting out the parts of nineteenth-century Indians who are killed defending a piece of land they refuse to share with encroaching settlers, the group consciously redescribes itself; it transforms the stereotypical trappings of Indian roles—long wigs, traditional dress, living in teepees—into a celebration of Indian identity that engenders an alternative history not based on a return to the precolonial past, but based on incorporating a sense of the past into the present moment.


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pp. 228-251
Launched on MUSE
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