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Studies in
CHADWICK ALLEN, Ohio State University
Published by the University of Nebraska Press

The editor thanks the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University for their financial support.


Studies in American Indian Literatures (SAIL ISSN 0730-3238) is the only scholarly journal in the United States that focuses exclusively on American Indian literatures. SAIL is published quarterly by the University of Nebraska Press for the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures (ASAIL). For current subscription rates please see our website:

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        E-mail: jeff


        The editorial board of SAIL invites the submission of scholarly manuscripts focused on all aspects of American Indian literatures as well as the submission of bibliographical essays, review essays, and interviews. We define "literatures" broadly to include all written, spoken, and visual texts created by Native peoples.   
        Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the most recent edition of the MLA Style Manual. SAIL only accepts electronic submissions. Please submit your manuscript by e-mail as an attachment (preferably as an MS Word document).
        SAIL observes a "blind reading" policy, so please do not include an author name on the title, first page, or anywhere else in the article. With your submission do include your postal and e-mail addresses along with your phone number. All submissions are read by outside reviewers. Submissions should be sent directly to Chadwick Allen at

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Manufactured in the United States of America

Excerpts of verse from LeAnne Howe's Evidence of Red, copyright 2005 LeAnne Howe, are reprinted here by permission of the author and her publisher, Salt Publishing (

If you would like to reprint material from SAIL, please query for permission using our online form, located under the Journals menu heading on our website:

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Articles appearing in this journal are abstracted and indexed in Anthropological Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Bibliography of Native North Americans, Current Abstracts, Current Contents/Arts & Humanities, eric Databases, IBR: International Bibliography of Book Reviews, IBZ: International Bibliography of Periodical Literature, mla International Bibliography, and TOC Premier.

Cover photo courtesy of Bonita Bent-Nelson, copyright ©2003. Cover and interior design by Kimberly Hermsen.


Chadwick Allen


Lisa Tatonetti


Lisa Brooks, Jodi Byrd, Robin Riley Fast, Susan Gardner, Patrice Hollrah, Molly McGlennen, Margaret Noori, Kenneth Roemer, Christopher Teuton, and Jace Weaver


Anne Mai Yee Jansen


James H. Cox, Helen Jaskoski, Daniel Heath Justice, Karl Kroeber, Robert M. Nelson, Malea Powell, John Purdy, and Rodney Simard


From the Editor

William Apess, the "Lost Tribes," and Indigenous Survivance

"Then One Day We Create Something Unexpected":
Tribalography's Decolonizing Strategies in
LeAnne Howe's Evidence of Red

In Honor of Nastáo: Kasaan Haida Elders Look to the Future


Raven, Carry Me


'Skins in Skin Flicks: A Modest Proposal on the Most Adequate
Means for "Telling" the "Real" Indians from the Wannabes
among the "Reel" Indians in Pornography


Alexander King. Living with Koryak Traditions: Playing
with Culture in Siberia


Brian Swann, ed. Born in the Blood: On Native American Translation

Maureen Trundelle Schwarz. "I Choose Life": Contemporary
Medical and Religious Practices in the Navajo World


Heather Fryer. Perimeters of Democracy: Inverse Utopias and the
Wartime Social Landscape in the American West


Hugh J. Reilly. Bound to Have Blood: Frontier Newspapers
and the Plains Indian Wars


Qwo-Li Driskill, Daniel Heath Justice, Deborah Miranda, and
Lisa Tatonetti, eds. Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of
Two-Spirit Literature


Robert Dale Parker, ed. Changing Is Not Vanishing:
A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930


Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, ed. Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous
; and Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri, and Robert Sullivan,
eds. Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English:
Whetu Moana II


Diane Glancy. Pushing the Bear: After the Trail of Tears;
and Diane Glancy. The Dream of a Broken Field

Stuart Christie. Plural Sovereignties and
Contemporary Indigenous Literature


Dean Rader. Engaged Resistance: American Indian Art,
Literature, and Film from Alcatraz to the NMAI



Contributor Biographies


Indigenous Performance

Volume 25 begins with a wide-ranging assortment of work in American Indian literary studies and American Indian self-representation. All of the pieces share, however, a central interest in Indigenous performances of one kind or another. Rochelle Zuck begins the issue with an investigation of William Apess's strategic reworking, in his 1836 Eulogy on King Philip, of the theory that Native Americans descended from the lost tribes of Israel. In Apess's deft rhetorical performance, Zuck demonstrates, the European theory of lost tribes becomes an affirmation of Native political legitimacy and a retort to US nationalism and territorial expansion. Elizabeth Horan and Seonghoon Kim turn our attention to LeAnne Howe's early twenty-first-century performance, in her 2005 collection of poems and stories titled Evidence of Red, of her own theory of "tribalography," which she has developed in several important essays. Horan and Kim focus, especially, on Howe's enactment of Indigenous transformations and Indigenous connections across multiple genres. Jeane T'áawxíwaa Breinig then describes the process of an oral history project among Alaskan Haida elders. The elders' performances during their interviews surprise their younger, urban interlocutors, including Breinig, for the elders do more than simply reveal history and explain traditions; they also offer models for how their younger counterparts might perform their own identities as contemporary Haida. Breinig's essay is accompanied by just such a performance in her poem titled "Raven, Carry Me." The issue concludes with satire by Geary Hobson, who performs a critical analysis of American Indian performances of, shall we say, a particular kind. Although such performances are not oft en discussed within the hallowed halls of academe, Hobson's revealing essay is sure to interest all readers of SAIL.

        Chadwick Allen


William Apess, the "Lost Tribes,"
and Indigenous Survivance


In January 1836 William Apess, Pequot writer, orator, public intellectual, and Methodist minister, delivered his now famous Eulogy on King Philip at the Odeon Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts.1 This eulogy, which marks the end of what we know of Apess's career as an orator, offers a powerful challenge to Anglo-American accounts of colonial New England history and concludes with a broader commentary on the treatment of Native peoples from the colonial era to the present time. He relates his own personal history to the larger story of the New England tribes. "And although I can say that I have some dear, good friends among white people," states Apess, "Yet I eye them with a jealous eye, for fear they will betray me" (Eulogy 310).2 This fear stems from the fact that white Christians, suggests Apess, have continually betrayed Native peoples and looked upon them as objects of curiosity, refusing to recognize their common humanity and, in the case of Christian Indians, their shared faith. He urges white listeners to acknowledge that American Indian wants are the same as their own and argues that all should be equal before the law. Participating in the familiar genre of the jeremiad, or political sermon, Apess, like many Protestant ministers before him, drew on the authority of the Old Testament prophets (like Jeremiah himself) and exhorted white audiences to remember their position as a supposedly "chosen people" and keep the terms of their covenant with God. As the intellectual and cultural descendants of John Winthrop and Cotton Mather, Anglo-New Englanders would have been sensitive to the rhetorical tradition in which Apess was working and the spiritual authority his eulogy invokes.3
        As a Methodist minister, Apess was well versed in the jeremiad tradition as it was practiced in New England, and his sermons and polit-{2}ical writings constitute what might be called American Indian jeremiads, arguments that frame American Indians as a chosen people with a covenantal relationship to the Christian God by linking them with the biblical narrative of the Israelites.4 In his 1831 sermon Increase of the Kingdom of God and a companion essay entitled The Indians: The Ten Lost Tribes, both of which take up the theory that American Indians are descended from the ten lost tribes of Israel, Apess argues for a shared past for Native peoples and asserts their continuing presence on the North American continent. He exhorts white audiences to acknowledge American Indians' political, cultural, and spiritual rights and suggests that respecting these rights was key to the fulfillment of the covenant in which white New Englanders imagined themselves to participate. The lost tribes theory of American Indian origins also is discussed at length in the appendix to Apess's autobiography, A Son of the Forest (1829 and 1831). Taken together, Apess's references to the lost tribes function as a warning to the "great American nation" that it should indeed fear the "judgments of heaven" for the poor treatment of American Indians/ Israelites (Increase 106). Blending the secular and the spiritual, he argues that the connection between Indian and Jewish peoples has profound implications for contemporary arguments about Native sovereignty and their political relationships with the United States. Apess further links the lost tribes rhetoric and Indian land claims during his efforts on behalf of the Mashpee people in their legal battles with the state of Massachusetts in 1833-34, documented in his book Indian Nullification of the Unconstitutional Laws of Massachusetts Relative to the Marshpee Tribe; or, The Pretended Riot Explained (1835).5
        Apess's strategic reworking of the lost tribes theory constitutes an act of what Gerald Vizenor calls "survivance," a term that he describes in Fugitive Poses as "an active repudiation of dominance, tragedy, and victimry" (15).6 First proposed by seventeenth-century Europeans, the lost tribes theory of American Indian origins represented American Indians as descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel, the original inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, who apparently disappeared from the historical record after they were attacked by Assyrians as punishment for turning away from the Hebrew God. In Apess's writings, the rhetoric of the lost tribes operates as more than just an expression of Christian orthodoxy or a reaction to white narratives of American exceptionalism; it provides a means to challenge "Vanishing Indian" narratives with {3} stories of sovereignty and continuing presence. Given the exigencies faced by New England tribes, the model of the Israelites serves as a compelling alternative to US territorial nationalism, which links national identity to the sole possession of geopolitical space and suggests the possibility of tribal distinctness within a Pan-Indian community.7 Likening American Indian peoples to the ancient Israelites allows Apess to present a vision of a unified Indian "past" so as to combat Anglo-American attempts to divide Indian peoples from one another. Establishing a shared genealogy for all Indian peoples also facilitates a definition of Indian nationhood that is consistent with the genealogical and linguistic terms through which identity is constructed by Native peoples in New England.8 And finally, the Israelites provide a model of a moveable nation, one that could flourish in multiple locations. This is not to suggest that the use of biblical rhetoric was unproblematic, signaled a willing abandonment of tribal lands, or proved compelling for all American Indian writers and speakers at the time. Rather, it represents one of many discursive traditions that arose out of a series of legal and political battles between New England tribes and state and federal governments. As an attempt to rework an established Anglo-European discursive thread to specifically Native purposes--reimagining communal and national identities, forging new kinds of connections with land, and redrawing the boundaries between indigenous and US histories--writers and speakers such as Apess participated in a project of literary nation-formation. I argue that Apess uses the Israelites as a vehicle to tell new stories about the survival of his tribe, stories that engage and often counter, by their very existence, US juridico-political narratives that work to erase Native sovereignty and presence in New England.


Apess's use of the lost tribes rhetoric participated in broader conversations about American Indian origins that circulated among European, Anglo-American, and Native writers and orators of the nineteenth century. Reading American Indians as descendants of the lost tribes represents one of several typological readings of Native people available to Europeans and Anglo-Americans who sought to position them within a Christian cosmology. Such readings served to justify colonization and land seizure, missionary efforts, and the attempted erasure {4} of Native histories. Why then might Native writers such as Apess take up this rhetoric? Earlier Native writers and public figures such as Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson, members of the Mohegan tribe, drew on the idea of a shared past, one connected literally or metaphorically to the ancient Israelites, to challenge Anglo-American efforts to divide Native peoples.9 The Brothertown founders invoked the model of the Hebrew tribes of the Old Testament to show that a nation could be multitribal and mobile, able to be remade in new locations. The rhetoric established by Occom and Johnson anticipated Apess's religious and political writings on American Indian origins.
         Soon after their first encounters with Anglo-New Englanders, Pequot, Mohegan, Abenaki, Narragansett, Wampanoag, and other Indigenous peoples were confronted with rhetorical attempts to narrate their presence on the American continent and to frame their place within a Christianized view of history. In her recent book, Firsting and Lasting, Jean M. O'Brien traces the ways in which Anglo-American public discourse worked to eulogize the disappearance of Indigenous peoples in New England, which functioned to deny the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples and to figure their land as rhetorically available for settlement.10 Colonial political and religious discourse depicted Anglo-Americans as God's chosen people charged with the establishment of the "city on the hill" and thus the "real" first Americans. These white settlers believed that they had entered a covenant with God, a covenant that would, typologically, replace that which God made with the Jewish people. For Calvinist settlers, who used biblical types and narratives as lenses through which to order their world, particularly the unfamiliar world that they had just encountered, American Indian people were often seen as instruments of divine retribution or agents of Satan meant to tempt them away from the path of Christian virtue. Thus, Native people became a kind of object lesson, and Calvinist ministers used the jeremiad, or political sermon, to exhort their flocks to conquer the threat represented by Indigenous peoples and work diligently toward the establishment of the New Jerusalem.11
        There was, however, a broader intellectual tradition that framed Native people, not as agents of God or the devil, but as descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel, a rhetoric that proved useful to Anglo-American missionary efforts. This theory was supported by various forms of evidence, including linguistics, geography, anthropology (although many {5} of its earliest proponents had never actually observed American Indian peoples), and physiognomy. Dress, language, and particular customs such as circumcision and the treatment of menstruating women were pointed to as similarities between the people of ancient Israel and Indigenous peoples in America. According to biblical references, the lost tribes, the original inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, were attacked by Assyrians as punishment for turning away from the Hebrew God. The Bible is relatively vague, however, as to what happened to these "lost tribes" after they escaped from Assyria.12 As early as 1650, British writers such as minister Thomas Thorowgood, who drew on the works of missionary Roger Williams, proposed the idea that the ten lost tribes actually migrated to the Americas.13 Thorowgood's object in writing his Iewes in America was "to stirre up and awaken more able inquisitors, to looke after the beginning, nature, civilizing, and Gospellizing those people, and to cast in my poore mite towards the encouragement of our Countreymen in such their pious undertaking" (Thorowgood, preface C2). Linking indigenous Americans to the lost tribes was a common feature of missionary rhetoric, according to Stuart Kirsch, who notes that the narrative of the ten lost tribes "has been invoked by colonial powers and missionaries in their attempts to remake the histories of indigenous peoples" (58). Such a rhetorical project not only worked to deny Native historiography, but it also challenged Calvinist constructions of Native people as instruments of either God or Satan (constructions that lent little support to missionary efforts to convert Native people).
        In the American colonies the mystique of the ten lost tribes captured the attention of figures such as Cotton Mather, Roger Williams, John Eliot, William Penn, Eleazar Wheelock, James Adair, Elias Boudinot (the Anglo-American statesman whose 1816 A Star in the West would profoundly influence Apess's work), Mordecai Noah, and Joseph Smith.14 While others asserted that the Indigenous peoples of America might have come from Atlantis, Mather, Williams, and others argued that they were ancient Israelites who came by land across Asia or by sea in Phoenician ships (Steibing 175). Like British "lost tribes" theorists, these American writers and missionaries saw elements of Mosaic culture in the Indigenous peoples that they encountered. This rhetorical conflation of ancient Hebrew and Indigenous American cultures functioned, as Kirsch notes, to erase Native histories and cultural features and reinterpret them within a Christian cosmology. Yet, for Eliot, Whee-{6}lock, and others, framing their missionary efforts in terms of the conversion of the lost tribes gave their work an eschatological dimension, which might appeal to wealthy British patrons on whom they depended for support. Converting the lost tribes would help to usher in the new millennium and fulfill America's providential destiny. As Meghan C. L. Howey argues, Boudinot's goals for employing the lost tribes rhetoric differed slightly from those of his predecessors: "On the one hand, he [Boudinot] wanted to 'bring declarative glory to God.' On the other hand, he aimed to show that Indians were republicans and thus had a place in the new nation--the poor treatment they had received by the English had made them hostile and savage, but their true nature was good and holy" (440). Boudinot's A Star in the West, which relied on Spanish accounts of Indigenous Americans and the lost tribes, argues that the perseverance of the lost tribes as a "separate people" (Boudinot 25) testifies to the greatness of God and provides an opportunity to nineteenth-century Americans to convert and deal justly with God's chosen people. Since the earliest moments of Anglo-European colonization of the Americas, the rhetoric of the lost tribes revivified Anglo-American missionary efforts and functioned to undergird attempts to assimilate Native people into a Christian narrative of millennial destiny that would filter into more secular discussions of Native sovereignty.
        Yet the comparison between American Indians and Jews was a fraught rhetorical move in light of the anti-Semitism that circulated in nineteenth-century America. Jewish people living in America faced political, economic, and social discrimination, particularly as their numbers increased. According to Leonard Dinnerstein, an influx of Jewish immigration that tripled the Jewish population in the United States between 1830 and 1840 coincided with a rise in vitriolic expressions of anti-Semitism. Yet, during the time Apess was writing there were a relatively small number of Jewish people living in the United States--only about 4,500 in 1830 as compared with the approximately 15,000 in 1840 (Dinnerstein 13). Scholars also note that Jewish people were often compared favorably in the early to mid-nineteenth century, the period in which Apess lived and wrote, with Catholics and other immigrant groups such as the Irish. Ultimately it is important to remember that many Protestants living in America--including Apess--distinguished between what we might call the Christian invention of the Jews and actual Jewish people. They saw the conversion of the Jews as part of {7} Protestant America's millennial destiny, one of the final acts before the dawning of the next age, giving Jews/Indians a very important role in the unfolding of events foretold in Revelations. As a Methodist minister, Apess would have been deeply aware of the Christian invention of the Jews and their perceived role in the unfolding spiritual drama taking place in America; as a resident of Massachusetts, which had an established church until 1833, he also would have recognized the kinds of political, social, and economic oppression faced by Jewish people in America. For Apess, both their spiritual importance and position as an involuntarily diasporic people might have made the Jewish people an apt point of comparison with American Indians.
        Apess was one of several Native writers who took up the lost tribes theory as a means of forming new kinds of communities and challenging the terms by which white settlers defined Native people.15 Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson, members of the Mohegan tribe, who, like the Pequot, trace their origins to the Wolf Clan of the Delaware, were among the earliest Native writers and orators to make metaphorical connections between Native people and the Israelites in their writings and sermons.16 Allusions to the ancient Israelites in Occom and Johnson's works, which emerged out of specific moments of crisis and community formation for the New England and Long Island tribes, constituted an attempt to forge a new kind of community among several tribes on Oneida lands and later in what is now the state of Wisconsin.17 The blending of Christian and Native ideas of sovereignty became a way to reimagine the future of New England and Long Island tribes and to enact a form of survivance. In the sermons he preached at Brothertown, Samson Occom used the ancient Israelites as a model for thinking about new forms of Native community so as to allow various tribal groups to imagine themselves as one people. For example, in his journals for November 1785, Occom writes of the consolidation of seven distinct confederacies into one "Body Politick." Occom's use of biblical texts makes implicit links between the Brothertown peoples and the ancient Israelites. His journal notes that on Sunday, November 6, 1785, "about 11 went to meeting and many of our People from our new settlements came to meeting, to the distance of six miles--I spoke to them from Joshua 24: 22 and Ester 7:2" (qtd. in Love 252). The Old Testament book of Joshua describes the Israelites' journey to and possession of the "Promised Land," and the particular passage Occom references, Joshua {8} 24:22, describes the Israelites' arrival in Canaan.18 By linking Brother-town and the biblical Promised Land, Occom's sermons hold up the multitribal community of the ancient Israelites as an example for the Brothertown community, which included peoples from the Pequot, Montauk, Narragansett, Niantic, Farmington, and Mohegan tribes, as well as the Oneidas.19 For Occom, the relationship between the Brothertown Indians and the ancient Israelites was metaphorical in that the Israelites represented an example of diverse peoples joined by faith and living side by side, a political and spiritual model for the Brothertown community.
        Occom's son-in-law, Joseph Johnson, drew similar comparisons between the Brothertown community and the Israelites. In a letter to Connecticut governor Jonathan Trumbull, Joseph Johnson links himself with Nehemiah, a biblical figure from the tribe of Judah who was an important figure in the rebuilding of Jerusalem: "Most Noble Governor, when I was admitted into thy Presence, and stood before thee my Mind turned upon Nehemiah of old, who was once the kings Cupbearer" (Johnson qtd. in Murray 18). Likening himself to Nehemiah, who rebuilt Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, Johnson makes a strong argument that Brothertown represented a rebuilding or revitalization of the New England and Long Island tribes. In her reading of Johnson's letters, Laura Murray argues that "[t]he implied comparison of Mohegan or Brotherton and Jerusalem is quite bold. Johnson's people may indeed be only a 'remnant,' he implicitly concedes, but they are also a 'nation' like the children of Israel" (18). The ancient Israelites provided not just an argument for Native nationhood, but also a way to envision a community that could include Haudenosaunee and Algonquin tribes.
        Johnson's letters reveal that the formation of Brothertown was fraught with difficulties--family concerns, jealousies and rivalries between the founders and their supporters, the Revolutionary War, and the economic pressures facing New England and Long Island tribes in the 1770s. In a 1775 letter to the New York Congress, Johnson compares his disputes with Elijah Wimpey of the Farmington with those of Joseph and his brothers (the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel) to make white readers understand his experiences with the "envy" of others of his tribe (qtd. in Murray 267). Here, an allusion to the ancient Israelites functions to communicate intertribal discord rather than as a tool of nation formation. In spite of disagreements, both Occom and Johnson {9} hoped that the Brothertown community would be as the ancient Israelites were, a "Body Politick" made up of various tribes joined by kinship ties and common religion, who were able to adopt new homelands (first Oneida lands and later Wisconsin territory) when outside pressures required it. They framed their new settlement in biblical terms to offer both an organizational model and scriptural justification for a multitribal community. The ancient Israelites provided a compelling alternative for the visions of Native political organization that circulated in Anglo-American public argument for the Brothertown founders and for later writers such as Apess.


Writing in the 1830s against the backdrop of the Cherokee legal battles with the state of Georgia and other threats to Native sovereignty, Apess, like the Brothertown founders, drew on the lost tribes rhetoric to reassert Native presence and challenge Anglo-American narratives of the "Vanishing Indian." In several works, including A Son of the Forest, The Increase of the Kingdom of Christ: A Sermon, and The Indians: The Ten Lost Tribes, he argues that Indigenous people were biologically, not just metaphorically, linked with the lost tribes and that their mistreatment would invoke divine retribution. Linking his own personal history with the larger story of the ancient Israelites, Apess likened himself to John the Baptist and foretold the resurgence of American Indian peoples. Recognized as a prophet by both Jewish and Christian traditions, John the Baptist provided Apess with an example of a religious figure who could speak to multiple audiences and traverse cultural borders. In a broader sense, the ancient Israelites offered a model of tribal distinctness and collective cooperation. This section will show how Apess's use of the lost tribes rhetoric in his autobiographical and religious writings represents an argument for Native sovereignty and continued presence on the North American continent, an argument that would prove valuable in his later political efforts on behalf of the Mashpee Wampanoag people.
        Apess's autobiographical work, A Son of the Forest, originally published in 1829 and republished in 1831, connects his personal story with that of the ancient Israelites. This work contains a lengthy discussion of the lost tribes theory in the appendix that presents a survey of the evidence linking Indigenous peoples with the lost tribes of Israel and {10} emphasizes their continuing presence. Apess writes that he "has somewhat abridged 'his life' to make room for this Appendix" (52), shortening his own personal story to present a broader narrative of American Indian origins. In the appendix Apess creates a bricolage of Anglo-American historiography and literary texts, many of which connect Indigenous peoples to the Israelites. Apess also asserts his own belief about Indigenous origins: "I am led to believe that they are none other than the descendants of Jacob and the long lost tribes of Israel" (53). In her article "Nations of Israelites: Prophecy and Cultural Autonomy in the Writings of William Apess," Sandra Gustafson claims that in the appendix to A Son of the Forest Apess "identifies Indians with Israelites and defends the integrity and humanity of native societies" (47). For Gustafson, what emerges from this autobiography, and from Apess's other writings on the lost tribes, is the "dual native-Christian context" in which Apess operated (47). Seen another way, the ancient Israelites provided writers such as Apess, Occom, and Johnson a vision of both tribal distinctness and shared origins. From this perspective, various Native tribes could be seen as one people with a common origin story. Arguments that Native people lacked national character could be countered with the argument for Hebrew origins, and differences in cultures and languages could be attributed to the journey of the Israelites from Asia to America and their varied contact with other nations.
        In the middle of the appendix, however, Apess articulates a more revolutionary message about the lost tribes theory, a message he communicates by quoting the work of DeWitt Clinton, who had served in the US Senate and as governor of New York. Apess repeats Clinton's claim that American Indians "derive however some consolation from a prophecy of ancient origin and universal currency among them, that the men of America will, at some future period, regain their ancient ascendency and expel the man of Europe from this western hemisphere" (qtd. in Son 73). American Indian resistance to white colonial incursion is here framed as foreordained by "ancient prophecy," a step on the path toward "regain[ing] their ancient ascendency." This statement challenges representations of the "Vanishing Indian" that circulated in the early nineteenth century by asserting that American Indians/Israelites previously occupied a position of superiority over other groups and will, with divine sanction, return to their former position. Apess's appropriation of Clinton's argument and his strategic remixing of Anglo-American {11} writings throughout the appendix functions not only to suggest the broad appeal of the lost tribes theory but also to lend support to his more radical arguments for Pan-Indian resistance by interweaving his arguments with those of prominent white writers and speakers. This appendix, ostensibly intended for "the numerous and highly respectable persons who have lent their patronage" to Apess and his work (Son 52), presents a cacophony of voices, led by Apess himself, who explicitly links American Indian people to the ancient Israelites and argues that Native people constitute a powerful presence on the American continent and will not "vanish" ahead of the forces of colonialism. In later writings, Apess builds on this rhetorical foundation to make stronger links between the lost tribes theory, cultural revitalization, and contemporary Native political sovereignty.
         One prominent example of such an argument is The Increase of the Kingdom of Christ: A Sermon, a political sermon that draws heavily on the tradition of the Calvinist jeremiad and once again challenges white audiences with his reading of prophecy. In this work Apess makes a sharp contrast between earthly nations and the "kingdom of Christ." He opens the sermon by linking himself and, by extension, all Indigenous people with a specific Jewish figure: John the Baptist. He rehearses John's function in the Bible as the precursor to Jesus and argues that the prophet who "foretells his own failing influence and the rise of another" demonstrates his "truth and disinterestedness" (Increase 101). The problematic nature of Apess's construction of Native people as precursors to God's chosen people has been discussed by his twentieth-century editor, Barry O'Connell, who asserts that "[t]he theme of John the Baptist, a man of the wilderness, as a forerunner of one yet greater than himself and who will disappear when his superior appears, cannot but evoke the idea of Indians as precursors of a superior civilization which is to come after and to supplant them" (Apess, Increase 99). Yet, Apess's rendering of himself as John the Baptist emphasizes not disappearance but rhetorical prowess and endurance: "There was power in his words. There was that in them which could not pass away" (Increase 101). This statement can be read not only as a reflection of Apess's faith in the power of Christianity, but also as an expression of survivance. Apess argues that he will not "disappear" and his words have a "power" that cannot be silenced. Moreover, John's importance to both Jewish people and Gentiles/Christians resonates with Apess's own attempts to prophesize to American Indian and Anglo-American audiences.
         Apess's use of lost tribes rhetoric demonstrates his ability to repurpose well-known elements of Christian historiography to critique the colonial violence practiced by the United States. "The kingdoms of this world, with but few exceptions," writes Apess in The Increase of the Kingdom of Christ, represent "confederacies of wrong; the powerful trespass on the weak; the rich live in luxury and rioting, while the poor are enslaved and doomed to much servile drudgery, without any hope of bettering their condition" (102). The American nation in particular, with its roots in the Puritan project of founding the "city on the hill," had, in Apess's mind, broken their covenant with God and would face dire punishment, but there was reason to hope that such punishment could be avoided. He compares their treatment of American Indian tribes with the Egyptian enslavement of the Israelites and cites biblical prophecy that the next age would begin when the Jewish people are converted to Christianity:

Another reason why we may expect an enlargement of the kingdom of Christ beyond any former parallel is that the ancient people of God, long despised as outcasts and wanderers among the nations, have not yet been gathered into the fullness of the Gentiles. They were cast out of their inheritance by reason of their stubborn and haughty spirit of unbelief; and their casting out was, as it were, life to the Gentile world--yet it is foretold in the sure word of prophesy that their return to the Gospel, which they have rejected for more than eighteen centuries, will be as life from the dead to all of the living world. (Increase 106)

Here the Hebrew people who "were cast out of their inheritance" because of their "unbelief " are forecasted to provide "life" and rebirth to the rest of the world. Apess alludes to the familiar construction of the Hebrew people as "wandering" and placeless, a diasporic image that was associated with Native people in US legal discourse, but he uses biblical prophecy to reassert the centrality of Jewish/Native people to the unfolding of Christian theology and connect them to the metaphorical kingdom of God. Native people here are framed as outside of Anglo-American jurisdiction and subject to the will of God, a powerful refutation of colonial control.
         Apess goes beyond metaphorical arguments and claims that Native people are biologically linked to the lost tribes of Israel. This connection {13} carries a dire message for white Americans and a subtle positive message for Native people:

If, as many eminent men with apparently high presumption, if not unquestionable evidence, believe, the Indians of the American continent are a part of the long lost ten tribes of Israel, have not the great American nation reason to fear the swift judgments of heaven on them for nameless cruelties, extortions, and exterminations inflicted upon the poor natives of the forest? We fear the account of national sin, which lies at the doors of the American people, will be a terrible one to balance in the chancery of heaven. America has utterly failed to amalgamate the red man of the woods into the artificial, cultivated ranks of social life. Has not one reason been that it was not in the purpose of God that it should be done--for lo, the blood of Israel flowed in the veins of these unshackled, freeborn men? (Increase 106-7)

The expression of the lost tribes theory in this passage is supported not only by Apess's own beliefs but also by those of "eminent men," presumably men like Adair and Boudinot, which gestures toward the broader intellectual tradition in which he situated his work. The last sentence here carries an interesting message couched in a double negative; Native people, argues Apess, have not been assimilated into white society because it was not part of God's plan. America failed in their attempts because American Indians are descended from the Jews and it is not part of the divine will that they be absorbed into the American nation. Rhetorically, this statement functions as a veiled endorsement of Native sovereignty and nationhood. Moreover, Americans should fear divine retribution for their "national sin" (i.e., colonialism). Elsewhere in this sermon, this rebuke is made even more explicit: "Woe, woe to the nations who tread on the discarded jewels of Israel" (Increase 106). It is also significant that Apess talks about Native people in this sermon as joined not by geography but by kinship, a theme to which he returns in his efforts on behalf of the Mashpee tribe.
         Later in this sermon Apess forecasts a kind of resurrection for Native people. "The lamp of Israel shall burn again," he writes, "and the star of Judah shall rise again, never to go down, for it will shine over Bethlehem. We here among our scattered and benighted brethren according to the flesh find a reason for the greater increase in the kingdom of {14} Christ, which takes hold of our heart and causes our bowels to yearn in sympathizing sorrow" (Increase 107). As the tribes of ancient Israel had already been equated with Native people, this passage can be read as another moment of survivance; in the midst of a sermon ostensibly about spreading the word of God and increasing his spiritual kingdom, Apess offers readers a vision of Indigenous peoples' continued presence. They will not pass away, he argues, but will be revitalized and increased. It is true that Apess saw Christianity, rather than Indigenous spiritual practices like those advocated by Shawnee Prophet Tenskwatawa, as the means to revivify the community, but this seeming elision of Native spirituality was complicated by his genealogical argument that Christianity grew out of the spiritual practices of American Indians/Jews. Apess framed the conversion of Native people to Christianity as a revitalization movement because such a conversion would constitute a remembering of what was lost rather than a relearning of that which was never known. Apess advocated Christianity for Native people, but here and in his arguments on behalf of the Mashpee (which are discussed in a subsequent section), he did not depict conversion in terms of cultural or political assimilation, but rather in terms of revitalization. White Christians, he suggested, have adopted Native practice, not vice versa.
         Apess's genealogical argument is communicated even more clearly in The Indians: The Ten Lost Tribes. In this essay, which functions as a companion piece to The Increase of the Kingdom of Christ, Apess writes:

That the Indians are indeed no other than the descendants of the ten lost tribes, the subscriber has no doubt. He is one of the few remaining descendants of a once powerful tribe of Indians, and he looks forward with a degree of confidence to the day as being not far distant when ample justice shall be done the red man by his white brother--when he shall be allowed that station in the scale of being and intelligence which unerring wisdom designed him to occupy. (Indians 114)

Here Apess asserts that he has "no doubt" that Indigenous Americans are descended from the lost tribes of Israel. While Apess's comparison of himself with John the Baptist, who came before Jesus and was destined to die himself, can be seen to participate in rhetorics of the "Vanishing Indian," readers of this essay also encounter an insistence on survivance. Apess, like Joseph Johnson, frames himself as a "remnant," {15} but also argues that the tide will turn; a day will come when he and his tribe will be restored. The assertion that the "lamp of Israel shall burn again" operates as a prophecy that Native sovereignty will be restored in heaven, yet Apess here explicitly references an earthly restoration of rights through his mention of a moment when Native people "shall be allowed that station in the scale of being and intelligence" that God had envisioned. He imagines equality between whites and Indigenous peoples, a relationship characterized by "justice."


Apess returned to the lost tribes of ancient Israel during his efforts on behalf of the Mashpee tribe as they asserted their sovereignty and resisted the incursions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts during what Apess referred to as "Indian Nullification" (also known as the Mashpee Revolt of 1833-34). In his 1835 work Indian Nullification, Apess draws on the Israelite captivity among the Egyptians as a metaphor for the sufferings of the Mashpee at the hands of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to elicit sympathy from Anglo-New Englanders for the Mashpee cause and to assert Mashpee sovereignty. Since the American Revolution, some powerful citizens of Massachusetts had charged that the Mashpee's identity as a distinct community was threatened by racial mixture with African Americans and other groups. According to these arguments, the Mashpee needed white overseers to protect their interests and supposed racial and cultural purity.20 Returning to the rhetoric of the lost tribes allowed Apess to assert the continued vitality of Mashpee identity and his own connection with the Mashpee and their cause. Building on his earlier prophecies about the resurgence of Indian people, Apess deploys the lost tribes rhetoric in Indian Nullification to argue for the religious and civil liberties of the Mashpee and to assert their claims to a particular space (their own "Promised Land").
        As the so-called Mashpee Revolt has generated less attention than the roughly contemporaneous struggles between the Cherokees and the state of Georgia, some background information on the Mashpee seems warranted before moving to a discussion of Apess's arguments on their behalf. During the 1830s, Apess traveled throughout New England preaching to Native communities. One of the communities that he visited was Mashpee, which as Robert Allen Warrior notes was the "larg-{16}est Native community in Massachusetts" (People 32). Here he found a community that was chafing under the abuses that they suffered at the hands of their Anglo-American overseers and Rev. Phineas Fish, who was appointed by Harvard College to minister to the Mashpee. The Mashpee grievances were numerous: Fish and others sent to minister to and educate Native people did little to nothing to meet their needs; the Mashpee were deprived of their wages, their land, and the facilities built for them (such as the meetinghouse and school); their timber was being stolen, and other resources were being used improperly by Fish for his own use. In Apess's words, the Mashpee desired "the discharge of the overseers and an alteration of the existing laws" (Indian Nullification 173) and wanted Apess to be involved in their cause. He recalls in Indian Nullification that to work on behalf of the Mashpee, he had to be adopted as a member of their tribe: "As, however, I was not a son of their particular tribe, if they wished me to assist them, it would be necessary for them to give me a right to act in their behalf by adopting me, as then our rights and interests would become identical" (173). According to a document signed by Ebenezer Attaquin and Israel Amos, president and secretary of the Mashpee Council, Apess, his wife, two children, and their descendants were adopted into the Mashpee tribe on May 21, 1833 (174). Despite this documentary evidence, opponents of the Mashpee would frequently challenge Apess's relationship to the tribe and frame him as an interloper and a demagogue, charges that he would answer, in part, with arguments about shared origins.21
        Apess encouraged the Mashpee to put their grievances in writing and petition various authorities for redress. At the same Council meeting in which he and his family were adopted by the Mashpees, Apess helped the tribe draft petitions to the governor of Massachusetts and the Corporation of Harvard College, the first of which included three resolutions that declared the Mashpee right to self rule:

        Resolved, That we, as a tribe, will rule ourselves, and have the right to do so; for all men are born free and equal, says the Constitution of the country.
        Resolved, That we will not permit any white man to come upon our plantation, to cut or carry off wood or hay, or any other article, without our permission, after the 1st of July next.
        Resolved, That we will put said resolutions in force after that date (July next), with the penalty of binding and throwing them from the plantation, if they will not stay away without. (qtd. in Indian Nullification 175)

In his reading of the Mashpee petition, Robert Allen Warrior notes that this document seems to "defy the rhetoric of ancientness and novelty" and to assert instead "what it meant to be Native, specifically Mashpee, in New England in the 1830s" (People 34). Taken as a whole, however, the various documents that make up Apess's Indian Nullification (petitions, newspaper articles, Apess's own narration, and so forth) focus both on the pragmatic exigencies facing Native people in 1830s New England and the spiritual dimensions of the lost tribes rhetoric, a rhetoric that framed American Indians as both ancient and novel/chosen. Associating American Indians with the ancient Israelites also served to link the Pequots, the Mashpee, and all New England tribes, a move that challenged critics who worked to undermine Apess's relationship with the Mashpee.
        When speaking of the injustices and prejudice faced by all New England tribes, Apess connects their situation with that of the Israelites during their enslavement by the Egyptians and, by extension, likens his role to that of Moses. Apess recalls, "We regarded ourselves, in some sort, as a tribe of Israelites suffering under the rod of despotic pharaohs; for thus far, our cries and remonstrances had been of no avail. We were compelled to make our bricks without straw" (Indian Nullification 179). Deprived of resources that were rightfully theirs, the Mashpees and other New England tribes could be viewed as analogous to the ancient Israelites, who likewise had to build homes and lives without adequate materials. Apess implicitly frames the Anglo-New Englanders as the despotic Egyptian overseers who held the Israelites in bondage and later suffered the wrath of God for their sin. Thus, Apess not only comments on the contemporary situation of Native people in New England, but also forecasts the kind of reversal of fortunes of which he speaks in earlier sermons. Native people were connected to a biblical past and projected to occupy the "Promised Land." As their chosen representative, Apess, according to the comparison he has established, functions as a stand-in for Moses, the leader who would bring the people out of bondage and help them in their journey to the Promised Land. When recall-{18}ing threats of military force by the governor of Massachusetts, Apess quotes from the "Song of Moses," from Deuteronomy 32:30: "One shall chase a thousand, and two shall put ten thousand to flight" (Indian Nullification 183). In one sense, inhabiting the role of Moses, a figure who like John the Baptist was framed by Christians as a precursor to Jesus, can be read as resonant with the Vanishing Indian trope. Apess/Moses and, by extension, all American Indian people would, in such a reading, be supplanted by a new covenant/claim. Yet, as with his comparison of himself to John the Baptist, the connection to Moses constitutes an argument for American Indian survivance and solidifies Apess's relationship to the Mashpee. The biblical analogy serves to reinforce the Mashpee claim to their own "Promised Land," a space that, according to a biblical reading, they are destined to occupy. Moreover, the language of suffering and bondage made available by linking the Mashpee to the Israelites in Egypt allowed Apess to play on the sympathies of white Christian readers, a key component of his audience.
        Apess returns to the metaphor of the Egyptian captivity several pages later in Indian Nullification but looks to an earlier point in biblical history--the moment that Jacob and his sons traveled to Egypt to see Joseph--to dramatize the failed possibilities for Anglo-Indian relations. Jacob and his sons' journey to Egypt, defined as the beginning of the Egyptian captivity, strengthens the connection between the Mashpee and the ancient Israelites. Apess considers whether the Massachusetts legislature might recognize the validity of the Mashpee's claims and, imagining the legislature as a single individual, wonders if "he would uplift his voice and weep aloud, on hearing the story of our wrongs, as Joseph and his brethren did when they recognized each other?" (Indian Nullification 189). According to biblical history, Joseph and his brothers were the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel. This passage figures the Massachusetts legislature as Joseph (the representative of Egyptian power) and the Mashpee/New England tribes as the other brothers. Here, while Anglo-New Englanders and Native people are all linked to the ancient Israelites, the legislature is presented as the representative of the Egyptians. Ultimately, however, the kind of familial recognition symbolized by Joseph and his brothers did not occur, and the model provided by the ancient Israelites remained unrealized. In subsequent paragraphs, Apess reinforces the connection between the Mashpee and the Jewish peoples of the Old Testament. He refers to the Mashpee place {19} of worship as a "synagogue" (179) rather than a church or meetinghouse, which associates Mashpee religious practices with those of Jewish people. He also calls the tribe "the poor Israelites of Marshpee" (180). Like references to the Egyptian captivity, discussions of the "poor Israelites of Marshpee" also work to generate sympathy for Mashpee claims and replace "poor Indians," a phrase that white readers might have expected, with "poor Israelites."
        Such arguments counter Anglo-American discourses of American Indian nationhood that connected Indians with the Israelites as part of a denial of their land claims. The arguments about nationhood and national space articulated in the case of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia created new exigencies for Apess and the New England tribes, and as Maureen Konkle argues, Apess may have modeled Mashpee resistance on that of the Cherokees.22 Apess's autobiography and his sermon and essay on the lost tribes were roughly contemporaneous with the Cherokee Nation v. Georgia decision. The so-called Mashpee Revolt, in which the Mashpee asserted their sovereignty, the resources on their land, and the right to select their own clergy, took place against the backdrop of the Cherokee's continued legal struggles. The Mashpee created a government, published written resolutions, and "cultivated a relationship with Benjamin Franklin Hallet, the lawyer-editor of the anti-Masonic Boston Daily Advocate" (Konkle 120). Connections between the Mashpee and the Cherokees are drawn explicitly in an editorial published in the Advocate, which Apess included in the Indian Nullification documents, and the Cherokees are alluded to frequently throughout this piece. Here Hallet asserts, "We have had an overflow of sensibility in this quarter toward the Cherokees, and there is now an opportunity of showing to the world whether the people of Massachusetts can exercise more justice and less cupidity toward their own Indians than the Georgians have toward the Cherokee" (qtd. in Indian Nullification 196). The Mashpee, in other words, provided a vehicle through which Massachusetts could demonstrate its moral superiority to its southern neighbors; respecting the rights of the Mashpees would allow Massachusetts to avoid the "cupidity" demonstrated by Georgia through its rejection of Cherokee land claims. Within the context of the Cherokee case, in which Native sovereignty was explicitly linked with that of the Hebrew people to justify dispossession, Apess deploys rhetorics of the lost tribes to challenge {20} the territorial nationalism espoused by Anglo-Americans and to show the Mashpee as divinely ordained to occupy the land they inhabited.
         Apess's representation of the metaphorical and genealogical links between the ancient Israelites and contemporary Native peoples contrasts sharply with those that circulated in Anglo-American legal discourse. Supreme Court Justice William Johnson, who gave one of the separate opinions in the case of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831), compares American Indians with the ancient Israelites as part of a definitional argument in which he argues that some governments possessed territory, while others did not. He argues:

Their condition is something like that of the Israelites, when inhabiting the deserts. Though without land that they can call theirs in the sense of property, their right of personal self-government has never been taken from them, and such a form of government may exist though the land occupied be in fact that of another. The right to expel them may exist in that other, but the alternative of departing and retaining the right of self-government may exist in them. And such they certainly do possess; it has never been questioned, nor any attempt made at subjugating them as a people or restraining their personal liberty except as to their land and trade. (Johnson 171)

Here Johnson acknowledges Cherokee sovereignty by saying that they have the "right of self-government," but also claims that like the ancient Israelites, they do not have a national space. The idea of a nation without territory was at odds with US conceptions of nationhood, which frequently defined itself in territorial terms. The Cherokee people and, by extension, other Indigenous groups were, according to Johnson, of a different type than the US nation; they were self-governing sovereign bodies that did not possess national space. Thus, even as Cherokee land claims were being legally contested, Johnson's opinion presumes that Cherokee sovereignty and, by extension, that of other Native peoples have always already been recognized separately from their right to property. The implications of this recognition of sovereignty without land claims were that Native peoples could be dealt with collectively, as in treaty negotiations, but their land claims did not have to be recognized. In contrast to the imagined permanence and productivity of Anglo-European relationships to the land, Native people were, as John-{21}son suggested in Cherokee v. Georgia, imagined as wandering and placeless. It was this territorial nationalism and its implication for Indigenous land rights that Apess and the Mashpee sought to challenge.

*   *   *

Apess's efforts on behalf of the Mashpee yielded immediate positive results. In March 1834 the Massachusetts state legislature granted the Mashpee "the same rights of township self-governance as all other citizens of Massachusetts" (O'Connell in Apess xxxvii). However, it took the Mashpee until 1840 to rid themselves of Rev. Phineas Fish and the influence of Harvard College. Apess stayed at Mashpee until 1838, but as O'Connell suggests, his influence among the tribe began to wane and his financial problems began to intensify. He did not live to see the Mash-pee exercising the religious freedoms for which he argued, yet as Caroline Wigginton argues with regard to the petitions of Samson Occom, it is important to look for survivance in Native writings themselves, not just in their results (which were not always what the authors might have hoped). Although he died young (and under mysterious circumstances), Apess, his public performances, and his written works testify to the survivance of the Pequots, the Mashpee Wampanoags, and other Native people in New England, exposing for his contemporary audiences and for modern readers the fiction of Native "disappearance" in New England. Yet fusing this radical presence with the "lost tribes" theory provided William Apess a way to frame Native identity, history, and cultural practices in ways that dovetailed with the Christian cosmology understood by many of his white audiences. But Apess was doing more than just appealing to white Americans; he, like Occom, Johnson, and others, was theorizing Native sovereignties in ways that were informed by, but also challenged, white constructions of nationhood. The model of the lost tribes of Israel offered a way to think about multiple related yet distinct tribes linked by a single faith and occupying the same space. George Copway, who references the "lost tribes" theory in his autobiography but leaves it to the reader to decide whether or not that theory was valid, proposed the formation of an American Indian state west of the Mississippi (90). For tribal people in New England, who had been dealing with colonial incursions on their land for centuries, the model of the Hebrew people, which was sometimes invoked to deny their land claims, also offered the potential for reimagining or reasserting their {22} relationship to one another and to particular national spaces. In the case of Apess, to recognize these elements of survivance in his work allows us to recognize more clearly his attempts to strategically adopt and adapt a very old story to gesture toward new possibilities for Native people in New England.


This essay grew out of a paper that I presented as part of a panel entitled "Spanish America, Portuguese America, and Early America: The Ethnohistories of Evangelization in the New World" at the 2009 meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory. My thanks to Veronica A. Gutierrez Sermino for organizing the panel and to the panel's audience for their helpful feedback.


         1. For more on Apess's Eulogy, see Robert Allen Warrior's "Eulogy on William Apess" (1-13). In "(Native) American Jeremiad: The 'Mixed Blood' Rhetoric of William Apess," Patricia Bizzell notes that while Apess identified as a Pequot, he was born to "mixed-blood" parents (47n2). For more on Apess's family background, see Barry O'Connell's introduction to On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, a Pequot (xxiv-xxxviii).
         2. All references to Apess's writings are drawn from On Our Own Ground. Works are cited individually but are contained in this collection.
         3. As Sacvan Bercovitch writes in his landmark work The American Jeremiad, eighteenth-and nineteenth-century American ministers conveyed this sense of spiritual and political exceptionalism in their American listeners through the genre of the political sermon, or jeremiad. They "incorporated Bible history into the American experience--they substituted a regional for a biblical past, consecrated the American present as a movement from promise to fulfillment, and translated fulfillment from its meaning within the closed system of sacred history into a metaphor for limitless secular improvement" (93-94).
         4. In "(Native) American Jeremiad," Bizzell discusses Apess's familiarity with the jeremiad genre (36-37) and focuses on An Indian's Looking Glass for the White Man and Eulogy on King Philip as examples of Apess's efforts to "turn the American jeremiad genre to Indian interests" (37). Like Bizzell, I argue that Apess uses the jeremiad form, but I focus specifically on his connection of American Indian peoples to the Hebrew people as part of arguments about land, sovereignty, and community building. Referencing the work of Malea Powell, Bizzell concludes that An Indian's Looking Glass and Apess's Eulogy constitute examples of "survivance" (46).
         5. According to Lisa Brooks, "the Mashpee Woodland revolt" was "a moment in
{23} the early nineteenth century when the Mashpee Wampanoags declared their reserve Native space and 'nullified' the laws enacted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to manage them as dependents of the state" (163). Apess and others frequently used the term "Marshpee" to refer to the Mashpee Wampanoags during the nineteenth century. Following the terminology used by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and scholars such as Brooks, I use Mashpee Wampanoag or Mashpee except when quoting nineteenth-century sources. Throughout this essay, when I am not quoting from the work of others or referring to a specific Native nation, I use "American Indian," "Native," and "Indigenous" more or less interchangeably while acknowledging the fraught nature of all such terms.
         6. In Fugitive Poses, Vizenor defines survivance as "more than survival, more than endurance or mere response; the stories of survivance are an active presence" and "survivance is an active repudiation of dominance, tragedy, and victimry" (15). Malea Powell's "Rhetorics of Survivance: How American Indians Use Writing" suggests that the rhetorical strategies of writers such as Sarah Winnemucca and Charles Eastman "transform[] their object-status within colonial discourse into a subject-status, an absence to a presence" (400). For more on Apess's Eulogy on King Philip, survivance, and rhetorical sovereignty, see Wolfe (1-23).
         7. Anthony D. Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations, defines civic-territorial nations as those that define themselves on the basis of features such as "territory, residence, civil rights, and legal codes" (140). Put another way, territorial nations were and are predicated on the formation of a political institution and a bounded geopolitical space.
         8. For more on community formation and belonging in Native New England, see Jean M. O'Brien, Firsting and Lasting (2-3, 145, 204-5).
         9. Gregory Evans Dowd discusses the challenges that Native peoples faced in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in resisting the forces of colonial rule. He notes that efforts to forge pan-Indian movements were complicated by "the heritage of Indian diversity and of highly localized, familial, and ethnically oriented government" and by "Anglo-American efforts to keep the Indians divided and to influence Indian politics" (xx).
        10. For an overview of O'Brien's argument, see the introduction to Firsting and Lasting (xii-xvii).
        11. For more on American Indians and Calvinist rhetoric, see Robert F. Berkhofer Jr. (34-38) and Berkovitch (58-59).
        12. Cogley ("Some Other" 1-42) provides a brief summary of biblical discussions of the lost tribes. See also Kirsch (59).
        13. For more, see Cogley ("Some Other" 35-37). This idea was also espoused by Spanish and Portuguese explorers and by Rabbi Manasseh Ben Israel of Amsterdam, who published a pamphlet on the ten lost tribes entitled The Hope of Israel in 1850. For more on the lost tribes in European and Anglo-American literature and culture, see Gustafson (38).
        14. See Steibing (175); Kidd (208); Gustafson (38-39); Howey (440-42); and Purdue (4). Joseph Smith, a rough contemporary of Apess's, offers a slightly different
{24} perspective on American Indian origins. In the Book of Mormon (1830), Smith argues that Indigenous Americans descend from ancient Israelites, but not necessarily the ten lost tribes.
        15. As Meghan Howey argues, Anishinaabe writers Kahkewaquonaby (Peter Jones), Kahgegagahbowh (George Copway), and William Whipple Warren explicitly rejected this theory, arguing instead that "Native Americans were always present" (465) on the continent and preexisted white colonists.
        16. For more on the relationship between the Pequots and Mohegans, see Laura J. Murray (31).
        17. For a summary of Mohegan land issues, see Murray (31-40).
        18. As Laura Arnold (now Leibman) suggests through her reading of Occom's journals and the biblical passages he cites, Occom frequently drew on the twelve tribes of Israel as a model for what Brothertown might become (143-44).
        19. See Arnold (106-52).
        20. For more on Apess and the Mashpee, see O'Connell's introduction to On Our Own Ground (xxxiv-xxxvii) and his introduction to Apess's Indian Nullification (163-65).
        21. In his introduction to On Our Own Ground, O'Connell notes that Apess was arrested on July 4, 1833, for "riot, assault, and trespass" (Barnstable Court of Common Pleas, September 1833 term, 489, qtd. in Apess xxxvii) and required to spend thirty days in jail, pay a one-hundred-dollar fine, and post bond for an additional one hundred dollars. Among the documents that Apess included in Indian Nullification was a letter to the editor of the Barnstable Patriot, dated February 5, 1834, in which the author calls Apess a "talented, educated, wily, unprincipled Indian . . . [who] stirs them [Mashpee] up to sedition, riot, treason!" (qtd. in Indian Nullification 227). The author also argues that Apess was an "intruder" because he was not a member of the Mashpee tribe (qtd. in Indian Nullification 227).
         22. For more, see Konkle (120).


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_ _ _. The People and the Word: Reading Native Nonfiction. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2005. Print.

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"Then One Day We Create
Something Unexpected"
Tribalography's Decolonizing Strategies in
LeAnne Howe's Evidence of Red


Much of the recent, growing acclaim for the work of Choctaw writer LeAnne Howe concerns her first and second novels, Shell Shaker (2001) and Miko Kings (2006).1 Her mixed genre volume, Evidence of Red (2005, henceforth, Evidence) has, by contrast, received relatively less attention. Evidence puts into practice the theory that Howe developed in her two earlier, influential essays, "Tribalography: The Power of Native Stories" and "The Story of America: A Tribalography." Those essays in conjunction with Evidence reflect Howe's experience in her "storyweaving" collaborations with members of the Spiderwoman Theater, which built from the reciprocal relation of performers and audience (Stanlake, Native American 7, 25, 201-10).2 In Evidence as in Howe's essays on tribalography, a mixture of lyric, reflective, and narrative prose appear. While Evidence includes substantial passages of dramatic dialogues and monologues, Howe's essays contain explicit theorizing about storytelling as transformational, arising from collective and reciprocal processes and identities: "Creation stories, as numerous as Indian tribes, gave birth to [Native] people" ("Tribalography" 118). The substantial shifts in time that characterize the narratives in Evidence and her two novels correspond to a goal that Howe announces in her essays: storytelling should establish and reflect the "past, present and future milieu" of native epistemologies (118).
        Howe's theories of storytelling in her essays, which she puts into practice in Evidence and in her novels, aim toward decolonization as part of longer-term strategies of Indigenous survivance. Such decolonization, whether brought through reading or performance, is a primarily psychological process with political aspects in which individuals and the members of groups learn to recognize and reject colonial oppression. In the dramatic storyweaving of tribalography as in Evidence, the prospect {28} of decolonization arises from the text's pointing to and poking fun at habits of thought, speech, and self-perception that reflect the warped, inadequate, and dangerous views of the colonizer. This aspect of Evidence represents a continuation of the dramatic skills that the two "Tribalography" essays suggest, as Evidence employs parodic mimicry to set the processes of mental decolonization in motion. Storyweaving then seeks to replace the damaging falsehoods of colonialism by representing an alternative, showing how traditional forms of knowledge are available in the present day. Howe's representations of traditional knowledge as alternatives traverse wide swathes of time. She draws positive attention to decolonization by setting traditional stories and knowledge in startling but relevant contemporary contexts, moving across time and space. In Evidence, for example, the Choctaw speaker's travel and interactions with Palestinians, Syrians, and Jews in the Middle East, brief sojourns in Europe, and locations across the US West show how decolonization arises from personal interactions and presents the possibility of alternative pacts or alliances, corresponding to what Howe has written elsewhere of Choctaw traditions of diplomacy. Still another aspect of decolonization, linguistic revitalization, is manifest in the Choctaw phrases followed by semantic explanations that Howe employs throughout her work. Still another aspect of decolonization that's been particularly influential in Howe's tribalography, practiced in Evidence, is the self-referential and parodic use of photography, which is yet another technique for juxtaposing past and present.3 All of these aspects of decolonization and Indigenous survivance involve one-on-one interaction and performance.
        The work of Acoma writer Simon Ortiz shapes Howe's interest in decolonization as she opens her two tribalography essays with quotes from Ortiz's volume Going for Rain. Her work with drama is congruent with Ortiz's observations about the resilience of Indigenous peoples, who have subsumed and appropriated European culture and religion "in their own--Indian--terms," using "prayer, song, drama-ritual, narrative or story-telling" as tribes have "creatively responded to forced colonization" ("Toward" 8, 9-10).4 Ortiz regards such cultural creativity as part of on-going resistance to colonialism ("Toward" 10). Ortiz's observations correspond to the performance situation of the storyteller that Craig Womack (Creek-Cherokee), another writer with a clear affinity for Howe, observes in stating that "Indian people speak for them-{29}selves . . . out of a historical reality . . . concerning their own cultures" (Red 4-5). And the reciprocity of theater underlies the emphasis that Taiaiake Alfred (Mohawk) assigns to knowledge as coming from interactions: "To know indigenous people, those seeking knowledge must interact with indigenous communities, in all their past and present complexity" (xvi-xvii).
        Perhaps in distinction to the influences and affinities of Ortiz, Womack, and Alfred on her work, the traditional knowledge that Howe seeks and depicts quite often involves the contributions of Native women to Native oral traditions and performance. Thus her essay "Tribalography: The Power of Native Stories" relates the "living theater" that emerges from the "the stories told by native women" in staged readings and performances that involve the collaboration of audience and participants, "native and nonnative scholars" ("Tribalography" 117). Howe's earliest iteration of her theory of tribalography develops the example of audience response to Vera Manuel's play "The Strength of Women," about the Native boarding school experience. Writing about the knowledge that the play communicates, Howe describes how Manuel's work becomes the nukfokchi--literally "a thing that teaches and inspires," prompting audience members to tell their stories, which relate "the Jewish Holocaust, . . . the horrors of slavery and what was done to African Americans, the hardships that the Italians and the Irish had faced at Ellis Island" (124).
        Howe's development of "tribalography" within living theater responds to colonization's harm by listening to, remembering, and repeating stories on behalf of the collective. Her autobiographical essay, "My Mothers, My Uncles, Myself," communicates these broader goals: "I must learn more about my ancestors, understand them better than I imagined. Then I must be able to render all our collective experiences into a meaningful form. I call this process "tribalography" (214-15). Expanding on the idea of tribalography, Howe asserts that "stories are theories" Native American traditional storytelling puts into practice ("Blind Bread" 326). The project's scope begins with but isn't limited to Indigenous peoples: in "The Story of America: A Tribalography" scientists are described as having "adopted a Choctawian way of looking at the world," although the larger narrative that frames the essays is unmistakably Indigenous, concerning a day when the speaker, then living in Iowa City, received the visit from dozens upon dozens of red-tailed hawks kit-{30}tling together, heading for the Iowa River valley (36). While much of the essay concerns the past, in the closing paragraphs the speaker expresses faith in Native storytellers' present and future creativity:

currently there are over two million American Indians in the United States, and most of these people, give or take a thousand, are writing stories. The first thing you may think is: LeAnne you maniac, not every Indian in America is writing a book. I know it; some are making movies, or music videos for MTV. (45-46)

        To continue this thought, the teller returns to Oklahoma, where she observes that "Every Indian I meet is writing a story. . . . America is a collection of stories" ("Story" 46). So does Howe reiterate the broadly healing aspect of decolonization in the "native propensity for bringing things together, for making consensus, and for symbiotically connecting one thing to another" (42).
        Multiple tribes and diplomatic modes, from Choctaw and Iroquois in the "Tribalography" essays to the Comanche "Ain't Sally" in Evidence, contribute to Howe's theories of what this wide-ranging storytelling can accomplish.5 In an interview, when Howe refers to tribalography as "a story that links Indians and non-Indians," she mentions the importance of the fani miko, "a speaker for the opposing tribe," a diplomatic role that's crucial to Choctaw tradition (Howe qtd. in Squint 215). The fani miko, a habitual border-crosser, becomes a recurring motif throughout Evidence of Red. Traditionally the fani miko operates within the context of trading relationships, which means communicating with other tribes, whether distant or neighboring, Chickasaw or Cherokee, Creek or French, as seen in humorous characters such as Filanchi, whose name she explains as meaning "our Frenchman, the nail-biter" (Evidence 24; Byington 42).
        In stark contrast to the binary between the colonizer and the colonized, Howe's retellings of Choctaw history emphasize flexibility and diplomacy as modes of intertribal interaction: "Choctaws are most famous for being much more dynamic in their diplomacy, more than third spaces, more like sevens. . . . It's never a binary in our relationships with other peoples and tribes. . . . You see, it's a triangle" (Howe qtd. in Squint 215). Evidence shows how travel demands that dynamic, creative, adaptable flexibility, as the Choctaw speaker's encounters with other people across multiple settings put her in the role of emissary, outside of her usual territory: "tribal or tribalism is centered in a par-{31}ticular landscape" (Howe, email to Kim, 6 Oct. 2011). Serving in a diplomatic capacity requires the speaker to understand and communicate across local differences, respecting their local qualities: "the fact that most humans understand snow, doesn't mean that snow must be global" (Howe, email). At the same time, Howe, like Jace Weaver (Cherokee), is cautious that the call for literal separatism or exclusivity might "merely substitute a new imperialism for the old" (Weaver 73). While "Tribalography" draws from distinctly Native American traditions, Howe seeks to effect "a symbiosis of Old World and New World" ("Tribalography" 118, italics added). That symbiosis is particularly manifest in Evidence.
        Howe's two novels, Shell Shaker and Miko Kings, contribute to decolonization, sovereignty, and survivance insofar as each describes Choctaw culture, lands, politics, and diplomacy from Choctaw perspectives. The impressive historical range of the novels underlies their capacity for building decolonized perspectives. Shell Shaker, which links the past with the present, the eighteenth century with the twentieth, describes the ceremonial role of Shakbatina, whose self-sacrifice on behalf of her daughter eventually unites the Choctaw tribe, split by the 1830 removal from tribal ancestral homelands in the Southeast, on the Mississippi, to present-day Oklahoma. Shell Shaker calls on "the help of ancestors and young people to build the future," for Indigenous peoples to recognize and overcome internalized colonialism, which is characterized by the unexamined belief that "foreigner's things, ideas, and religions are better" (162). The decolonized perspective within the novel shows that Natives can "remain sovereign and solve their own problems through their connections to their land, families, ancestors, communities, culture, and history" (Hollrah 81, 83).
        The decolonizing strategies in Miko Kings likewise span centuries, although the story is anchored in the early twentieth-century origins of baseball. Choctaw tribal histories of interracial relations inspire this family mystery, which is set in the context of all-Indian baseball leagues and an affair between Choctaw pitcher Hope Little Leader and Justina Maurepas, his Black Indian lover. By dint of relating these concerns from a Choctaw tribal perspective, Miko Kings is a broadly transformative narrative "through which decolonized concepts of history, time, and nationhood are given voice" (Bauerkemper 1).
        The storyweaving and border crossing in Evidence, which draws from multiple Indigenous writers and sources, surpasses that of Shell {32} Shaker and Miko Kings. Its historical scope is likewise extensive, opening with creation stories and closing with the cautionary tale of the (likely) Comanche "Ain't Sally," a strange woman with an affinity for snakes who serves as a kind of protector for the narrator, in her girlhood, and perhaps into the future.


In contrast to the character and story development on which Howe's two novels necessarily depend, language's transformative power plays a primary role in Howe's essays and in Evidence, where the combination of lyric and dramatic verse recalls a point that Womack articulates in Red on Red: "Native artistry is not pure aesthetics, or art for art's sake. . . . The idea behind the ceremonial chant is that language, spoken in the appropriate ritual contexts, will actually cause a change in the physical universe" (Red 16-17, italics added). Transformation's shared, communal aspects likewise concern Paula Gunn Allen in Off the Reservation: "transformation is, after all, the heart of the people, the heart of the tradition, and the heart of the life process of Thought" (13).
        Distinct aspects of transformation appear throughout the four sections of Evidence, yet each includes fierce stories of female creative empowerment that point back to creation and forward to death. Each section spans multiple temporal and spatial dimensions of the struggle to break the centuries-old history of cultural genocide of Native peoples. So do Native American geography and history concern the closely linked first and second sections, "Creation" and "Chaos" (Huksuba). Yet creation's ongoing sense of becoming predominates: in Howe's lyric drama, "The Unknown Woman" (Ohoyo Chish-Ba Osh) tells us, "everything is related" (Evidence 16).
        Transformation in chaos is replicated on the level of poetic form as the opening pages of Evidence's second section move from narrative into lyric to reveal the kinship ties that link human beings, understood as tribal peoples, with other sentient creatures:

        Some of us lived like crayfish.
        Some of us lived like turtles.
        Some of us lived like coiled snakes end to end.
        Some of us lived like people. ("The Chaos of Angels," Evidence 31).

        This section's splendid proliferation of stories, dialogue, and lyric concludes by observing how communal dramatic response reinforces family and tribal ties: "In the tribal ethos, being isolated from one's relatives is the worst horror we can imagine, so we hold each other tight in the scary parts and wonder what will happen next" (Evidence 33). This concurs with what Alfred observes about "what makes an individual 'indigenous'," as he states "our people's reality is communal" (xvi). Paula Gunn Allen describes such expressions of communal identity as "the identifying characteristic of American Indian tribal poetry" (Sacred Hoop 167).6
        Evidence's third and fourth sections, "Cannibalism" and "Choctaw Code Talking," respectively, circle back to the earlier themes of creation and chaos. In contrast to the relative timelessness of the opening section, these latter two sections register numerous signs of the presence or absence of the mythic in the contemporary and future world. The relatively brief coda, "Choctaw Code Talking," narrates events from the relatively recent past, while employing the dominantly symbolic, quasi-prophetic speech patterns that characterized the text's opening pages. The combination allows the speaker to bring mystery and surprise by way of the funny, mundane, and subtly unfolded story of a childhood trip to meet a mysterious figure, "Ain't Sally," who lives in "a paint-less wooden house" at "a place of the snakes" (Evidence 99). The poet-narrator parodies the "sacred knowledge" aspect of storytelling as she relates what she learned as a girl, riding "in the back seat of our green 1950 Chevrolet" and listening to her "Indian grandmother" telling family stories of a wholly secular kind:

        Chapters went like this:
        -Life in a Dugout.
        -Making Lye Soap.
        -How Grandfather got VD. (99-100)

        "Ain't Sally," an old woman whose brown skin was "no more than a sheath for aging bones," "fed us saltine crackers and cold squirrel dumplings" (100). Yet over the afternoon spent together, with the old woman telling secrets, the girl "pretended to be a PowWow Dancer," and a bond develops as "Ain't Sally" instructs the girl to listen for the Snake People. Those lessons about sickness and death and ancestral ghosts return just as the old woman's spirit returns, years later, as a haunting, healing {34} spirit-visitor who comes to the sick girl's hospital bedside, reminding her, the Ala Tek, Indian girl, "che pisa lauchi. I'll see you. Indians never say goodbye" (Evidence 101). Like any well-delivered oral performance, the narrator waits until the last lines to reveal the meaning of the "sign of the snake," conveying the narrator's shocked recognition and hidden aspects to their relationship in the text's final words: "Comanches are here" (101).


Howe's storytelling in her novels, in her "Tribalography" essays, and in each of the sections and subsections of Evidence follows a trajectory where the speaker takes her listeners or readers with her as she journeys outward before suddenly veering into unexpected returns, across junctures of time and space, before once again moving outward, but more slowly than before. The narrative proceeds more slowly, deliberately, when describing events that occur at great geographical remove from the poet-narrator's homelands. Each outward movement is followed by a sudden circling or zooming in as the speaker or narrator swiftly conducts characters and readers into the final scenes and delivers unexpected conclusions. This pattern appears in the five-part autobiographical prose-poem, "Choctalking on Other Realities." And it's when the narrative moves outward that the speaker mimics and echoes earlier narratives of trauma. The care in developing the story, delivering new information carefully and saving the greatest shocks of recognition for turning moments and the narrative's conclusion, provide support for the underlying situation to which the narrator wishes to call attention: her observations of parallels between the sovereignty-seeking situations of Native Americans in the 1970s and of the Intifada during a visit to Jerusalem in 1992. Linking these spatially and temporally distinct interrelations and locales is the decolonized consciousness that arises from the author's weaving elements of her personal story. Her acts of performance and mimicry include representing the transformed, formerly internalized voice of the Euro-American missionary-colonizers who, her stories point out, have failed to honor the idea of "unity under God."
        To observe how the narrative represents the growth of decolonized awareness, we turn to the first of the five sections of "Choctalking," {35} which opens in Jerusalem. It is 1992. The narrator witnesses a group of seven Palestinian women chanting in a protest. Tourists join them until two blue and white truckloads of soldiers arrive to break them apart. The various women, the narrator included, run away. This act of running away--a crucial form of self-defense and tool of resisting colonization--then segues into the narrator's recollections of being a church kindergarten girl in what would have been 1950s Oklahoma, running away on a playground from a red-faced white girl who is tormenting her.
        Moving from one story of running away from physical assault into another, the narrator then launches into a seemingly unrelated first-person story, printed under the rubric "This is the Story I Really Wanted to Tell" (45). We are now in the 1970s, in an airport café in Oklahoma City. The characters include Nina, identified as a Jewish Ukrainian survivor of Babi Yar, who "had pulled a butcher knife on Gretchen the German" (45), described as "quite insane" (46). Rounding out the group is a third character, "Susan B. Anthony, the black, six-foot-tall-night-cook-in-charge" who "speaks choicest Gullah" (46). The narrator identifies herself, "an Oklahoma Choctaw," as "the waitress in the yellow uniform at the airport café" (46). Stepping into the role of peacemaker, she seeks to reconcile the two antagonists even as the three of them struggle to do their work, facing scores upon scores of Vietnam War draftees: "Every Monday through Friday we serve red and yellow, black, and poor white boys their last supper as civilians" (47). Here, as in the other tales of resistance, the speaker looks back at herself and reports that "I want to tell them to run" (47). In this case, however, rather than telling the draftees to run, the speaker loops back to the situation in Jerusalem, where she reports hearing a voice from the more remote past: the white teacher who spoke to her, coaxingly, a kindergarten girl who hid from bullies in the broom closet: "No one gets hurt if they do what they're told" (47, 49).
        The phrase and its variants recur throughout "Choctalking." Its false promise represents an oppressive power whose fatality the speaker, relating her experiences over time, has come to recognize. This speech is used at a church kindergarten for threatening Native American children. The same speech is repeated at a boot camp for young boys about to be sent to Vietnam (Evidence 47). On hearing this speech aboard an airplane by a flight attendant for calming passengers, the narrator shakes her "head trying to drive it out" (48). When she was an eighteen-year-old waitress in the airport café, who watched Nina and Gretchen squab-{36}ble and felt "powerless to change anything" (48), she couldn't help but repeat the phrase, precisely expressing her feelings of powerlessness. In the retelling, the narrator shows how she, the young waitress, in an awkward effort to intervene, had internalized the voice with its false promise:

I turn back to my co-workers who are drowning in a pool of tears. "No one will get hurt if we do what we're supposed to do," I say meekly. For a moment no one moves. Then they begin struggling with their kitchen utensils. Suddenly Nina is composed, Gretchen too, both of them square their shoulders the way soldiers do when called to attention. They promise it will never happen again, but no one believes them. (Evidence 49)

        As this passage implies, the narrator realizes that her speech is merely provisional. It will neither keep the peace nor change the status quo. With "I Am Still Running," the final section of "Choctalking," the earlier flight from colonial power is more fully developed as the action returns full circle, transporting the earlier figure of "Nina," the Russian-Jewish survivor of Babi Yar, from the Oklahoma café in 1970 to the pro-Palestinian protest of 1992, in Jerusalem, where the poet has happened into a demonstration that soldiers begin to forcibly break up. Returning to the point where the narrative had begun, the narrator suddenly recognizes Nina as the leader of the protest. Then, when one of the soldiers voices an age-old deception in his efforts to obtain her surrender, "No one gets hurt if they do what they're told" (56, italics in original), the imperative of this speech act asserts governmental--that is, colonial--power or authority in maintaining how the addressee should behave.7 But the figure who voices this performative speech represents the "ideology" of "State Apparatuses" (the Israeli Army in this poem), interpellates "individuals as subjects" purely to exert power on the subjects under control (Althusser 143).
        The speech act is multiply deceptive when it is spoken by colonial soldiers, corresponding to the multiple oppressions of the colonized. It could mean that (1) you will surely get hurt regardless of whether you do what you're told, and that (2) if you do what you're told, you are compromising, with your arms up, with oppression and loss of freedom. On realizing this double meaning after having thought through her own history of false promises, the narrator cries out to Nina, "'No, it's a lie. RUN!'" (Evidence 56).
        The act of "running" at this point in "Choctalking" correlates to Abel's running in Momaday's House Made of Dawn and to Victor's running in Sherman Alexie's short story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" from The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and in Smoke Signals, the film version of that story. They are running from being into becoming, to understanding, to recovering their identities as Native Americans, and to enter another world of transforming. But as Womack notes in writing about Evidence, "'No, it's a lie. RUN!'" is "a different kind of gait . . . one that involves a resistance . . . to power, including a protest against Israeli violence over Israelis . . . and closer to home, American dominance over fellow Americans" (Review 160). Even as the narrator's imperative speech mimics the soldier's, it leads into resistance, running away from the normative act. That the story closes with a prayer suggests a call for readers' collective prayers as initiated by the Arab member of the Knesset who arrives at the scene, calling for "calm," as he "walks on with his palms facing toward the Sun," a gesture of peace-seeking in the poet's Choctaw tradition as well. In that prayer the encounter with Nina and its aftermath come to symbolize the shared experience of colonial oppression among women across the world, of varying ethnic and racial backgrounds:

        Save her. . . . She is the Palestinian women shot to death by the Jews at Deir Yassin. . . .
        Save her. She is the Mayan women shot to death by the Mexicans in Chiapas.
        Save her. She is the Black women shot to death by the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama.
        She is The People, our grandmothers, our mothers, our sisters, our ancestors, ourselves.
        Save us. (Evidence 57)

        This scene's stress on interconnectedness supports Womack's assertions about Evidence as exemplary with regard to how "Indians have something to say about the world beyond Indian country, that Native studies is not inherently parochial, that tribally specific approaches have global implications" (Review 158). In the course of naming those global implications, which are present in the story of the 1970 Oklahoma airport café and throughout the tightly woven personal narratives in "Choctalking," the narrator takes care to specify the historical, geopo-{38}litical situations; these come together to name colonialism as an explicit concern in the text:

This past week there were sit-ins at a downtown department store where blacks are still being refused services at the lunch counter. For almost ten months American Indians have occupied the abandoned prison on Alcatraz Island. The word on the streets of Oklahoma City is that we're fed up with colonialism. American Indians are finally going to change the status quo. (Evidence 48)

        The "sit-ins" and the occupation of "Alcatraz Island" refer to speech acts that accompany events that involve multiple ironies that Sean Kicummah Teuton (Cherokee) succinctly enumerates:

Upon reclaiming Alcatraz for Native people, the Indians of All Tribes read their proclamation to the press. With bitter irony, they announced their discovery of a new uninhabited land and declared their right to remain by a treaty delineating a fair purchase of the tiny, worthless island. (5)8

        Like these Native Americans, who appeared as postindian warriors, subversively enacting the occupation or, rather, reoccupation of Native lands, the narrator of "Choctalking" connects her performative stage, the airport café, to another stage, Alcatraz Island, in a subtle display of the power of Native American performance. The narrator echoes the finely tuned mimicry that the Alcatraz Island occupiers used to perform the speech acts of their press releases. In the next, central section of "Choctalking," the narrator announces that she, too, will perform, mimic, and thus turn her identity inside out: "I'll buy a mask and become someone else. . . . I did become someone else. A mother, a teacher, a writer, a wife" (49). This "someone else" set of feminine roles-to-be-played creates the stage for the poet-narrator's revealing another aspect of her visit to Jerusalem in 1992, "to learn about the effects of the Intifada on the region and its peoples" (49-50). She overcomes her hesitation as she recognizes the site's importance for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, "birthed in that order . . . whose holidays center around religious and cultural victories over each other. Kind of like Americans celebrating Thanksgiving. Holidays are the masks of conquerors" (50). But in journeying to Jerusalem, the narrator stumbles upon the familiar fairy tale of the Cherokee Princess, which she relates in mock surprise: "But wouldn't you know it. {39} On my first day in Jerusalem I met a Jewish woman who said her great-grandmother was a Cherokee" (50).
        As Womack has pointed out, attention to the Middle East makes "Choctalking" a paradigmatic story about how intersecting and competing jurisdictions and borders reflect numerous "disputes over who constitutes the indigenes of a given geography" (Review 158). "Sovereignty has to be able to see past its own belly button," he asserts, explaining that the Middle East matters for Native Americans, as many young Natives enlist and serve in the US Armed Forces (160). So does Howe situate geography at the core of tribalography: responding to the Jewish woman's related fragment of her immigrant ancestor's story, she relates the Choctaw's origins in the ancient homelands in the southeastern United States, "long before Moses parted the Red Sea, and the God with three heads was born in the Middle East" (Evidence 50-51). But her listener grows impatient and interrupts the narrator's account of the tribe's geographical coordinates and engagement of alliances. Inviting the narrator to her house for an evening meal, the woman speaks instead of her own loneliness. Her mother long dead, she lives with her father and "misses the company of Americans" (51). As night settles over the two women, their dialogue, full of irony and mimicry, becomes a kind of sparring in a web of failed interactions that reveal the weight of colonial interventions in history and geography. The Choctaw history that the narrator relates centers on struggles for incorporating newcomers, the forced removals, and the attempt to maintain sovereignty over tribal lands. "Oklahoma or Indian Territory was a forerunner of Israel," she explains, but the American government opened "the unassigned lands to the whites" (53). When the listener responds by insisting that she wants a personal story, that is, not a tribal history, the narrator recurs to an underlying principle of her tribalography--"Native people created narratives that were histories and stories with the power to transform" ("Tribalography" 118). Returning to the story of the kindergartener who'd run off to the broom closet, the narrator mimics and transforms the chorus of the traditional Christian song. While the narrator claims that she was, as a five-year-old, "only repeating what I thought I heard," the very act of repeating displays creative resistance to the colonial message behind the words, for the italicized line (mis)quotes from the chorus of the traditional Christian song, "Jesus Loves the Little Children:"

        Black and yellow, red and white
        They're all precious in His sight
        Jesus loves the little children of the world

The version that the narrator recalls turns the song into a situation for realizing decolonized awareness:

That morning the preacher said we were lucky to have a missionary lead us in a song. "Red and yellow, black and white we are separate in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world." Then I sang it several times by myself. I was only repeating what I thought I heard. The words had no meaning for me. I was five years old. When she marched toward me shaking her fist, with that mouth of angry nails I panicked and ran outside across the playground and toward a café. (Evidence 54)

        The girl alters the song so that it corresponds to reality as she sees and lives it. She transforms "they're all precious in His sight" to "we are separate in his sight," and she rearranges the order in which the races are named, so that red comes first. In appropriating and singing the song, the native girl transforms its message of racial harmony (a colonial ruse) into a message of racial segregation (the colonial reality). Her empty mouthing of the colonizer's words puzzles and ultimately enrages the colonizer, who advances, ready for battle "with that mouth of angry nails" that the colonized resists by running away "toward a café," returning us to where we started.


In relating Native struggles for sovereignty to the territorial and religious disputes of the Middle East, Howe underscores the importance of connectedness. "There is no God, but the God of us all" (56). Her paraphrase and transformation of the Arabic "there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet" is a mimicry that questions the ideology of universal humanity that religious imperialism and Euro-Americans have tried to push onto Native Americans:

        I am in you and you are in me.
        Isn't that what your God said, too? (70)
        For all her interest in diplomatic gesture, Howe's connecting Choctaw people to Jerusalem is, as Womack notes, "not idealized in the story" (Review 158). Rather, "Choctalking" is "most contentious. . . . not a warm and fuzzy story about overcoming cultural differences" (158). Howe acknowledges that tension in an interview: "Choctaws or Choctawan peoples were successful for ten thousand years in making relationships. It wasn't paradise; it was fraught with many tensions" (Howe qtd. in Squint 216).
        The final section of Evidence expands further on the relevance of the Middle East for Native peoples. "The Lie" attests to the pervasive presence of the Euro-American media, whose power to shape reality by making the unreal seem real is manifest in the hostile recognition that the narrator encounters as an Indigenous American seeking to cross from Jordan into Syria. The story opens with the ironizing space of the epigraph: the narrator asserts that she's following the command of US president George W. Bush "to go shopping," to "feel better after the events of September 11, 2001." In her case, she seeks to visit "the world's oldest, continuously operated Souk" located in Damascus (Evidence 93). But the Syrian woman bureaucrat denies her "a one-day permit" since the applicant is not "American," but rather, an American "Indian." The narrator recounts how she struggled to represent herself as culturally connected to Syria, such as by answering "No" in Arabic, and by asserting her patriotism, by way of Hollywood, despite the apparent duality of her connections to the United States. While she is a Choctaw who performs and participates in tribal ceremonies, she honors a Hollywood-inspired religious feeling and patriotism when she consumes Judeo-Christianity, Hollywood-style: "Every year during Passover I watch The Ten Commandments on television (in my underwear) and I cry" (93). But the bureaucrat's response refuses the narrator's claims to humanity, first by answering her Arabic with English and second by denying her intelligence and asserting her own superiority, as based in what she claims to know about Native Americans, which she learned from watching US television: "Have you now, or have you ever been intelligent . . . After all, American Indians do not have souls . . . I've seen The Searchers on television" (93).9 The narrator can barely stammer awkwardly in response, "But . . . " (93, 94). It's as if she, stuttering like Moses, has hurled her own broken tablets, her "own artwork into the desert" (93). The bureaucrat's declaration of the inferiority of Native American cul-{42}ture is based in her own version of reality, one that denies literacy, tradition, agency, and cultural identity to the Native, whose culture prizes oral tradition: "You are not people of 'The Book' . . . we are all people of the book. But you are not. You have no book. Even your own President believes you are primitive and unworthy" (94).
        Beset by the contradictions of "The Lie," the next poems turn to alternative sources of strength: the "Post-Mortem" of elegy for

        the father I didn't know
        but felt like muscle and sinew. (95)

        The next poems revisit the volume's earlier references to the intense, unflinching truths of Choctaw history and tradition with regard to bone picking and to the poet's experience of fierce desire. The mystic sharing of "Horse Dreams" is well paired with the erotic sparring of "Kick Boxing" (96-98).


In "The Chaos of Angels," Howe addresses the colonization and the cultural genocide of Native Americans: "Huksuba, or chaos occurs when Indians and Non-Indians bang their heads together in search of cross-cultural understanding. The sound is often a dull thud, and the lesson leaves us all with a bad headache" (Evidence 23). To remedy that "bad headache," Howe develops parody in characters that debunk the Euro-American cultural, historical establishment in a "theater of tribal consciousness" that is, as Gerald Vizenor notes, "the recreation of the real, not the absence of the real in the simulations of dominance" (5).10 Throughout a series of dramatic monologues, Howe sketches popular iconographic images of Native Americans that include Pocahontas, Noble Savage, and the Indian Mascot. Using the humor of irony and mimicry, her text resists the bizarre, insulting, and distorted epistemologies of colonial power. Taking on the dominant, Eurocentric idea of "Indian" or "Indianness," she points to the unreality of colonial epistemology, which reduces the power of internalized colonization. Employing memory and identity, Evidence gives voice to "phantoms, fantasy, and performance" that "have traditionally been placed on the opposite side of the 'real' and 'historical'" (Taylor 141).
        The dramatic monologue "My Name Is Noble Savage" mocks one of the earliest of these historically monolithic, reductive, and collective images of Native Americans. Noble Savage engages in direct address, relating how Euro-Americans historically and culturally massacred "real" Natives to concoct a false image, "Indian":

        You killed me
        In order to bring me back to life
        As your pet, a mascot
        A man. (Evidence 76)

        Unlike the colonial strategy of naming and imposing labels, which "has been a central feature of the colonization process from the start" (Alfred 84), Howe shows the icon's talking back, sarcastically mimicking the colonizer:

        Since I'm your invention
        Everything I say comes true. (Evidence 76)

        Howe's embrace of parody engages a trajectory similar to the colonial "mimicry" that so often appears in the performances of the colonized, who imitate the culture, language, and religion imposed by the colonizer. The cultural hybridity that Howe crafts in the comic exchanges between Nobel Savage and the Indian Mascot threatens and undermines colonialism's binary discourse, which emerges from what Homi Bhabha calls "the excess or slippage" of performance.11 Howe crafts another reality from this slippage, developing a temporary theater where unreal Indians excessively perform the colonizer's idea, or mere word, "Indian," as if they were real, subverting the reality fabricated by the dominant Euro-American epistemology, culture, and media.
        In showing how "authentic" Indians have been replaced by "hyperreal" Indians, Howe's images of the Indian involve postmodern concepts of the real and the unreal that appear in Vizenor and Ortiz.12 Such observations are crucial to the enactment of that postcolonial, postindian consciousness that Allen articulated in pointing to the colonial "symptom" whereby Indians internalize and reiterate Euro-American images in embodied, socially determined performance. Allen likewise decries the consequences for Native peoples of media-dominated false consciousness: "Images of Indians in media and educational materials profoundly influence how we act, how we relate to the world and to {44} each other, and how we value ourselves" (Sacred 192). Howe's dramatic writing develops multiple strategies for undermining and defeating two problems that Allen identifies: "the deep and unquestioned belief that American Indians are cruel savages" and "American Indian men [who] have been equally deluded into internalizing that image and acting on it" (Sacred 193).13 Thus the cool, calculated rage of "The Red Wars" emerges into the unexpected with the narrator's sudden, epiphanic closing lines, set in a bar:

        I am drunk. . . .
        And I realize that I have seen too many Cecil B. DeMille movies.
        I turn and see the image of my grandmother in the mirror.
        She is standing at the bar, beside the self-made man holding a martini glass.
        She is silent and sad. And I put the glass down. (Evidence 43)

        This example of decolonization shows how deeply the realization of the colonizer's presence grows from explicitly performative contexts, of seeing and being seen, hearing and being heard. Just as the narrator-protagonist looks into the bar mirror and sees her grandmother in herself, so do readers and audience understand the words of the closeted Noble Savage, whose speech and being articulate the false ideology of the Indian who knows he's an invention, a many-mirrored lie. To counter that false representation within the larger project of challenging the dominant epistemology, Howe develops the character of the queer white Indian Mascot (who, in Howe's brilliant play, "The Mascot Opera," is white but believes he's "an Indian"). The two characters engage in mock-serious dialogue, such as "Noble Savage Sees a Therapist," where the title character complains to a "furiously scribbling" but silent white therapist that he is tired of his image and that his iterative performance as "Noble Savage" renders him impotent:
        I feel nothing. No emotion
        In fact, I'm off all females--even lost my lust for attacking white chicks . . . I don't feel like Maiming,
        Burning wagon trains . . . I'm developing hemorrhoids
        from riding bareback . . .
        It's an impossible role . . . I don't know who I am. (78)

        After Noble Savage explains that his excessively inscribed performance of "riding bareback" has caused him to develop hemorrhoids (a {45} side effect of the oppressive power inscribed on the site of his body), the absurdity of these unreal performances comes to a height (or nadir) in Howe's "The Indian Sports Mascot Meets Noble Savage," where the two icons engage in failed communication. Indian Mascot seeks accommodation: "I think of us always as a couple," but Noble Savage denies it, arguing, "We've never been together" (79). Indian Mascot's plaintive affirmation that "you look just like me" is empty, yet full of meaning: these two false images, caricatures, are the result of colonization (79).
        Howe's parodic representations of the Noble Savage and the Indian Mascot are decolonizing tactics that turn the performative characters into a paper-thin iconography that the author further derides when the Euro-American Indian Mascot tries to borrow Noble Savage's loin cloth (80). While the Indian Mascot falls in love (or lust) with Noble Savage, the latter feels nothing for no one, as he reveals in writing:

        Dear Diary: I can't fall in love with anyone.
        I'm here to make all men believe
        They're just like me. (81)

        In both events, "the postindian arises from the earlier inventions of the tribes only to contravene the absence of the real with theatrical performances" (Vizenor 5). The Indian Mascot's attempts to belong to something bigger than himself become more and more strained, such as when he joins the "tribe" of the Village People, leading the poet to conclude "some decades are more ironic than others" (Evidence 82). Howe next challenges the inscribed concept of the Indian by showing how the Indian Mascot encounters "prejudice (from real Indians)" (83). Their humorous, ironic repartee belongs to the musical performance of call and response:

        "You're a fiction." They shout.
        "A character, that much is certain." I reply.
        "An invention?" They chant.
        "No more than you!"
        "A failure?" They charge.
        "Not a chance. I have fans."
        And the show must go on. (83)

        The performance suggests that nobody is Indian, that all such representations are false, and that the debate between the Mascot and real {46} Indians is but an empty show. Howe's revealing Hollywood as her characters' stage confirms this farcical interpretation in the concluding lines to this series of Noble Savage scenes and monologues, which in turn addresses the question raised in "American Indians Attempt to Assassinate Indian Mascot":

        What happened to Indian Mascot and Noble Savage after the shooting? Nothing.
        They were never real.
        This is Hollywood. (85)

        In poems such as "Disney's Pocahontas Longs for Noble Savage" and "Kick Boxing," Howe transforms sexual intercourse into a performative practice that Native women can use to resist and subvert colonial misrepresentation. Her ironic appropriations of the image of warrior of Native men to Native women exemplify what Joy Harjo asserts in an interview: "those so-called 'womanly' traits are traits of the warrior. . . . The word, warrior, it applies to women just as well. I don't see it as exclusive to a male society" (Jaskoski 11). Through "Disney's Pocahontas," Howe reclaims the stereotypical Indian princess as a nationalistic woman, "a carrier of a million fiery red eggs" who declares:

         I will fuck 47
        Make love to thousands more
        Birth a nation of sons and daughters ("Disney's Pocahontas Longs for Noble Savage," Evidence 77)

        Her speech refuses the role of a romanticized princess who willingly sacrifices herself for John Smith in that "arrested, fetishistic mode of representation" that Euro-American culture has constructed around her (Bhabha 29). Howe's character is in line with Monique Mojica's one-woman show "Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots," which enacts a "performative intervention" into the "one-dimensional characters . . . of European history books" (Carter 26). Likewise, in Howe's "Kick Boxing," Native women warriors turn a bedroom into a performing stage where Native women declare:

        I have no time for erotic distractions
        Can't you see I am birthing a nation, our tribe, our people. (Evidence 98)

        Native women and men in bed therefore become "good practice for warriors-in-training": women perform as if they were kickboxing, while men "pretend to be Muhammad Ali" (98).
        A final, telling example of Howe's irony appears in the author's portrait on the back cover of Evidence. Here, LeAnne Howe counters the invented image of the Indian. Playfully smiling, saluting the camera, she mimics a similar move by the wooden "Cigars Cubains" Indian standing immediately behind her.14 Squint describes this pose as conveying a "mlange of humor, resistance, and intellectualism":
        Howe's choice to pose in front of the cigar store Indian, a symbol of the original trading relationship between Natives and Europeans that ultimately led to colonization, genocide, and the commodification of the American Indian image, is a joke on anyone who thinks that Native peoples are conquered, "vanished," or frozen in time. (Squint 212)
        This mockingly self-staged portrait summarizes the tendency, recurring throughout Evidence, to poke fun at the myth that Natives have been eradicated by colonial powers. The witty and appropriative gesture of presenting herself as a character alongside and against the totemic wooden cigar store Indian ridicules the unreality of Euro-Americans' iconography, echoing Vizenor's observation that "this portrait is not an Indian" (18, 42, 44). But tribalography comes into play in that Howe employs such photographs, both in her book and on her website, in explicitly communal contexts. With them as with her use of drama and poetry she at once comments on the wide range of representations of "Indianness" and recalls shared moments with friends. This use of photographs to destabilize fixed identities and affirm alliances based on shared experiences and histories shapes what Indigenous writers Jill Doerfler (Anishinaabe) and Julianne Butler (Koori, Worimi, and Bundjalung) take and adapt to their uses in their tribalographies, where they cite Howe's work in creatively developing the topics of Native sovereignty, nationalism, and decolonization. Their technique of "storyweaving" draws from communally authored oral tradition, employing a mixture of poetry and dramatic and reflective prose.
        Evidence of Red puts the theory of tribalography into practice, composing and dramatizing postindian survivance, employing postmodern, postcolonial terms within a wider strategy of developing representations {48} of Native Americans that aim to decolonize Native Americans' minds. As her work traverses various geographical and ideological borders, Howe mobilizes biting humor, jokes, irony, and mimicry by way of per-formative characters and narrators. In so doing, Evidence of Red at once subverts existing images of Native Americans and develops alternatives, founded in Native American sovereignty, storytelling traditions, and the prospect of freedom.


         1. Shell Shaker has been reviewed and studied by Patrice E. M. Hollrah, Ken McCullough, Kirstin L. Squint, Monika Barbara Siebert, Eric Gary Anderson, and Bernadette Rigal-Cellard, with the latter three coming out a decade after Shell Shaker's initial publication in 2001. Howe's second novel, Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story, has been the subject of numerous shorter reviews, with more detailed analysis from LaRose Davis and Michael Wilson. Of seventeen PhD dissertations filed in the United States that discuss Howe's work, six were completed in 2011. Womack's review, the most extensive to date of Howe's Evidence of Red, underscores the text's global contexts and describes "An American in New York" as "one of the finest short stories in literature of the American, Native American, or any other sort" (157).
         2. In chapter 6, "Storying and Tribalography in Native American Drama," Christy Stanlake provides detailed comments on the origins and implications of Howe's work with and in collaborative performance situations (118-63).
         3. Howe's "Tribalography" essays appear to have influenced other Indigenous writers, as Jill Doerfler and Julianne Butler at once cite her work and mix lyric with prose and historical documents alongside photographs. Also like Howe, they stress tribalographies as collaborative autobiographical accounts and use the mixing up of genres to underscore how Indigenous identities are destabilized as a result of long-standing colonial relationships in which hegemonic white law gets to say who is or is not Indigenous.
         4. Jace Weaver stresses the importance of decolonization in pointing to how Ortiz's early essay "laid not only the groundwork for American Indian literary Nationalism, but also for the recognition of the integrity of Indian literature in English through his argument for indigenous transformations of colonial impulses" (33).
         5. Howe's valoration of non-Choctaw tribal traditions in Native drama appears when, in writing of tribalography, she cites the "Iroquois version of the drama as . . . designed to heal the community as a whole" ("Tribalography" 119).
         6. Ortiz affirms this same sense of a larger, shared existence: "Yes, they were different but they were all / the same: / The People, Human Beings, You, Me" (Out There 53). Vizenor further articulates this sense of relation: "Many contemporary native novelists present the imagic consciousness of animals in dialogue and descriptive narratives, and overturn the monotheistic separation of humans and animals. . . .
{49} Commonly, natives have been represented and associated with nature and totemic animals" (Vizenor 10).
         7. Speech acts include promising, ordering, greeting, warning, inviting, congratulating, and other forms of performative utterance, as uttering this kind of statement in what speech act theory would describe as "appropriate circumstances" is not just to "say" something but rather to "perform" a certain kind of action (Austin 5).
         8. According to Alvin M. Josephy Jr., Joane Nagle, and Troy Johnson, they announced the following: "We, the native Americans, re-claim the land known as Alcatraz Island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery" (40).
         9. The Searchers (1956), a typical American Western film, was an enormous commercial success at the time of its release. It stars the typical cowboy John Wayne along with typically anonymous Indians whom the cowboy hero kills after he has invaded their lands.
         10. Howe's parody arguably enacts what Diana Taylor describes as a primary function of performance: to "bridge the disciplinary divide between anthropology and theater" (Taylor 72).
         11. For Bhabha, "the excess or slippage produced by the ambivalence of mimicry (almost the same, but not quite) does not merely 'rupture' the discourse, but becomes transformed into an uncertainty which fixes the colonial subject as a 'partial' presence" (86).
         12. While Vizenor draws on Baudrillard in stating that the word "Indian" was "an occidental invention, a colonial enactment," with "no reference in tribal languages or cultures" (11), Vizenor goes on to point to the term's "hyperreality," as the false image of the Indian has been so reiterated in American history that it has become real and "true" as Noble Savage declares. Ortiz's Out There Somewhere engages this issue of the real and the unreal as imposed by Europeans: "There are no real Indians . . . 'Indians' were what Europeans believed. . . . They were made up" (Out There 48-49). As "the power of belief is powerful," the unreal became the real when Native Americans internalized the idea of "Indianness": "soon," he asserts, "even 'the Indians' believed that there were 'Indians'" (50-51).
         13. Allen's observation could be extended further via Judith Butler's concept of "performativity," manifest in a "body" (or subject) that can internalize repetition and recitation as "ontological effects are established" (111-12); "that the gendered body is performative suggests that is has no ontological status apart from the various acts which constitute its reality" (136). The discursive image of the Native American is socially and thus ideologically positioned through the repetition of performance, that is, as Butler observes, "at once a reenactment and re-experiencing of a set of meanings already socially established" and that one cannot therefore "distinguish between the original and the imitation" (140).
        14. Howe's sense of humor regarding performance appears throughout her "review" of her novel, Shell Shaker, in which she describes herself as "a feisty writer who picks a fight with America by exposing it to itself ": see /essays/fiction/shell_shaker.html, accessed 13 June 2012.



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Allen, Paula Gunn. Off the Reservation: Reflections on Boundary-Busting, Border-Crossing, Loose Canons. Boston: Beacon, 1998. Print.

_ _ _. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Boston: Beacon, 1986. Print.

Althusser, Louis. Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays. New York: Monthly Review P, 1971. Print.

Anderson, Eric Gary. "On Native Ground: Indigenous Presences and Countercolonial Strategies in Southern Narratives of Captivity, Removal, and Repossession." Southern Spaces Aug. 2007. Web. 13 June 2012.

_ _ _. "The Presence of Early Native Studies." American Literary History 22.2 (Summer 2010): 280-88. Web. 13 June 2012.

Austin, J. L. How to Do Things with Words. New York: Oxford UP, 1976. Print.

Bauerkemper, Joseph. "LeAnne Howe's Tribalography: A Productive Crossroads of American Indian Studies and American Studies." American Studies Association Annual Meeting. Albuquerque. 16 Oct. 2008. Web. 13 June 2012.

Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture. New York: Routledge, 1995. Print.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Performance and the Subversion of Feminine Identity. London: Routledge, 1990, 1999. Print.

Butler, Julianne. "One Time Ago: An Urban Aboriginal Tribalography." Thesis. U of Newcastle, New South Wales, 2009. Web.

Byington, Cyrus. Holisso Anumpa Tosholi: An English and Choctaw Definer for the Choctaw Academies and Schools. New York: S.W. Benedict, 1852. Google Book Search. Web. 8 June 2012.

Carter, Jill. "Blind Faith Remembers." Performing Worlds into Being: Native American Women's Theater. Ed. Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, Kelli Lyon Johnson, and William A. Wortman. Oxford: Miami UP, 2009. Print.

Davis, LaRose. "Unspoken Intimacies, The Miko Kings, HIU, and Red-Black Convergences: A Conversation with LeAnne Howe." Wicazo Sa Review 26.2 (2011): 83-91. JSTOR. Web. 13 June 2012.

Doerfler, Jill. "An Anishinaabe Tribalography: Investigating and Interweaving Conceptions of Identity during the 1910s on the White Earth Reservation." American Indian Quarterly 33.3 (2009) 295-324. Print.

Hollrah, Patrice E. M. "Decolonizing the Choctaws: Teaching LeAnne Howe's Shell Shaker." American Indian Quarterly 28.1-2 (2004): 73-85. Project Muse. Web. 10 Sept. 2011.

Howe, LeAnne. "Blind Bread and the Business of Theory Making, by Embarrassed Grief." Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective. Ed. Craig S. Womack, Daniel Heath Justice, and Christopher B. Teuton. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008. 325-49. Print.

_ _ _. Evidence of Red. Cambridge: Salt, 2005. Print.
_ _ _. Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story. San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 2007. Print.

_ _ _. "My Mothers, My Uncles, Myself." Here First: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers. Ed. Arnold Krupat and Brian Swann. New York: Modern Library, 2000. 212-28. Print.

_ _ _. "Re: Dear LeAnne Howe (from ASU)." Message to Seonghoon Kim. 7 Oct. 2011. Email.

_ _ _. Shell Shaker. San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 2001. French translation, published as Equinoxes Rouge (Paris: Le Rocher, 2004). Print.

_ _ _. "The Story of America: A Tribalography." Clearing a Path: Theorizing the Past in Native American Studies. Ed. Nancy Shoemaker. New York: Routledge, 2002. 29-50. Print.

_ _ _. "Tribalography: The Power of Native Stories." Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 14.1 (1999): 117-25. U of Kansas. Web. 13 June 2012.

Jaskoski, Helen, and Joy Harjo. "A MELUS Interview: Joy Harjo." MELUS 16.1 (1989-1990): 5-13. Project Muse. Web. 10 Sep. 2011.

Josephy, Alvin M., Jr., Joane Nagle, and Troy Johnson, eds. Red Power: The American Indians' Fight for Freedom. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1999. Print.

McCullough, Ken. "If You See the Buddha at the Stomp Dance, Kill Him! The Bicameral World of LeAnne Howe's Shell Shaker." Studies in American Indian Literatures 15.2 (2003): 58-69. Web. 13 June 2012.

Ortiz, Simon J. A Good Journey. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 1977. Print.

_ _ _. Out There Somewhere. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2002. Print.

_ _ _. "Toward a National Indian Literature: Cultural Authenticity in Nationalism." MELUS 8.2 (1981): 7-12. Project Muse. Web. 10 Sept. 2011.

Rigal-Cellard, Bernadette. "Plotting History: The Function of History in Native North American Literature." Transatlantic Voices: Interpretations of Native North American Literatures. Ed. Elvira Pulitano. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2007: 24-43. Print.

Siebert, Monika Barbara. "Repugnant Aboriginality: LeAnne Howe's Shell Shaker and Indigenous Representation in the Age of Multiculturalism." American Literature 83. 1 (2011): 93-119. Project Muse. Web. 13 June 2012.

Squint, Kirstin L. "Choctawan Aesthetics, Spirituality, and Gender Relations: An Interview with LeAnne Howe." MELUS 35.3 (2010): 211-24. Project Muse. Web. 10 Sept. 2011.

Stanlake, Christy. Native American Drama: A Critical Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009. Print.

Taylor, Diana. The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas. Durham: Duke UP, 2003. Print.

Teuton, Sean Kicummah. Red Land, Red Power: Grounding Knowledge in the American Indian Novel. Durham: Duke UP, 2008. Print.

Vizenor, Gerald. Manifest Manners: Postindian Warriors of Survivance. Hanover: Wesleyan UP, 1994. Print.

Weaver, Jace, Craig S. Womack, and Robert Warrior. American Indian Literary Nationalism. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 2006. Print.
Wilson, Michael. "The Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story." Studies in American Indian Literatures 21.3 (2009): 104-7. Web. 13 June 2012.

Womack, Craig S. Red on Red: Native American Literary Separatism. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1999. Print.

_ _ _. Review of Evidence of Red: Poems and Prose, by LeAnne Howe. Studies in American Indian Literatures 17.4 (2005): 157-61. Project Muse. Web. 10 Sept. 2011.

In Honor of Nastáo
Kasaan Haida Elders Look to the Future


We have to re-define what it means to be Haida today. . . . So what do we teach them? Teach the good things about being Haida: respect, identification of who you are. Not the fact that you've got the biggest totem pole, or the most wealth, but the fact that you've done it, or you were a part of it. . . . We teach them what we know, and what we can learn. . . .
        Willard Lear Jones (Nastáo) Táas Láanas, Raven, Brown Bear (1930-2007), Gá sa áan Xaadas Guu suu: Kasaan Haida Elders Speak July 20011

Storytelling, oral histories, the perspectives of elders and women have become an integral part of all indigenous research. Each individual story is powerful. But the point about the stories is not that they simply tell a story, or tell a story simply. These new stories contribute to a collective story in which every indigenous person has a place.
        Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples

Nastáo, my maternal uncle, was one of seven Alaskan Haida elders who participated in an oral history interview project conducted in 2000-2001 by a group of us "younger" Haida, originally from Kasaan village, but who are no longer living there. Kasaan is one of only four remaining Haida villages in the world. The others are Hydaburg, also in Southeast Alaska, and Masset and Skidegate in Haida Gwaii (Haida Island, or Islands of the People), previously known as the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia, Canada. In the above epigraph, Nastáo responded to one of the central questions of our project: What is the most important of our Kasaan Haida traditions to pass on to our children, grandchildren, and future generations? His response, along with what other Haida {54} elders have said, is significant not only to family and clan members, most of whom now live far from Kasaan, but also potentially relevant to other Native peoples living in urban areas, far from their own homelands. Their perceptions also provide the means to consider what it means to be an "urban" Alaska Native in today's world.
        In order to understand Nastáo's response in the context of our overall project and its impetus, it is important to understand something about Kasaan Haida people, where we come from, who we are today, and why we thought such a project was important.
        Kasaan Haidas are a tiny group within a relatively small group of Indigenous peoples. Some estimates put the Haida population at time of contact (on both sides of the now-international border) in the range of 10,000-15,000, with subsequent reduction of 80 to 90 percent due to infectious diseases such as smallpox and influenza, which devastated Indigenous peoples worldwide (Boyd 144). Sometime after contact with Europeans, several different groups of Haida migrated north from Haida Gwaii to the southern end of Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska and established at least five villages, but after those villages suffered population losses from diseases introduced by the increasing number of immigrants moving into the area, now only Hydaburg and (New) Kasaan remain. Both villages are relocations from original sites.
        The 2000 US census counted approximately 4,300 Haida (the 2010 Census statistics are not yet complete as of this writing). About 1,300 Haida live in Alaska, and of these, only 400 or so live in our two villages, Hydaburg and Kasaan. Most have moved to Alaska's larger towns and urban areas--Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, and Anchorage, and still others have moved out of state. Kasaan's peak population in the early 1930s was about 130, and the population now rests at around 45 (Kavilco n.p.). About one-third to one-half of Kasaan's population includes Haida or members of other Alaska Native tribes. The other residents are non-Native. Unlike the "Lower 48," as we in Alaska often call the continental United States, Natives here are not part of the reservation system,2 and lives are structured in relation to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) corporations. ANCSA, implemented in 1971, created regional and village corporations, and Alaska Natives born on or before December 18, 1971, enrolled in one of the corporations. Corporations distribute profits to their shareholders, primarily based upon developing their natural resources.
        So while the Kasaan village population is currently only about 45, the village corporation, Kavilco (Kasaan Village Corporation), created in 1973, enrolled 120 shareholders whose clans, families, and histories tie them to Kasaan village; today, however, few shareholders live there.3
        Although our numbers are small, our situation is not unusual for Alaska Natives, as there has been tremendous migration from villages to Alaska's towns and urban centers. As noted by Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff (Aleut)--deputy director of the Alaska Native Science Commission and former chairman of the board of Aleut Corporation--many shareholders in most corporations no longer live on the lands or in the villages that form the basis for their corporations (45). Moreover, because people are now firmly ensconced in cash economies, Native traditional "subsistence" activities--the term Alaskans use to describe the fishing, hunting, and gathering of natural resources--are no longer the primary means of physical sustenance for many urban Natives. Yet as Merculieff reminds, "It is through hunting, fishing, and gathering that young people learn about the ethics and values of their cultures, including sharing, co-operation, reciprocity, and respect for the land, fish, and wildlife" (44). He suggests Alaska Natives' future survival depends upon perpetuating these values. Many agree with Merculieff and contend threatened cultural values sit at the heart of social ills plaguing Alaska Natives. In fact the largest statewide Native organization, Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), in their 2010 convention theme--Village Survival!--directly addressed this threat and issued a powerful call to action.
        AFN president, Julie Kitka (Chugach Eskimo), noted in her opening remarks that the punctuation incorporated into the theme was an exclamation strategically placed. It was intended to highlight the significant challenges facing our communities, including the "failing education systems, violence, substance abuse, poverty, climate change, loss of place, culture and language, [and assaults to our] hunting [and fishing rights]." Kitka implored the audience to view the theme as a battle cry urging listeners to "not surrender our power to circumstances," but rather to move forward and "accomplish what needs to be done" (qtd. in Burke).
        Similarly, Gloria O'Neill (Yup'ik), president and CEO of Cook Inlet Tribal Council, in her AFN convention keynote address, urged the audience to remember past challenges their ancestors had successfully faced. O'Neill drew upon the story of her Yup'ik grandmother who was sent away to missionary boarding school at age six and endured "physical {56} and verbal abuse" from missionaries, yet through it all never let go of her traditional heritage, values, and Native identity (qtd. in Burke). O'Neill praised our ancestors' strength and resilience, as well as noting the significant accomplishments of the last fifty years since Alaska became a state, including our peoples' adaption to new economies, the building of urban centers and state-of-the-art health care facilities, and the building and running of many complex global businesses (Burke). Yet she urged the audience to consider the new chapter we are entering, and how our children and grandchildren might someday judge what we are now doing--or not doing--to overcome our unresolved challenges.
        In relation to the theme O'Neill focused on what we need to do to educate our children successfully, citing how just one-half of Alaska Native students graduate from high school. She blamed the public education system for failing our children but also exhorted the audience to answer difficult questions about our own responsibility for their educational success. O'Neill then reminded the audience of their "vast reserves of subsistence and cultural knowledge" and to draw upon these so the upcoming generation could "achieve their full potential" to both "thrive in our villages" and in the "global marketplace" (qtd. in Burke).
        As O'Neill suggests, our respective cultural values have an important role to play in revitalizing our communities; yet both women propose a difficult task--embracing the best of who we are from our own distinctive traditions--while recognizing that our current and future survival depends upon finding our places in an increasingly diverse and fragmented world. Perhaps someone like Rita Pitka Blumenstein, noted Yup'ik spiritual leader, provides useful insight. Blumenstein serves on the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, a group formed in 2004 because of their concern for the earth's degradation and the "destruction of indigenous ways of life" (qtd. in Schaefer 1). They joined together because they believe "our ancestral ways of prayer, peacemaking, and healing are vitally needed today . . . . and that the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future" (Schaefer 1).
        As these women suggest, our respective values are much needed if we are to survive as distinct communities in a rapidly changing world. The AFN theme highlights the assaults on our communities and the fact that village populations are slowly but steadily declining. Given the high price of necessities such as food and fuel in rural villages, people are {57} moving to the urban centers for employment or educational opportunities. Most villages are not connected to a road system leading into the urban centers; therefore, basics must be flown in. Milk, for example, may cost more than $7.00 a gallon. Implicit in the grandmothers' words is the need to reinvigorate our remaining cultural and spiritual traditions that have been severed, due to the ongoing effects of colonialism.
        Within this context--reinvigorating our respective cultural and spiritual values--I place our own Kasaan Haida elders' interview project Gá sa áan Xaadas Guu suu: Kasaan Haida Elders Speak. Our story is meant to demonstrate one small, first step towards meeting the challenge Kitka, O'Neill, and Blumenstein exhort us to solve, as well as paying tribute to Nastáo, my now deceased maternal uncle and the other Kasaan Haida elders whose stories should be heard.4
        Recognizing the truth of colonialism's impact was part of the impetus for our own Kasaan Haida elders' interview project; some of us came to wonder: How can we pass on to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren the core of what it has meant to be Haida of this particular place, now that most of us have moved so far away?
        Nastáo, my maternal uncle and hereditary leader of our Táas Láanas (Sand Beach) clan, was central in helping us envision the possibilities. Born in Kasaan in 1936, Nastáo was the youngest of eleven children, seven years younger than his next older sibling, my mother, Wahligidouk ("one who brings the gifts in at the potlatch") Julie Coburn. Their parents--my náan and chan (grandmother and grandfather)--took special care of him, fearing for his health as they had already lost five of their children. There are stories in our family that tell of my chan bringing home fresh cod and my náan cooking the livers for her youngest son in order to build up his strength. My mother remembers him as slightly "sickly" in his youth, but by the time Nastáo was in his fifties, she would often tell people that "he had ended up being the tallest and the smartest."
        Nastáo attended Kasaan's one-room schoolhouse through the seventh grade and later graduated from Sheldon Jackson Presbyterian Missionary Boarding School in Sitka, where he met and later married his Tlingit/Tsimshian wife, Mary Baines, from Ketchikan and Metlakatla. After marrying they lived in Kasaan, where Nastáo fished commercially with his brothers, but eventually he and his wife moved to nearby Ketchikan, where they raised their two children. As the commercial fish-{58}ing industry declined, the family again moved to Oakland, California, as part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) relocation program, where he attended diesel mechanics school, and then he returned to Ketchikan to teach at the local high school and community college.
        A lifelong activist and advocate for Native peoples, while living in California Nastáo helped organize meetings for the takeover of Alcatraz Island and establish a California chapter of the federally recognized Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA). After returning to Ketchikan, Nastáo was a forty-two-year member and officer of Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB), a pan-Native political organization, and one of the original board members who served during Kavilco's inception. Both he and his wife were dedicated to maintaining and passing on important parts of their cultures and traditions, including gathering and preserving local subsistence foods. Nastáo also studied traditional Haida art and carving, founded a Native art store, advocated for a Native charter school, and served on the local Ketchikan School Board.
        Committed to passing on his Haida cultural traditions and knowledge to the younger generation, Nastáo enjoyed doing historical and genealogical research and often organized family gatherings that included sharing traditional foods and storytelling. Nastáo led by example and gently guided us toward what turned into a project we named Gá sa áan Xaadas Guu suu: Kasaan Haida Elders' Speak, ultimately resulting in 2002 in a video of the same name.
        The original impetus for this project began with a simple question Nastáo posed after a family get-together. This gathering included his own children, several nieces and nephews, including me, other clan relations, and cousins by birth and marriage. He asked simply, "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to get all the old-timers together and just have them reminisce about what life used to be like living in Kasaan? We could record it and document it as part of our village history." The question generated excitement, as we realized how necessary and how fun it could be. Nastáo took the lead, inviting elders to a gathering held at the Ketchikan Indian Center (KIC). Ketchikan, the closest town near Kasaan, is where many of the "old-timers" moved when they left the village, so this was the logical gathering place in midsummer. People who had moved away often return to the area for fishing and food gathering. July is an especially appealing month to "come home" because the sock-{59}eye salmon run occurs during this time in Karta Bay, one of our most important traditional fishing grounds.
        At the gathering Nastáo and the elders shared lunch, which included both traditional and nontraditional foods: fish-head soup with black seaweed, potatoes, "grease" or hooligan oil, smoked steamed salmon, herring eggs, "Indian cheese" (smoked aged salmon eggs), fried chicken, potato salad, beach asparagus salad, and ending with sweets including berries, fried bread, jam, and tea. After lunch, the elders sat in a circle, and we were all able to listen to their stories about Kasaan. The elders took turns, speaking spontaneously and jogging each other's memories as needed. Filled with laughter and stories, the gathering ended with now-deceased elder David Peele explaining the meaning of his Haida name and singing a song in Haida.
        The gathering was videotaped by Frederick (Fred) O. Olsen Jr. Raised in Southeast Alaska (Ketchikan and Juneau), he grew up commercial fishing with his father, who was born and raised in Kasaan. Fred Jr. had moved to New York after attending art school and developed a career in photography and film. Like many Kasaan Haidas--now dispersed far and wide--Fred regularly returns home to fish, to visit friends and family, and to photograph Kasaan and the surrounding landscape. His artistic talent is evident in his photography and video production skills.
        The first gathering inspired us to do more, as we recognized how much we needed to continue documenting our village history. Nastáo encouraged us to "think big," so a group of us decided to strategize a larger project, although we recognized the potential complications involved, since we all now live far from Kasaan and each other. No one had experience writing grant proposals, yet we knew we had to find funds to help pay for the project. We wanted to make both audio and video recordings of the elders, transcribe the narratives to preserve a written record, and produce a short video. The video would include individual elder interviews, interspersed with images of our village and its surrounding lands and waters, our community park and its totem poles and long house, and other important historical sites. Video and editing costs are notoriously expensive, and because participants lived in different parts of Alaska, significant travel funds had to be included in our budget.
        Because we wanted to include more people in the planning process and invite others to join the project, we made personal contacts, sent {60} out letters, and made phone calls in order to seek input and advice from members of our dispersed community. They responded enthusiastically, many volunteering to donate food, housing, and sometimes cash. Fortunately an $11,000 grant proposal submitted to the Alaska Humanities Forum was successfully funded. Additional fundraising directed at individuals and other organizations garnered matching amounts. The money provided travel funds for elders and project staff to Ketchikan (where the majority of the interviews took place), interview transcription, video production, and honorariums for the elders. We named Nastáo our project director and Fred Jr. our media specialist. Eleanor Hadden, Nastáo's daughter, then completing a master's degree in anthropology, and I handled the interviews. None of us received salaries, and most of our work was an "in-kind" donation to the project.
        In collaboration with Nastáo, we developed a set of interview questions and sent them around to our community for input. Once approved, we sent the questions in advance to the elders to allow them time to ponder the questions before the actual interview dates. We found they appreciated this because it allayed trepidation about being videotaped. Because project members and elders lived in different locations (Anchorage, Ketchikan, Seattle, and New York), many project details were strategized by long distance. Coordinating all the people involved was sometimes complicated and cumbersome, but it was worthwhile in the long run; the project helped reconnect us to our community and elders, and it also reinvigorated important Haida values--most especially yahkwdáng, translated loosely as "respect." This project highlighted how yahkwdáng is central to who we are as a people.
        In the Haida language yahkwdáng is a term rarely spoken today, due to the fact Alaskan Haida has only five or so remaining first-language speakers. In precolonial times yahkwdáng permeated every aspect of life. It is closely connected to another Haida term--yah gid (one who is "high class") because Haida social structure consisted of three classes: noble, commoner, and slave. Unlike the European class system, however, the majority of people were considered noble class, and the commoner class appears to have functioned primarily as a moral imperative. The terms associated with commoner class were used primarily as criticism of specific behaviors unbecoming to Haida people, with the threat of potential shame, should an individual demonstrate unacceptable behaviors, such as self-promotion, cruelty, or wasteful actions (Boelscher 59). The val-{61}ued behaviors embedded in yah gid amplify how yahkwdáng should be demonstrated through words and actions meant to support and nurture the community. Most publications about Haida people have focused on the social and political dimensions in yahkwdáng, but this misses its spiritual dimension. For example, in the past one way that status was recognized was through ceremonial giveaways, known as the 'wáahahl, sometimes translated as "potlatch." Significantly, some sources indicate the 'wáahahl itself did not raise one's individual status, but rather raised one's children's status (Murdock 360). This implies individual accomplishments should be "given away" to future generations, so they may prosper on all levels--material, social, and spiritual. The results of our project, and the process itself, provide one small example of how yahkwdáng may be perpetuated in today's world. For example, our project's "seaweed gathering" event, which Nastáo suggested and coordinated, demonstrated how we were able to link our overall documentation goal with our traditional protocols.
        Black seaweed is a valued food source that grows on the craggy southeast Alaskan rocks in early spring. Seaweed gathering involves picking the dense, curly black fronds at low tide when they are exposed on the rocks. After picking, the seaweed is dried and later eaten as a delicious crunchy treat, sometimes called "Indian popcorn." Seaweed can also be sprinkled in hot fish soups, where it expands and lightly flavors the broth. For people like us who no longer live in our village, the chance to gather, prepare, and document the process proved irresistible.
        Nastáo's thirty-two-foot motor boat became the journey's vehicle. The seaweed grounds are located about twenty miles northeast of Ketchikan. We headed out early in the day, to arrive at the grounds at low tide when the seaweed is exposed. Luckily, the weather cooperated. The Ketchikan area is well known for rainy, unpredictable weather, and the route to the seaweed grounds involves crossing Clarence Straights, sometimes treacherous when a southeast wind blows through this open body of water. Luck was on our side, and we arrived at our destination just as the sun was beginning to crest over the mountaintops. Once at the seaweed-covered rocks, Eleanor Hadden and I slipped and slid across wet, craggy boulders and pulled the black wet fronds up into pillow cases used like gunny sacks to collect and store our treasure. Fred Olson Jr. videotaped our work, along with filming the surrounding landscape and waterways. In our seaweed quest, we were fortunate to also locate {62} "gumboots," the local term for chitons (a marine mollusk), which cling to rocks near where seaweed grows. We enjoyed this tasty treat, steamed, dipped in satáw (hooligan oil), and eaten for lunch. After the seaweed was gathered, we motored to nearby Grindall Island and rowed to shore to spread out the seaweed on the flat rocks to dry in the sun, looking for the large rocks our aunties had told us were the best for sun drying. Grindall holds great significance to Kasaan people because it was used as a summer camp where people moved to catch fish, gather berries, and find other natural foods. We picnicked on the beach and explored the site. Nastáo showed where the houses had been located. At the end of the day we gathered up our seaweed and moved to another location where the US Forest Service cabins are now located and rented to the public. Fred, Eleanor, and I spent the night in the cabin, and Nastáo stayed on the boat. The following day we motored back to Ketchikan and completed the seaweed preparation process: further sun drying the seaweed and grinding it into smaller pieces, with Fred videotaping our work.
        The process itself was hard work, but rewarding. Fred had never before had the opportunity to gather seaweed, and Eleanor and I had done it only when we were quite young, so the event was both personally and intellectually satisfying to us. In addition to documenting the process, we were able to reconnect to significant places of our ancestors and learn the special stories of our homeland. This was gratifying, yet perhaps the most important seaweed-gathering benefit was sharing it with the elders we interviewed. In addition to the honoraria the grant funds provided them, we presented them with seaweed as a small token of gratitude for the time and stories they so generously gave. Although most appreciated the extra dollars, they were thrilled to receive the treasured seaweed; they well understood the gift's value and the labor involved in gathering and preparing it for them. The seaweed brought to mind stories of their own experiences gathering, as well as short, spontaneous mini-lessons in the correct pronunciation of Haida words for our traditional foods, including seaweed, or sgiw.
        In addition to documenting specific Haida words and reminiscing about life in and around Kasaan, the most important perspective we wanted to gain from the elders was to learn what they believed was most important to pass onto our children and grandchildren. Interestingly the elders, each in their own way, highlighted values embodied in yahkwdáng. Wahligidouk (Julie Coburn) specifically mentioned the word {63} yahkwdáng and explained its relationship to yah gid (high class) emphasizing how in her youth her father and grandfather stressed to her how important it was to for her to remember that she was yah gid, implying her high status required she behave appropriately. Embodying yahkwdáng means "not speaking ill of anyone, and not drawing attention to [one]self." She also urged today's generation to demonstrate more respect for elders, and noted how in her youth, when elders asked children to do something, "they [the children] did not "sass, or talk back . . . they just did [as they were told]." She also stressed the importance of "not wasting anything." They had been taught "to use every part of the fish," and if the people didn't uphold this concept they risked future lean times.
        The other participants did not specifically mention the word yahkwdáng, but they proposed specific behaviors the term implies. Mae Leask, who did not remember her Haida name, noted that she would want our community to pass on the habit of "friendliness and sharing," and "knowing who they are." This suggests how yahkwdáng embodies reaching out to others, kindness, and understanding our genealogical relationships to each other, our histories, and our place in the world. Ahjul ("beautiful one") (Erma Lawrence) cited her lifelong work teaching the Haida language and noted that the language is central to our identity. Finally, Juuyáay xáng hlt'áagut ("the sun's eyelashes") (Harriet McAllister) wanted people to remember to "[a]ct like [their] grandparents" and "to try to continue that. [Remember to] be kind, respect, never praise yourself," echoing the other elders' points and suggesting humility should be cultivated.
        The elders imply yahkwdáng is a core Haida value important to retain no matter where we live. Whether in the village or in urban settings, yahkwdáng is an attitude we can carry close to our hearts. As Nastáo reminded, "[we] need to re-define what it means to be Haida," because today's world is much different from the one our ancestors inhabited. He stated, "We live in a changing world; we have to define where we are today, and [use] what's important from the past." Nastáo added that "the values were changed . . . dramatically with the missionaries and government [arrival]," alluding to our massive population losses, the transition to Christianity, the language banned, and the potlatches outlawed. Even so, while much has been lost, Nastáo encouraged us to "teach them what we know" and "what we can learn," emphasizing this as an ongoing, active process based upon our positive Haida values. We cannot recover {64} everything lost, but we can recover some of our history, learn more of our language, and renew traditions useful to us today.
        When Nastáo stated, "Teach the good things about being Haida--respect, identification of who you are. Not the fact that you've got the biggest totem pole, or the most wealth, but the fact you've done it, or were part of it," he suggested our project should be understood as something larger than our individual selves, something to which our whole community contributed and from which it will benefit. The project is but part of an ongoing story still being told--a story in which we continue to grow and learn from each other.
        Encouraging us to learn from our relatives in Haida Gwaai, Nastáo suggests we can also learn from others, including non-Natives. Nastáo might well have agreed with Mohawk scholar Taiaiake Alfred, who says, "cultural revival is not a matter of rejecting all Western influences, but of separating the good from the bad and of fashioning a coherent set of values out of the traditional culture to guide whatever forms of political and social development--including the good elements of Western forms--appropriate to the contemporary reality (52). Taiaiake Alfred and Nastáo amplify Gloria O'Neill's call to the AFN convention to combine our timeless and central values with our new realities. For Kasaan Haida people, our contemporary reality is the fact most of us no longer live in our village. Nastáo's life story and leadership of Gá sa áan Xaadas Guu suu: Kasaan Haida Elders Speak has provided a meaningful model and process for our situation. Perhaps others may find our story useful. Our concern that our children and grandchildren know their histories led us to document it for them, at the same time we were given a chance to practice the spirit of yahkwdáng.
        Yahkwdáng, while a distinctly Haida word and value, bears similarities to cultural values and spiritual practices in both Native and non-Native traditions worldwide. Some may wonder how yahkwdáng is different from the "golden rule" or Jesus's or Buddha's teachings that advocate similar respectful attitudes and behaviors. The overt differences may not be that obvious. Perhaps this suggests that in all spiritual traditions there exists the impetus towards principles of goodness and respect. Yet yahkwdáng also gives voice to our distinct Haida language and draws upon our own unique food-gathering activities upon the land and waters to which Kasaan Haida people belong. Recovering the undocumented histories of our peoples and our lands provides the {65} means, in Linda Tuhiwai Smith's words, "in which every indigenous person has a place" (144). Finding and naming our place in the world is one small first step towards healing broken spirits to which Kitka and O'Neill allude in their opening AFN addresses.
        Through our elders' interview project, we learned much about our histories, our values, and what it has meant to live upon the land to which we urban Haida only sporadically return. But more than this, the process itself--the actual doing of the project--showed us how to embody what the elders wanted us to remember. We were reminded to slow down, to listen, to learn, and to reaffirm the kinship, connections, and relationships among ourselves. What began as a simple documentation project provided the means to relink us to our past and also to anchor us firmly to each other. So this project's value was much more than the final products we produced. In truth, it was the process of working together that allowed us to recognize how Haida traditional values can remain central to who we are today.
        Recovering histories and reinvigorating values is something in which many Indigenous communities engage. In Alaska the Alaska Native Knowledge Network published a list of core "Alaska Native Values" compiled in consultation with people in different regions across the state who have also documented their own tribally specific values. Alaska Natives continue to advocate for their languages and cultures to be taught in the schools, and changes do come albeit slowly. Now, with looming federal and state budget cuts, it remains to be seen how we will fare. Our interview project occurred, in part, because we secured adequate funding. Other important projects our community has initiated since then--for example, the restoration of Naay Iwaans (The Whale House), our community long house and the only remaining Haida house in the United States--have been more difficult to accomplish, yet the spirit of yahkwdáng and our own efforts toward community rebuilding provides hope.
        Perhaps the recent discovery in July 2011 of an ancient Haida canoe near our village may be taken as a good sign. Evidence suggests the area had long been used as a place where canoe building regularly transpired (Forgey); if the canoe can be replicated, it may well serve as an educational model for carvers. As a tangible tie to our ancestors, the fact that the canoe has surfaced suggests how our cultural and spiritual traditions may also reemerge. If our interview project taught us anything, it was {66} the need for patience, persistence, and embracing opportunities to practice and perpetuate core Haida values such as yahkwdáng. Projects such as ours may not solve the larger problem of keeping our villages intact, but our project does provide one small step towards ensuring our stories may be remembered and retold.


1. The quotations from the elders' interview project used in this article are from my personal copies retained from the project. The original tapes and transcripts are housed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Depository. Some, but not all, of the quotations used here also appear in our video Gá sa áan Xaadas Guu suu: Kasaan Haida Elders Speak available for purchase from the Kasaan Haida Heritage Foundation website: All proceeds are used for cultural revitalization projects.

2. The exception to this is Metlakatla, located near Ketchikan. See John A. Dunn and Arnold Booth for a good explanation of this exception.

3. For a good discussion of Alaska Natives' unique political status vis--vis American Indians see Roy M. and Shari M. Huhndorf 's "Alaska Native Politics since the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act." The authors describe the benefits, disadvantages, and complexity of ANCSA's implementation and its ongoing consequences. Some might find it ironic that without ANCSA, the project described in this article might not have emerged. As one of the smallest village corporations, we were almost not included in the act based on the perception we no longer existed as a distinct people because so many had moved away--often for improved access to education, health care, jobs, etc. Years later, the corporate structure has provided some opportunities to pursue community cultural revitalization activities as discussed in this article.

4. Elders interviewed for both projects were Pauline Blackstad, Norman Charles, Julie Coburn (Wahligidouk), Willard Jones (Nastáo), Catherine Kerstetter, Erma Lawrence (Ahjul), Mae Leask, Harriet McCallister (Juuyáay xáng hlt'áagut), and David Peele. At the time of the interviews, they were all seventy-plus years old. As of 2012 only Julie Coburn and Mae Leask (both ninety-two) are still living.


"Alaska Native Values for Curriculum." Alaska Native Knowledge Network. U of Alaska Fairbanks. 19 Oct. 2006. Web. 26 Aug. 2011.

Alfred, Taiaiake. Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.

Boelscher, Marianne. The Curtain Within: Haida Social and Mythical Discourse. Vancouver: U of British Columbia P, 1989. Print.

Boyd, Robert T. "Demographic History 1774-1974." Sturtevant and Suttles, 135-48.
Burke, Jill. "Alaska Federation of Natives Battle Cry: Village Survival!" Alaska Dispatch 21 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Aug. 2011.

Dunn, John A., and Arnold Booth. "Tsimshian of Metlakatla." Sturtevant, and Suttles, 294-97.

Forgey, Pat. "Foresters Find Historic Canoe on Prince of Wales Island." Juneau Empire 12 July 2011. Web. 27 Aug. 2011.

Huhndorf, Roy M., and Shari M. Huhndorf. "Alaska Native Politics since the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act." Ed. Eric Cheyfitz, N. Bruce Duthu, and Shari M. Huhndorf. Spec. issue of South Atlantic Quarterly 110.2 (2011): 385-401. Print.

Kavilco, Inc. The First 25 Years: 1973-1998. Seattle: Kavilco Archives, 1999. Print.

Merculieff, Ilarion (Larry). "Another Response: ANCSA and Economic Development." Alaska Native Cultures and Issues: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions. 2nd ed. Ed. Libby Roderick. Fairbanks: U of Alaska P, 2010. Print.

Murdock, George Peter. "Kinship and Social Behavior among the Haida." American Anthropologist 36.3 (1934): 355-85. Wiley Online Library. 3 Nov. 2010. Web. 26 Aug. 2011.

Schaefer, Carol. Grandmothers Counsel the World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet. Boston: Trumpeter, 2006. Print.

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed, 1999. Print.

Sturtevant, William C., and Wayne P. Suttles, eds. Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 7. Washington: Smithsonian Institute, 1990. Print.

US Census Bureau. "Census 2000 American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File." US Census Bureau. 26 Mar. 2004. Web. 26 Aug. 2011.



Raven, Carry Me



        carry me to the sun,
        let me ride under your wing.
Let us fly towards daylight.
Bring me with you--
        to stars,
        to light.
        to spirit.
        surround us
        shining light on the layers below,
        green fronds, shiny stones--sparkle in shimmering waves.
Waves tumble and spin, calling me home.
Let me tumble and spin and fall through the sky,
        towards foaming, dark waves of blindness.
Let me reach for your wing again.
Carry me with you once more.
        Tell me the story of your birth,
        tell me the story of your dance with sun and stars.
Join me in laughter and tears.
        Join me in gratitude.
Let the sun blind my eyes with joy.
        Spirits surround us.
Let me fall to the earth again,
        transformed by your shining, dark beauty.



'Skins in Skin Flicks
A Modest Proposal on the Most Adequate Means for
"Telling" the "Real" Indians from the Wannabes
among the "Reel" Indians in Pornography


'Tis a singularly cheerful phenomenon for a contemporary Indian1 person who surfs the Net these days to discover--when he (or she) accidentally, or even deliberately as the case may be, wanders into X-rated territory--there is a whole hell of a lot of 'Skins working as porn actors and actresses. Most truly it would thus seem, there are braves and maidens galore in most excessive numbers--nay, even whole war parties, clans, mayhaps even tribes--of 'Skins who have joined the ranks of the John Holmeses and Marilyn Chamberses and Jenna Jamesons and Dirk Digglers, a place where nowadays legions of Cherokees and Cheyennes and Dakotas (I refer here not to tribes, mind you, but rather to performers' noms de buff) roam the assorted bedroomscapes and orgy-inspired terrains, all outfitted--or un-outfitted, as the case is more likely to be--as 'Skins thereunto shaking booty for all to behold.
        Lest my scholarly colleagues are failing to keep up with the times, I fain must take the liberty of calling attention to this rather amazing phenomenon that has sprung up these days in public and, in particular, on the Internet. Dear reader, are you aware of how pervasive porn is on the Internet? No longer confined to back alley rundown theaters or over-coated dirty book salesmen or "underground" raggedy covered Tijuana Bibles surreptitiously exchanged by servicemen in barracks, porn is now an incredibly lucrative business, what with video sales and website inducements and enticements. As such, it has arguably become "that other Hollywood," a whole new "entertainment" Industry2 replete with its own versions of Academy Awards and Halls of Fame while annually raking in billions. Granted that one is already cognizant of the exceeding prevalence of porn pervading our premises, it is perhaps also not surprising to learn that, since Indians are still in the ever-enduring pro-{70}cession of Exotic Others in American culture, there appears these days to be a buncha Indians in porn flicks (or skin flicks, as we called them when I was in the Marine Corps back in the Dark Ages). And now all of it is available to the public through the Internet. Wow! To paraphrase a well-known Indian poet--Indians are everywhere! Even in porn movies!
        Who, then, more than one of you is asking, are these Indian actors and actresses? From whence have they sprung? And how actually pervasive is their presence? As that weighty and highly decibelled savant Rush Limbaugh would intone, "Well, let's look a little more deeply into this." (However, we will do so somewhat longer than the usual ten seconds that Rush-Bo expends in subsequent analysis.)
        Well, thanks to the aforementioned and incredibly ubiquitous Internet these days, particularly IMDB and IAFD and Wikipedia,3 and to various other websites devoted to star bio data, the information is there for all to see--a performer's working name or names, sometimes his or her original birth name, sometimes birthdates and birthplaces, date of death (if applicable), lists of actors' and actresses' porn films, color(s) of hair, height, weight, measurements, and ethnic/national origin. The sheer amount and variety of information, as one learns, is quite simply astounding. There are, according to IAFD's home page, over 110,000 actors, actresses, and directors listed by name (or names, since some enterprising thespians work under numerous names) in the directory. Of course, one must assume that they are also counting aliases and variant spellings of particular persons--as with, say, Jeanette Littledove, who is also listed under aliases and spellings as Janett Little Dove, Janette Little Dove, Jan Littledove, Janet Littledove, Janett Littledove, Janette Little-dove, and Jennett Little Dove. As well, nearly 120,000 films of several varieties are catalogued in the site, where variant titles also apply. Nevertheless, such numbers bespeak a huge Industry.
        As I say, it is one of the more intriguing issues pertaining to the proliferation of porn--at least for those who are concerned about Indian matters--that there is a plethora of 'Skins in the porn flick, or skin flick, or fuck film, Industry, that is, claims of Indian identity and, quite precisely that, the burning issue of Identity. Just as it is in all of the other arts and cultural activities nowadays, the notion of who is or what is an Indian quickly thrusts itself forward. The issue is, to state it baldly, who is or what is an Indian in skin flicks? One can undoubtedly hazard a guess that Jeanette Littledove or Hyapatia Lee--to name two of the more {71} famous Indian actresses in porn, and now retired--probably didn't have to show their CDIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) cards or publicly give out their enrollment numbers (if such exist) when they clocked in at the studio to make a film. Most likely, their primary prerequisite--the fact that they undeniably "look" Indian--was sufficient for purposes of identity. Others, quite likely, have flown along on word-of-mouth testimonial, as well as the qualification of their personal "Indian-like" looks. In other words, people in the Industry probably take them at face value, and their word, that they are Indian. Thus, it is probably not at all any different than it was for Will Rogers or Jay Silverheels or Princess Redwing of earlier eras in Hollywood. Nonetheless, there is cause for grave concern, which I intend to address most posthastily.
        According variously to IMDB, IAFD, and Wikipedia, along with Jeanette Littledove and Hyapatia Lee, Anna Malle, Cherokee (at least one of the seven actresses and three actors who are going by, or have gone by, this name), Sequoyah Redd, Cheyenne Silver/Wildcat/Cara Dawn (who also claims Choctaw in her ethnic makeup), Felicia Foxx, and Savannah Stern have all claimed to be Cherokees. Among actors, there is, or was, the redoubtable Sonny Landham, who claims not only Cherokee but also Seminole.4 Others--Seka, Raven Riley, Lezley Zen, Mia Bangg, Austin Kincaid, Jezebelle Bond, Felecia, Terra Jones, Mia Miluv, Tawny Ocean--while not actually claiming to be Cherokee, or Indian exclusively, have made claims to Cherokee blood. Several who sport the name Cherokee, and in one case the variant Cherekee, appear to be more black in their physical makeup than Indian or white--a matter that will not likely sit well with some of the diligent ethnic cleansers in tribal offices of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma who presently have their collective panties in a wad about Cherokee Freedmen descendants and white Wannabes making claims to Cherokeeness. Indeed, as many of you are undoubtedly gainsaying at this very moment, everyone's unmentionables ought to be in just such similar states of embroilment.
        Nikki Santana and Monique De Moan claim to be Navajo (and Spanish also for De Moan). The very popular Jewel DeNyle purports to be "part Blackfoot." There is a newsy tidbit that Umma for a while claimed to be "the only Eskimo in porn," but soon that claim was dropped and she is now listed as Asian. There is, however, a gay male actor who goes by the name of Eskimo (one wonders, too, if he is a "real" Eskimo or just a "reel" one? And, by the way, why not Inupiaq, or Yupik, as a name? {72} That is, of course, if one insists on being politically, if not to say ethnologically, correct about it all.) Carmen Hart (born Aja Locklear, in North Carolina, according to Wikipedia), reveals by her birth name and home state likely Lumbee origins. Also, there is Senneca (identified in Wikipedia as "full-blood Cree," and not a Seneca). Jessica Jaymes, also on Wikipedia, claims "Czechoslavakian,5 French, and Seminole Indian," while hailing from that traditional Seminole homeland of Anchorage, Alaska. Add to this listing Faith LaMour, Raysheena Mercado, Rick Masters, Rick Savage, Stormy Daniels, Aria Giovanni, Cheyenne Hunter, Claire Dames, Racquel Darrien, Ruby Knox, Nikki Nova, and Ken Starbuck, none of whom has tribal designations indicated, but only the label Native American. Also, there are or have been, according to IAFD, at least forty performers, or "porners" (IAFD's identifying term for anyone working as a performer, director, or producer in pornographic films)--thirty-six females and four males--who go by or have gone by the name of Cheyenne. There have been twenty female Dakotas, while forty-six males, apparently plugging into the Romantic Plains Indian Machismo, who have torn up the landscape of bedding and backseats while sporting that name. There is as well Tina Sioux. And a female named Lakota. Five female Aztecs (sometimes rendered as Azteca), and two males have used the tribal name for their noms de buff. Seven lissome ladies, but surprisingly only one male, have scorched the celluloid warpath over the years under the name of Shawnee. Three males and one female have been named Apache. So far, it looks like there hasn't been anyone named Choctaw or Chickasaw or Creek or Chippewa or Santo Domingo Pueblo--apparently too "un-Indian-sounding" to count in the public imagination. There are or have been forty-seven females named Maya and eighteen males (likely including here a goodly number of she-males)--again, these are individuals' names, not the aboriginal people in Central America. I confess that at this point in my research I became a wee bit weary of what was becoming a tribe-by-tribe search. I mean, gee, there are, after all, hundreds of tribes!
        But with names like Cherokee and Shawnee and Dakota and Cheyenne--well, they not only "sound Indian," but they also sound "show-biz," don't they? It all seems to be in the romantic trappings of the names. I mean, everybody knows Cherokees are Indian royalty personified. And Shawnee and Dakota and Cheyenne connote some mean dudes that endure in the white imagination as genuine bona fide first-{73}rank butt-kickers and wagon-burners of the reddest persuasion. I suppose if I persist in my searching, I will eventually discover porners with names like Passamaquoddy and Kickapoo and Nipmuck and Mugwump and Ojibway and Clatsop and Papago and Fort Berthold Hidatsa, but I willingly leave this important work for other researchers. There are, however, a cluster of porners who have self-styled themselves with the name of Texas, as in the case of two lusty nubiles known as Texas Barby and Alexis Texas, but since they appear to be blond white girls, and apparently make no claims to Indian identity or background, they are likely citing the state of Texas rather than the original Indian usage of the word. There is, in fact, a performer who goes by the name of Oklahoma, and also one called Arizona. Any Mississippis or Ohios or Wisconsins or Talledegas or Potomacs in the Industry? Incidentally, there is in addition to both a Pocahontas and a Pokahontas, believe it or not, a Strokahontas. My, my, one pauses to ponder the continuing ramifications of what America's favorite ethnic dolly hath wrought.
        Now, what of the films themselves, when dealing with so-called Indian content? I must confess that thus far in my investigation I haven't accessed any films via the Internet, though it appears to be easily doable, and with the darkly lighted backstreet theaters so much now a thing of the past, this portion of my research remains tentative and speculative. I readily admit to having recently applied for hefty MacArthur, Rockefeller, Mellon, and Mitchell Brothers Institute fellowships, as well as for all sorts of on-campus research grants, to thus further more necessary investigations into this virtually untapped area of fuck films, but so far, alas, there have been no nibbles to my supplicating queries. However, rather than simply succumbing to despair, I recall the valiant efforts of other scientific trailblazers before me (Copernicus, Galileo, Edison, Kinsey, etc.), and I boldly endeavor to persevere. Indeed, I encourage other like-minded dedicated scholars to become involved in this new field of academic inquiry. Yes, I know, there are numerous obstacles confronting such pioneers, but the truly engaged scholar (such as I must admit myself to be, albeit modestly, of course) readily learns to weather the larger public's shocking indifference as it fails to comprehend the seriousness of work of this ilk. Therefore, since I am reluctant to order films or access them via the Internet on my university account, and my wife won't let me use our joint checking account with regard to such activities at home, I must perforce rely on summaries and descriptions {74} of the films as given on the video boxes as advertised along with info on actors and actresses on the Internet.
        To the credit of the Industry, when Indianness provides any sort of backdrop to the movie being delivered, said content is generally presented humorously, even sometimes satirically. Take, for example, Kate and the Indians (1979), which, according to a description on IAFD, goes something like this: Kate, "a statuesque young anthropology student, accompanies her professor to the desert on a fact-finding mission for artifacts," where they encounter a tribe of "lunatic horny Indians" who are also "the funniest Indians since F Troop." Since I haven't seen the film, I can't vouch that what is intended to pass as "funny" in it is actually so. I thus take the distributor's word for it. Apparently, however, there are no "declared" 'Skin performers listed in the cast.
        Sweet Savage (1978) stars Bethanna, who IAFD identifies as "Latin," and is about "an Indian princess who is teaching in Boston (and who must) return home Out West." The film is supposed to include "an impressive Indian Virgin Deflowering Ceremony." And one presumes that Princess Bethanna is subjected to this "ordeal" that, according to Boston mores of the day, is commensurate to "the fate worse than death"--at least until she undergoes it and lives to exclaim differently.
        But back to Pocahontas for a moment. There has been a series of flicks, Pocahotass 1 through 6 (1996-1998), but how much verisimilitude is paid to the actual Pocahontas is possibly anyone's conjecture. In fact, considering how most historians have dealt with the Indian Princess Nonpareil, these films probably could serve as well in dispensing historical accuracy as any dozen of the weighty tomes issued throughout the ages. On the box for part 1, so hawks the disclaimer: "When beautiful Christi Lake shakes her tail feathers, the party gets going! The braves get their arrows up and stiff, while the squaws are ready, willing, and able." Rick Masters, veteran of more than 1,500 flicks, and self-proclaimed as a Native American on IAFD, has roles in at least two of these classics. According to the wordage on another box cover, the film inside purports to be a spoof of the Disney Pocahontas cartoon, with the skin flick actors depicted almost as cartoon-like as those in the popular 1995 kiddy movie.
        There is also Cowboys and Indians, an all-male gay film made in 1989, which, according to the box cover for the videotape as displayed on IAFD, portrays the respective "tough guys" meeting in showdowns of {75} kiss-and-tell dressed as stereotyped Plains Indian warriors and rugged good old boy cowhands. Is this how the West was won? No cast is given on the box cover, thus precluding our learning if "real" Indians are playing Indian.
        The Doctor, the Lawyer, and the Indian Chief (2000) is another male gay film, with the stereotyped Indian guys on the box cover sporting chicken feather war bonnets that are as deliberately campy as the 1980s "Indian" guy in the ensemble of the Village People.
        Indian Lady (1981) is interesting for several reasons. In it a "half-Indian, half-American [sic?!]" girl, who is "all nympho!," is played by Debbie Truelove (but billed as Chica Moreno in this one). Tags for it on IMDB go as follows: "She was fresh from the reservation and ready to play" and "Put on your Headdress Baby, 'cause we're going out tonight!" Remember now, Indian Lady is fifteen years or so before Boogie Nights, and Debbie/Chica plays an early version of the Rollergirl character (Heather Graham in Boogie Nights), who skates--literally--from scene to scene all over Las Vegas (instead of Los Angeles) indulging in all sorts of sexual romps with willing males she encounters and peeking in, along with the audience, on the assorted hanky-panky of others. An early version of gonzo porn, one might imagine. One also wonders, though, what is necessarily Indian about these scenarios. Possibly, Debbie/Chica is a female version of the Indian Marine in combat who is often called on to "walk point," sent out from the command to scout out the terrain ahead, like Indian scouts of old. What price voyeurism?
        There is Dancing with Foxes (1991), and as advertised on IAFD: "A Savage Look at Tribal Lust" and "There's Nothing Like an Indian Giver," as the backside--oops! the back cover--of the video's box proclaims. The box also features a couple of silhouetted nubiles in beaded headbands and armed with spears. All of this, of course, is not at all too different from the too-numerous bodice-rippers that clog up the bookracks in drugstores and supermarkets, which their soft porn authors foist off as "historical romances." Except that the Susan Donnell and Cassie Edwards types insist that you take their versions of Indian authenticity and historicity with the utmost seriousness.6
        However, there is at least one flick dealing with Indians that apparently makes no attempt to be humorous or spoofing, but is instead purported to be "serious" in its intent. It is Quodoushka: Native American Love Techniques, a hardcore flick made in 1991 starring Ashley Nicole, {76} Heather Hart, Hyapatia Lee, and Madison and professedly based on the "authentic Cherokee sexual practices" as advanced by that great healer Harley Swift Deer Reagan. Now the skinny around the Internet is that old Harley himself has fantasies of being a porner, as well as a guru to and for the gullible. A classic faker from the word go, Harley is no more a Swift Deer by Cherokee naming, no more a sexual guru and traditional savant, no more a Cherokee, than I am a seventeenth-century Puritan divine named Cotton-something. According to various Internet stories, former Cherokee Nation principal chief Wilma Mankiller, on hearing of Swift Deer's pretensions and assertions as an authentic Cherokee sexual teacher, issued a statement denouncing his claims as both an authentic Cherokee medicine man and even as a sanctioned spokesperson within any known areas of Cherokee Nation activities, and also basically stating that the "Quodoushka love techniques" are nothing short of unmitigated hogwash. She's right. Unlike the previously mentioned films, in which deliberately heavy-handed and campy satire is the modus operandi, Quodoushka exploits the culture that it purports to portray.
        But the film is there, as pretentious in its purported seriousness as a turd in a punchbowl, as just another porn flick. Oh yeah, a final tidbit: Old Harley, because he is the authentic sexual boss man that he says he is, claims the right to "break in" virgins to "the Correct Ways of Sexual Intercourse."7 Shades of Warren Jeffs and all other such Fundamentalist Morman Big Daddies, and the all-too-numerous Catholic priest/pedophiles cheerfully and paternalistically protected by the church's benevolent power! And also shades of the Great Guru Grendl of Terry Southern's Candy.
        At this point, dear reader, you are probably wondering what is so all-fired significant about these new manifestations of Indian materia, as currently on display in porn films? What place does it have in the pantheon of American culture, particularly with regard to public entertainment? Actually, considering the put-on aspects of Indians in porn, the trend is really very solidly in the tradition of America's marketing of Indianness, particularly with regard to sexuality. And yes, it all starts with Pocahontas--or at least the public displaying of what Americans have over the centuries made her to be. Two remarkably timeless sources--Raymond William Stedman's Shadows of the Indian (U of Oklahoma P, 1982) and the earlier The Only Good Indian: The Hollywood Gospel (Drama Book Specialists, 1972) by Ralph and Natasha Friar document this extremely well.
        Well, really now, boys and girls, how do we really know that these actors and actresses in all these porn films are authentically Indian? I mean, you know, an actress can call herself an Indian, or even star as one in a flick with what purports to be Indian content, but how can we really know for sure? We see the problem in an above allusion, do we not? The dreaded dilemma that stands before us! A "Latin actress" named Bethanna and another one named Chica Moreno can be billed as Indians in a film about Indians, but are they really Indian? And what about all those many other Latins in the Industry, if and or when they are called on to portray Indians, simply because they supposedly "look" Indian? It's like back in the time that film buffs like to call Hollywood's Golden Age, when most of the "talking" and "acting" Indians on screen were played by the Ricardo Montalbans and Delores Del Rios and Gilbert Rolands and Maria Montezes and Margos, all from Latin American lands, and the Silents and Stoics, standing in the background, supporting casts for the supporting casts, as it were, played by the Chief Thunderclouds and Jay Silverheels and John War Eagles and Nipo Stronghearts before they were allowed to graduate to minimalist speaking parts, not to mention the hordes of urban-relocated Indian extras filling in the back scenery.
        And it has continued on down, historically speaking. Ever since, according to William Strachey, writing about Pokey at Jamestown some time after the good Captain Smith left the area to return to England, performed some cartwheels (yes, cartwheels of the calisthenics variety) as an eleven-year-old to the delight of the young white boys at the fort, while she exhibited "wheel so herself naked as she was all the fort over." Early Otherish titillation? Well--the medicine show cuties, the occasional "Savage Star" prostitutes of Old West mining camps, the exotic "Indian" burlesque queens of the World War eras, such as Princess Lahoma, the "Cherokee half-breed," and Princess DoMay, the "exotic Cherokee Indian dancer" (always, of course, sporting Plains war bonnets); Pearl Chavez, the "seductress half-breed" as depicted by Jennifer Jones in Duel in the Sun; the Yvonne de Carlo and Ava Gardner roles sometimes vaguely and even at times flamboyantly so Indian. Where were the Identity Police then? Arguably, various beauties--aside from the already mentioned--were part or mostly Indian (albeit disguised by public disclaimer), but was anyone checking for CDIBs as they were being recruited for those roles?
        But I perceive you are growing weary with this untidy huggle-{78}muggle, so I will, as Chingachgook would say, henceforth cut to the chase. And so it is here that we come to the crux of the matter. Here we are perforce faced with the singular issue of Identity in yet another, but quite contemporaneous, guise. Notably, it is this: what indeed, about all these numerous--and take my word for it, they are numerous--actors and actresses who are Latin Americans, the legions of Mexican, Chicanos, Peruvians, Cubans, Brazilians, Puerto Ricans, and so forth, who sometimes make claims (largely, no doubt, because of the probability of being partially, or even wholly, Indian--like the ultra exotic Yma Sumac of 1950s films--in their genetic make-up) to Indian identity? And yes, Wikipedia maintains both a Hispanic porn actors page and a Native American one (though listing only a half-dozen names). The website Pornstar Mall maintains a Hispanic page, but not a Native American one. But, dear reader, we must indeed concern ourselves about this, mustn't we? I mean, good grief, what's to become of things if they keep allowing all those Keishas and Bethannas and Chica Morenos and Luscious Lopezes and Sativa Roses and other lascivious Latinas to sometimes play Indians, simply because they "look" Indian, based on remote genetic claims to Indianness, and thus to be mistaken by the credulous viewer for Real Indians? It's bad enough when there are all kinds of regular white people claiming to be Indian in the Porn Industry, but what about all these Latinas and Latinos who are posing such a grave threat to our very way of life, not to mention the hallowed Industry of which I write? Just as those up-to-now scandalously inadequate and underpatrolled international borders are proving so to be, the moving-in on skin flicks as 'Skins by Latin Americans is simply too unhinging to countenance. I'm sure that you, too, dear reader, are beginning to see the diameters and dimensions of the problem that forsooth threatens our future nights of eight hours' z-time. To repeat myself, though a tad ever so slightly paraphrased: What hath Sitting Bull wrought?
        And where are our Identity Police when we need them? We can't have Wannabes, particularly if they are Latinos and Latinas, invading this last bastion of Indian Art, can we? Especially with Latinos and Latinas, because didn't the Catholic Church step in and do its part for Manifest Destiny all those centuries ago by twisting all the Indian out of them, the Indigenous people so conquered? Must we revert once again to the 1940s? I mean, isn't it bad enough with non-Indian writers and scholars calling themselves Indian in literary and academic circles? And horny {79} little white guys named Harley refashioning themselves into Indian sexual gurus? Gee, it's bad enough with these south-of-the-border types threatening our borders; now they pose yet another threat to yet another border. And it goes on. Even mainstream Hollywood actors and actresses are paraded around as Indians--where is it all going to stop? Who, I ask, is checking cards at the door and noting numbers these days? Do we need an HB1070 for the 'Skin Flick Industry?
        Officials in the bona fide, or federally recognized, tribes don't actually seem to be helping matters much, either. I mean, if you're going to go all out and count only those who "count" as the only "true" (legal) Indians--that is, to count only those who have the enrollment numbers and the ID cards and all, to say with all due pomp and finality who the real Indians are these days, and not only those among the porn parade--what, then, are our tribal governments and bureau officials doing about it all? There seems to be a rather unsavory two-faced argument at work here. Tribal officials often invite the famous and mainstream entertainment stars such as Rita Coolidge and Willie Nelson and James Earl Jones and Iron Eyes Cody and Burt Reynolds--all most unlikely non-possessors of tribal enrollment cards, though they are recognized as having "Indian blood"--to headline tribal carnivals, festivals, rodeos, powwows, art shows, fairs, and such-like, without checking for numbers, while allowing other quantum-counting tribal members, usually working in enrollment offices, to act like loud yapping fices and get all indignant when nonname, or nonfamous, claimants have the temerity to suggest a blood claim to some undocumented Cherokee or Iroquois heritage. I mean, are Rita and Willie and Iron Eyes asked to show CDIB cards before the tribes send out invitations to them? Do they wear these cards front-and-center when sitting in the Cadillacs jump-starting the parades? Or when they are up on stage, strumming guitars and leaning into microphones as Big Event headliners, there to bring in the bucks for the tribal governments?
        But I have too long digressed. And besides, I'm supposed to be talking about the Industry. Now I would like to modestly propose a solution or two with regard to negotiating the problem of how to go about sorting out the prickly issue of determining who the Real Indians are in the Industry. However, allow me to delineate some perhaps necessary background, in the form of yet more digression.
        For almost forty years I have been involved in Native American {80} studies, and I have watched the volleyball of Indian Identity swatted back and forth across the net of Political Correctness with a demeanor ranging from awe to aww-shucks. I have watched Identity checking go from being a parlor game of sorts (and sad to say, I have indulged in it myself) to becoming a pernicious endeavor of character assassination. However, I have over the years developed a particular methodology that I often present in my classes regarding ways of determining Indianness. I readily acknowledge that I draw much of my observations from Charles Hudson's incomparable The Southeastern Indians (U of Tennessee P, 1975). In this work Hudson argues convincingly, at great length and with numerous examples, that Indian people in the American South (and presumably in all other areas as well) are and can be identified as Indian in three ways: (1) genetic, (2) cultural, and (3) social. All Native people in the Western Hemisphere were undoubtedly 100 percent genetically Indian before 1492 (barring considerations of pre-Columbian Viking and other across-the-water or along-the-icy-shore Ice Age migrations from lands other than the Americas), but afterward this determinant underwent changes. Afterward Indians, or people of Indian blood, are judged variously by degrees of Indian acculturation and degrees of Indian socialization. It is possible, for example, to be "100 percent genetically Indian by blood" and still be virtually zero percent Indian in terms of Indian culture (e.g., the character John Smith in Sherman Alexie's powerful Indian Killer), and vice versa (the character John Russell, played by Paul Newman, in the movie Hombre and the character True Son, in Conrad Richter's novel The Light in the Forest). There are, of course, many fascinating variables in all of this. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, those of us of Indian background usually, without making federal cases out of it, assessed one another's degrees of Indianness by how plugged into one's Indian culture one happened to be, or not to be. Hence, the cultural category had a stronger validity with us rather than whether one was full-blood, half-blood, and so on--that is, the genetic consideration. These admixtures counted only with regard to how one endorsed (or didn't) one's display of his or her cultural persona as a Cherokee or a Chippewa or whatever. I recognize now that I personally would usually stress this cultural category a bit too strongly, so as to make some unfair judgments against persons who were perhaps more socially Indian (e.g., Indians who are Christian, which I am not and have never been) rather than involved in their traditional tribal reli-{81}gions, and I see this now as unfair on my part. Social Indians are merely different kinds of Indians than cultural and genetic ones, and they are still Indian.
        But a particularly new definition, a fourth category, was there all along--or at least until it began with federal enrollments--more important to most non-Indians generally than with Indians. With the closing of tribal rolls, and the concretization of Enrollment, this other category of identification entered into the mix: the legal Indian, that one is, regardless of whatever variants of the three original definitions, deemed to be Indian solely because of one's possession of such an enrollment number. It is this last one, naturally, that governments (non-Indian and, increasingly nowadays, Indian ones as well) too often fall back on. It has brought forth the new breed of Identity Police, or Identity Sniffers. For them, the only Indians that "count" are those who have enrollment numbers. But hark! Eftsoons the law, as alway it doeth, change and change, like the drunken stripper working cheaply or overly much, it doth not require vast ability of deglutition to accept each new quivering of its ever-moving dictates. Thus, the legal is, for me anyhow, the least binding and convincing.
        So, then and well, now I say unto you, enough of this academic matter! This is all, in the long run, rather beside the point. Already the Great State of Arizona is forging to the forefront, showing us a way in which to begin countering some of these excesses. Must we perforce lag ourselves behind? Yet, even so, Arizona isn't going far enough, wouldn't you agree? Because, boys and girls, we already know that Indians aren't the only Americans who are required to have a "number" to prove and verify their identity. We know, of course, that all whites in America, as well as blacks, Asians, and so on, all have their enrollment numbers, too, don't we? Everyone has a number--or am I incorrect about this? It is simply a matter of what we as a society are prepared to do about it. All ethnicities are required to be prepared to prove themselves at every turn, just as Indians do. Or am I out to lunch here? I confess that, some years ago, I almost asked a white friend to see his card that would indubitably prove his ancestry, his whiteness, his pedigree, as a bona fide white, but I intuited that I was possibly impinging on his civil rights, and I backed off from such an overt request, and I did not do so. Even to this day, I do not really know, since I never saw a card that would have proven it, if my friend is really a white man, or merely someone who is sinisterly "pass-{82}ing." And I, like all of you who embody my legion of faithful readers, lose sleep over it. Anyway, since it is a given that all of us, of all races and ethnicities in America, have our cards, I thus now arrive at my modest proposal for clearing up this quagmire concerning whether a particular person is an Indian or not, a white or not, and so on. And at the same time, too, for all our porn actors and actresses, of being able to verify whether they are "playing" Indian or are actually the "real thing." Quite simply, then, why not have all such numbers displayed in such a fashion as to completely dispel all possibility of doubt and surmise on the part of the wonderer and the viewer?
        As mentioned, the state of Arizona, ever in the forefront of all this needful change, though somewhat blithely unaware of implications, hath begun to show us the way. Racial profiling is needful! More than that, numbering and tatting are needed! After all, someone once said that the erotic can be a crucial source of power in the struggle for justice--or am I just making this up?
        My recommended solution to all this then, again quite simply, is to have everyone in America--nay, worldwide!--be required to wear their identification numbers in an appropriately displayable way. After all, such a method was used in another society some decades ago, and it worked. We can all wear our id numbers on the lapels of our shirts, dresses, coats, jackets, and pinafores. There will then no longer be any of this academic tittle-tattling of whether one is (1) a genetic Indian, (2) a cultural Indian, (3) a social Indian, or (4) a legal Indian. And, of course, we can carry our labeling even further. For that matter, whether one is a bona fide white person, a black, an Asian, an Indian. The appropriate numbers could then be given thusly: I1, for genetic Indian, to let one know that one is looking at a 100% percent-by-blood Indian person; I2, for cultural Indian, so that if you see someone, apparently a 'Skin, but with a tincture of whiteness or blackness, as the case would be, and they come at you with an "Osiyo!" or a "Ya-at-ay!" or an "Ahw-nee!" then you can figure you've been greeted by someone who knows something of his or her Indian culture's language; I3, for social Indian, a person who asks loudly and irreverently, "Hey, dude, where's the powwow?" or "How would you like to try some of my mom's fry bread?" ; and I4, for the legal Indian, to keep our Indian Identity Police happy, wherein the tribal enrollment numbers can be, as they should, follow the I4 designation. Everybody, everywhere, gotta get inked!
        Yes, dear reader, I anticipate your perplexity and most visible squirming for clarity at this point. No, I have not forgotten our friends in the Porn Industry. Indeed, my solution will uniquely benefit them immeasurably. Porn stars claiming to be 'Skins will then be required to have their CDIB cards publicly displayed. But since most of the time we see them bereft of their clothing and in the buff, as it were, what, then, is the solution? I pondered the possibility of having tabs of paper, like those cute little yellow Post-its, with requisite numbers displayed and thus stuck to their backsides, especially while performing. Then I foresaw that this might be unduly hazardous for the display tab, particularly in orgy scenes, when all hands, feet, mouths, and what-such of the anatomy are assiduously engaged. For example, one whack of a hand on the exposed derriere, in the bliss and spark of the action, so to speak, and the tab is, alas, lost, and we as viewers have no way of ascertaining a porner's claim to 'Skin-ness.
        But, then, of course, the solution to this dilemma is rather plainly obvious, isn't it? Tattooing! With tattooing becoming downright de rigueur everywhere these days, especially among the wild and let-it-all-hang-out young, well then we can have 'Skin-claiming porners display their cards, or at least their tribal enrollment numbers, in the form of tattoos on their luscious backsides! Moooo! Why, heck, it stands to reason that every honest Injun pornstar out there will go along with this idea, wouldn't you think? I thought for a moment that perhaps the tattooed numbers could be broadcast on one's arm. I vaguely recall that the society to which I previously alluded employed just this method, and at least for a while, so I have heard, it worked out just fine. We can obviously benefit from such examples from that delightful cesspool called History, can't we?
        I profess that I have not the least personal interest in advancing--nay, urging--my particular scheme. I confess my age now as being so rather advanced to preclude personal dreams of myself as an on-camera performer. As well, I possess a derriere that is now perhaps unpardonably and unsightly unphotogenic, not at all conducive for an attractive tat in the form of a chain of numbers. No, I am content merely to have things easily categorizable for our Identity Police. I further propose that the system of tattooing be as such: bright-red tattooed tribal census numbers for Indians. Red, the color of blood, the color of war, the color of dawn, on and on; there's no denying that red {84} is the Indian color. Well, then, Indian numbers gotta be red. Mainly, though, and I know you, dear reader, as deeply the ethnic purist as I profess to be, want to see it all done right. Remember that earlier social order that, for a while, had a similar system of tatting numbers on people's arms for identification purposes? Well, what-the-hey! It worked, didn't it?
        And maybe, while we're at it, let's have everybody else be required to publicly display their numbers! Admittedly, I find I am still troubled by that supposedly white friend of mine, all those years ago, who in all likelihood was "passing" and was never, as far as I can determine, called to account for himself. Hrumppff, hrumppff! So, why not have whites in America called to account and so display their numbers, too? And, of course, blacks, too. Just like Indians, they all should have to be required to prove who and what they are. Why is it that only Indians are subjected to this--or am I being unfair? And, hey, while we're at it, how about Mexican nationals, too, to have to prove whether they are "legal" or "illegal"? And, besides, as we've already agreed on, tattooing is "in" these days, isn't it?
        Whites can have black numbers on their white derrieres, and blacks can have white numbers on theirs. Consider the aesthetics of color coordination here. Asians can have either yellow or maybe orange or brown numbers. But, wait, shouldn't brown be for all those fence-busting-down Latin Americans who persist in making their presence known? But, of course, brown numbers on a brown derriere might get lost. Well, gee, dear reader, I admit I don't have everything all worked out yet! Social engineering really isn't all that easy a thing, when you get right down to it. I could use some help here, you know! You think it's easy building systems, you should try it sometime! But once more I digress . . .
        Let us perforce look to additional benefits of tattooing, or "stamping," as it might come to be called:

        We can now tell the Real Indians from the Wannabes and other pretend Indians. We can even go further: pretend Indians can have their "pretend" enrollment numbers tattooed on the backsides, but tastefully done in quotes ("--") and perhaps even with cute little asterisks. Or maybe their numbers can be prefixed with the letter "W" for Wannabe. And the letter "R" for real. Mexicans, Cubans, Bolivians, Hondurans, and so on, can thus be eliminated with undue testiness, {85} because when we see the pretentious Bolivian acting the role of an Indian, then the backside-displayed number preceded with the letter "B" lets us know that the actor or actress in question is a Bolivian acting as a 'Skin. We can then self-righteously tell him or her, "You may be a 'Skin back in Bolivia, but since Uncle Sam ain't bound to recognize you as such here, because we got our treaties to help us out here, then, sweety-pie, you are just a Wannabe!" and they can be so proclaimed with the numbering code that tags them as either Bolivian or Wannabe.
        Tattooed numbers are better since it is, by all accounts, unrealistic to ask Indian porners to wear feathery headdresses and war paint while doing hanky-panky under the truth-revealing eye of the camera.
        Added gainful employment and increased revenue are thus extended to the tattoo-parlor industry. This new program will not only reap them greater financial benefits, but it also will accord them greater social respectability from society at large. Such enterprises can thus move out of the back alleys and sideshow shooting galleries of rundown carnivals and such and into the more attractive malls and shopping centers. Indeed, even into hospitals and clinics, where each newborn can thus be tatted on his or her cherubic derriere as said he or she makes the grand entrance into this brave new world of ours.8
        As well, the need for more Identity Police will be obvious. Checkers of derrieres in bus terminals and airports and just about any place where a would-be Wannabe might be found. Wow! Now watch our nationwide unemployment rate go down!
        Such a program will also bring much added and corrective attention to the illegal alien situation, particularly if we in the good old U.S.A. can convince our neighbors in nearby nations to institute similar means and methods. No more multimillion-dollar "fences to nowhere"! No more head scratching and bewailing on the part of our nation's well-intentioned right-wingers and Republican zealots about nearly every nonwhite person they see, since the means of ascertaining the identity of said ethnic will easily be made ascertainable.

        So there it is, the solution that all along has been right there before our eyes. CDIB, CDWB, CDBB, CDAB, CDLB, and W numbers tattooed right there on jiggling booties,9 so that just before the money shot, with the {86} necessary zoom-in of the cameras, there it can be shown in all its Heil, Geronimo! glory, the undeniable and unassailable number, the undeniable authenticity thus proclaimed, for all to see and to take most appropriate note of. Henceforth, everyone will then be, or ought to be, much happier for such a program.
        And now I can return to my more legitimate scholarship, a long-time endeavor that in the form of a most highly welcomed, groundbreaking way, promises, in the form of an article, to transform Native American literary scholarship forever.10


        1. Let's dispense with the usual quibble-quabble here: By "Indian," I mean Native American, American Indian, Indigenous Person, First Nations, 'Skin, or whatever term with which you, dear reader, might be more politically and comfortably correct.
        2. And, yes, let's go with the capital "I" to denominate this endeavor. Rest assured that all personnel connected therewith universally refer to the entire realm of movie porndom as "the Industry." Incidentally, a recent publication reflects this point of view: The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film, by Legs McNeil, Jennifer Osborne, and Peter Pavia. Another scholarly tome, Porn Studies, edited by Laura Williams, should be consulted as well.
IMDB--Internet Movie Database; IAFD--Internet Adult Film Database; Wikipedia--this rapidly expanding online encyclopedia maintains not only categories on pornography, porn films, and porn actors and actresses, but also includes what seems to be a sub-subcategory called Native American Porn Stars.
        4. William (Sonny) Landham is arguably the most famous former male 'Skin porner, not so much for his porn career, but for his activities afterward. According to the above-cited Internet sources, Landham appeared in approximately twenty-two hardcore movies between 1974 and 1980 before landing bit and supporting roles in mainstream films. He is most recognizable as Billy, the silent, solid, stolid, abundantly overtestosteroned and overly stereotyped Indian mercenary of Predator (1987)--(remember him of the overly forced raucous hillbilly laugh as he struts his super-pecs and war-painted face, rather comfortably in step with those other superteste-ed dudes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, and Jesse Ventura)? In the 1980s and 1990s, with his porn career behind him, Landham found work in action flicks, such as 48 Hours and Southern Comfort, before appearing in Predator. Then, in 2003, he ran as a Republican for governor of Kentucky, and for the state senate the following year. According to website info, he lost both political races, not because of revelations of his porn career, but rather for his more recent history as a spouse abuser. As well, Landham apparently possesses an extremely bullying personality, and the skinny has it, he frequently becomes unglued and threatens to clean said suggester's impolite plow for even the least reference to his former calling of three
{87} decades previously, as well as to his more recent unsavory activities as a household toughie. Interestingly, he is much like another action "hero" who likewise has a porn past--Sylvester Stallone--another mediocre actor who insists on foisting bad acting on the screen while pulling down millions cashing in on the Vietnam War, the middle period of which he made porn flicks while avoiding not only the war, but any military uniform of whatever sort.
        Incidentally, Sonny maintains a webpage, but one will search in vain for mention of his pre-1980 skin flick career or his history of bullyism. Instead, it is a forum for his rants against the judicial system for "victimizing" him during his spousal and custodial battles, and it promotes his good-old-boy standing with the Council of Conservative Citizens, in rather Jim Jones-like homilies. It gets even wilder: following his defeats as a Republican in Kentucky, Sonny then became a Libertarian and continued to pursue public office--that is, until he issued one of his wild "run-off-at-the-mouth" tirades in which he urged genocide on all Arabs. Yes, all Arabs. The Libertarians dropped him like a hot rock.
        And allow me to call your attention to yet another subtext that seems to be at work in Predator. In the film, as they pit themselves against that otherworldly alien, some of those Machos collected together--Schwarzenegger, Ventura, and Landham--must have gotten some of that alien green blood smeared on them, with the resulting fallout effect of compelling them to quit films and go out and run for governor somewhere. We should note that it is only a matter of time before Carl Weathers, Richard Chaves, and Bill Duke, some of the film's other beefies, issue press announcements that they are likewise entering gubernatorial races.
        A further note: Stormy Daniels, the recently retired porn star of professed Cherokee blood, was for awhile in 2009 a candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana, but then she withdrew before the election. Other porners, here in the good old U.S.A., as well as in Europe, have tried out the political waters--Mary Carey running for governor of California; Louise Frevert, a winning candidate for the Parliament in Denmark; and Cicciolina in the Senate in Italy. Might we look for more to come?
        5. One learns, too, an interesting aspect of the downfall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent economic collapse of Iron Curtain countries: the number of porn actors and actresses from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Russia is simply staggering. With Americanized pseudonyms such as Anita Queen, Wanda Curtis, Zora Banks, Claudia Atkins, Sophie Evans, Mike Foster, Nick Lang, etc., these former Commie country porners number in the hundreds and toil in both Europe and the United States. Indeed, the Euro-stars Pocahontas and Pokahontas are from Romania and Hungary, respectively.
        6. It is, of course, the humor that redeems them, or at least one may choose to think so, from Political Correctness censure. These films, tongue-in-cheek as they are, manifest much more awareness of the stupidity of the old stereotyping of Indians than, say, the paperbacked Pocahontas (by Susan Donnell) and the countless Cassie Edwards "Savage" series of "novels" featuring Indigenous heroines in scanty, and always suggestive, buckskin dresses and feather do-dad arrangements, where the old-timey Noble Savage idea flourishes in all its eighteenth-century pristine glory.
        7. There are quite a number of websites, as well as a highly informative entry in Wikipedia, dealing with Harley Reagan and some of his numerous pretensions.
        8. I foresee another industry springing forth here. Enterprising entities such as Honeywell (in this case perhaps a totally appropriate name) can thus develop and provide viewing booths at airports and government offices so that one's tat can be camera-scanned before boarding planes, entering government or corporate buildings, washing one's hands, banking, etc.
CDIB (certificate of degree of Indian blood), CDWB (certificate of degree of white blood), CDBB (certificate of degree of black blood), CDAB (certificate of degree of Asian blood), and W (Wannabe).
        10. The article-in-progress is entitled, at this point, "A Lacanian Examination of Marsha Forbes-Matterhorn's Cixousian Refutation of Paul G. Ellison's Bahktinian Defense of J. Thrace Threader's Derridean Discussion of the Surrealistic Characteristics of the Billy the Kid Persona in N. Scott Momaday's The Ancient Child"--a copy of which I know everyone in Native American literary studies is breathlessly waiting to get their hands on before the big nine-day-long conference at Beaverstream Creek Community College in lovely Puxahocket, New Hampshire.



Alexander King. Living with Koryak Traditions: Playing with Culture in Siberia. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-8032-3509-0. 329 pp.
        Andrew Wiget, New Mexico State University

This book concerns the performance of ethnicity and local understandings of tradition among the Native peoples of Kamchatka, a large peninsula on the north Pacific coast of Russia. The book will be of particular interest to sail readers of Alexander Vaschenko and Claude Smith's recent collection of English translations of contemporary Native Siberian literature, The Way of Kinship.1 Though not essentially comparative in form, Living with Koryak Traditions draws explicit comparisons between Native American experiences and the internat or boarding school system set up for Siberian Native peoples while evoking other implicit comparisons, such as the problematics of ethnic identification among urban Natives, the role of crafts and souvenirs, the function of museums and cultural education programs, the prospects for Native language revitalization.
        Historically, Kamchatka was said by anthropologists to be the home of three major Native tribal peoples--the Chukchi, the Koryak, and the Itelmen--who were variously distinguished as nomadic reindeer herders, maritime hunters, or salmon fishermen and characterized by a set of traits such as language, costume, and various expressive forms; in this way each "people" had "its culture." Behind this essentializing notion of ethnic identity, so characteristic of a certain kind of early anthropology and still current in the popular consciousness, are essentializing notions of "tradition" and "heritage," with their dichotomies of "then" and "now," "pure" and "corrupted," "authentic" and "inauthentic," and, of course, an essential racialism that anchors "authentic" cultural forms in communi-{90}ties of "real," "blood-quantified" people. King's experience was different: "on the one hand, Kamchatkan native people are confident of their ability to identify a person as Even or Koryak or Itelmen based on speech, or traditional costume, or dance style; but on the other hand, these identifications may be moot, subject to revision, and most often derived from what that person is doing at the moment. Ethnographers, unfortunately, have assumed ethnic groups then gone on to explain them" (43).
        While this may have been the case for ethnographers in the past, no serious Western ethnographer operates with such assumptions today, so, in this sense at least, King has set up a straw man. Surprisingly not mentioned by King is Morton Fried's classic work, The Notion of Tribe,2 which effectively undoes any essentialist definitions of tribe. Fried also introduced the now widely accepted notion of "secondary tribe"--that is, a "tribe" as a consolidation of bands that emerges as a response to pressures from a nation-state, analogous to Frederik Barth's understanding of ethnicity as an oppositional identity.3 For ideological reasons the historical oppositional nature of ethnic identity formation was never sufficiently stressed in Soviet anthropology. Instead the concept of ethnos, a very specific term in Soviet anthropology, tended to focus principally on what were imagined as evolutionary processes internal to the social group.4 The result is a notion of ethnicity, still current in Russia today, that clings to a definition of ethnic group based on a set of shared traits combined with a distinctive "psychic make-up." The Soviet formulation of "ethnic in form--Soviet in content" encouraged cultural diversity and valorization of heritage only as the transitory mask for Soviet assimilation and the promotion of heritage as souvenir nostalgia. In this way one could re/pre/serve materialized cultural forms (costume, music, dance, foodways, housing styles, even language) while they were decontextualized and emptied of their Indigenous meanings. The venue for much of this was the House of Culture, a local institution in almost every community. The craft activities and dance ensembles they sponsored, while often very professional, developed a bad reputation among Western academics who disparaged them as a kind of kitsch. Part of King's effort in this book is to illuminate the real value of such activities for those who support them.
        King's introduction provides a theoretical basis for his analysis in Piercean semiotics and an experiential basis in an overview of his Kamchatkan fieldwork. Of the former, the triadic nature of the Piercean sign {91} is especially important because it undercuts an assumption that meaning (and thus "tradition" and "identity") is the simple act of attaching labels to objects. Of the latter, perhaps King's most important point is that despite his having been to fish camps and reindeer herders' camps, he understood that "[b]eing native in Kamchatka often includes coming from villages that do not exist anymore" (5). Throughout the twentieth century, especially after World War II, the Soviet government closed villages and consolidated populations in order to economize on services, a policy with enormous consequences for King's own interests in the performance of identity that he does not sufficiently emphasize, I think. King's excellent first chapter provides a historical review, not of the ethnographic literature itself, but of the problematics of identifying cultural groups in Kamchatka. Beginning with early travelers' reports and concluding with Soviet ethnic policy categorization (up until very recently, every citizen still had to have an official ethnicity, one and only one, stamped in his or her passport). Soviet categorization followed from a racialist model of ethnicity, because, as King says of the Koryak, and which is probably true in most cases of official tribal classifications, "scholars have never found a single ethnonym (on any one trait) covering all people so labeled" (75). These problems should be familiar to sail readers, who will find many analogues here to the issues surrounding blood quanta and tribal enrollment lists.
        The next two chapters look at the consequences for performing ethnicity within the existing ideological framework. King focuses on dance ensembles, which have historically been a highly marked performance genre among Kamchatka Natives, and which, in the late Soviet period and through the 1990s, became the principal arena for the public performance of ethnicity, both nationally and internationally. King's interest here is not ethnochoreography in itself--he is right to point out that one can find such discussions in other places--but rather how locals talk about dance as a site of cultural reproduction. Instead King uses the descriptive and evaluative comments made by audiences, performers, and directors to develop local senses of "authentic" and "traditional." He contrasts a small, emerging rural village ensemble in chapter 2, with its access to elders and emphasis on the moral value of participation, with professional ensembles from the town of Palana in chapter 3, who take bits and pieces of costume and gesture as "inspiration." Nevertheless, in contrast to what he calls "spurious" (34) culture, focusing on the {92} imitated form rather than its creative appropriation, none of the dance groups "reproduced" whole specific "ethnic" dances. Yet all the dance groups King describes claim to be "traditional" in some form and to "represent Koryak culture," and "'doing it right' was a central preoccupation of nearly everyone and performances were often critiqued in terms of their accuracy or lack thereof in representing traditional indigenous dance forms" (135). In all cases, King says, cultural reproductions were positively valued by locals if they indexed audience memories of their elders dancing.
        In chapter 4 King discusses the appropriation of Koryak culture by schools, museums, and cultural institutions. At stake in this chapter is the tension produced by historic Soviet concepts of culture. He rightly observes that according to Soviet ideology, "ethnic 'forms' are (mostly) independent of the fundamental socioeconomic structures" (173). I have called the practical consequence of this ideology "componentialism."5 It means that ethnic forms, King continues, "can be lifted out of their original context and put into a box without any loss in their 'authenticity' or value to the people connected to these forms. A Koryak hat sewn by a Russian in a Palana [souvenir] factory is no less 'really' Koryak than one sewn by a grandmother in a fishing camp far from town and Western influence" (173). He illustrates this with examples of a Russian woman teaching Koryak culture classes and Koryak women, who worked in the souvenir factory, teaching beadwork to Koryak girls. The last chapter treats the official appropriation of Koryak language along more or less the same lines, contrasting the standardization of Native language forms that began with the Soviet literacy campaign to the vitality and innovation of the language as lived. "Unfortunately," King writes, "no children are learning to speak Koryak as their native language. Ninety-nine percent of first grade children speak Russian as their first language" (218). It's also clear to King that none of these children will ever master Koryak, for, as the chapter title, quoting an elder, indicates, the halting pidgin that they learn is "not my language."
        Throughout King makes a special point of the fact that unlike Native American art, local judgments of "authenticity" are not tied to the ethnic identification of the performer or producer, some of whom, like the Russian Native studies teacher or the Ukrainian director of a Native dance ensemble, are non-Native or Native but non-Kamchatkan: "Kamchatkans focus on a named style, which is learned. Culture as style does {93} not necessarily entail an identity claim. Koryak or Chauwchu or Even are deployed as adjectives not nouns. These terms refer to a way of dancing, or a way of speaking, a way of being in the world. This is an abstraction, a rarefaction of how specific people (namely, elders) act, but once the style is mastered, it remains authentic and real no matter what the context. In this way, a Koryak way of dancing learned from the elders remains a real Koryak dance, when it is performed on stage for an audience, whether in Palana or in Paris" (142-43). Such a statement obscures some important distinctions. "A way of dancing . . . learned from the elders" does not in fact seem to adequately map the process King had earlier described as individual moves, gestures, and postures that are recombined by the troupe directors to produce "a way of dancing." And his comments about cultural property (240) suggest that here as elsewhere he has not adequately assessed the consequences of the significant differences between the Native American and Native Siberian worlds in the economic and political capital associated with "authenticity."
        Whether or not the Kamchatkans themselves are doing something much different than enacting the Soviet componential view of culture, it is heartening that they derive, in King's phrase, "personal empowerment" from such practices (173). Of course, in the kinds of communities King describes one must anticipate a notion of cultural identity that bypasses the role of group as a polity and a certain sense of "belonging" or "participation." But not all of Siberia's forty-five "officially defined" Native tribal peoples are so small, so effectively resettled, or so devastated. Some maintain a more or less intact social fabric in which Native language is the first language, Native belief systems are primary, and the Native community economy is still based on natural resources, though all compromised to varying degrees. For the reader, it would be a mistake to take King's book as representative of the situation in Siberia, and King does not offer it as such. And as King knows (235, 243, 254) for those other Native peoples not in the Kamchatkans' situation, where there are conflicts over land, resources, and religion, the political price for adopting a notion of "culture as style," for not resisting such an underdetermined theory of culture and tradition in order to rationalize the meaning-making strategies of their urban counterparts, would seem to be very high. Living with Koryak Traditions is a challenging book that demonstrates the value of a semiotic understanding of culture for mapping the dynamics of how Native people creatively appropriate older {94} cultural forms to create anew a sense of identity and tradition to achieve "personal empowerment" under conditions of tremendous social stress.


        1. Alexander Vaschenko and Claude Smith, The Way of Kinship: An Anthology of Native Siberian Literature (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2010).
        2. Morton Fried, The Notion of Tribe (Menlo Park: Cummings, 1975).
        3. Frederik Barth, Ethnic Groups and Boundaries (Boston: Little, Brown, 1969).
        4. Julian Bromley and Viktor Kozlov, "The Theory of Ethnos and Ethnic Processes in Soviet Social Sciences," Comparative Studies in Society and History 31.3 (1989): 425-38.
        5. Andrew Wiget and Olga Balalaeva, Khanty: People of the Taiga: Surviving the Twentieth Century (Fairbanks: U of Alaska P, 2011), 336.

Brian Swann, ed. Born in the Blood: On Native American Translation. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-8032-6759-6. 476 pp.
        Michael D. Sullivan, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

It may be fair enough to assume that anyone who has ever attempted to translate from an indigenous language into a more dominant language has encountered at least some of the many issues discussed in this volume. Those engaged in this type of work are faced with a unique challenge of attempting to do justice to the original piece. Whether it is a traditional story, a conversation, or a song, the main concern is the quality of presentation of an oral performance in one language to a written format in another. More often than not, we are working with an endangered minority language attempting to adequately translate into a more common, majority language. The original source language will almost undoubtedly differ drastically in grammatical structure from that of the target language of translation. Depending on where you might find yourself involved in such a process will likely determine your opinion of Brian Swann's latest collection of essays concerning the translation of Native American languages.
        Born in the Blood: On Native American Translation consists of several different perspectives regarding the process of the above-mentioned translation. The title itself attracts attention; after all, Native Americans and blood seem to complement one another in Western literature. This is not the reasoning behind the choice of the title, however. Instead, accord-{95}ing to Swann, the title is an excerpt from a poem in which it is a word that is "born in the blood, grew in the dark body, pulsing, and flew with the lips and mouth" (8). Regardless of the etymology of the book's title or the unsettling picture that it may depict, Born in the Blood is sure to attract readers, Swann's obvious original intention. Readers will be pleased to read the reports of many individual experiences, the problems that are bound to arise, the journeys taken, and some of the lessons learned.
        This latest anthology from Swann provides insight to the reader regarding many of the difficulties that a translator faces and the many decisions that must be made. In his introduction Swann is quick to clarify that what translators are concerned with is not necessarily "literature" as we understand the term in Western culture (5). Instead, we are dealing with oral performances often delivered to speakers of the same language, but as Lynn Burley points out in her essay, this is not always the case. Burley relates an instance of Dakota texts written by native Dakota speakers in which there is "evidence that the Dakota speakers were probably meant for a Western audience" (337).
        Translation itself is necessarily problematic. Perhaps the most interesting challenge for many involved in this work is what Swann refers to as "complexities of collaboration between non-Native academics and Native American culture-bearers"(1). As a result the foundation of Native American translation in the Americas has been "compromised and tainted from its origins" (2). As stated in Carrie Dyck's opening essay, the Cayuga word for "female translator" is literally "she changes words" (20). Dyck discusses issues of ethics in her contribution to the collection and relates a problem that many of our Native-speaker consultants express when attempting to translate their own Native language. There is a tendency to forever be on the search for better translations (22), and often the words "mean more than English words do" (31).
        In addition to the words themselves, many of the authors mention a threshold of cultural understanding that must take place before one can attempt to translate from one language to another. Some translators may struggle at not coming across as being ethnocentric or exhibiting an "as if " tone as mentioned in Swann's intro (4). A "linguist's version" of a transcribed and translated text does not include what Julie Brittain and Marguerite MacKenzie refer to as "aids of understanding" such as gestures, audience interaction, and phonological clues (252), further distancing the reader from the original delivery.
        Linguists and nonlinguists alike have much to gain from this collection. Perhaps the most beneficial contribution made is Brittain and MacKenzie's chapter, "Translating Algonquian Oral Texts," in which they outline many key issues and problems translators face: "Many of the translators do not have native-speaker intuitions with respect to the source language . . . few reference materials exist . . . translators take a transcribed version of the oral text rather than the oral text itself, as their starting point" (243). Decisions concerning punctuation and other aesthetic features often are determined by the translator, often for languages in which we are not sure what exactly a word or sentence really is and where to draw the line (254-55). Essentially, the translator is "somewhere between that of the (language) technician and the artist" (259).
        Fortunately, for readers with less linguistic interests, included is a selection of friendlier reads including an essay by Robin Ridington, Jillian Ridington, Patrick Moore, Kate Hennessy, and Amber Ridgington on oral tradition among the Dene-zaa and a piece by Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh and Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa on understanding the Hopi experience. Peter M. Whiteley provides a chapter on the connection between language and place and the depth of cultural knowledge behind understanding and translating Hopi place-names. Reflections on careers in translation work are provided in "A Life in Translation" by Richard J. Preston as well as a chapter by M. Terry Thompson and Laurence C. Thompson that is anything but a "technical essay on the sport of translation" (446).
        Some readers may be delighted by Blair A. Rudes's chapter on the reconstruction of an extinct Virginia Algonquian language and the fascinating process by which they were able to reconstruct parts of the language for the purposes of a major Hollywood production. Others may find a particular weirdness behind efforts to reconstruct the language for purposes of film ultimately leading to revitalization efforts by the descendants of the Powattan people. Translators and language teachers alike will appreciate the manner in which Rudes dealt with requests for translating English idioms into the Powattan dialogue. Richard L. Dauenhauer and Nora Marks Dauenhauer raise a similar issue in their article on Tlingit tense and aspect, having been requested to translate English phrases with "snappy-sounding gerunds" into Tlingit (302).
        Bill Jancewicz provides an essay on his experience with related language translation describing the extreme intricacies and attention paid {97} to detail and the process by which Naskapi speakers are closely involved in the translation. He quickly defends the faith-based mission of the SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics) and their mission to translate the Bible into the world's indigenous languages. Although he clearly states that it is the individual speakers and community members that request this type of work, such efforts may be like salt in the wound for those scrambling to capture and understand as much as possible about the language, culture, and for some the spirituality of their elders. Despite the substance of the work described in his chapter, Jancewicz does a fine job at reporting on the procedures behind such work.
        After reading the collection, you might find yourself wondering who should be doing this type of work and how large of a role the actual speakers of the languages discussed have in the translation process. Who gets the privilege or burden of deciding what a "good" translation is? Should individuals who regard our traditional stories, songs, and pieces of cultural history as mere "myths" be able to decide what "better preserves the original creativity and elegance," as Burley puts it (341-42). As Colwell-Chanthaphonh and Koyiyumptewa point out, "Non-Pueblo people simply don't have the conceptual, cultural, or experiential tools to fully untangle the meanings of the Pueblo material past without Pueblo contribution" (67). Ultimately, the translator holds the power of presentation.
        Perhaps the biggest drawback to the collection is the limited presence of Native authors. In his essay on translation and censorship William M. Clements writes, "As long as the outsider controls the buttons on the tape recorder, he or she controls not only what will be preserved for possible communication to posterity but also how the material will be presented--censored according to the outsider's value system--to that posterity" (183).
        Tribal community members can appreciate the fact that so many "outsiders" have done the work they have done, as the level of urgency surrounding the state of our languages is just now dawning on members of our respective communities. Despite the numerous issues surrounding the translation of Native American languages, we should be thankful that many of the translators are actually involved in efforts to assist community language programs and are not just linguists with pet Indian languages.


Maureen Trundelle Schwarz. "I Choose Life": Contemporary Medical and Religious Practices in the Navajo World. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-8601-3961-6. 380 pp.
        Fritz Detwiler, Adrian College

Maureen Trundelle Schwarz weaves an intricate tapestry blending contemporary Navajo religious pluralism with the sources of Navajo attitudes toward healing by examining intrusive medical procedures such as blood transfusions, amputations, and organ transplants. The strength of the book rests on an impressive number of conversations and discussions with Navajos who represent traditional practices, two forms of the Native American Church as it exists in Navajoland, and six different expressions of Christianity. Schwarz grounds Navajo beliefs regarding healing in three sources: traditional Diné accounts of the creation and formation of the world and of the Navajo people; historical memories that recount Anglo violence toward the Navajos, the introduction of foreign diseases, and efforts to destroy Navajo culture; and the arrival of western-style medicine and medical practices.
        Schwarz locates the key to understanding Navajo attitudes about healing in a moral covenant between the Diné and the Holy People. The covenant rests on the principle of reciprocity. The Navajos have been given the resources, knowledge, and rituals to sustain and reestablish the harmony initially established by Changing Woman. In turn, the Navajos are obligated to seek harmony, repair disruptions for which they are accountable, and live in balance with the Holy People. For Schwarz then, illness and health is a moral issue.
        Schwarz's moral argument depends on two factors. The first centers on Navajo behavior. Failure to honor the moral covenant through bad behavior or unfortunate circumstances results in illness. Restoration of harmony occurs through the performance of certain rituals specific to particular illnesses or circumstances. Schwarz discusses two of these rituals directly related to the types of medical problems caused by intrusive medical procedures. For example, when a Navajo receives blood transfusion from another Navajo, the Evil Way ceremony is appropriate to protect the recipient from possible harmful contamination. However, when a Navajo receives blood from a non-Navajo, the Enemy Way is performed. Enemy Way protects Navajos from harmful contact with non-Navajos and, in the case of intrusive medical procedures, from Anglo physicians who perform surgeries.
        Contact with non-Navajo donors or surgeons also involves a second dimension of Navajo healing. Navajo identity entails a radical distinction between Navajos and outsiders. This distinction arises from Navajo oral traditions involving Changing Woman. Changing Woman locates the Navajos in a particular place and establishes a moral covenant between the Navajos and the Holy People-both of which are exclusive to the Navajos and differentiate them from other peoples.
        The historical experiences of Navajo contacts with Anglos reinforces the sense of difference. Anglo policies of cultural genocide, the Long Walk and forced internment at Fort Sumner, and the diseases that resulted from contact all buttressed the Navajo identification of Anglos as enemies and produced an historical trauma that contributed to illness such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Traditionalists, according to Schwarz, view these diseases negatively as a "metaphor for assimilation into mainstream American society" (94).
        This creates a moral dilemma for Navajos who need Western medical treatments. On the one hand, these treatments are necessary because they provide the only remedy for these foreign diseases, but on the other hand, participation in the Western medical system forces Navajos to compromise their traditional values and to subject themselves to potential danger.
        Schwarz also discusses the linguistic problem that Navajo encounter when they interact with English-speaking medical personnel. Since the Navajo language is performative and calls into being what is spoken, discussion of the disease itself actually contributes to the illness from the Navajo perspective. Thus, Navajos who suffer illness may be reluctant to accept Western-style medical aid.
        Schwarz builds her argument carefully. The first chapter situates the discussion within Navajo oral traditions. Through a detailed presentation of the Navajo creation narrative as it relates to health and healing, Schwarz demonstrates the relational nature of Navajo beliefs and practices. Through the interactions of Changing Woman, Monster Slayer, and Holy People the world as created exists in natural harmony. Through the creation of the Navajo clans, Changing Woman establishes the relational structure of the human social order where men are paired with women and are members of extended kinship relationships. Schwarz notes that this kinship relationship plays an important role in Navajo attitudes and practices with respect to invasive medical proce-{100}dures. The donor-recipient relationship functions best when the people involved are from the same clan. Relationship becomes a bit more difficult in dealing with nonclan Navajos. Finally, as suggested above, donor recipient relationships involving non-Navajos create the most tension and stress.
        In the second chapter Schwarz describes the complex religious pluralism that exists among the Navajos. The distinctions she draws help structure subsequent chapters by dividing the discussion into three parts with each part focusing on one of the tripartite divisions of Navajo religious practices. The chapters in which she discusses blood transfusions, amputations, and transplants begin with testimonies by traditional Navajo practitioners. Traditional Navajos view illness in terms of the violation of the moral covenant established between the Navajos and the Holy People. The second section of these chapters describes the attitudes and practices of members of the Native American Church. The Navajo versions of the Native American Church emphasize healing and blend together elements of Christianity, Navajo traditions, and Indigenous blendings of a variety of sources. Schwarz notes that the "Christian idea of redemptive suffering" is the paramount theme in the Native American Church (259). The third section of the chapters focuses on the various forms of Christianity that exist in Navajo land. From this perspective illness is understood in terms of Jesus Christ as the sole source of cures (261). While some Navajos accept only one interpretation of illness, other Navajos make use of whatever resources are available to them including Western-style medicine.
        The third and fourth chapters of the book consider the impact of the Navajo history with Anglos as a source of illness. Because the dominant culture tried to destroy Navajo land, culture, and people, Anglos are viewed as enemies. Further, this history has created anxiety and stress in many Navajos because of the diseases introduced by Anglos and because of the terrible consequences of the Long Walk that have helped shape Navajo attitudes toward the larger culture. Many Navajos described the importance of conducting the Enemy Way ritual as a countermeasure to interactions with white physicians and medicine. Acceptance of Western-style medicine is linked to accommodationist policies of the US government and raises the question for some Navajos of whether they are participating in the destruction of their own culture by accepting Western medicine. Thus medical choices are also political choices.
        Chapters 5, 6, and 7 discuss Navajo attitudes towards blood transfusions, amputations, and transplants successively. Much of the content of these chapters consists of Navajos speaking for themselves. The extended discussions clearly reveal the individual attitudes and beliefs of specific Navajos who have either undergone these procedures or have had family members who have done so. Here we find the intensely human struggles that people have gone through in making their medical choices. While there are parameters that frame the attitudes and practices of the three different religious groupings, the discussions reveal unique interpretations that are specific to individual determinations. Clearly not all Pentecostals view these issues in precisely the same way. The same is true for traditionalists, members of the Native American Church, and other types of Christian communities. Schwarz also emphasizes that attitudinal differences do exist between members of the family. However, it is a principle of Navajo culture that the choices of every person are respected.
        In her treatment of the subject, Schwarz employs many Navajo words. She clearly demonstrates the importance of this strategy because of the nuances of Navajo meanings which do not easily translate into English. While in some places this creates a difficulty for readers who are not familiar with the Navajo language, Schwarz provides a basic glossary so that readers can understand the nuances of the discussion. Some parts of the text seem to be redundant, particularly in the treatment of the three types of medical procedures. However, as readers go further into the text, repetition is helpful because of the complexity of the topic.
        The clear writing style makes the book accessible for nonspecialists. Persons interested in Indigenous medicine, Navajo culture, and Indigenous religious pluralism will find the book exceedingly interesting and valuable. The book also makes a substantial contribution to a shift that is taking place among scholars of Native American traditions that moves toward a moral understanding of these cultural beliefs and practices. The key to this new approach is recognizing the centrality of the principle of "reciprocal relationality" that grounds Native American ethics. From this perspective, the fundamental way of being in the world rests on reciprocal moral covenants that frame human relations with each other and with the nonhuman persons of the larger cosmos. Schwarz's book is a model for this approach.


Heather Fryer. Perimeters of Democracy: Inverse Utopias and the Wartime Social Landscape in the American West. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2010. ISBN: 978-0-8032-2033-1. 398 pp.
        Robert T. Hayashi, Amherst College

Heather Fryer's recent book charts an intriguing path into the history of the American West and the unique federal presence in the region. The author focuses on four "inverted utopias," locations where federal authorities segregated potentially threatening domestic populations from American society, especially during World War II. In these isolated places, federal agencies and employees created putatively ideal and rehabilitative democratic communities. Fryer rightfully argues that such a comparative analysis of these communities--Klamath Indian Reservation, Topaz Relocation Center, Vanport housing complex, and Los Alamos--can provide unique insights into these western utopias and the legacy of federal management of western spaces. The author notes her intention in her introduction: "Instead of flattening these political, economic, and social histories to fit a rigid analytical construct, they are set within a single constellation that captures the broad context of this collective history, offers a fuller assessment of the significance of security towns to the West as a whole, and accounts for the uniqueness of each separate place while articulating the commonalties between them"(40). It is an ambitious, original tack.
        Fryer demonstrates how Klamath Reservation, Topaz, Vanport, and Los Alamos collectively represent a characteristic federal approach to managing a military crisis: placing marginalized groups outside society under the guise of practicing and ensuring democracy and American identity, an observation that echoes prior work by scholars of western history, immigration, and ethnic studies. A shared weltanschauung drove practices at agencies like the War Relocation Authority and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as these agencies were not only related institutions but, at times, were staffed by the same individuals, such as former War Relocation Authority director and later Federal Public Housing Authority commissioner and BIA commissioner Dillon Myer. These agencies meshed ideas about racial identity, agrarianism, and Americanism into a program of social reform targeted to transforming western places and western peoples.
        Fryer details the interconnectedness of these sites and the broader {103} history to which they belong by discussing thematic points that bind these communities: the labeling of populations as subversive, community building efforts, federal economic policies and practices, the ironic contradiction between democratic ideals and government acts, and the termination of these locales and their postwar histories, including the resulting activism of former residents. Her focus on their ongoing legacy is especially noteworthy.
        Fryer's rationale for choosing these specific sites includes opportunities to see "what they might reveal about race, class, and geography" (4). But why the author chose this specific set of federal sites remains unclear, and arguably other constellations of sites may better serve her purposes. For instance, Fryer ignores sites that seem to reveal the most direct thread across these federally managed utopias, such as the Poston and the Gila River War Relocation Centers. Both wartime concentration camps were on reservation land taken by federal authorities over the protestations of the Gila River and Colorado River Indian tribes.
        The author defines her rationale for including the Klamath Reservation, including its pre-World War II history, as a means to connect the wartime hysteria of the World War II era to the similar social climate of the Indian wars, and the history of the Klamath Reservation frames Fryer's exploration of a Japanese American relocation center, a World War II labor community, and a secret nuclear research facility. But while Vanport and Klamath Reservation were both in Oregon, Topaz and Los Alamos were situated hundreds of miles away in regions distinctly different, in terms of both geography and social history, and these differences sometimes challenge Fryer's ability to analyze these four locales both in individual detail and as a singular constellation. At times the specific histories of these places are flattened to fit her larger rubric, and vital differences remain unacknowledged. Her approach does offer a fresh way to connect these seemingly disparate places and histories, but such an approach means she cannot avoid sacrificing the particular.
        Therefore, most notably in her discussion of Los Alamos, Fryer's connections can stretch thin. The government never subjected the scientists at Los Alamos to the kind of collective and sometimes violent racialization that Native peoples, African Americans, and ethnic Japanese suffered. While some of the Manhattan Project personnel, such as director J. Robert Oppenheimer, did later suffer from charges of subversion, these individuals were never treated as an inherent collective {104} threat and thus never suffered the kinds of ill-treatment Indian and Nikkei did by dint of their identity. Many scientists and graduate students from Los Alamos left these inverted utopias for an outside world where they found reward and upward mobility in post-World War II America, a contrast to the terminated Klamath "legal non-Indians" and re-relocated Japanese "enemy alien" citizens. Her accounts of Los Alamos residents' experiences are often fascinating and important, but the general comparison between them and these other westerners sometimes strains Fryer's otherwise insightful analysis.
        One of the work's most compelling aspects is when Fryer reveals the awareness of these parallels among these communities' residents, such as when Klamath children told a Japanese American girl that she too lived on a reservation like them, or the odd experience of Hiroto Zakoji, a Japanese American interned at Minidoka and Tule Lake, who later became director of the Klamath Indian Education Program. During the debates over the eventual termination of the tribe Zakoji, like wra anthropologists at Topaz before him, was charged with studying the lives of a racial minority similarly trapped in a Gordian knot of dependence and forced separation. A further teasing out of not only the commonalities among the residents of Topaz, Klamath, Vanport, and Los Alamos but also the differences among and between these populations would help contextualize Fryer's final chapters, in which she focuses on political claims for redress. Only an understanding of the differences between Nikkei and American Indians can explain the contrast in their relative levels of success in the postwar years.
        Fryer's analysis makes important connections that reveal the historic danger of wartime emergency policies and static ideals about American identity. But what her book ultimately reveals is the influence of race in western history. Fryer, in fact, begins her discussion with a brief overview of American racialist ideology, notably the theories of Samuel Morton, as they provide a historical context out of which federal policy emerged. She notes that in building these segregated societies, "In most cases, 'race' was the marker for 'danger'" (5). Fryer does provide fascinating material and new insights into these "inverted utopias," such as their role as incubators for political activism, but the ambitious frame of her analysis both offers fresh insights and sometimes strains her larger argument in this otherwise provocative and worthwhile work.


Hugh J. Reilly. Bound to Have Blood: Frontier Newspapers and the Plains Indian Wars. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2010. ISBN: 978-0-8032-3627-1. 162 pp.
        Phillip H. Round, University of Iowa

Imperial campaigns of land grabbing and genocide such as were carried out in the nineteenth-century American West rarely succeed without some form of public support. And while historians of the Plains Wars have primarily focused on military actions and federal policy, even those studies that have tried to engage the public opinion dimensions of the period's "Indian Problem" have relied mostly on publications and pronouncements made in the East. In Bound to Have Blood, Hugh J. Reilly seeks to rectify this omission by focusing on "large and small newspapers in the Great Plains states" (xi), papers with names like Omaha Arrow, Rocky Mountain News, and Daily Mining Journal--papers that explicitly called Native peoples "fiends of hell" (25) and openly advocated their "total extermination" (8).
        The newspapers Reilly discusses took such no-holds-barred approaches to Indian issues because they were "relatively close to the events described" (xvii) and feared that federal policy was made by bureaucrats who did not suffer damage from the Indian wars that their readers did and because it sold papers. What is most surprising about Reilly's study, however, is that his careful sifting of the evidence uncovers occasional and significant deviations from an otherwise unremitting racist onslaught of stereotypes and rumors. For this reason what might become a dreary read--endless stories of nonstop Indian atrocities and hyperbolic calls for vengeance--actually turns out to be a revealing glimpse into the politics and print practices of an emergent western American sectionalism that had significant impact on federal Indian policy.
        Bound to Have Blood is organized around case studies of what Reilly views as the eight most important Indian war stories of the second half of the nineteenth century. From the Great Sioux Uprising in the Minnesota Territory in 1862 to the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, Reilly traces local newspapers' reactions to battles, relocations, massacres, and court cases to discover whether or not western American public opinion evolved over time into more nuanced responses to Indian affairs.
        Reilly begins by noting that the papers he is studying occupy a {106} unique place in the history of American print culture. Frontier newspapers were located far from print publication centers like New York, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati. They employed primarily amateur correspondents, often "literate soldiers" in the ranks of the men who fought the Native combatants. Because, as Reilly notes, the telegraph did not cross Nebraska until 1860, news often traveled slowly through these outpost networks, and rumor and innuendo were the order of the day. The Battle of Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876, for example, was not reported until the Bozeman Times wrote a piece about it on the third of July. Although he does not spend much time on this element of frontier print (a discussion of material practices that many historians would find helpful), Reilly's account of the local responses to Custer's defeat allows him one good opportunity to observe this outpost news system in action. The only correspondent assigned to Custer's troops, Mark Kellogg, was killed in the battle, and his replacement Clement Lounsberry turned Kellogg's unfinished notes into a 15,000-word breathless recitation of events he did not witness that took a telegraph operator twenty-two hours to send back east. His story also played well in the western frontier settlements. The Bismarck Tribune issued a single sheet extra the next day with one prominent headline: "Massacred."
        Given these hit-or-miss qualities of frontier print, Reilly focuses on parsing out the writers' and editors' use of stereotypes (of the sort described by Robert Berkhofer in The White Man's Indian). His determination as to whether an individual story is "accurate" or stereotypical derives from a method advocated by journalism scholars L. John Martin and Harold L. Nelson. While his application of these criteria is fairly irregular throughout the book, Reilly does seem to uncover a broad pattern of reporting that moves from "uneven" (36) to an occasional full-throated endorsement of a noble savage wronged, as in the case of several stories on Chief Joseph and the trial of Ponca leader Standing Bear. Overall, however, Bound to Have Blood concludes, "With the notable exception of the Omaha Herald . . . frontier papers mostly maintained a single philosophy regarding the 'Indian problem' . . . to treat the Indian as subhuman" (134).
        Perhaps unsurprisingly Reilly discovers that this unevenness derived from the fact that reporting "was colored by the politics of the newspapers that covered it" (130). Newspaper stories detailing the Sand Creek massacre are symptomatic of the pattern Reilly discovers throughout the {107} period. While some Colorado papers initially praised John M. Chivington for his actions against the Cheyenne at Sand Creek, his superior officer called him "a crazy preacher who thinks he is Napoleon" (18), and Chivington's efforts to turn his massacre of innocent women and children into a stepping-stone into public office were soon quashed by local papers that exposed the horrible reality of his actions and spoke out strongly against "idle clamor and [a] natural spirit of revenge" (34).
        Local papers not only viewed Indian affairs through the lens of local politics, Reilly discovers, but also through the perspective of infighting in the nation's capital. During debates over the Treaty of Ft. Laramie (1868), for example, the Omaha Republican located the eagerness of federal officials for a compact with the Lakota as a way to divert attention from the impeachment of Andrew Johnson (40). In later events, like the Battle of Little Bighorn and the Cheyenne Outbreak of 1879, Democratic newspapers criticized the Grant administration for skimping on frontier troops. Both sides skewered easterners. Quaker "neutrality" came in for a beating in many articles, and editorial writers who sought sterner government responses to Indian activities on the frontier warned their readers to brace themselves for "a howl from New Englanders" (124).
        Bound for Blood is a compact book with a modest goal, and Hugh J. Reilly's gift for narrating the graphic scenes of violence and pathos that lay behind the fire and brimstone of local editorials is perhaps its greatest strength. Against a backdrop of local newspapers that assured their readers that "the Sioux reservation will be converted into a Sioux burying ground" (4), Reilly reminds us that the execution of thirty-nine Dakota men after the Sioux Uprising was the largest mass hanging in US history. As the trap doors were sprung on the gallows, Reilly reports, many warriors grasped each other's hands in death, "hand in hand swinging" (16). Thus, despite its brevity and its lack of fine-grained detail about the material practices and economic and political networks that underwrote such frontier journalism, Bound to Have Blood should find a place in classrooms where instructors wish to offer their students access to the vitriolic rhetoric of Indian hating that appears in nineteenth-century frontier newspapers and the political jockeying that lay behind it.


Qwo-Li Driskill, Daniel Heath Justice, Deborah Miranda, and Lisa Tatonetti, eds. Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-8165-0242-4. 248 pp.
        Gabriel S. Estrada, California State University Long Beach

Sovereign Erotics is the first collection published by a university press to solely feature creative literature written by two-spirit peoples. Making appropriate and exciting individual selections across literary genres, genders, communities, and nations, editors Driskill, Justice, Miranda, and Tatonetti offer an original diversity of prose and poetry from established and newly established writers who self-identify as both Native and LGBTQ2 (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, or two-spirited). About half the content is new; only twenty-six of the sixty-one creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction selections are previously published, mainly in single-author books. This new anthology's contemporary writings mostly reference queer and Native themes. By offering cutting-edge two-spirit insights and aesthetics, the collection will make Native LGBTQ2 writers more accessible to their nations, to their gendered communities, and to academic and popular audiences.
        In the introduction, "Writing in the Present," the editors take care to define the complex title components "sovereign erotics" and "two-spirit" within an evolving 1970s-2000s proliferation of queer Native writings, movements, nations, identities, and women-of-color feminisms. Despite this insightful context, the Sovereign Erotics introduction does not describe in much detail what the collection actually contributes in content internally and comparatively across the literary field. It does offer a brief, four-fold "gentle guide" of "Dreams/Ancestors," "Love/Medicine," "Long/Walks," and "Wild/Flowers" that thematically cobbles together the fourteen to twenty-four freely associated works within each section (8). This review builds upon that guide and makes some comparative analyses between the 2011 Sovereign Erotics and the landmark 1988 publication of Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology, the only previous anthology to specifically focus on writings by gay Indian/two-spirit peoples.
        The first section, "Dreams/Ancestors," features themes of linked historical and contemporary realities, traumas, and musings inflected by queer Native erotics. The late Paula Gunn Allen's dyke-centered poem "Some Like Indians Endure" that began Living the Spirit also begins Sov-{109}ereign Erotics, but the exact repetition across those anthologies stops there. Janice Gould (Concow), who was published in Living the Spirit, makes new contributions with her 2011 poem "Indian Mascot" and makes the astonishing conclusion:

        . . . Little do we know this fall
        living Indians at Feather Falls
        leave tobacco to mark that, indeed,
        we're still here, lungs full of indigenous air. (56)

Craig Womack's excellent second chapter of his 2001 Drowning in Fire: A Novel, "King of the Tie-Snakes," intertwines his traditional Muskogee Creek Nation's stories with contemporary identities, recounting the Creek protagonist's longings for another Creek boy despite the colonial, homophobic attacks such desire now merits in the Creek Nation. From a younger perspective, Joel Waters's (Oglala Lakota) "Kid Icarus" poem ironically offers a fresh look at the Sioux "heaven" of homoerotic yearnings for a fellow Pine Ridge man intoxicated by silver "spray paint" (28). Also intent on re-creating ancient myths, Mi'kmaq/Acadian artist Louis Esmé Cruz reworks bear narratives in an unusual transgender arc in "Birthsong for Muin, in Red." It is one of many times old traditions cleverly recycle into the timeless present, lived anew as contemporary experience.
        Comparative readings within the anthology itself offer benefits and minor drawbacks. The smattering of authors who appear isolated one to five times in the book may prompt readers to seek out authors' broader literary and cultural contexts and their complete writings. The companion 2011 University of Arizona publication Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature edited by Qwo-Li Driskill et al. is a rewarding place to begin searching for a general literary context beyond the brief author biographies located at the conclusion of Sovereign Erotics. While Craig Womack's aforementioned second chapter only begins to develop the queer romance that intensifies in the last chapters of the full novel, inclusion of the second chapter in the anthology has merits, especially for readers new to two-spirit literature. For example, reading an abbreviated Womack with Allen offers contrasting perspectives of nationalism as Allen's "Some Like Indians Endure" highlights her Laguna sense of interrelatedness across national, sexual, and racial categories rather than the emphasis on separatism that Womack's Drowning in Fire expresses. One can make many valuable connections {110} across the works in the collection at hand, which makes the book ideal for a classroom or community audience.
        A shorter section, "Love/Medicine," embraces topics of seductive relationships, longing, sex, and affection. In the new poem "My First Book," Maurice Kenny (Mohawk) wryly recalls how he cherished his "first naked man" depicted in a Tarzan: Man of the Apes paperback (77). Muskogee Creek writer Chip Livingston recounts the heartbroken "Ghost Dance" his protagonist performs at Halloween for his dead lover, singing an impromptu song that includes the words "I want you dancing now" four times (80). While the author does not mention aids or a cause of death within his prose, the loss resonates with previous queer Native writings from the 1980s and 1990s that directly approached the great loss from the pandemic. Yaqui/Mexican American Jayne Lara's "Being Two-Spirit" boldly concludes:

        I dare to put my arms around the woman
        who loves me for who I am.
        I watch the stares and hear the whispers carried in the wind. (94)

Lara's poem is one of too few works to move beyond erotic longing and loss to begin to actualize the full "medicine" of love.
        About half of the anthology's literary contents fall within the inclusive "Long/Walks" section that contains narratives of struggles for Native LGBTQ existence. African, Tsagali, and Irish descendant Idira Allegra makes the haunting repetition "anyone who's been molested got wings" in her irregular pantoum "Blue Covers" (106). Interjecting a fa'afafine Eastern Samoan perspective, David Talapapa McMillan recounts the transformation of the "fag" Jerry into "Sheree," noting "she only danced with the straight boys" in the poem "Jerry, Sheree, and the Eel" (141). In the poem "Kid," Carrie House (Diné/Oneida Iroquois) also breaks Eurocentric gender conventions by noting how a kid expected to behave like a biological "girl" in school "peed like the guys" while out herding sheep (180). "Ander's Awakening" author and text coeditor Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee) offers critiques of heterosexist historical silences through his fantasy genre work. Reprinted from W'daub Awae/Speaking True, the book excerpt features gender transformation and subtly critiques the neocolonial fantasy genre that tends to pit protagonists against the savage wild. This third section features personal victory, humor, futility, and ambivalence in often-brutal struggles.
        The closing section, "Wild/Flowers," most clearly expresses the ideals of erotic sovereignties, a brash and celebratory reclaiming of queer Native desire with Native bodies. It is too short a climax, sharing a pleasure that could have been realized at more length. Abenaki poet Cheryl Savageau bravely traces a lover's touch on the protagonist's naked body in her poem "Where I Want Them." In "Clementines," Ohlone-Costanoan/ Chumash coeditor Deborah Miranda concludes the book with

        tongue this plump flame til it bursts,
        a lush firecracker in the dark. (211)

It is the shamelessly erotic ending one might hope for given the intent of the whole anthology.
        Although the Sovereign Erotics editors emphasize the thematic continuity between their work and Living the Spirit over the twenty-three years that separate the two publications (14), the differences between the two texts are also worthy of analysis. Sovereign Erotics marks a change in American Indian literature that evolved from the 1970s-1980s Gay American Indians activists who established the strength of two-spirit traditions, a respect for earth-based religions, and a dual identification as both gay and Indian. Edited by white anthropologist Wil Roscoe, the 1988 Living the Spirit based half its content upon ethnographies that mostly focused on rural traditionalist acceptance of gay Indian roles. In contrast, the Sovereign Erotics introduction subtly comments, "This work is not ethnography . . . not social science" (4), a scholarly decision strictly enforced in the collection. The edgy Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature often reflects more internal critiques of nationalism from urban perspectives either unapologetically removed from the traditions of old or confident in the ability to ignore rigid expectations of performing traditional authenticity for a popular audience. Consider the interrogation of historical trauma in coeditor and un-enrolled Cherokee Qwo-Li Driskill's brilliant "(Auto)biography of Mad" poem that presents a "Subject Index" that includes entries on "Abuse" as "Physical," "Sexual," and "Rape" (107), the latter clearly linked to "Colonization," "Slavery," and "Trail of Tears" (109). One can argue that the 2011 and 1988 anthologies are not essentially at odds; having established that gay Indians exist historically and presently in 1988 opened the path for today's writers to differently and creatively focus upon the production of their lived experiences of today.
        In sum, Sovereign Erotics is yet another landmark two-spirit anthology. It moves past establishing two-spirit tradition to both present intricate literary resistances to nationalist heteropatriarchy and to judiciously celebrate erotic struggles.

Robert Dale Parker, ed. Changing Is Not Vanishing: A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-8122-4262-1. 438 pp.
        Kathleen Washburn, University of New Mexico

In the acknowledgments for Changing Is Not Vanishing: A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930, Robert Dale Parker credits a colleague with the provocative claim that recovering (and editing) forgotten or little-known texts ultimately may be more valuable than publishing yet another book of literary criticism. Without declaring a moratorium on creative scholarship, scholars in Indigenous studies and American literature should be grateful that Parker took up the challenge. Changing Is Not Vanishing breaks important ground for the study of American Indian literature and calls for similarly thorough efforts to recover early Indigenous writing across genres. The volume's focus on poetry adds much-needed dimension to a literary history often focused too narrowly on early nonfiction texts or contemporary novels. As a companion to Parker's 2009 compilation of Jane Johnson Schoolcraft's work, entitled The Sound the Stars Make Rushing through the Sky, the current collection offers valuable new materials for research and teaching and also raises critical questions for the field as a whole, from the history of Indian boarding schools as sites of literary production to the relationship of early poetry to intertribal, transnational, and global networks of exchange.
        The collection is organized chronologically, beginning with an elegy in Latin and Greek by a Harvard student named Eleazar in 1678. Little information is known about Eleazar, but his poem's incorporation in Cotton Mather's 1702 Magnalia Christi Americana, for decades considered to be the urtext of early American literature, speaks to the omissions and peculiarities of the historical record as well as the tangled associations of the Christian missionary project and academic institutions with early Native writing in non-Native languages. From the archi-{113}val tease of such texts hiding in plain sight, the collection leaps forward to the 1820s and 1830s, with additional poems from the mid and late nineteenth century. A full two-thirds of the volume focuses on the early twentieth century, a period that saw an explosion of Native writing as a result of assimilation policies that included English-only education in Indian boarding schools.
        Parker notes that he encountered the work of 150 early poets in his research, far more than the 82 represented in the final volume. His broad introduction offers useful (though hardly exhaustive) frameworks for grouping texts, such as "poems about colonialism," "poems about land," and "poems about love and war." Parker's commitment to multiple audiences for the collection is evident in his lucid prose style and his discussion of complex historical contexts as well as literary form. In contrast to the extensive commentary for each entry in The Sound Things Make Rushing through the Sky (notes that at times threaten to overwhelm the poems and stories), the editorial materials for each poet (or poem) in the current volume are rich and informative but brief.
        Parker makes a strong case for excluding what he terms "anthropological poems" in translation (8) as mediated in troubling ways and importantly distinct from texts composed by Indigenous writers for circulation in print. From sonnets and ballads to lullabies, the resulting poems vary widely in form and register. Several writers critique the discourse of civilization as in "The Red Man's Burden" by J. C. Duncan (Cherokee) or the titular "Changing Is Not Vanishing" by Carlos Montezuma (Yavapai); others hail Indigenous cultural traditions as in "A Delaware Indian Legend" by Richard C. Adams (Delaware/Lenape) or "The Green Corn Dance" by James Roane Gregory (Euchee/Muskogee). A number of poems speak to the mobile lives of various writers, as when Molly Spotted Elk (or Molly Alice Nelson, Penobscot) recalls "the dreamy Rio Grande" (2) in "Down in the land of roses" or pays lighthearted tribute to vaudeville performers in "We're in the Chorus Now." As a whole, the poems tend to reflect the popular styles and formal structural elements of American and European poetics. Yet even with the preponderance of sentimental language and rhymed couplets, the range of material in Changing Is Not Vanishing goes a long way toward refuting the persistent "stereotype of unlettered Indians" (3) and also situates literacy in English and experimentation with various literary forms as integral to multiple tribal traditions.
        Most of the texts included in the collection were published around the time of their composition, often in tribal newspapers, regional magazines, or school publications. The sheer number of the poems reprinted here serves as a potent reminder of the critical need for additional research on early American Indian texts as well as the relationship between diverse communities and a range of writing technologies. Parker's project of archival recovery resonates in timely ways with renewed critical interest in Indigenous print cultures across the Americas, from Lisa Brooks's The Common Pot and David Martnez's anthology The American Indian Intellectual Tradition to Phillip H. Round's Removable Type. Parker's work echoes such calls to revise a simplistic oral/written binary for Indigenous writing and pressures the still-pervasive assumption that Native writing in English from the early twentieth century in particular must be directed solely to white audiences rather than Native readers as well.
        Changing Is Not Vanishing includes poems by such familiar figures as John Rollin Ridge, Lynn Riggs, and D'Arcy McNickle as well as material from a host of new or lesser-known voices. The few surviving poems by Chickasaw writer and tribal police officer James Harris Guy include "Old Boggy Depot," which laments the abandonment of a once-bustling town and the speaker's "all but forgotten past" (8). The singsong rhythm stands in jarring contrast to the vision of "weather-beaten houses" with "weather-worn pane" (7) and the absence of the "light-footed dancers" (10) from a previous era. As Parker is careful to assert, however, elegy and lament are not the only notes struck in early Native poetry; the collection also includes songs of courtship, odes to cultural persistence, and experiments in dialect. John Palmer's sweet song for a newly married sister, "I Remember You," departs from the strict verse forms of so much nineteenth-century poetry to present a loving portrait in unadorned language that hails "the white logs that shined on shore, and / The white, black and brown horses" (20-21) along the clear waters of Puget Sound. Changing Is Not Vanishing paints a rich and remarkable portrait of diverse materials, even for more familiar writers such as Alexander Posey, whose works here include "Ye Men of Dawes" (on the architect of allotment), "Wildcat Bill" (in the tradition of the Fus Fixico letters), and the evocative and imagistic short poem "The Bluebird": "A winged bit of Indian sky / Strayed hither from its home on high."
        Parker underscores the vexed status of Indian boarding school poems by grouping them together, the only break in an otherwise chronolog-{115}ical collection. Such a separation may seem too tidy in some respects, but it does emphasize how such writing is embedded in the complicated dynamic of institutional rhetoric and discipline, especially since school leaders often exhibited student writing in English as evidence of successful cultural assimilation. These poems offer both echo and counterpoint to boarding school narratives of the same period as well as the first-person accounts featured in Brenda J. Child's Boarding School Seasons.
        Changing Is Not Vanishing includes a comprehensive bibliography of American Indian poetry before 1930 and an appendix on "Notable False Attributions" (such as William Apess being credited as the author of the "Indian Hymn" at the close of A Son of the Forest). As Parker acknowledges, it can be "dauntingly intricate" to determine exactly "who is an Indian" (42) for a growing archive of Indigenous writing. In several cases, he can only speculate about the cultural identity of an unknown figure, as when he dismisses a poem that "looks like a non-Indian's effort at a supposedly humorous, fictional version of what an Indian might write" (394). Of course, the presence of stilted Indian "dialect" or reductive types should come as no surprise given the long history of colonial discourse about Indigenous languages, cultures, and communities in American and European literature. Yet the long tradition of "phony Indian poetry" (42) (and ethnic fraud in American literature more broadly) often stands in uncomfortable relation to the use of racialized discourses for a range of subjects, from representing Freedmen in Indian Territory (Alexander Posey) to crafting "The Indian's Plea" in verse (Gust-ah-yah-she, Menominee). Parker's preliminary efforts here call for even more rigorous investigations of the mobile literary forms associated with various genres of Indigenous writing.
        Readers may take issue with minor editorial choices, such as Parker's decision to exclude Gertrude Bonnin's poetry on the basis of literary value or his contrast of early twentieth-century popular forms with a "modern desire to surprise or shock" (8). Nonetheless, Changing Is Not Vanishing redraws the map of early American Indian literature and opens up new directions for archival work and critical scholarship. Parker's impressive accomplishments signal exciting times for literary critics, historians, and tribal communities. Hopefully Changing Is Not Vanishing marks a groundswell for similar efforts to bring early tribal newspapers and other valuable documents back into circulation in print and digital formats.


Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, ed. Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-8165-2891-2. 324 pp.

Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri, and Robert Sullivan, eds. Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English: Whetu Moana II. Honolulu: U of Hawai'i P, 2010. ISBN: 978-0-8248-35414. 281 pp.
        Chadwick Allen, Ohio State University

Two new anthologies offer a rich array of diverse, sophisticated, contemporary works by established and new Indigenous poets from across the Americas and from across Oceania, written in the sonorous varieties of global English, written primarily in these localized Englishes, or presented in English translation from Indigenous or Spanish originals. These anthologies will make excellent additions to reading lists for undergraduate and graduate courses in Native American, Indigenous, transnational, and world literatures, and they should spur both scholarship and creative response for many years to come. Their potential to invite comparative readings, analyses, and interpretations--on their own, in concert, or as part of larger groupings of the planet's Indigenous poetries--is especially exciting.
        Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas features poems by no fewer than eighty-one different writers from what the editor, poet, and activist Allison Hedge Coke calls the "larger Native America," the "unbroken continent prior to the building of the Panama Canal," including writers with affiliations to places now known as the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile (5, 4). Sing is an expanded version of Ahani: Indigenous American Poetry, the remarkable special issue of Poetry International Hedge Coke guest-edited in 2006. Where the title of the special issue emphasized the reality of ongoing Indigenous presence, of still being "here," the title of the new anthology emphasizes the "multi-millennia use of song as portico, as navigational instrument, as labor initiative, nourishment, and mechanism for endurance, and as ceremonial healing expedient for tens of thousands of generations of millions and millions of people" across the Americas (18). Hedge Coke has arranged the collected poems into seven sections, based on thematic, linguistic, and instrumental empathies, rather than on the countries of their authors' origins. This arrangement {117} is one of several ways Hedge Coke responds to the fact that Indigenous poets of the Americas typically are "separated from one another in the canon" by the conventions of commercial and academic publishers, by the orthodoxies and limited training of scholars, by the geopolitics of (post)colonial nation-states (8). Hedge Coke's table of contents re-recognizes the "old kinships and trade" across the hemisphere, creating "a unification of sorts" for "one long shared continent" of Indigenous poems (5, 10, 7).
        In an unexpected symmetry, Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English also features poems by an impressive eighty-one different writers, from across Polynesian Oceania and the vast Pacific Ocean, including writers with lived, genealogical, and cultural connections to places now known as Aotearoa New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Hawai'i, Niue, Rotuma, Samoa, Tahiti, Tokelau, and Tonga. Mauri Ola is a follow-up volume to Whetu Moana (Ocean of Stars), the first anthology of Polynesian poetry in English, which the acclaimed Samoan writer Albert Wendt, the Maori scholar Reina Whaitiri, and the Maori poet Robert Sullivan coedited in 2003. Similar to Hedge Coke in the introduction to Sing, the coeditors of Mauri Ola describe the significance of bringing together seemingly disparate voices from across large expanses of geographical, political, linguistic, and cultural territory in terms of reestablishing older unities and networks of exchange, of creating a "forum that bring[s] our many voices together" (1). As they note in the introduction, the combination of the specifically New Zealand Maori term mauri, meaning "life force" or "animating energy," with the more broadly Polynesian term ola, meaning "well-being" or "life" itself, "makes the anthology more inclusive of all our peoples" and indicates "the life force that runs through all things, gives them mana [power, prestige] and holds them alive and together" (2). "For us," they assert on behalf of the diverse authors brought together in the anthology, "poetry is the mauri ola of language: Tihei mauri ora! Look, we are still alive, we are still here!" (2). Wendt, Whaitiri, and Sullivan emulate the best practices of a true forum by arranging the poems in alphabetical order by author's surname, rather than by country of origin or author's seniority, and they provide a multilingual glossary of Polynesian words and phrases used across the poems in order to allow a multiplicity of voices and perspectives to be heard on equal terms.
        As diverse and distinct as these collections are, their juxtaposition {118} produces at least two immediate convergences. The first is the level of esteem afforded the notable elders of contemporary Indigenous writing who have recently passed: in Sing, the highly respected and much-loved Jack Forbes (1934-2011), in Mauri Ola, the celebrated and equally loved Hone Tuwhare (1922-2008) and Alistair Te Ariki Campbell (1925-2009). The second is the unexpected overlap of American continent and Polynesian ocean in the palimpsests and multiplicities of Indigenous Hawai'i. Each anthology includes works by the young Kanaka Maoli poet Brandy Nalani McDougall, who published her first full-length collection of poems, The Salt-Wind: Ka Makani Pa'akai, in 2008. Through McDougall's evocation of the Hawaiian Islands and Kanaka culture, the continental impetus behind Sing demonstrates the magnitude of its conceptual reach. Hedge Coke has conceived the Indigenous Americas beyond the obvious and often lamented divisions of colonial physical and linguistic borders, yes, but she has also thought beyond the non-Native binaries that too easily separate land mass from surrounding water; her version of an Indigenous Americas acknowledges multiple significant relations across an inclusive hemisphere, onshore and off. Similarly, the Polynesian impetus behind Mauri Ola, its logic most obviously linguistic and cultural, demonstrates that it is also grounded in an activism responsive to the ongoing complexities of regional politics. The anthology's "Index of poets by country," literally its final page and last words, blatantly ignores all colonial claims to the Pacific. Poets indigenous to Aotearoa New Zealand are listed under the heading "Maori." Kanaka Maoli poets, including McDougall, are listed under the heading "Hawai'i."
        Toward the end of her introduction, Hedge Coke describes the potential for Sing to create poetic conversations across the Indigenous Americas (16). Mauri Ola creates similar potential for poetic conversations across the vast distances of an Indigenous Pacific. Together, these new anthologies offer readers, students, and scholars the potential to create even more complex poetic conversations across Indigenous continents and oceans, indeed, across large expanses of a complex planet of Indigenous cultures, communities, and poetic expression still here, alive, singing.


Diane Glancy. Pushing the Bear: After the Trail of Tears. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2009. ISBN: 0-15-100225-8. 197 pp.

Diane Glancy. The Dream of a Broken Field. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-8032-3481-9. 206 pp.
        Molly McGlennen, Vassar College

With the publication of The Salt Companion to Diane Glancy edited by James Mackay in 2010, Diane Glancy's prolific and "restlessly experimental" (1) body of work garnered the much-needed critical attention her writing deserves. In true Glancy style, however, this poet/novelist/ essayist (as well as playwright, screenplay writer, and filmmaker) continues to write on through scholars' assessments of her wide-ranging oeuvre and their attempts to categorize her vast amount of publications.
        In the sequel to her 1996 novel Pushing the Bear: A Novel of the Trail of Tears, Glancy creates part historical fiction, part creative nonfiction in Pushing the Bear: After the Trail of Tears, fashioning a hybrid narrative of Cherokee removal and survival by starting her story with the Cherokees' arrival at Fort Gibson in Indian Territory. Seen through the lens of a kinship network of an extended Cherokee family, the resettlement in Indian Territory reveals Cherokee removal for what it was: the US government's ethnic cleansing of the Southeast. Physical violence took more than a quarter of the lives of Cherokees, but equally as insidiously, the terror induced generations of Cherokee reeling from the psychological and spiritual trauma, literally numbing some Cherokee into muted, paralyzed states.
        If presenting the Cherokee Nation in broken and unbalanced states is Glancy's intent in this novel, so too is her illustration of the dynamic modes of recovery Cherokee individuals and families demonstrated. Throughout the novel Glancy depicts a variety of fractured conditions, characters exhibiting numerous ways their physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological beings adjust to the new landscape. Whether it is through the negotiation of practices directly implemented through the government's paternal and missionizing policies, like farming and Christianity, or whether it is through the Cherokee's own realignment of cultural ways in response to colonial control, like adoption practices and the creation of the Cherokee syllabary, Glancy keenly portrays the Cherokee Nation "speaking their ways into the new territory" (161), from a variety of perspectives.
        The novel weaves third-person omniscient narrator (what Glancy terms in her afterword as a "narrator speaking in a daguerreotype style of writing" [190]) with passages lifted from the Baptist Missionary Magazine written by Euro-American reverend Evan Jones (from its volumes published from 1839 to 1850) as well as lists of reclamation and spoliation claims published in the Cherokee Nation Papers. Through this weaving Glancy creates a point of view she characterizes as "communal first-person" (188); more interestingly, however, her point of view allows for several personal narratives of women, men, and elders, forming a story of the aftermath of removal that is dynamic and complicated.
        Some of the most powerful moments in the novel are those in which the reader sees the incongruity of the old stories' application to the new place. For instance, in a constant state of uncertainty about her reality, one of the main characters, Maritole, talks to the newly planted corn groping for life in the rocky, uneven fields, telling it the story of Selu. Other moving sections of the novel portray the knotty work of translating and transcribing Christianity into and over Cherokee oral culture and spiritual practices, and what Glancy later calls the "disturbance" that shook the Cherokees' ability to establish their everyday lives:

The new territory rocked as if it was a wagon still jolting over ground. Disturbance came from within and without. Such an upheaval drove things outward that usually stayed buried, but it moved rocks, tore down boundaries. Everything ran loose. The political upheaval. The new division over slaves--keep them, let them go. Scandals. Schisms. (154)

Despite the diversity of responses and complicated set of realities for the Cherokee Nation, Glancy creates a narrative of hope and rebuilding out of that unsettling, no matter how deeply buried Cherokee ways of knowing and being may have been.
        It is not surprising Glancy's The Dream of a Broken Field challenges categorization, a first-person narrative probing the boundaries of essay, creative nonfiction, memoir, and literary analysis. As in so many of her works, Glancy employs metaphors of mobility and movement that at once narrate stories of travel and continually work at articulating the definitions and purposes of genre and writing. For most of The Dream of a Broken Field the reader is taken along in the crisscrossing ride of Glancy's everyday life, including car rides from Minnesota to Kansas {121} City each weekend, through rain and ice storms to get to readings, and through the Hopewell Mounds or along the Trail of Tears for research. "Travel," she says, "is a process of learning" (178).
        Through this fish bowl existence in her moving car, as she calls it at one point, she draws on analogies of alignment, such as "traverse orientation"--ways to map the geography of language, writing, and relationships. There is so much happening in the book's five sections with fifty-five chapters in total that readers, too, find themselves searching for the navigational tools to locate the narrative threads through what Glancy calls the "necessity of disguise," like a "paper doll dress." In a chapter in the middle of the book called "The Eskimo Wars" Glancy searches for a Native theory and declares she will "take a creative rather than an analytical stand" (76). In the next chapter, "Dichotomy," Glancy states, "Native work is sedentary and peripatetic" (79) and "the fulcrum in the crossroads" (80). In these moments readers find themselves leaning on these powerful levers of analysis where the tabs of the paper doll dresses are never pinched tight enough, often slipping from the form itself.
        In addition to the cultivation of language and its meaning to a writer, much of The Dream of a Broken Field engages Glancy's personal relationship to Christianity and both the isolation and comfort she has found in that connection. I find that the most endearing and meaningful moments in the book, however, are when Glancy describes and narrates her loving relationships to her young grandchildren and her responsibilities to those relationships. Seeing herself in a grandmother's role "beside the family," she drives hundreds of miles each weekend to spend time with them and listen to their every sweet word. Moving through the isolation of her long car rides and secluded writers' studios into the vibrant world of children and the outdoors seems like a pleasant departure for Glancy and her readers. It makes me wonder if these "broken places" and "broken tools" from and with which she writes are actually constant "fields," complicated and fertile spaces of creativity.
        In both Pushing the Bear: After the Trail of Tears and The Dream of a Broken Field (whether through her characters or her own personal narrative), we see Glancy searching for balance in a history and a life that are forever unfolding. In Pushing the Bear, Glancy seems to ask: What does recovery look like for communities of people trembling from terror? In The Dream, Glancy seems to see the troubling continuum of those experiences, as if she is asking herself: What does that vexed his-{122}torical legacy mean to me and my relationships to family, Cherokee people, and Native people more broadly? While she provides no neat answers, Glancy does seem to insist on the "process of establishing [a] route" (Dream 85).

Stuart Christie. Plural Sovereignties and Contemporary Indigenous Literature. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. ISBN: 978-0-230-61342-3. 280 pp.
        Joseph Bauerkemper, University of Minnesota Duluth

Throughout recent years the pages of SAIL and related scholarly venues have routinely brought forth dramatizations of the field of American Indian literary studies emphasizing an enduring intellectual quarrel between variously termed yet conceptually consistent positions. Stuart Christie, who studied under Louis Owens, opens his book with his own cogent framing of this ongoing debate in which "constructivist" critics (labeled elsewhere as cosmopolitan, dialogic, cross-culturalist, or hybridist critics) spar with "materialist" critics (labeled elsewhere as nationalist, sovereigntist, tribally centered, indigenist, or separatist critics). While Christie is likewise not alone in aspiring toward what he terms "a third road running between these two opposing fires" (5), his characterization of this alternative as "sovereign pluralism" is innovative and illuminating, even if obscure.
        Making frequent gestures toward the discourses of political economy and law both in the United States and Canada, Christie emphasizes literary narrations of the "plurality of sovereignty," which he defines as "the coexistence of imposed Anglo-European nationality and a freestanding indigenous sovereignty held distinct and apart" (xi). The specific wording here is revealing of the book's conceptual foundations. The parallel positioning of settler "nationality" and Indigenous "sovereignty" reflects the somewhat vague notions of nationhood and sovereignty deployed within the book. While its sophisticated commitments to the fundamental multiplicity of these concepts, their distinct differentiation from one another, and their potent material utility are noteworthy, the indeterminacy in this regard will frustrate some readers (especially those accustomed to the posture of conceptual rigor associated with political and legal studies). Christie, for example, frequently uses the noun forms {123} "sovereign" to refer to an Indigenous person and "nonsovereign" to refer to mixed-blood and non-Native persons. This implicit yet consistent ambivalence regarding mixed-blood identities and disavowal of settler sovereignty is, perhaps in the case of the latter, compelling on the level of legitimacy. Yet it remains confounding at the level of material consequence. Moreover, Christie's arbitration of sovereign and nonsovereign statuses (as a self-identified nonsovereign, no less) contradicts his foundational concept of plural sovereignties. Especially within a politico-legal order constituted by layered regimes of non-analogous ascendencies, settlers are manifestly invested with (and invested in) a potent sovereignty. Figuring settlers as "nonsovereigns" perilously ignores this power and undermines the sovereign plurality that such power, in relation to others, ostensibly constitutes.
        Nevertheless, the book's five chapters offer generally affirmative yet incisively critical readings that impressively illuminate novels by Sherman Alexie (Indian Killer), A. A. Carr (Eye Killers), James Welch (The Heartsong of Charging Elk), Leslie Marmon Silko (Gardens in the Dunes), Jeannette Armstrong (Slash), Gerald Vizenor (The Heirs of Columbus), Louise Erdrich (The Bingo Palace), Louis Owens (Dark River), and Thomas King (Medicine River and Truth & Bright Water). Within his deeply contextualized readings, Christie explicates (and in some instances convincingly creates) the rich layers of cultural, historical, and aesthetic allusion often at the center of these novels. Suggesting that "many of the most cogent and interesting theorizations of sovereign pluralism, whether constructivist or materialist, have occurred in the pages of contemporary indigenous fiction" (9), Christie sets out to underscore the numerous moments in which American Indian literature "points ahead to newer, imagined forms of community on behalf of indigenous citizens seeking to honor past traditions as well as to sustain present political enfranchisements" (2).
        In his opening chapter Christie underscores Indian Killer's "laudable attempt to critique a sugar-coated 'American Indian Renaissance'" (42). Yet he also doesn't hesitate to note that "Alexie's novel solidifies racial purity as the guarantor of authentic indigenous experience" (43). Indian Killer, then, represents yet fails to do justice to Christie's paragon of sovereign plurality. In the same chapter's discussion of Carr's Eye Killers, Christie emphasizes the centrality of the "found alliance between indigenous and Anglo-European sovereignties" (40) that enables the {124} novel's resolution. The subsequent chapter, in which Christie coins and develops that category of the "indigenous captivity narrative" (73), addresses Welch's The Heartsong of Charging Elk and Silko's Gardens in the Dunes. "By adapting to the captivity imposed by the colonial surround, all the while safeguarding their sovereign traditions at a remove," Christie writes of Heartsong and Gardens, "these novels illustrate the historical basis of sustaining plural sovereignties" (74). The same chapter concludes with a reading of Armstrong's Slash, a novel that Christie commends for the ways in which it "fictionalizes the colonization of the indigenous mind, via nationalist ideologies, and the resultant risks to traditional sovereignties" (97).
        Turning in his next chapter to Vizenor's The Heirs of Columbus and Erdrich's The Bingo Palace, Christie foregrounds his argument that--through postmodernism and romanticism, respectively--"both seek to wrest from the energy of capitalism further resources for achieving sovereignty on indigenous terms" (107). A short chapter on Owens suggests that his novel Dark River "presents the 'frontier' of plural sovereignties as providing a solid basis for the recovery of traditions" (175-76). Finally, Christie turns to King, whose Medicine River and Truth & Bright Water serve as the book's culminating case studies. According to Christie, King "successfully captures the plural sovereignties--all King's relations--in a contemporary indigenous North American indigenous literature" (214). In their various and often (though not always) complementary ways, each of these novels, for Christie, indicates that "[t] he two sovereign domains, indigenous and Anglo-European, are importantly distinct; but they are also increasingly coextensive to subjects who know how to look and read both ways" (211).
        Encouraging and equipping its own readers to 'look and read both ways' in order to account for the sophisticated literary narrations of Indigenous/settler encounter, Plural Sovereignties and Contemporary Indigenous Literature presents an ambitious and insightful study that graduate students, scholars, and teachers interested in the writers, novels, and debates therein addressed would do well to consult.


Dean Rader. Engaged Resistance: American Indian Art, Literature, and Film from Alcatraz to the NMAI. Austin: U of Texas P, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-292-72696-3. 253 pp.
        Audrey Goodman, Georgia State University

Dean Radar's Engaged Resistance is a terrifically appealing, accessible, and provocative book. Taking as its premise that "Native-produced texts like poetry, fiction, movies, paintings, and sculpture are fundamental products and processes of American Indian sovereignty," it approaches varieties of Native cultural expression as acts of "aesthetic activism" and puts them in dialogue to animate current critical debates. Careful to distinguish between the "compositional resistance" implicit in a work's materials, form, or genre and the "contextual resistance" explicit in overt statements of defiance, Radar provides--and tests--an effective vocabulary for speaking about the strategies through which contemporary Native authors and visual artists express resistance and tell stories of survival.
        Throughout the book, Radar draws on his extensive experience in writing about American Indian poetry, in analyzing visual culture, and in teaching Native texts. Topics of individual chapters range from the art and rhetoric of Alcatraz to "postindian" films by Sherman Alexie, but the book is neither a sequential history nor a comprehensive survey. At times it invites the reader to look back (on public acts of resistance, canonical works in high and popular culture, neglected works, and institutional histories) and, in the process, to reconsider the value of existing critical paradigms. More often it looks at how Native art is produced and viewed in the present, whether in contemporary fiction, film, and poetry or in public spaces like roads, state capitols, or museums. The art that draws Radar's closest attention--such as Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith's map sequences, Jennifer Wynne Farmer and Valerie Red-Horse's film Naturally Native, poems by Esther Belin and LeAnne Howe, Leslie Marmon Silko's "Storyteller," and the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)--shares an aesthetic of open-endedness. In his work Radar likewise mixes genres, geographies, and scales of attention within and across chapters to encourage interdisciplinary analysis and further discussion rather than definitive interpretation. Thus he creates a book that can be read through pairings of chapters devoted to a single genre or in "just about any order: from the last chapter to the first, {126} or spiraling out from the middle." If narrative design is "itself an act of resistance, a narrative refusal to capitulate to colonial or generic linearity and chronology," as Radar claims, the design of Engaged Resistance suggests a similar potential for critical discourse.
        As the subtitle indicates, the book begins and ends by investigating the places and institutions central to contemporary Native art and activism: Alcatraz and the NMAI. The first chapter, which focuses on the visual art, literature, and proclamatory discourses produced on and about Alcatraz during its Indian Occupation between 1969 and 1971, briskly sketches a historical sequence of events and then analyzes the rhetorics of the Alcatraz Proclamation, Manifesto, and Declaration. Here Radar establishes his characteristic method: to situate individual expressions of resistance in their physical, historical, and aesthetic contexts and then to read them from different angles, playing with a variety of critical tools. He explicates hybrid texts and objects that historians and other critics may have overlooked (such as newsletters, graffiti, or a stretched hide), arguing that all the utterances produced during the Occupation constitute a comprehensive project of symbolic action.
        The book's final chapter, on NMAI conception and reception, also collects evidence for art as an effective means of interdisciplinary and intertribal activism. The NMAI serves as a test for Radar's notion of compositional resistance, and he makes a persuasive case for how the architecture and curated exhibits enact "museological procedures of everyday creativity." Noting the museum's location on Algonquin land, its appearance of having been carved by the elements, and its circular and open design, Radar prepares his reader to enter and to engage with the displays of living culture inside. He argues that the absences many visitors have objected to (especially of chronological markers and written histories of genocide and colonialism) are deliberate presences: acts of tribal affirmation and proof of survivance. While the symbolic power of Alcatraz may have waned, the NMAI remains a "living testament." Reading the book's first and last chapters together, as twins, brings out the book's larger claim that the master text of history is being replaced by creative, place-centered acts of reoccupation.
        A second, more sustained model for the book is the map. Mapping functions as trope and method throughout, sometimes foregrounded and often discussed as a self-conscious and ongoing critical process. If the study as a whole "poses and responds to a new constellation of ques-{127}tions about Native cultural productions," mapping provides a concrete territorial counterpart and a more delicate and flexible tool. As figure and trope, the map is engaged by many of the artists discussed--and most explicitly, perhaps, by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. Radar's second chapter, "Cartography as Sovereignty," makes a strong case for the value of Quick-to-See Smith's paintings among contemporary mainstream artists and Native painters. It also brings out the author's impassioned response when standing face to face with this body of work, and such evidence of personal investment is one of this book's great strengths.
        Further evidence of Radar's use of the map as methodology can be found in his "User's Map" to "The New American Indian Novel." As one of several chapters to take on literary texts as aesthetic products (others include close rereadings of Silko's "Storyteller" and books by Belin, Joy Harjo, and Luci Tapahanso that combine poetry and prose), the "User's Map" could stand alone as a critical or pedagogical guide. This chapter acknowledges existing critical models for interpreting Native texts, but it, too, resists dwelling in the past. Surveying a diverse set of novels by Debra Magpie Earling, Charles H. Red Corn, Louise Erdrich, LeAnne Howe, David Treuer, Craig Womack, and Sherman Alexie that neither reimagine nineteenth-century histories nor fit within older interpretive models that would define them as part of a "renaissance" or as cultural documents, the chapter claims that each of the authors discussed "take the past as their points of departure"--much as Radar himself does. Both these novels and this study insist that while the past may never be fully past, it need not determine the meaning of the present.
        As my account of select chapters suggests, Engaged Resistance is deliberately and imaginatively organized ("taking a cue from Native structures" like webs, spirals, and twins) and expansive in scope. While an understanding of time and history as simultaneously sequential, circular, and mythic remain important to Radar, an understanding of places and boundaries as contested, fluid, and constitutive of identity is more critical. Some readers may find Radar's reflections on methodology to be overly self-conscious at times, but the book is justifiably more concerned with how, where, and why we encounter and engage with Native art than it is about what individual works mean. Radar's own excitement at viewing Quick-to-See Smith's "Memory Map," returning to puzzle over the Howe Chevrolet Indian in Clinton, Oklahoma, reading the signs created by William Heap of Birds, or meditating on {128} the experience of walking through the NMAI is palpable, and he demonstrates well how such individual acts of engagement add up to a more complete understanding of art's complexity and value. While Engaged Resistance works significantly toward revising traditional vocabularies and methods used to explicate Native literature and visual art, it also issues a more urgent--and, I think, irresistible--invitation to delve into what Radar terms a "poetics of entrance": to read now, look ahead, and imagine how we as listeners, viewers, readers, teachers, and writers can create new types of open and informed conversations about Native cultural production.



CHADWICK ALLEN is professor of English and coordinator for the American Indian Studies program at The Ohio State University, as well as the editor for SAIL. He is the author of Blood Narrative: Indigenous Identity in American Indian and Maori Literary and Activist Texts (Duke UP, 2002) and Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies (U of Minnesota P, 2012).

JOSEPH BAUERKEMPER is an assistant professor in the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he teaches courses in politics, literature, and law. He has published in Studies in American Indian Literatures, American Studies, and the edited collection Visualities: Perspectives on Contemporary American Indian Film and Art. After earning his PhD in American studies from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Joseph enjoyed one year at the University of Illinois as a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in American Indian studies followed by two years at UCLA as an Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of English and in the program for the study of Cultures in Transnational Perspective.

JEANE T'ÁAWXÍAA BREINIG (Haida) is professor of English and associate dean for humanities at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her teaching expertise is American Indian and Alaska Native literatures. Her research interests include oral histories, Native language revitalization, and Indigenous theories and methods.

FRITZ DETWILER is professor of philosophy and religion at Adrian College, where he also directs the Adrian College Institute for Ethics. His research focuses on Native American ethics. He is a charter member of {130} the Society for the Study of Native American Sacred Traditions and a member of the Leh-Nah-Weh Native American Association.

GABRIEL S. ESTRADA is an associate professor in American Indian studies at California State University, Long Beach, where he teaches Indigenous religion, history, and gender. He is author of "Two-Spirit History in Southwestern and Mesoamerican Literatures" in Gender and Sexuality in Indigenous North America, 1400-1850 and "Two Spirits, Nádleeh and Navajo LGBTQ2 Gaze" in American Indian Culture and Research Journal. His matrilineages are Chiricahua Apache, Rarámuri, Caxcan, and Chicana/Mestiza.

AUDREY GOODMAN is an associate professor of English at Georgia State University in Atlanta. The author of Lost Homelands: Ruin and Reconstruction in the Twentieth-Century Southwest (U of Arizona P, 2010) and Translating Southwestern Landscapes (U of Arizona P, 2002), she has also published essays on literature and photography in Arizona Quarterly, Journal of the Southwest, Southwestern American Literature, Miranda, and Ácoma.

ROBERT T. HAYASHI is assistant professor of English and American studies at Amherst College and the author of Haunted by Waters: A Journey through Race and Place in the American West (U of Iowa P, 2007).

GEARY HOBSON (Cherokee-Arkansas Quapaw) is a professor of English and Native American studies at the University of Oklahoma. His most recent books are an anthology, The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing after Removal (2010), and Plain of Jars and Other Stories (2011), a collection of short stories.

ELIZABETH HORAN teaches literature of the Americas at Arizona State University (Tempe), where she has been English Department chair. Her most recent book is a translation and edition, Motivos: The Life of Saint Francis (Bilingual P, 2012), by Chilean mestiza poet Gabriela Mistral, the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

SEONGHOON KIM, from South Korea, is a PhD candidate in Indigenous American literature at Arizona State University. He is currently working on a dissertation on the Acoma writer Simon Ortiz.


MOLLY MCGLENNEN was born and raised in Minneapolis and is of Anishinaabe and European descent. Currently she is an assistant professor of English and Native American studies at Vassar College. She holds a PhD in Native American studies from University of California, Davis and an MFA in creative writing from Mills College. Her scholarship and creative writing have been published widely. Most recently, her first collection of poetry, Fried Fish and Flour Biscuits, was published by Salt's award-winning "Earthworks Series of Native American Authors."

PHILLIP H. ROUND is professor in English and American Indian and Native studies at the University of Iowa.

MICHAEL D. SULLIVAN is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles band of Lake Superior Ojibwe in northern Wisconsin. He is currently a PhD student in linguistics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He is actively involved in many facets of the effort to strengthen and revitalize the Ojibwe language and is one of the increasing number of individuals attempting to bring spoken Ojibwe back into the home. His research interests include lexical innovation and conversation analysis, and he has contributed to the internationally renowned monolingual children's book Awesiiyensag: Dibaajimowinan ji-gikinoo'amaageng as well as serving as a research assistant for the Ojibwe People's Dictionary (online) under the tutelage of John D. Nichols.

KATHLEEN WASHBURN is an assistant professor of English at the University of New Mexico, where she teaches courses in Native American and American literature. Her work has appeared in the Blackwell Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West and a special section on "The Ethnic Archive" in PMLA. Her work focuses on Native print culture and the discourse of Indigenous modernity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

ANDREW WIGET (PhD, Utah, 1977) is professor emeritus of English at New Mexico State University. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, he is also the author of Native American Literature (1985) and the editor of Critical Essays on Native American Literature (1985) and the Dictionary of Native American Literature (1995). Since 1994, with his wife and colleague, Olga Balalaeva, he has been extending the results of his field {132} experience with American Indian tribes to Siberian Indigenous communities through grant-funded folkloric and ethnographic projects. He was twice awarded Fulbright grants to Russia (1995, 2004). His most recent book is a comprehensive look at a Siberian tribe: Khanty: People of the Taiga: Surviving the Twentieth Century (U of Alaska P, 2011).

ROCHELLE RAINERI ZUCK is an assistant professor of English at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her work has appeared in journals such as Journal of American Studies, American Periodicals, and Literature in the Early American Republic and in African American Culture and Legal Discourse (2009), a collection of essays edited by Lovalerie King and Richard Schur. Her current book project examines rhetorics of divided sovereignty in nineteenth-century American literature and culture.

Contact: Robert Nelson
This page was last modified on: 07/19/14