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WAL 3 5 .1 SUMMER 2 0 0 0 tion to las disappearadas, the invisible writers whose works “ride the borders of a variety of literary, cultural, and ideological realms” (165). Neither essay, how­ ever, is simply a polemic for expanding the canon; rather, each is a persuasive case for radical change in literary systems of criticism that ignore cultural con­ text. Gunn Allen continues this critique in the final section of the collection, “La Frontera: Na[rra]tives,” but in a different manner—through personal (and autobiographical) reflections. Essays such as “My Lebanon” ask what it means to be Indian, to be white, to be American, while other essays such as “The Lay of the Land” look again at themes and myths in contemporary literature. The same questions are posed in the previous essays of the collection, only here they emerge within the context offamily experiences and from the perspective of global communities. Overall, readers familiar with Gunn Allen’s work will appreciate having easy access to some of her most influential essays within the context of new beginnings—of the twenty-first century. Readers who have newly come to the territories of Native American studies and women’s spirituality, to which Gunn Allen’s contributions have been essential, will find themselves well guided. And all students of western American literature will be rewarded by the poetics of Off the Reservation and Gunn Allen’s messages. Tricky Tribal Discourse: The Poetry, Short Stories, and Fus Fixico Letters of Creek Writer Alex Posey. By Alexia Kosmider. Moscow: University of Idaho Press, 1998. 112 pages, $24.95. Reviewed by Gwen Griffin Minnesota State University, Mankato The driving thesis of this particular work is an “attempt to understand Posey’s multiple and divergent voices” that Alexia Kosmider contends result from the “conflicted position” of being a mixed-blood (3). Tricky TribalDiscourse begins with what Kosmider describes as an “evolutionary approach” to showhow Native writerAlexander Posey emulated European models such as Robert Bums, incorporated Creek verbal traditions, and reflected the historical and cultural context of Indian Territory at the turn ofthe nineteenth century (2). According to her examination ofhis work, “[I]t is his constant vacillation between wanting to be ‘Indian’ and desiring to be ‘modem’ that makes him a fascinating literary figure” (18). The author’s goal is to present a study that “explores and assesses Alex Posey’s literary contributions” to give “critics and readers a different basis for understanding the difficulty of negotiating, and ultimately expressing, bicultural experiences” (99). She acknowledges that the “current trend to incorporate American Indian works into the canon” should provide a place for Posey and other Native writers of the nineteenth century (98). While the goals of the book are commendable, including providing a bio­ graphical, cultural, and historical framework to establish the genesis of Posey’s b o o k R e v ie w s 2 0 7 “conflict,” they might have been better achieved through a more focused dis­ cussion of Posey’s life and writing. A well-known Creek poet and journalist, Posey was raised in Creek culture by his full-blood mother and Scots-Irish father (who was a fluent Creek speaker) near Eufaula, Oklahoma, and learned English as a teenager. These important elements of his formative life are glossed over in favor of Kosmider’s attempt to prove the “conflicted” status of a writer trying to live in a bicultural world. While Kosmider correctly suggests that the “confrontation between Euroamerican and Creek cultures drives much of his literary work,” she assigns identity confusion, rather than political conflict, as the basis of this confrontation for Posey’s writing (1). Best known for his satirical Fus Fixico letters, Posey was directly active in tribal affairs and helped draft a revised constitution for the Creek Nation. His satires of U.S. policy and culture provided his people in Indian Territory with an important source of identity during a time when they were being dispos­ sessed of their lands and culture. When Oklahoma was admitted as a state in November 1907, most Indian governments in the former Indian Territory were abolished, including the constitutional government of the Creek Nation (along with those of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 206-208
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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