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Studies in American Indian Literatures 16.1 (2004) vii-ix

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From the Editor

aya aya niihkaania!

This issue marks a major change for the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures/Studies in American Indian Literatures (ASAIL/SAIL) members and readers—it's our first issue produced by the University of Nebraska Press. By now many of you will have seen SAILprominently included in the press's Native studies catalog, so I hope that you are as excited about holding this issue as I am!

This moment has been a long time in coming. It began in 1972 when ASAIL was founded at the mla Convention as an organization whose purpose was to promote study, criticism, and research on the oral traditions and literatures of Native Americans; to promote the teaching of such traditions and literatures; and to support and encourage contemporary Native American writers and the continuity of Native American oral traditions. As Bob Nelson's history of SAIL (available on the website) tells us, SAIL first came to fruition in 1973 under the editorial eye of Wayne Franklin, but Karl Kroeber quickly took over editorship of the journal and began the quarterly publication of series 1 in the spring of 1977. Kroeber edited SAIL for ten years; when he stepped out of the editor's chair, the journal had a slight interruption in publication for about two years. Series 2, a quarterly publication, began under the watchful eye of Helen Jaskowski in 1989. Daniel Littlefield Jr., James Parins, and Robert Nelson assisted her on the first issues of that series. In 1992 Rodney Simard took over the editorship of SAIL; when he became ill in 1994, John Purdy took the helm and kept the journal's course [End Page vii] steady until 2000 when Malea Powell (that's me) became the general editor.

Once a stapled booklet of thirty-six pages with around forty subscribers, SAIL is now much, much more. As in all things, I am grateful to those elders/editors who had the foresight to make the gradual improvements to the journal that over the past twenty-one years have made all the difference. I hope that the issue you hold in your hands today will show that I am at least an adequate replacement for those editors who came before me. SAIL now has a much larger and more diverse readership than those initial forty subscribers, and the journal is managed by an entire team of editors and assistants. Each issue of the journal takes the editors, editorial board, editorial assistant, and a bevy of experienced manuscript reviewers plus the ever-watchful Bob Nelson (for whom no title would be broad enough) to come into being. Leaving us, though, in this move to the press is our copy/layout editor, Mark Wojcik, a valuable member of the SAIL community for several years. His presence will be missed in the office here at msu.

Although I am especially excited about the content of this issue, I want to take a textual moment and say a bit about the new cover image. After an initial conversation with the staff at the University of Nebraska Press, the editorial board had the job of selecting the image that would represent SAIL for at least the next few years. We selected this photograph of Bonita Bent-Nelson's quillwork cardinal for many reasons. The bird recalls, I hope, the original SAIL birds—still visible on the website—but takes those initial markings and offers an innovation both in terms of appearance and scope. The Northern Cardinal represented here is one of the most common and popular birds in the United States, and I wanted an image that could connect many of our daily lives and lived experiences. Quillwork, too, was once a popular and common decorative clothing form for the indigenous peoples of North America. Beads frequently replaced quills during the early trade years of contact with European culture, but the animals who give their quills for our expression still roam the land. Overall, this quillwork cardinal is a beautiful piece of art and...


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