In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

b o o k R e v i e w s 3 4 9 The essays blend Deloria’s own archival research, family stories, the disparate work of other scholars, and methodologies from cultural studies to create a complex rendering of a critical moment in Native American and dominant American culture. Deloria resituates Indians’ roles in early cinema, reframes the legacy of Wounded Knee, and reexamines the role of the automobile on west' ern reservations, reshaping the American West of the early twentieth century. The great accomplishment of this book, I think, is in the way Deloria demonstrates “that some Indian people—more than we’ve been led to believe— leapt quickly into modernity and not necessarily because they adopted political and legal tools from whites or because they were acculturated into the edu­ cational, political, and economic order of twentieth-century America. They leapt, I think, because it became painfully clear that they were not distinct from the history that even then was being made” (231). Deloria’s book is not just another smart and engaging piece of scholarship, although it certainly is that. The stakes are much higher. Indians in Unexpected Places offers a model for those who seek to make scholarship matter beyond the academy. Writing Indian Nations: Native Intellectuals and the Politics of Historiography, 1827-1863. By Maureen Konkle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004. 355 pages, $49.95/ $19.95. Reviewed by N icole Tonkovich University of California, San Diego Some academic books speak primarily to specialized research interests; others advance theoretical or methodological paradigms that offer to reform entire fields of study. A few, such as Writing Indian Nations, do both. Here Maureen Konkle analyzes a large body of Native intellectual production while exempli­ fying how scholars might resist colonial epistemologies that structure the study of western American literature and history. According to Konkle, scholars’ fail­ ure “to recognize Native political autonomy as a category for analysis” furthers such limited and limiting scholarly agendas (291). Her book exemplifies a way of understanding westward expansion without incorporating Native knowledge into a multiculturally inclusive framework that privileges the United States triumphant. Konkle considers Native-authored political theory, history, oratory, cultural analysis, and even dance as intellectual and always political productions that “dramatize a continuous process ... of ... struggle to think through the effects of Eurocentrism” by asserting sovereignty, resisting racialization, and claiming “authority over their traditional knowledge [and] history” (41, 5). Her work insists that we recognize Native peoples’ existence in time, their survival and adaptation to changing political conditions. These thematic strands structure Konkle’s exhaustive and complex analyses of the work of more than a dozen Native intellectuals who “reject racial difference, claim history and therefore 3 5 0 W e s t e r n A m e r i c a n L i t e r a t u r e f a l l 2 0 0 6 political equality for themselves, and, often through the use of sustained tex­ tual analysis, refute whites’ knowledge about them as politically self-interested misrepresentations” (51). Three of the book’s four chapters consider resistances to political crises occasioned by white appropriation of land. Konkle’s reread­ ing of the documents of Cherokee Resistance sees Elias Boudinot, John Ridge, and John Ross as asserting that the Cherokee nation is a “modernizing Indian nation that persists despite” US federal and state mechanisms (46). Her consid­ eration of the large oeuvre of William Apess reveals his trenchant “critique of racial difference” at a moment when science, politics, and political expediency combined to advance a naturalized idea of race (104). Turning from an emphasis on land and treaty rights, Konkle considers how six Ojibwe intellectuals represented themselves, their history, and their traditions as a resistance to white ethnological scholarship that transmuted their cultural history into “idealized, romanticized stories that described Native peoples as inhabitants of the distant past” and that, thus, “quite literally sup­ ported colonial control” (160, 167). Themes of land, politics, racialization, and intellectual self-determination come together in her concluding examination of how Seneca and Tuscarora intellectuals resisted Euramerican attempts to narrate the histories of the putative eclipse of the “mythical Iroquois...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 349-350
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.