- From the Editors
With this issue of SAIL we humbly accept the mantle of editorship from Chadwick Allen. Chad stewarded this journal with great vision and leadership for six years, and we are ever grateful to him and his mentorship, to say nothing of his enviable efficiency and thoroughness. Thanks, too, to his fabulous editorial assistant, Lydia Heberling, who spent hours coaching us on the day-to-day management of incoming submissions, outgoing review requests, and final issue preparation. We wish both Chad and Lydia all the best as they move on to other things now! They're leaving us with very big shoes to fill.
Special thanks go to our editorial board, particularly those long-serving members who have agreed to stay on through this transition, including Lisa Brooks, Jodi Byrd, Molly McGlennen, Kenneth Roemer, and Jace Weaver. This year several valued board members rotated out, including Robin Riley Fast, Susan Gardner, Patrice Hollrah, and Christopher Teuton. We thank them for their service. And we're very excited to welcome new board members who represent an array of new fields and expertise: Scott Andrews, Cari Carpenter, Stephanie Fitzgerald, Laura Furlan, and Sarah Henzi.
Since its initial founding as the official newsletter of ASAIL in 1977 and its eventual incarnation as Studies in American Indian Literatures in 1980, this journal has been a gathering place for discussions of North American Indigenous fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, and film. The growth of the field and of the literature itself in those decades has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Like other editors before us, we will always retain pride of place for cutting-edge work on the canonical Native authors who helped usher this field into being, as well as a commitment to the study and promotion of new, emergent, and lesser-studied writers and texts. At the moment, we are seeing some exciting new developments. These include a wealth of new work on First Nations / Indigenous Canadian literatures, as well as on Indigenous futures and speculative genres. We are also seeing dynamic scholarship at the intersections [End Page vii] of fields with which Native American and Indigenous studies is increasingly in dialogue, e.g., ecocriticism, disability studies, cinema and new media studies, and digital humanities. We welcome your good work in these fields, as well as proposals for special issues.
The four articles in this issue represent SAIL's long-standing commitment to both historic and contemporary texts. The first two focus on Progressive Era writers and texts, and the second two read twenty-first-century novels. Christopher Pexa, who recently published an absorbing article entitled "Charles Alexander Eastman's Animal Peoples and Their Kinship Critiques of U.S. Empire" in PMLA, revisits Eastman here with a look at some of his writings about children's education, emanating from his work with the Boy Scouts. Provocatively, Pexa argues, Eastman produced an ambivalent citizenship discourse that simultaneously "invited white children to 'play Indian'" and "insist[ed] on the felt mediations of embodied Dakota archives and lands." Pexa's complex, nuanced reading helps us dismantle the old assimilation/resistance binary, revealing "an Indigenous politics of the land whose embodied and relational contexts push back against a national citizenship model based in racialized, settler colonial logics of assimilation and absorption."
Jennifer Bess similarly complicates assimilation narratives with her analysis of commencement speeches from the Phoenix Indian School. Like other scholars before her who have exhorted us to read past the propaganda that hovers over publications like the Carlisle School newspapers, Bess finds the Phoenix Indian School students exercising subtle and not-so-subtle challenges to dominant narratives of assimilation. In particular, she finds that these students "maximized their use of the safety zone provided by Native American history, oral traditions, and local geography," ultimately "drawing on and advancing their intellectual traditions as mechanisms of self-preservation and self-advocacy."
Emily Lederman brings this kind of archive-decolonizing consciousness to LeAnne Howe's Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story, a novel that, after all, contains a found archive: the mail pouch of Ezol Day, mail clerk, boarding-school survivor, and storyteller. Where Bess shows us how scholars can...