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




From the Editor


"Maybe Einstein Was Part Yaqui"
Deposing Thought in Works by Endrezze and Silko

Neither Chief Nor Medicine Man: The Historical Role of the
"Intellectual" in the American Indian Community

Remembering Polingaysi: A Queer Recovery of
No Turning Back as a Decolonial Text
Ecological Ethics in Two Andean Songs


Beth H. Piatote. Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and
Law in Native American Literature

A. Robert Lee, ed. The Salt Companion to Jim Barnes

Blake A. Watson. Buying America from the Indians:
Johnson v. McIntosh and the History of Native Land Rights



Gerald Vizenor and Jill Doerfler. The White Earth Nation:
Ratification of a Native Democratic Constitution

Anne Stewart

M. Elise Marubbio and Eric L. Buffalohead, eds.
Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory

M. Bianet Castellanos, Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera, and
Arturo J. Aldama, eds. Comparative Indigeneities of the Américas:
Toward a Hemispheric Approach



Contributor Biographies

Epistemologies, Intellectuals, Agency, Ethics

Volume 26 of SAIL begins with a robust juxtaposition of four provocative, nuanced, and well-researched essays, each of which challenges us to consider--and, importantly, reconsider--one or more working assumptions fundamental to Native American and Indigenous literary studies: What constitutes an Indigenous epistemology? And how can such epistemologies be rendered effectively in contemporary texts written in English or primarily in English? Who counts as an Indigenous intellectual? And what are the implications of applying the English-language and European-derived label intellectual to diverse Native thinkers, leaders, activists, and writers from the past and present? How expansive and inclusive are our definitions of Indigenous agency? Are they equipped to accommodate individuals who contradict familiar, often highly cherished narratives of (obvious) Indigenous resistance to settler colonialisms? And how inclusive and precise are our conceptions of Indigenous ethics and their performed or literary expression? Are they sophisticated enough to apply across borders, to enable regional, national, or hemispheric analysis and consideration?
     Catherine Rainwater begins the issue's provocations about our field's working assumptions with an examination of the understudied work of Anita Endrezze and the most recent work of Leslie Silko in terms of each author's attempts to revise dominant understandings of Native history not simply by correcting the historical record but by rendering complex Indigenous conceptions of knowledge--including scientific knowledge of space-time that we know today primarily through the discipline of physics--on the literary page. David Martinez follows with an analytical history of American Indian "intellectuals" across space and time, focusing on the challenges faced by these individuals--most of {viii} whom operated outside the dominant academy and outside the orthodox frameworks implied by the label intellectual--to render their own conceptions of knowledge comprehensible to broad audiences while maintaining close connections to their home communities. Next, Alicia Cox offers a compelling queer analysis of the as-told-to autobiography of Polingaysi Qoyawayma in terms of this little-known Hopi activist and intellectual's assertions of an Indigenous agency situated outside both Hopi and dominant U.S. conceptions of normative behavior. And finally, Charles Pigott asks us to think beyond the confines of Native North America to consider the literary expression of Indigenous ecological ethics performed in two Andean songs from Peru, one originally rendered in Quechua, the other in Spanish.
     Together, the four essays invite readers to ask their own productive questions about Indigenous philosophies and philosophical explorations, to join their colleagues in the ongoing practice of Indigenous-centered investigations of what it means to produce, organize, express, utilize, and critique Indigenous knowledges.

     Chadwick Allen


"Maybe Einstein Was Part Yaqui"
Deposing Thought in Works by Endrezze and Silko


For those of us who believe in physics, this separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however tenacious.
     Albert Einstein

Anita Endrezze, the mixed-blood Yaqui author of Throwing Fire at the Sun, Water at the Moon (2000), joins Leslie Marmon Silko (mixed-blood Laguna Pueblo) as an Indigenous revisionist of history concerned with communities of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.1 Endrezze creates a "Yaqui revisionist history" that, much like Silko's narratives, reaches far beyond mere corrective changes to the western dominant record concerning not only history, but also what counts for knowledge in general (Throwing 25). Historical narrative, after all, follows semiotic rules that control the definition of history within a cultural framework. In a few terse comments at the beginning of her provocative, surprisingly neglected volume, Endrezze explains the dramatic impact on the universe when "two observers occupy different cultural space, mythically, intellectually, or spiritually, but the same material or physical space" (24). Such initial meetings between Western European invaders and American Indigenous people, she contends, distorted the realities of both, but most profoundly the latter's. The effects of this encounter on the Indigenous cosmovision are indelibly inscribed in Native stories and storytelling tactics, including Endrezze's and Silko's as present-day expressions of ongoing, cultural forces.2
     For Native people, Endrezze explains, "Time is not absolute but depends on the direction of the relative motion between two observers making the time measurements" (Throwing 24). Thus, the "encounter on {2} the time line" between the Spanish and the Yaqui changed "the motion of Yaqui culture forever" (25). The Western culture of "exploitation and exploration," with its notion of time as quantifiable, linear, and irreversible, moved relentlessly forward with the intent to erase Indigenous cultures (24); however, even as most were exterminated, written over, and written out of the dominant reality, survivors such as the Yaqui folded aspects of the invaders' worldview into the torn fabric of their own reality, with its extraordinarily different understanding of time:

[Y]ou may read [in Throwing Fire] a story of Mary's conception happening before the Jesuits came to the Yaquis, and you may be surprised to read that Jesus walked the paths between the Yaqui rancherías. In a way, this is Yaqui revisionist history. It is also a way for the Yaquis to become part of the same time continuum. Yaquis believed in the four directions: time is the fourth dimension. Maybe Einstein was part Yaqui. (25)

     This practice of intermingling foundational stories of both cultures recalls Silko's narrative strategies. In Gardens in the Dunes (1999), for instance, a pan-cultural Messiah appears in the Americas to make the point that "Jesus Christ doesn't belong to any given group or religion or continent" (Perkins 120-21). Interlacing foundational stories across cultures, both Silko's and Endrezze's works are examples of autoethnographic texts, Mary Louise Pratt's term for the writings of colonized people who incorporate the stories of the colonizers into their own in a double-vectored attempt to reclaim their powers of self-representation while addressing both audiences (445-46). For Endrezze, this revisionary practice amounts to "physics, Native American style" (25).
     Although Endrezze takes imaginative liberties with the strict definition of physics, like Silko, she is fascinated by similarities between the Einsteinian, and post-Einsteinian, worldview and that of the "old [Indian] people" (Coltelli, Winged 138).3 Endrezze suggests it is possible within the fluid parameters of Indigenous time to reboot history, so to speak, to begin again with an inclusive agenda and an alternative cosmovision--in effect, to change the past and, consequently, the present and the future. Both Silko's and Endrezze's works deliver powerful messages about how the past can be changed, and they are not speaking merely about correcting the historical record by adding information or replacing one set of facts with another. Both writers agree that far more {3} is required. As critical discussions of Silko's writing have variously demonstrated, she calls for nothing less than an epistemological shift.4
     Perhaps influenced by Silko, Endrezze pursues similar ends; indeed, both writers' deliberate efforts to privilege an Indigenous epistemological scheme often appear as metatextual conversation with the audience. At times this conversation with readers (both Native and non-Native) feels confrontational, abrasive, and even deliberately threatening, as though a rite of passage were required of us.5 Not only does this destructive purpose shape the role of the reader, but the authors' fulfillment of their apparent aim is prerequisite to readers' adequate reception of their overall message. Silko's and Endrezze's mutual goal seems to be the near-annihilation of the reader's constructed self that rests on unquestioned foundational assumptions concerning what is real. Like the Spanish and the Yaqui, a reader and a writer are "two observers [who] occupy different" subjective space, but "the same material or physical space." Both writers understand reading as an "encounter on the time line" that might change "the motion of . . . culture forever," or at least the trajectory of one reader at a time (Endrezze 24-25). In Endrezze's words, what she has to say "will blow your brains out" (137).
     My aim in this essay, however, is not merely to note these writers' demand for an intellectual adjustment of their readers' worldview or their ideas about reading--points that critics including myself have already made--but to move beyond this dimension of their work into more complex philosophical territory, to explore some of the technicalities involved in such an adjustment resulting in permanent changes in readers' extratextual lives. After all, it is easy to say that we, as readers, ought to change and in what ways; harder to explain is how we might do so with lasting effects beyond the reading of texts that test our convictions about the extratextual realities we inhabit. Even for post-Einstein scientists, shedding the obviously inadequate, classical view of the universe has been extraordinarily difficult. With his "Yaqui" notions, Einstein transformed Western science and technology, but many physicists even today struggle to modify their epistemological spectacles to sustain a consistently post-Einsteinian view, with its ramifications for understanding daily experience.6 This struggle results less from intellectual limitations of scientists than from the fact that the new physics describes the world in counterintuitive ways that belie our "tenacious illusions" of objectivity; moreover, the new physics not only explodes a {4} worldview but also profoundly interrogates the viewer's conception of who or what is viewing the demolition.
     Endrezze and Silko present us with works giving all readers, Native and non-Native, a chance to change ourselves through reflection on ways of thinking about reality that the "old people" and the new physics agree is participatory and resistant to objectification. Endrezze's Throwing Fire and most of Silko's narratives, including her latest, The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir (2010), and the novella, Ocean Story (2011), challenge fundamental assumptions concerning the relationship between the exterior world of material space-time (that author, text, and reader inhabit) and the interior realm of subjective space-time, or thought (where the writing-reading experience unfolds). Key to the development of my argument are a few principle notions of theoretical physicist David Bohm (1917-1992), as these intersect intriguingly with some ideas of reader-response theorists David Miall and Don Kuiken.


The type of physicist whose writings for the layman appeal to both Silko and Endrezze, Bohm in Wholeness and the Implicate Order (1980) and in Thought as a System (1994) tackles thought as a human activity in need of deposing. He was convinced that we will forever be stuck in illusions about reality if we continue to privilege thought as an objective faculty for knowing the universe. Consequently Bohm's public educational efforts involved engaging audiences in a unique style of "dialogue" that cultivates "proprioception of thought," or self-consciousness about aspects of the thought process.7 Admitting the paradox implied in asking us to think about thought without getting caught up in the epistemological snares we are attempting to escape, Bohm encourages us to consider how an individual's thought is neither a direct perception nor an objective account of the world, but part of a shared semiotic "system" that is flawed.8 For Bohm, "collective thought and knowledge" are not a transparent means of understanding and controlling reality; on the contrary, they "have become so automated that we are in large part controlled by them," with a "subsequent loss of authenticity, freedom and order" (Thought ix, 184). Bohm sets out to restore some of this authenticity and freedom by asking us to think about thought as the source of erroneous convictions about objectivity, as the basis of a mistaken conception {5} of the hierarchical relationship of mind and matter, and as the ground of a fragmented, incoherent worldview.
     Redefining thought, or at least attempting to unhinge us from our entrenched notions about what goes on in our minds in relation to the outside world, Bohm contends that most thought is "the instantaneous display of memory, a superimposition of images onto the active, living present" (Thought x, 75-76). Much of what we see and hear is what we expect to see and hear. The ongoing "talk" in our heads as we construe sense data is not a field report of what is happening "out there." We know the present in terms of prefabricated interpretations, "approximate representations," and other formulations bequeathed to us from the collective (xiv, 110-13). Words themselves, as we well know, generate an excess of meanings we must negotiate; they are not precisely aligned with phenomena. In short, Bohm argues, much of reality is a participatory, subjective phenomenon, and objectivity is an illusion to which we cling. Well-known, illustrative examples from quantum mechanics include the dual particle-wave behavior of photons, the observer effect, the uncertainty principle, and the thought experiment known as Schrödinger's Cat--all indicating the effect of our perceptual screens on what we "know" about an "object." However, less esoteric examples abound. E. H. Gombrich's famous Art and Illusion (1960), for instance, details the role of collective "schemata" or aesthetic conventions that determine how a painter perceives, then represents reality.
     Another of our cognitive mistakes, according to Bohm, involves the fragmentation of thought and emotion, which he contends are not separate, as the Western tradition has so stubbornly insisted, but two aspects of a single phenomenon. Thoughts and feelings are neurophysiologically hardwired together and cannot be meaningfully distinguished. For example, a thought arises: "I think that teacher with the spikey hair is evaluating me unfairly." A bodily response accompanies the thought--a surge of adrenalin, a rise in blood pressure. Idea and anger are bound together. Next time I encounter an authority figure with spikey hair, I might irrelevantly feel anger and suspect mistreatment. Has the thought caused the feeling, or has the feeling caused the thought? There is no easy answer to this question.9 If the feeling caused the thought, then the thought's objectivity is compromised. If the thought caused the feeling, what must we make of the emotion's irrelevance to the present situation? Moreover, what must I make of the fact that my present reaction has {6} been evoked by a memory, if indeed I even realize it? Bohm concludes that our efforts to be "objective" by valuing thought and devaluing emotion are ill-conceived and misleading--one of several "flaws" in the "system" of thought. Knowledge comprises emotion.10
Interesting implications follow from Bohm's analysis of thought for what happens when we read, an activity that arouses thoughts and feelings within a fictive world that carry over into the actual world. Independently of Bohm, but correlatively, David S. Miall and Don Kuiken have developed what they call empirical reader-response theory that attempts to trace the intricate complex of thoughts and feelings of readers encountering literary texts. In the wake of several decades of reader-response theories--from Roman Ingarden's and Wolfgang Iser's phenomenological approach, to Umberto Eco's and Peter Rabinowitz's semiotic orientation, to David Bleich's and later Stanley Fish's subjective psychological slant--Miall and Kuiken's empirical method seeks to avoid, on the one hand, overemphasis on intellectual performances that produce cohesive readings and, on the other hand, encouragement of mere free association that amounts to misreading.11 "Our research procedures capture the temporally unfolding experience of a text rather than its consummating interpretation," they contend (239). Like David Bohm, critics Miall and Kuiken doubt the "primacy" of either feeling or thought, and they suggest instead that future research in neuroscience might discern a holistic faculty revealing the inextricable entanglement of thought and feeling.
     Miall and Kuiken identify "levels of feeling" that are engendered in some readers by literary texts. Among these, "self-modifying feelings" may "create unexpected challenges to the reader's sense of self" and may "modify self-understanding" (221, 230). Although texts evoke in readers many "remembered feelings"--for example, when we read in The Turquoise Ledge about Silko's rock-hunting treks in the Tucson Mountains and recall our happiness as children, rock hunting in our own homelands--texts also evoke what Miall and Kuiken identify as "fresh feelings"; these are feelings we have never known before, and they may lead to permanent self-modification in the world of lived experience, especially for readers who become reflective about the nature of the thought processes involved in reading. Bohm, with his social reformative agenda, describes a similar transformational event when he asks us to "suppose that thought is able to be aware of its own effects.{7} Then when it is producing effects which make no sense" or are destructive, laced with violent or antisocial feelings, we might learn to make it "stop doing so" (Thought 133). Readers immersed in works by Silko and Endrezze may find themselves developing such an ability, owing to the texts' capacities for enhancing our self-awareness about thinking, feeling, and reading. Such an aim appears to be part of Silko's agenda for social change in works such as Ceremony (1977) and Almanac of the Dead (1991) and of Endrezze's in Throwing Fire.
     Besides being inseparable from emotion, according to Bohm, thought is also one with its concrete productions. Things we make are manifestations of ideas, he reminds us. A book is a thing in the world that particularly signals its continuity with the mind that created it and the mind that encounters it. Reader-response theorist Wolfgang Iser speaks of the "virtual dimension" that comes into being during the reading of a text, and Georges Poulet in "Phenomenology of Reading" argues that the writer's mind inhabits the mind of the reader of a book. Miall and Kuiken's claim that readers may be permanently altered in their minds and selves is a kindred notion. These reader-response theories point to the existence of what Bohm calls "an unbroken field" of thought or consciousness that belies the subject-object fragmentation of the world. In truth, he argues, there is only the "flow of meaning" (Thought x). According to Bohm, subject-object fragmentation sustains the illusory belief in an individual "self" separate from this flow. He explains, "Our common experience is that we have personal thoughts that come from our individual 'self'"; however, Bohm objects, "this is a culturally inherited sensibility that overemphasizes the role of isolated parts. . . . [T]he 'flow of meaning' between people is more fundamental than any individual's particular thoughts" (x).
     Abstracted from the "one unbroken field" of thought, some ideas such as the notion of a separate self are powerfully reinforced over time to become "structures" no longer interrogated in terms of their presumed objective reality. Such structures (or schemata, or conventions) control perception and block alternative observations of the universe--observations such as those of Indigenous people whose views have been disparaged and dismissed by Western cultures. Bohm urges his readers to find a way to focus on the workings of our own minds in order to liberate ourselves from habitual thinking, to attune to aspects of the envi-{8}ronment to which our "nervous system could respond" and in which we are "sufficiently interested" (Bohm, Essential 62-63). Silko and Endrezze seem to aim for precisely this kind of attunement in their readers. An implication of Bohm's thoughts about thought, together with Miall and Kuiken's insights into the self-modifying effects of reading, is that at least some readers (both Native and non-Native) of Indigenous writing have a chance to become permanently other than who they were before.
     When I say that readers are changed by reading texts by writers such as Silko and Endrezze, I do not mean that reading somehow confers indigeneity or grants full access to others' perspectives. I do mean that participation as readers of Indigenous writing, whether we are Indian or not, may change us fundamentally in our minds so that our extratextual behavior is altered. Liberation through dislocation and loss potentially characterizes the reader's experience of texts by Endrezze, Silko, and other Native writers whose works foster both the deposition of thought from its long-held position of authority that physicist David Bohm describes and the recognition of the role of emotion that Miall and Kuiken explore.


Endrezze's Throwing Fire is not a conventional collection of stories, poems, and paintings, though each of the pieces could stand alone meaningfully. In its design the book recalls Silko's Storyteller (1981), a complex and multilayered single work composed of similarly interconnected narratives, poems, and photographs.12 Throughout the book, sometimes in her own voice, sometimes in assumed voices, and sometimes through the published voices of Spanish clerics and journal keepers, Endrezze recounts folk tales, historical contexts, and family stories about archetypal females in ways that challenge readers' confidence in standardized views of the past. Through Endrezze's managed voices, readers confront La Morena (the dark-eyed woman), Tequatlasupe (appropriated by the Spanish and renamed Guadalupe), Malinche (the abused woman), and La Llorona (the mourning woman); Endrezze also narrates some of her own personal stories in which she reinvents herself and others as manifestations of these archetypes. Along with positive feelings such as sympathetic and empathetic identification with the author, the variously managed voices in the text potentially evoke an {9} array of uncomfortable feelings in the reader that range from anger and guilt to embarrassment, fear, and shame.
     One of the poems in Throwing Fire that best exemplifies Endrezze's calibrated assault on her audience's mindset is "La Llorona, the Crying Woman." In a prefatory remark Endrezze explains that in this poem La Llorona inhabits a modern, urban world, and like Endrezze, she is a poet. The speaker addresses her audience, apparently during a Q&A period following a reading of her work. Audience members inquire: "How do you get your ideas? Are you rich? Famous? What is your next project?" In humorous and sinister fashion, the poet answers them.
     The questioners appear to be the usual sort of people who turn up at public readings. Among them are well-intended, but ill-informed, worshipful admirers of Indigenous poets. Their clichéd, predictable questions reveal their lack of deep engagement with the works the poet has presumably read to them, along with their unconscious entertainment of prefabricated thoughts and feelings. Such individuals need their cognitive maps redrawn, their superficial, exoticizing habits of mind broken if they are to have any chance of entering the poet's world. In short, they need their brains blown out, and the poet threatens to oblige.
     Her answers to their inane questions are blunt and shocking. She tells the audience she gets her ideas at night while stalking men "dumb enough / to come out in the dark" (156). She lets down her hair and wears a transparent dress to make men follow her to a reservoir or a lake, where she drowns them, reminding them that she is "real," and "this is [not] a Stephen King movie" (157). Horror movies, indeed, exemplify culturally imbricated structures of thought and feeling about female sexuality and otherness. Asked whether or not she is rich and famous, she replies that she is as rich and famous as all the Indian women and children who have died at the hands of oppressors. Her "next project?" It will satisfy their need for Indian stories; it will "hook" the audience, she says, for her "hands are full of syringes." Her readers will "suck on [her] cocaine breasts" as she offers them "blankets of paper" (158). Remarking her confidence in "the universal impact / of [her] new work," the poet concludes the evening's event, telling her audience she knows some of them "are ready for a fix," and that "now, as you know, / your time is up" (158).
     Indeed, this Llorona-poet will "drown" readers who use her works like drugs to satisfy their romantic longings and to reinforce their stereotypical ideas about Indigenous women and Native writers. Although {10} she says she has "worked through" her "need for revenge" (158), she releases her audience into the night where, she has warned them, La Llorona hunts for those "dumb enough" to walk around in the literal and figurative dark.
     In La Llorona-Endrezze's world, the Yaqui past is not in the past but remains alive in the present where its effects are known and felt by those not blinded by Eurocentric versions of history. To be sure, Endrezze and her own family continue to live the stories of their violated ancestors. Her father, destroyed first spiritually and then physically, was honorably discharged from military service only to learn he could not buy a house: "'You're an Indian!" he was told. "You're a woman!" her mother was told when she offered to sign the papers. They did not get the house. In another poem, "Angelina," we learn about Endrezze's grandmother, Carlotta,

   raped by Mexican soldiers, back when Yaqui hands were
      cut off and nailed
   Christ-like to boards. (125)

Such dreadful stories are alive in La Llorona-Endrezze's "darkness," unscattered by the Eurocentric "lights" of reason and Christian dogma.
     The poet's designs on her oblivious fans involve destruction of their ways of knowing and seeing. Think about how and what you are thinking, the Llorona-poet warns, for it could save your life. An even more complex version of the same warning for some, though not all, readers comes through the voice of the implied author behind the scenes: think about how and what you are thinking, together with who you are in relation to the writer. Who were your ancestors? What part of their past is still present in you? What is the nature of our "encounter along [this narrative] time line?" Though perhaps quiescent in the reader's mind, answers to such lingering questions must necessarily be emotionally inflected.


Silko's works contain similarly ominous dialogues fostering conscious awareness about thoughts and feelings in her audience. By comparison to Almanac of the Dead, her other works carry subtler, more benignly nuanced messages, but the messages are there nonetheless in the fates of {11} the "destroyers" in Ceremony (1977) and the traits of the Gunideeyah in Storyteller (1981), and in references to Ghost Dance prophecies in Gardens in the Dunes (Moore, "Ghost" 92, 94). In Almanac, over 750 pages detail the violent, death-and-drug-dealing history of the "destroyers" that has unfolded for more than five hundred years in the Americas. Silko's "destroyers" in Almanac are primarily Eurocentric, but her politics are far from simplistic. Yoeme remarks how Cortez and the European invaders were easily matched in their bloodlust by Montezuma and the Aztecs. "Those who worshiped destruction and blood secretly knew one another," the old Yaqui woman declares (Almanac 570). Silko implies here and elsewhere in Almanac that preceding specific racial and ethnic conflict are more general ways of thinking, habits, or Bohmian unexamined "structures" of thought, that identify people as "destroyers" with violent predilections. Despite Silko's ultimately nonviolent message, she openly confronts in Almanac the possibility that ingrained cultural constructions sometimes require brutal shattering, comparable to the brain injury of one of her characters. Potential reader response to her message might range from hostility to fear; many popular reviews of Almanac when it first appeared suggest this is so.13
     Critical attention has more than once focused on Root, the descendant of Mexicans who "got rich off the Indian wars" (Almanac 168), and on how his brain damage iconizes Silko's view of what might be required to alter a mindset. Michelle Jarman contends that Root's disability affords access to the world of the "different" Other, including but not limited to the world of those with physical impairments. Understanding how Silko sets out to "counterbalance the erasure of nondominant narratives by reinstating lost histories" (159), Jarman argues that through Root, "Silko suggests that disability might allow one to cross into another form of consciousness, even an alternative cultural identity. A person with brain damage has suffered the ultimate deposing of thought; he is incapable of normal 'thought' as we understand it. After his accident, Root begins to reject his Caucasian identity and to question the presumptions associated with it" (161). Because his family no longer accepts him, Jarman contends, Root's "brain injury suddenly allows him to see his family from an outsider position, a location that also forces him to admit his former participation in their tacit discrimination" (161). Eva Cherniavsky agrees, arguing that Root's "unlearning {12} of the colonizer's historical privilege" occurs because he is maimed in a "devastating motorcycle crash" (115).
     One might reasonably say that Root has, in effect, "died" and returned completely changed. Mosca sees Root's calamity as a near-death experience. He urges Root not to try to recall his historical past but to explore instead the spiritual dimensions of his misfortune: "'Well, you know, old Calabazas, he said one time people who get wiped out like that--you know, almost killed--well, they get visions or they take a long journey.' Mosca . . . wanted Root to talk about the soul journey and about visions" (200). Though Root fails to satisfy Mosca's imaginative curiosity, he does begin to share the Indigenous worldview of the old Yaqui drug smuggler, Calabazas. Root contemplates Calabazas' words: "'Those who can't learn to appreciate the world's differences won't make it. They'll die'" (203). Before the accident, Root entertained fixed ideas and prejudices against Indians. His mother had insisted the family was "Spanish." He had been unable to appreciate difference. After the accident, he knows "the accident . . . was a journey to the boundaries of the land of the dead" (199). Now, he not only embodies "difference" but knows it intimately from within. "Root preferred to say that all his family had died in his accident" (169), but he is the one who has been "wiped out," who has "died" to them and their illusory world.
     Calabazas's warning applies to Silko's audience. Like Endrezze's Throwing Fire, Silko's confrontational novel suggests that in order to stop being "destroyers," closed-minded readers who remain hostile or insensitive to "difference" must in one way or another be "wiped out." Calabazas might be said to exhibit "proprioception of thought" in that he is capable of thinking about reality from multiple perspectives; his close attention to his own perceptual experience and his interpretive acts in connection with that experience result in the sort of "authenticity and freedom" that Bohm associates with self-conscious, self-critical awareness of thought and its implicit emotions.


Both Endrezze and Silko imply that the loss of comfortable illusions pays off in better alternatives. Endrezzes's "La Llorona, the Crying Woman" is immediately followed by "Dream-Walkers from the Flower World," a {13} poem introducing readers to the Yaqui supernatural "world of spirit and beauty"; the dream-walkers bring healing messages about the constructive powers all beings potentially wield. "Dreams are the minarets / of the soul," the speaker promises (165). Even the darkest of Silko's works hold out similar promises to readers willing and able to absorb her messages.14 Tayo in Ceremony restores harmony and health to the world; characters in Almanac and Gardens learn to stand against the destroyers. Readers seeking entrance into Endrezze's and Silko's restored worlds beyond the borders of the written text, however, need a reconstructed mind like Calabazas's. Such is the case in Silko's latest work, The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir, a text demanding a most unorthodox reader.
     In this text Silko's relationship with readers assumes an unprecedented dimension. We are presented not with fiction, but with a memoir, a nonfiction form that conventionally cues the reader to expect "truth" and strict verisimilitude. Silko tests her audience in this genre-bending work, however, as if to see what, and whether, they have learned from reading her earlier works. Putting readers on notice in her preface that "We can't be certain of anything" (1), she proceeds to speak to an audience who can follow her into her personally inflected, Indigenous reality. Like Calabazas, who scolds Root in Almanac for his unnecessary "blindness" to the natural landscape (201) and then "couldn't care less if [Root] got [himself] lost . . . and . . . died" (202), Silko reminds her audience in her memoir to pay attention, and then opens a door into a world rife with sheer impossibilities for the average Eurocentric audience, which reads according to rules that have been jettisoned by the writer.15 Many Native readers might find themselves a bit sidelined, as well, for not much about Turquoise is strictly Indigenous, either. In The Turquoise Ledge, Silko speaks to an audience she has cultivated for herself from the beginning of her career. We either follow her and cope with her efforts to force us to find ourselves anew, or we get completely "lost."
     Drawing on the ideas of Paul Ricoeur about time and narrative, I have argued elsewhere that some contemporary Native American writers, including Silko, expand the semiotic capacities of Western fictional forms (Rainwater, Dreams 104-30). I have explained how such works sustain, in Ricoeur's terms, a "temporal experience that only fiction can explore. . . . Only fiction . . . can explore and bring to language this divorce between worldviews and their irreconcilable perspectives on time, a divorce that undermines public time" (Ricoeur 101, 107). {14} As a work of nonfiction that attempts just such an exploration, however, Silko's memoir challenges this Ricoeurian tenet. In ways that force readers to a crisis, it "undermines" the "public" or Western mechanical time scheme inscribed in memoir. Certainly, for many readers, The Turquoise Ledge broadly strains credulity: the author says she allows rattlesnakes to slither free in the house with her; she routinely sees and hears ghosts; she converses with Star Beings, and the list of affronts to Western spatial-material reality goes on. Equivalently outré for many readers is the temporal scheme informing the memoir. For example, Louisa Thomas, reviewing it for the New York Times, seems particularly uncomfortable with the text. Aware of Silko's established reputation, she credits Silko with enjoying "a different relationship with time," but Thomas evades description of this relationship in a hesitant manner suggesting bafflement.
     Silko's daily life unfolds in her own personally nuanced, Indigenous time: "I learned the world of the clock and calendar when I started school, but I've never lost my sense of being alive without reference to clocks or calendars" (47). Silko's world is, in fact, the realm of her fictional characters, but since she is not a fictional character, her claims in a memoir are not subject to interpretive practices germane to fiction. Silko inhabits the capacious "present," unbounded by Western ontological demarcations including mechanical time. This "present" is the holistic realm of the perceiving consciousness, which knows past and future in terms of Bohmian "flow," a fluid and multidirectional movement within the spacious present, rather than in Western, fragmented terms of an irrecoverable, extensive "past" and an infinite, unknown "future" that sandwich an infinitesimal present. Indeed, she casually reports on looking into the future the way a conventional Western person might comment on looking back into history, or into the neighbor's back yard (Turquoise 40).
     In The Turquoise Ledge, the future unfolds from Silko's imagination and intent, and the past, from imagination and memory. Future and past are contained within a post-Einsteinian (and Indigenous) web of creative energy-in-motion that the author understands to be the universe. On her walks through the Tucson Mountains parts of the phenomenal world appear to shift in response to her intentional focus. The turquoise ledge near her house, for instance, seems to emerge in connection with her decision to look for it. We are to assume that the {15} ledge might or might not have preexisted her search. ("We can't be certain of anything.") Recalling Endrezze's "physics, Native American style," objects appear and disappear in complex relation to participant observers, who include not only the individual but also the vast collective of (not exclusively human) beings. For instance, Silko reports in an earlier nonfiction essay as well as in Turquoise, "a twenty foot long sandstone formation in the shape of a giant snake appeared" mysteriously in 1980 at the Jackpile uranium mine near Paguate. It showed up "only a few yards from the base of a tailings pile. The sandstone formation looked as if it had been there forever--but it hadn't" (Turquoise 73; "Fifth World").
     Silko's non-ordinary memoir is rife with just such instances of the Western-impossible. Star Beings she first notices as figures in ancient petroglyphs begin to pester her at night while she brushes her teeth; they tell her how to portray them in paintings (141). Silko walks past places near her house where "gravity is distributed . . . unevenly," and where "[p]arallel planes or worlds may be visible briefly at certain points . . . from time to time. Thus the discrepancies between my recollections and notes immediately after a walk and what I actually find when I attempt to locate these places again" (7).
     As Western-impossible claims within the Eurocentric genre of memoir, Silko's claims force the reader to choose: we may comfort ourselves by concluding, along with some of her reviewers past and present, that she needs "psychiatric help," or we may take Silko at her word (Nieman 107-08). In other words, we may choose to remain inside the Eurocentric "box," with its secure ontological boundaries, or step outside of it into radical uncertainty where we discover the illusion-generating and illusion-sustaining habits perpetuated by what Bohm calls the flawed "system" of thought.
     Endrezze's Throwing Fire similarly liberates the audience through loss of blinding certainty. With such freedom inevitably come feelings of insecurity--doubts ranging from our ability to know the world to our understanding of how to read. Like Silko, who manipulates the reader's expectations through disruptions of genre, Endrezze attempts to deprive the reader of even the most ordinary assumptions about the relationship of one printed poem to another. For instance, "Coatlicue: An Aztec Creation Story in Two Versions," consists of two poems placed side by side in columns. We may read the poem on the left that begins, "Hungry Woman," and then the one on the right that begins, "Lady of the {16} Serpent Skirt." We may also read across the page--line one of the first poem followed by line one of the second, line two of the first and line two of the second, and so on. This unorthodox merger of the two poems also generates meaning, especially since Hungry Woman and Lady of the Serpent Skirt are two names for one figure, and the two poems tell two versions of one story.
     The linear-horizontal reading option that invites the audience to stray outside conventional formal boundaries also encourages other sorts of boundary transgressions, including temporal ones. Moving unconventionally in space--across poems--and still being able to construe meaning implies that we need not observe the rules of narrative time for reading, staying in one poem until we reach its end, for instance. Endrezze's "Coatlicue" contains an important message about nonlinear time that applies to history, understood within an Indigenous cosmovision: time past and time future exist within the spacious present that is consciousness, Bohm's "unbroken field of thought." Stories may bleed forward or backward into one another. Once read, stories do not reside in readers' consciousness in a linear sequence. Readers are expected to enter Silko's and Endrezze's worlds without the benefit of Western semiotic guidance; in the realm of the "impossible" lies the distinct possibility of coming to know, and adopting, alternative ways of inhabiting the universe. One way Endrezze prepares her audience for liberating loss is by placing the destabilizing "Coatlicue" in the opening pages of Throwing Fire. Must we read this way again in this book, we wonder? How should we proceed?
     Endrezze also joins Silko in cautioning readers about illusory objectivity. "Nothing happens the way we remember it," Endrezze insists, and "truth is not often found in fact" (xv). Silko would no doubt appreciate Endrezze's observation that the "reporting of history is always subjective, no matter who is telling it. This discovery freed me." Writes Endrezze:

I was able to figure out how I wanted to approach my family history--as fact or fiction? Long troubled by the question, I decided to do it in both ways. This book [Throwing Fire], therefore, is history, myth, family anecdotes, poetry and short stories, and they are all the same thing. (xv-xvi)

     As revisionist historians with designs on their readers' relationship to space-time and reality, both Endrezze and Silko are mutually interested {17} in reconnecting with their Comcáac predecessors by rescuing them and their stories from Western-historical and time-bound oblivion--thus restoring them to the commodious present. Like "Coatlicue," their works encourage a nonchronological movement of the mind. Erasing generic boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, between present and past, between Indigenous truth and Western recorded history, these writers allow the old stories of the coastal Comcaác to ebb and flow within their own narratives. This strategic erasure of boundaries not only establishes an intertextual, historical link between Endrezze's and Silko's works but also focuses our attention onto the ocean as a significant trope communicating their shared conception of the space-time continuum as the expansive, undifferentiated present of consciousness.


Along with the Yaqui and the O'odham, the Comcáac were native to Sonora, Mexico. Though only the Comcáac were "ocean people," all three groups share profound connections to the Gulf of California region. Neighbors of the Yaqui, the Comcáac were kin to the O'odham ancestors of present-day North American Pueblo people. In Ocean Story, Silko's narrator (arguably, a version of Silko herself, as we shall see) reclaims her tribal ocean memories as she informs us about the Comcáac: "I visited San Carlos Bay, Sonora years ago when I was in college, and I never forgot the ocean there. Other oceans only made me think of the Gulf of California" (Kindle locations 18-28); "the Comcaac people belonged to the entire Gulf of California; they made the beaches and fresh water estuaries of the Gulf their home for at least 10,000 years before the Europeans appeared" (Kindle locations 174-84).
     Endrezze likewise reclaims the Comcáac in Throwing Fire:

Geologists tell us that the sea split
millions of years ago
before the Yoemem, Yoremem, Kunkaak, O-Otam
curled their tongues around the names
of themselves. (3)

The Kunkaak "caught huge fish and knew how to sing like the sea" (48). The stories of the Comcáac concerning whales, dolphins, and the ocean waters animate both landscape and inscape of Silko's and Endrez-{18}ze's revisionary worlds. The combined stories also come to inhabit the reader. As Linda Krumholz contends regarding Silko's Storyteller, there is often a ritualistic dimension to works that entangle old stories with new ones. Such ritual may alter not only the readers' understanding of reality but the nature of their participation in the text as well. Silko and Endrezze develop the trope of the ocean to suggest that storytelling is a variety of an overarching cosmic force that writes, erases ("wipes out"), and overwrites--that forms and unforms--writers, readers, and worlds.
     In her poem "The Gulf of California" Endrezze speaks of "two memories of tides" (3). The first is a memory of the earth's formation, a cosmic event, and the other is a memory of the emergence of land, when the sea "found itself / in the daybreaks of rivers," a local, planetary event (3). Ever since the European invasion, she says in "Lost River," these waterways mark the sites of Indians' disappearance. The Spanish invaders feared the ocean, "So they contained it in maps / written on dead animal skins / with ink made from dried octopus . . . blood" (4). They renamed everything in an effort to subdue it--"the Vermilion Sea," "the Sea of Cortés" (5). With each naming and renaming of the Gulf, she says, memory of "what it was" grows vaguer. Silko makes a similar point in The Turquoise Ledge, as well as in Ocean Story, by referring always to the Gulf of California, or El Golfo, instead of alluding to the Sea of Cortez, its Spanish name. For Endrezze, naming of any sort, not just Eurocentric renaming, sometimes contributes to loss of memory. Nonhuman animals, Endrezze says, know much more about "the sea that names itself / unnameable" than do people who have lost it beneath labels (5). Silko, with her keen interest in "what can be known without words" (Turquoise 45), would no doubt agree.
     Interesting with regard to both writers' references to the dual, revealing-and-concealing nature of language is their mutual use of the letter X to denote significant cancellation or absence of identity. In Endrezze's "Lost River" she writes that on a Western "map: / If you are Indian, / you are not / here X" (134). Endrezze endeavors in Throwing Fire to replace such Xs with old names and old stories, as well as new names and new stories from the land and the people as they are now. While Endrezze employs an X to note absence, Silko's Xs constitute her own form of active erasure. A key character in Silko's Ocean Story is, ironically, called merely "X," and a key place in Mexico merely "Puerto Z." The character, X, is an Algerian immigrant involved in cockfighting {19} and shady real-estate development deals that exploit the land, animals, and people of Sonora; he might also have ties to Mohammed Atta, one of the key terrorists in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11. In other words, he is one of the long line of colonial "destroyers" of the Americas, not much different from Hernando Cortez, Cabeza de Vaca, or other Europeans before him. Calling him "X," and calling Puerto Peñasco "Puerto Z"--in other words, X-ing out European names--is Silko's way of turning Western strategies of identity erasure back against the colonizers. It is an act of unnaming that destroys temporal and spatial boundaries and, no doubt, engenders feelings of vulnerability in readers securely anchored to conventional notions about self and world.
      Renaming follows unnaming in Endrezze's Throwing Fire, as well as in Silko's Turquoise Ledge and Ocean Story. A significant part of both writers' purpose is to unname and rename themselves as individuals. Neither writer wishes for stasis, but instead for an identity-in-motion within a universe of creative energy-in-motion. Endrezze concludes the verbal portion of Throwing Fire with three pieces specifically addressing acts of self-revision. The first, "A Good Journey Home to Vicam," is a prose piece that narrates a trip to Sonora to see the homeland of her Yaqui ancestors for the first time, "to find the land in the stories my family had told" (177). The second, "No Me Recuerdo las Palabras Ahora," is a poem in which the speaker rejects both her father's Spanish and her mother's "Buttemontana" English for "silence," everyone's "first indigenous language":

It is the tongue of secrets, thick fruit, red hands,
the dolphin-eye of the human fetus
swimming in salty waters, practicing
its first sound between heartbeat and poem. (180)

The third piece is a short story, "The Humming of Stars and Bees and Waves," about an old woman growing young again, reversing time and reinventing herself anew. Overall, Endrezze's Throwing Fire at the Sun, Water at the Moon is a book designed as self-invention through relocation of the author-as-Yaqui within a reclaimed space-time continuum. To keep pace with the writer, readers must engage in the participatory dance of self-dislocation and relocation; such readers must dispense with fixed interpretive practices and excessive attachment to what {20} appears "objectively" true owing to habits of mind that fragment and separate rather than sense the unbroken field of consciousness.
     Silko's memoir and her novella share Endrezze's self-reconstructive aim. I remarked earlier, with reference to her memoir, that Silko is not a fictional character, but both Turquoise Ledge and Ocean Story suggest that, to an extent, she sees herself as one of her own imaginative inventions. "I make myself a fictional character so I can write about myself," she tells us in flagrant violation of generic norms in the preface to her memoir (1). Conversely, in the fictional Ocean Story, readers cannot help noticing how many of the narrator's statements about herself and her life reflect known facts about Silko's actual life. Within the fictional context, such known facts become subject to change. The message of both authors is that thought, or imagination, or consciousness--the source of phenomenal changes in the world, in the self, in the past, the present, and the future--destabilizes everything, all the time.
      Silko's conception of the universe as oceanic, creative energy-in-motion may be understood in terms of her self-proclaimed interest in contemporary physics, an interest she shares with Endrezze. Endrezze's and Silko's "ocean" of creative energy is like the sea of the Comcáac: treacherous and deadly, it may become the source of our destruction; sacred and sustaining, it may buoy us on the wreckage. The stories of the seagoing Comcáac tell as much. They preserve a wealth of information about how to survive in and near the ocean. They speak of the complex consciousness of sea creatures, such as whales and dolphins, who remember when they were human and who will help humans in trouble at sea. The Comcáac's proper behavior and respect for the ocean, including its plants and its animals, saved their lives; in Ocean Story, through which Comcáac stories flow, a mass of seaweed saves the narrator's life until human rescuers arrive. Comcáac stories also warn of how the ocean punishes, snatching those who neglect sacred obligations, inundating the land from time to time, and erasing all that is "written" there (Kindle locations 451-67). Connected to these ancestral stories within the oceanic energy-in-motion of the universe, the narratives of Endrezze and Silko share their creative-destructive capacities. Readers afloat in the "ocean" of uncertainty--threatened, perhaps fearful, "wiped out," "brains blown out"--may begin with Silko and Endrezze the search for what remains.



Critics have observed the deconstructive agency of Silko's work (Krumholz; Rainwater, Dreams). Many of the same arguments pertain to Endrezze's writing. Despite energy expended in deconstructing Western frames of reference, however, most Native American writers, including Silko and Endrezze, are not deconstructors in the commonly understood sense of the term. Most, in fact, pursue essential truths, albeit decidedly non-Western ones. Silko's and Endrezze's works deconstruct the deconstructible, then force readers to consider aspects of the universe not susceptible to deconstructive moves--aspects of experience that Derrida himself, to the dismay of some of his devotees, termed "undeconstructible."
     Derrida always denied that deconstruction is a form of nihilism. John D. Caputo's elegiac essay on Derrida soon after his death in 2004 succinctly traces his thought through his later years. Caputo explains:

the destabilizing agency in his work is not a reckless relativism or an acidic skepticism but rather an affirmation, a love of what in later years he would call the "undeconstructible." . . . Deconstruction is satisfied with nothing because it is waiting for the Messiah, which Derrida translated into the philosophical figure of the "to come" (à venir), the very figure of the future (l'avenir), of hope and expectation. . . . When asked why he does not say "I am" an atheist (je suis, c'est moi), he said it was because he did not know if he were, that there are many voices within him that give one another no rest, and he lacks the absolute authority of an authorial "I" to still this inner conflict. . . . Derrida visits upon all of us, Christian and Jew, religious and secular, left and right, the unsettling news of the radical instability of the categories to which we have such ready recourse and he raises the idea of a still deeper idea of ourselves which (religiously?) confesses its lack of categories. He exposes us to the "secret" that there is no "Secret," no Big Capitalized Secret to which we have been wired up--by scientific reason, by poetic or religious revelation, or by political persuasion. We make use of such materials as have been available to us, forged in the fires of time and circumstance. We do not in some deep way know who we are or what the world is. That is not nihilism but a quasi-religious confession, the beginning of wisdom. (565-67)

{22} An Indigenous person might hear in Caputo's words an acknowledgment of the Great Mystery. In Derrida's recognition of the "radical instability" of our "categories" lies the undeconstructible, paradoxical "truth" that "We can't be certain of anything" (Silko, Turquoise 1). Scientists including Paul Feyerabend and David Bohm have implied as much in their own interrogation of Western objectivity. "There is no 'scientific method,'" Feyerabend writes; "even the idea of a universal and stable rationality" is "unrealistic" (10). Likewise, Bohm contends that all scientific knowledge is necessarily constructed through metaphors, including the metaphor of objectivity (72, 74). In his study of readers' feelings, Don Kuiken et al. contend that a reader's "shifting sense of self" occurs in relation to "metaphors of personal identification"--figures actually in the text that evoke personal memories from the reader's own life and map onto them new associations (269-70). Such a reading experience may be said to take place within a Bohmian "unbroken field of thought" in which the boundaries separating author, text, and reader blur.
     For Silko and Endrezze, the trope of the ocean captures this undeconstructible aspect of the universe. Their "ocean" is creative energy in motion (thought, conscious intent, imagination--capacities, incidentally, that are not exclusively human). As David L. Moore observes, "myth in Silko is the organization of creative energy itself, a morphogenetic field of meaning," and she often mentions physics to "envision a sense of energy" ("Ghost" 108). I have observed throughout this essay that Endrezze shares with Silko a conception of "story" or "myth" as an organizing field of meaning. Both writers are fascinated with emergence, the point at which the known world of forms and concepts takes shape out of formless, creative energy. This is a point much like Derrida's "l'avenir" in its implications for "hope and expectation," a point beyond which our rational capacities do not extend, but also a point where the consciousness of the reader possibly intersects with that of the writer with affective results.
     L'avenir. How do we begin to dwell within this alternative space-time into which such works by Endrezze and Silko apparently open? What might transformed readers do when they close the books and resume their daily lives? How do ways of being follow ways of knowing? According to Kuiken et al.:

At times, readers of literary texts find themselves participating in an unconventional flow of feelings through which they realize {23} something that they have not previously experienced--or at least that they have not experienced in the form provided by the text. When this occurs, the imagined world of the text can become unsettling. What is realized (recognized) also may become realized (made real) and carried forward as a changed understanding of the reader's own life-world. (268-69)

Kuiken et al. conclude that this "altered sense of self" is "not readily conveyed to others," primarily because the affective changes we undergo loop back into daily life and have little to do with an interpretation of the text (268). Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to say that Silko's and Endrezze's writings have the power to affect our sense of the presentness of the past, to foster in us the habit of catching ourselves on the verge of a prefabricated thought, or to shake us free for a moment of our illusory convictions about objectivity and the assumed "unreality" of subjective experience. If so, these writers have helped us to cultivate a worldview appropriate to post-Einsteinian physics.


     1. Discussions of Silko's revisionist historical agenda include Carsten; Cherniavsky; Moore, "Ghost"; and Porter.
     2. Fitz addresses Indigenous oral and Western written expression as mutually reinforcing influences on Silko's work. His observations apply to Endrezze's work as well. See also Hirsch.
     3. On Native American writers and their interest in physics, see also Rainwater, "Bohmian," and Dunston. Important to remember is that a nonscientist writer's understanding of quantum physics may not necessarily be correct or precisely accurate; however, the writer's understanding and misunderstanding together inform his or her worldview, which is the subject of literary critical analysis. Many writers around the end of the nineteenth century, for instance, were excited by the ideas of Einstein, Freud, and other intellectuals, but these same writers' slants on science and medicine might or might not be considered technically correct by a scientist. Shlain's book on art and physics is a source of thought-provoking observations about how artists anticipate, absorb, and reflect the scientific discoveries of their era. Another Native American (Choctaw) writer with a significant interest in physics that is reflected in her works is LeAnne Howe, in Miko Kings and Shell Shaker.
     4. Addressing Silko's demand for an epistemological shift in her readers' notions are Bauerkemper, Huhndorf, Irr, Krumholz, Moore, Rainwater, and Reineke.
     5. On Silko's sometimes rough treatment of readers, see also Moore, "Silko's" 157. Commonly acknowledged among Silko scholars is the difference between her relatively gentle dealings with readers in Ceremony and her aggressive ways of ad-
{24}dressing readers in Almanac. Moore explores the intriguing intertextual relationship between these two novels.
     6. Capra writes, "most of today's physicists do not seem to realize the philosophical, cultural, and spiritual implications of their theories" (307). Bohm laments, "the historical development of physics" runs opposite to many of the persistent assumptions still basic to scientific inquiry (Essential 12); Jeffrey Kripal asks, "[W]hy are we still writing history as if we only inhabited a simple three-dimensional cosmos, lived in a neat linear time, and existed as so many disconnected billiard balls in a world of Newtonian causality, collisions, and reactions?" (21). Kitchener complains that science still sometimes operates based on classical "common sense notions," but "such a Newtonian world view is in serious empirical and conceptual error and should be replaced by a newer world view, one based on a more adequate theory of physics, incorporating the revolutionary implications of classical field theory, relativity theory, thermodynamics, quantum theory, and so forth" (5). Mansfield also adds to this dialogue in significant ways pertinent to my discussion of Silko's and Endrezze's worldviews.
     7. Bohmian "dialogue" of the sort he organized for his audiences is characterized by the free flow of spontaneous thought among open-minded people who are not at the time interested in supporting fixed views (Bohm calls this "discussion"), and who intend to try to escape tyrannical or prevailing paradigms, to "get outside the box," to use a popular expression. See Essential, 294-95, where Bohm defines his term at length. On the "proprioception of thought," see Thought, 121-40, 145-51.
     8. Pickering addresses semiotic aspects of Bohm's thought.
     9. See Miall and Kuiken, 222, who "point out that psychological research on feeling and emotion has been far from decisive. Several fundamental issues . . . remain in dispute. First, the extent to which feelings are culturally determined is still debated. . . . Second, controversy about the 'primacy' of feeling over cognition remains unresolved. . . . It is not to be expected . . . that psychological research can offer straightforward guidance regarding the role of feeling in literary response."
     10. Here it is fascinating to note Maureen Trudelle Schwarz's study of the Navajo understanding of the link between shared emotions and social activism. For instance, within the Navajo worldview "to shed tears in the presence of strangers [is to] participate in a conscious form of activism" (149). The "intentionality" behind sharing feelings points to the thought process that cannot be understood separately from emotion. See also Nandorfy, who addresses emotional components of Silko's works.
     11. Reader-response theory has from the beginning been characterized by a significant gap between those who argue that an empirical basis of some sort must underlie claims about a reader's response to a text, especially claims about how a text might alter real-life thought and behavior. Phenomenologists such as Ingarden and his intellectual successors, especially Iser, endeavored to identify elements of texts that signified the intent of the writer and the consequent recognition by the reader of these cues or clues that elicited a range of predictable, because they were socially shared, responses. Eco's semiotic approach and Rabinowitz's Iserian structuralist approach proceed along some of these lines. Bleich and later Fish, however, argue that a literary work is far more dramatically the production of the reader's consciousness
{25} working in tandem with collective ideas, or "interpretive communities." Miall and Kuiken (a psychologist) explore the ways in which neuroscience, particularly studies of emotional responses in subjects, may shed light on the reading experience, though they admit the limitations of this type of inquiry. Like Iser, Miall and Kuiken believe that reading has lasting effects on the mind and behavior of some readers.
     12. Critical assessments of the narrative arrangement of elements in Storyteller include Carsten, Hirsch, Krumholz, Krupat, McHenry, and Rainwater, Dreams.
     13. Negative reviews of Almanac ranged from savage to hostile to baffled, and even now lay readers' blogs reflect some of the same sentiments. Gene Lyons describes her "angry, inflexible monotone." For the Publisher's Weekly reviewer, the book is "unwieldy, unconvincing and largely unappealing." Coleen Eils mentions her own "anxiety" and "unsettled" feelings as a reader, and from Dawn Pendergast, we learn, "After 300 pages, I became angry with the author--Why did Silko go this far? Why does she want to exhaust me? . . . All I know is that the book is thoroughly unsettling, a painful spasm that inflames itself constantly. But I never cried. The book didn't want me to cry. Silko emphatically smashed my face in the real pain of colonialism, but what now?"
     14. Olmstead argues for Silko's "hopeful inclusiveness" (481), and Jarman contends that readers are capable of developing the insights that Silko imagines. I argue in Dreams of Fiery Stars that Silko's overall aim is the transformation of her readers, whether her tactic is gentle, as in Ceremony, or aggressive, as in Almanac.
     15. See, for example, Iser and Rabinowitz for discussions of interpretive practices that readers typically bring to the text; see also Costa; Rainwater, Dreams and "Bohmian," on Silko's dealings with reader expectations.


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Gombrich, E. H. Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1960. Print.

Hirsch, Bernard A. "'The Telling Which Continues': Oral Tradition and the Written Word in Leslie Marmon Silko's Storyteller." American Indian Quarterly 12.1 (1988): 1-26. Print.

Howe, LeAnne. Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story. San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 2007. Print.

______. Shell Shaker. San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 2001. Print.

Huhndorf, Shari. "Indigeneity, Colonialism, and Literary Studies: A 'Transdisciplinary, Oppositional Politics of Reading.'" English Studies in Canada 30.2 (2004): 29-38. Print.

Ingarden, Roman. The Literary Work of Art. 1926. Evanston: Northwestern up, 1979. Print.

Irr, Carmen. "The Timeliness of Almanac of the Dead, or a Postmodern Rewriting of Radical Fiction." Barnett and Thorson 223-44.

Iser, Wolfgang. The Implied Reader: Patterns of Communication in Prose Fiction from Bunyan to Beckett. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978. Print.

Jarman, Michelle. "Exploring the World of the Different in Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead." MELUS 31.3 (2006): 147-68. Print.

Kitchener, Richard F., ed. The World View of Contemporary Physics: Does It Need a New Metaphysics? New York: State U of New York P, 1988. Print.

Kripal, Jeffrey J. Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2010. Print.

Krumholz, Linda. "Native Designs: Silko's Storyteller and the Reader's Initiation." Barnett and Thorson 63-86.

Krupat, Arnold. "The Dialogic of Silko's Storyteller." Narrative Chance: Postmodern Discourse on Native American Literatures. Ed. Gerald Vizenor. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1993. 55-68. Print.

Kuiken, Don, Leah Phillips, Michelle Gregus, David S. Miall, Mark Verbitsky, and Anna Tonkonogy. "Locating Self-Modifying Feelings within Literary Reading." Discourse Practices 38.2 (2004): 267-86. Print.

Lyons, Gene. "Almanac of the Dead (1991)." Entertainment Weekly 13 Dec. 1991. Web. 30 May 2013.

Mansfield, Victor. Synchronicity, Science, and Soul-Making: Understanding Jungian Synchronicity through Physics, Buddhism, and Philosophy. Chicago: Open Court, 1995. Print.

McHenry, Elizabeth. "Spinning a Fiction of Culture: Leslie Marmon Silko's Storyteller." Barnett and Thorson 101-20.

Miall, David S., and Don Kuiken. "A Feeling for Fiction: Becoming What We Behold." Poetics 30 (2002): 221-41. Print.

Moore, David L. "Silko's Blood Sacrifice: The Circulating Witness in Almanac of the Dead." Barnett and Thorson 149-83.

______. "Ghost Dancing through History in Silko's Gardens in the Dunes and Almanac of the Dead." Coltelli, Reading 91-118.

Nandorfy, Martha. "Beyond the Binaries of Critical Thought and toward Feeling-Thinking Stories." Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies 30 (2008): 316-31. Print.

Nieman, Linda. "Narratives of Survival." 1992. Conversations with Leslie Marmon Silko. Ed. Peggy Whitman Prenshaw. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2000. 107-12. Print.

Olmsted, Jane. "The Uses of Blood in Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead." Contemporary Literature 40.3 (1999): 464-90. Print.

Pendergast, Dawn. Blog. 18 Feb. 2004. Web. 30 May 2013.

Perkins, Owen. "An Interview with Leslie Marmon Silko." High Plains Literary Review 14.2-3 (1999): 80-124. Print.

Pickering, John. "Affordances Are Signs." Triple C: Cognition, Communication, Cooperation 5.2 (2007): 64-74. Print.

Porter, Joy. "History in Gardens in the Dunes." Coltelli, Reading 57-72.

Poulet, Georges. "Phenomenology of Reading." New Literary History 1.1 (1969): 53-68. Print.

Pratt, Mary Louise. "Arts of the Contact Zone." 1991. Ways of Reading. Ed. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky. New York: St. Martin's, 1993. 442-55. Print.

Publisher's Weekly. Rev. of Almanac of the Dead, by Leslie Marmon Silko. Publisher's Weekly 4 Nov. 1991. Web. 30 May 2013.

Rabinowitz, Peter J. Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and the Politics of Interpretation. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1998. Print.

Rainwater, Catherine. "Bohmian Order in Leslie Marmon Silko's The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir, and Ocean Story." LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory 24.1 (2013): 1-21. Print.

______. Dreams of Fiery Stars: The Transformations of Native American Fiction. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1999. Print.

Reineke, Yvonne. "Overturning the (New World) Order: Of Space, Time, Writing, and Prophecy in Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead." Studies in American Indian Literatures 10.3 (1998): 65-83. Print.

Ricoeur, Paul. Time and Narrative. Trans. Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer. Vol. 2. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1985. Print.

Schwarz, Maureen Trudelle. Navajo Lifeways: Contemporary Issues, Ancient Knowledge. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2001. Print.

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Silko, Leslie Marmon. Almanac of the Dead. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991. Print.

______. Ceremony. New York: Penguin, 1977. Print.

______. "Fifth World: The Return of Ma ah shra true ee, the Giant Serpent," New West Reader: Essays on an Ever-Evolving Frontier. Ed. Philip Connors. New York: Nation, 2005. 230-41. Print.

______. Gardens in the Dunes. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999. Print.

______. Ocean Story. New York: Wylie Agency, Odyssey Editions, 2011. Kindle digital file.

______. The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir. New York: Viking Penguin, 2010. Print.

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Vizenor, Gerald, ed. Narrative Chance: Postmodern Discourse on Native American Literatures. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1993. Print.


Neither Chief Nor Medicine Man
The Historical Role of the "Intellectual" in the American Indian Community


Calling American Indian writers and activists "intellectuals," particularly those who distinguished themselves with English-language publications appealing to a broad audience, is a relatively recent phenomenon. At least it is recent when considered within the scope of Indigenous people's history in North America. Thus, the emergence of the American Indian intellectual requires an account of its historical origins, in addition to a critical analysis of the appropriateness of describing individuals as "intellectuals" who never described themselves as such.1 Nevertheless, the term intellectual, however problematic, recurs in an array of books and articles, not to mention coursework, being produced in the American Indian/Native American studies community. For example, I make a substantial case for regarding Indigenous writers as "intellectuals" in my 2011 anthology The American Indian Intellectual Tradition: An Anthology of Writings from 1772 to 1972, in which I assert: "A much overlooked part of intellectual history in the United States is the American Indian tradition, which is generally regarded as having begun with Samson Occom, a Mohegan minister born in 1723" (ix). The volume contains writings of nearly thirty intellectuals altogether, representing nearly as many tribal groups, which, while far from being an exhaustive survey of American Indian nonfiction writers, nonetheless makes it abundantly clear that the Indigenous writer as a purveyor of knowledge and ideas is a meaningful part of contemporary American Indian society. Not long before the appearance of my anthology, Bernd C. Peyer did a remarkable job of documenting Indigenous intellectual history in two books: American Indian Nonfiction: An Anthology of Writings, 1760s-1930s and "The Thinking Indian": Native American Writers, 1850s-1920s (both published in 2007). The latter complemented Peyer's historical discourse on pre-1860 Indian {30} writers titled The Tutor'd Mind: Indian Missionary-Writers in Antebellum America, which he published a decade earlier, not long after Robert Allen Warrior released Tribal Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions (1994). Warrior's book, although it is not the first to use the nomenclature "American Indian intellectual," is nonetheless the one that continues to influence the emergent field of American Indian intellectual history. What follows is an analytical history of the intellectual in the American Indian community, in which writing is conjoined with political awareness of the "Indian problem" and a desire to advocate for Indian rights. More important, the Indigenous intellectual is seen as forging his or her identity outside the confines of academia, thriving instead along the margins of tribal society, where one may be acknowledged as a relative and tribal member yet communicate effectively in a non-Indigenous language, in which one has to take all of the risk and responsibility for representing one's tribe to an audience completely alien to the world in which one grew up.2 Maintaining this connection to one's peoplehood without giving in to the dominant society's preconceptions of Indians is one of the more challenging obstacles to getting one's Indigenous perspective acknowledged by others.
     In one sense the term intellectual has earned validity today as an idiom in Indigenous scholarship on the basis of having become a convenient way of describing a culturally, historically, and philosophically diverse range of writers and thinkers. As such, it has practical value for scholars attempting to research and explicate the thoughts of any Indigenous writers writing about topics and in genres that may be regarded as peripheral to the speeches, lectures, and oral traditions of one's home community. At the same time, intellectual is a foreign word imposed upon individuals who never described their roles as writers and speakers in such elitist terms. Consequently, one can argue that intellectual signals a colonized mind more than it evokes an Indigenous perspective.3 Nevertheless, if one eliminates the word from the scholarly discourse on American Indian writers and thinkers, where does that leave one? Ultimately, one has to put intellectual under erasure or sous rature, just as Jacques Derrida was compelled to do with the archaic language of metaphysics.4 Highly inadequate, intellectual is an old word suggestive of ivory towers, scholarly culture, and an intelligentsia, all of which are non-Indigenous. Yet the term is necessary for affirming that Indigenous writers are as capable as their European or American counterparts of profound insights expressed in eloquent prose.
     In general, tribal languages did not possess a word for "writing" per se, though many did adapt older terms-- typically ones signifying drawing or picture making-- to describe the peculiar markings on paper that settler populations brought with them, and which was a prominent part of their idea of "civilization."5 So, then, how to talk about the writer and writing in an Indigenous context? In a colloquial sense intellectual is simply another name for "educated Indian," which historically meant having obtained an "education" at a "white man's school" away from one's language and cultural traditions. As such, the emergence of Indigenous intellectuals is integral to the metamorphoses that all Indigenous communities have undergone as a consequence of Euro-American expansionism, which included the appearance of Christian converts and Indian police, army scouts, ranchers, farmers, and day laborers, not to mention Indian Bureau employees. With this in mind, Indigenous intellectuals were important at making sense out of the maelstrom of changes that tribes endured as their sovereignty and individual rights were repressed, as they were systematically forced onto reservations overseen by the military and a federal bureaucracy. Indigenous intellectuals have, in response to this predicament, articulated the needs and rights of the American Indian community, as well as promoted what they regarded as necessary political and social reforms in Indian-US relations. On the latter point, it should be acknowledged that Indigenous intellectuals often advocated for ideas and proposals that have been regarded as controversial by both their contemporaries and descendants in the American Indian community. For example, as Peyer documents, many of the most prominent personages of the Antebellum Indigenous literary community were unashamedly Christian, who actively sought the conversion of their "brethren." On one hand, writers like Occum, William Apess (Pequot), Elias Boudinot (Cherokee), and George Copway (Ojibwe) thought that converting to Christianity was a practical adjustment to be made in light of the drastic changes impacting their respective communities. On the other hand, these missionary writers firmly believed that the new religion was an antidote to the scourge of social evils, alcoholism above all else, that were afflicting numerous Indian families. Then, of course, there were intellectuals advocating for US citizenship, the General Allotment Act, and admitting an Indian state into the Union.6
     In addition, Indigenous writers were compelled to reflect on the Indian-made changes that have emerged because individuals volun-{32}teered to enlist in the armed services, send their children to school, or migrate into nonreservation communities, complete with changes in lifestyles and career options. Perhaps the conditions under which these choices were made were created by American colonialism; nevertheless, in many cases Indians chose for themselves how they would survive and endure through the situations in which they found themselves. The latter included making conscious decisions to try using the tools and knowledge of modern American life to serve and protect their tribes and families, either by creating a cogent political opposition or, just as often, by fostering understanding between Indian and settler communities. Elias Johnson, for example, noted in the 1881 introduction to Legends, Traditions and Laws of the Iroquois, or Six Nations, and History of the Tuscarora Indians:

The Histories which are in the schools, and from which the first impressions are obtained, are still very deficient in what they relate of Indian History, and most of them are still filling the minds of children and youth, with imperfect ideas. I have read many of the Histories, and have longed to see refuted the slanders, and blot out the dark pictures which the historians have wont to spread abroad concerning us. May I live to see the day when it may be done, for most deeply have I learned to blush for my people. (2)

However, despite living in a time of armed and violent conflict, Johnson did not seek revenge for the slanders inflicted by generations of colonial histories. Rather, as he states in his preface: "To animate a kinder feeling between the white people and the Indians, established by a truer knowledge of our civil and domestic life, and of our capabilities for future elevation, is the motive for which this work is founded" (3). In addition to writing Indigenous histories, it was commonplace for American Indian authors to take to the podium in a series of public lectures, in which white audiences willingly subjected themselves to the haranguing of an "educated Indian" about the "true conditions" on the reservation or on the frontier.
     Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins (Paiute) stands apart in this regard, as she made a desperate attempt at acquiring help and understanding for her people, who were enduring the ravages of settlers overtaking their homeland in northwestern Nevada. Even an army fort and clearly demarcated reservation lines were insufficient at protecting an other-{33}wise defenseless community, which only wanted to adjust to the new order in peace. According to Hopkins's editor at G. P. Putnam's Sons, Mary Mann: "Mrs Hopkins came to the East from the Pacific coast with the courageous purpose of telling in detail to the mass of our people, 'extenuating nothing and setting down naught in malice,' the story of her people's trials" (Mann 2). Book writing, in this case, like so many others, was done out of necessity. Particularly in the days before mass electronic media, publishing a book was a way of reaching a large audience. Moreover, this was done, not for entertainment, nor even merely for education, but rather to raise awareness of an ongoing calamity and, hopefully, inspire people to action. As I write in The American Indian Intellectual Tradition: "Winnemucca did not write for the sake of a higher ideal, except for the implied right of the Paiutes to live free from fear of either persecution or theft. Winnemucca was more concerned with facilitating her nation's survival in a region, the Great Basin, that seemed to only grow more violent every time there was an increase in the colonial population" (101). As an example of how an American Indian becomes a writer-activist working on behalf of one's community, Winnemucca's account of how she was thrust into such a role stands out as exemplary. In chapter 5 of her 1883 book Life among the Piutes, Winnemucca recounts a distressing episode in which the Paiutes are accused of murdering two white settlers, which brings in an investigation from the local army detachment. The commanding officer, Captain Jerome, who knew Winnemucca well due to her work as a translator, sent a letter asking that she and her brother Natchez meet with him about this serious matter. Winnemucca, because the threat of war with the Americans was imminent, shared the captain's missive with others in her camp. Upon hearing that the soldiers were on their way, Winnemucca's people demanded that she say something to the captain on their behalf:

They said, "Can you speak to them on paper?"
     I said, "I have nothing to write with. I have no ink. I have no pen."
     They said, "Oh, take a stick,--take anything. Until you talk on that paper we will not believe you can talk on paper."
     I said, "Make me a stick with a sharp point, and bring me some fish's blood." They did as I told them, and then I wrote [to the captain]. (82)

{34} Life among the Piutes is an epic elaboration of the urgent situation in which the Paiutes found themselves because soldiers were on the way, not to mention waves of immigrants into Paiute land.
     In the spirit of working for the good of one's people during a time of crisis, Charles Eastman stands as a paragon of intellectual service, in which his writing was a major part of his activism. Similar to Winnemucca, Eastman's identity as a writer would be forged in the fires of Indian-white relations. More specifically, Eastman pondered and wrote about Indian affairs during the first two decades of the twentieth century, not because he was seeking tenure (Eastman never joined a university faculty) nor aspiring to become a best-selling author (although some of his titles, such as Indian Boyhood, achieved some level of popularity), but rather to engage in "a campaign of education on the Indian and his true place in American history." More to the point, Eastman recognized the need to rehabilitate the popular image of Indians as "savages" and "moral degenerates," which had driven federal Indian policy since the Washington administration. "My chief object has been," Eastman writes, "not to entertain, but to present the American Indian in his true character before Americans" (Deep Woods 187). Oftentimes Indigenous intellectuals, such as Eastman, used their skills to elucidate the history of Indian-white relations from an Indigenous perspective, be it the injustices that tribal nations incurred in the name of "progress" and "civilization" or the numerous acts of generosity Indians have shown their "white brothers" over the years. Just as often Indigenous writers felt compelled to explain that Indians were not "war-like savages," but people who valued peace for their nation and who practiced a "religion" based on notions of balance and respect. Unfortunately, what makes such a clearly stated and worthwhile endeavor such an ordeal is the fact that not everyone is amenable to the Indigenous perspective on Indian affairs, which Eastman learned firsthand.
     After being driven off the Pine Ridge Reservation for criticizing Indian agents on how they handled the Ghost Dance fracas, which led to the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre, Eastman, a Dartmouth-educated physician from the Mdewakanton Dakota community, moved his young family to Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he struggled to make ends meet as a general practice physician. In his thirties and with time on his hands, Eastman initiated his writing career, which he recalls in chapter 9 of his 1916 autobiography, From the Deep Woods to Civilization: "While {35} I had plenty of leisure, I began to put upon paper some of my earliest recollections, with the thought that our children might some day like to read of that wilderness life. When my wife discovered what I had written, she insisted upon sending it to St. Nicholas" (139). These self-described "sketches" were published the year after their submission and subsequently formed the basis for Indian Boyhood, which Eastman published with McClure, Philips in 1902. Over time Eastman's writing career developed into a profound effort at educating Americans, and not just his children, about Indian culture and history. Thus, Eastman's life as an "intellectual"--which, by the way, was a label he never once used to describe himself--was driven by the needs and values of the Indigenous community from which he derived his identity as a Dakota person.7 Eastman neither sought out the status of published author nor deliberately aspired toward the notoriety of being a spokesman on behalf of Indian rights. Yet, because of his eloquence and the publication of nine books, Eastman's work as a writer, thinker, and activist became as meaningful as his work as a medical doctor. Both types of vocation fulfilled his wish "to share with [his] people whatever [he] might attain" from pursuing a college degree (Deep Woods 60).
     This is not to say that Eastman did not realize the extent to which social decay was epidemic throughout the reservation system; on the contrary, based on his firsthand knowledge of reservation conditions as an Indian Bureau physician, Eastman argued that what Americans saw on the reservation was actually a reflection of the federal government's treatment of Indians, which deliberately exposed them to "strong drink, powerful temptations, and commercialism" (Deep Woods 187). Comparable to the "slums" set aside for immigrant populations in cities like New York, Boston, and Chicago, the reservations were set aside, in Eastman's estimation, not to preserve Indian culture, but rather to permit its denizens to deteriorate into extinction away from so-called polite society, all of which was hidden behind a veneer of lies and half-truths called "Indian progress" that the Indian Bureau annually touted in volumes of official reports.
     As a charter member of the Society of American Indians (founded in 1911), which was the predecessor for organizations like the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Youth Council, and the Native American Rights Fund, Eastman played an important role in advocating for Indian rights. Indeed, as I have observed elsewhere, {36} what Eastman had in common with both his peers and predecessors was taking "on the role of edifying their readers and listeners about conditions in the Indian community, complete with a 'Native perspective,' if you will, on historical events and political developments" (Martínez, American ix). Yet, despite Eastman's literary legacy, which stood alongside that of his peers, such as Zitkala-Sa, whose own writings are still being read today in literature and gender studies, Carlos Montezuma, whose Wassaja newsletter stands as a tower of principled journalism, and Arthur Parker, more prolific than any of the Progressive Era luminaries, who authored dozens of articles and several books on Indigenous history, culture, and politics, there has always been an assumption that Indians are written about by others and do not write for themselves. So, between those who do not want to hear the Indian side of the story and those who do not believe Indians can write, finding the opportunity to broadcast Indian voices is challenging, to say the least, often requiring patience and fortitude.
     Vine Deloria Jr., Standing Rock Sioux intellectual, once noted in his seminal work on American Indian religion, God Is Red, that there was a prevailing but disturbing attitude against recognizing the need for contemporary Indian writers. Referring to his own experience at getting his first book published, Deloria recalls: "As late as 1964, many publishers thought (1) Indians could not write books, and (2) any book written by an Indian would be 'biased' in favor of Indians" (26). According to Stan Steiner, the author of The New Indians, a 1967 book covering the rise of Indian activism after World War II and the men and women who emerged as leaders, he made a valiant but futile effort during 1965-66 at finding Deloria a publisher. Repeatedly, Steiner kept encountering the same prejudice on the part of editors who assumed that the future author of Custer Died for Your Sins could not write a "fair and balanced" book about Indians. Fair and balanced, of course, was code for writing like a non-Indian. "Whenever the subject of Indians writing their own books arose," Deloria further recounts, "even the friendliest of non-Indians stated that a great many Indians had written books and that we should be content with what they had left" (26). Such as what? Deloria refers to an unnamed historian who asserted that books like Sun Chief by Don Talayesva, Son of Old Man Hat, the Navajo autobiography that was "recorded" by Walter Dyk, and Black Hawk's 1833 autobiography, another as-told-to work, were sufficient representations of the Ameri-{37}can Indian experience. Apparently, Deloria bemoaned, "books about contemporary outrages," be it fishing rights in the Pacific Northwest or Hopi and Navajo concerns about Peabody Coal Mining in the Four Corners region, ought not to be published because they would "stir up bad feelings between Indians and whites" (26). Fortunately Deloria was able to publish Custer in 1969 with Macmillan, which was widely known for having published Worlds in Collision in 1950, a deeply divisive work in cosmology and astrophysics. Immanuel Velikovsky, of course, would later be a major influence on Deloria's critique of religion in God Is Red (113-32), which was first published in 1974.
     What is interesting about the above anecdote is the fact that the publishers with whom Steiner spoke and the historian who wrote to Deloria were at least aware that American Indians had been authors, at least of a sort. As noted, the publishers and historian mentioned only as-told-to autobiographies, which, although they have a significant place in the history of American Indian literature, are nonetheless premised on the notion that Indians do not write per se. More to the point, an Indian author is not really an author but a storyteller, more specifically, one who comes out of an oral tradition regaling his or her "reader" with the myths, legends, and tales of a "vanishing race." What the historical record of American Indian letters demonstrates to the contrary is that there have been generations of Indian authors who wrote without the assistance of either a translator or note-taker, and who focused unabashedly on contemporary outrages, much to the chagrin of their largely white American audiences. Be that as it may, although the number of Indigenous writers has increased over the decades, now centuries, of American occupation of what has become the United States, their presence has nonetheless remained scarce. For while Indigenous writers and thinkers appear numerous when taken as a whole, they lose their collective prominence when regarded from the vantage point of individual tribes.
     Indeed, it is not uncommon among Indian writers to be one of only a few, if not the only one, to publish anything within one's tribe. Moreover, it is equally common for one to make only a modest contribution to Indigenous letters before exiting the writing community altogether. Consequently, when it comes to the literary traditions of many tribal groups, there is little to speak of. For example, while one can comprehend an Ojibwe literary heritage as long as one is inclusive of all Ojibwe {38} groups, it is much more difficult to speak of, say, a Crow or Apsáalooke literary tradition. Not many writers come to mind beyond Pretty-Shield, who was the "author" of another as-told-to autobiography, which the aged medicine woman published with Frank B. Linderman in 1932.8 The same is true of my own tribe, the Akimel O'odham or Gila River Pima. Although I am aware of writers like George Webb, who published A Pima Remembers in 1959, and Anna Moore Shaw, who published Pima Indian Legends in 1968, followed by A Pima Past in 1974, there is not much basis on which to claim a Pima literary tradition.9 Even when Tohono O'odham writers are added, who are also few and far between (e.g., James McCarthy, Danny Lopez, and Ofelia Zepeda), the O'odham literary tradition as a whole remains rather modest. Thus, it is only under the pan-Indian label American Indian that one can begin to see the advent of intellectuals appearing in Indigenous communities as a unique class.
     As noted earlier, Indigenous communities have seen writers and thinkers steadily emerge since the 1770s, when Occom arose as a minister to and an advocate for the Mohegan community of southern New England. From here on, other Indigenous writers/thinkers/activists appeared, typically during a period of crisis instigated by a critical and adversarial development in federal Indian policy, to be a voice on behalf of their tribe, their race, and their religion (which often meant both Indigenous and Christian traditions). As treaties were broken and westward expansion induced the forced removal of countless Indians, figures like Elias Boudinot (Cherokee), John Ross (Cherokee), William Apess (Pequot), Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins (Paiute), and George Copway (Ojibwe) stood up on behalf of Indigenous peoples and, in a variety of writings and speeches, promoted justice, sympathy, and tolerance for Indian communities being overrun by innumerable settlers, who were turning Indian lands into "territories," and then into "states" faster than most Indian people could adjust to in their lifetime. The struggle for Indian rights, of course, continued after the so-called Indian wars were over and the reservation system was set firmly into place. At this point one begins seeing persons like Charles Eastman (Dakota), Carlos Montezuma (Yavapai), and Gertrude Bonnin (aka Zitkala-Sa, Lakota) take a stand for treating Indians as "citizens" and for reforming, if not in fact abolishing, the Indian Bureau. Then, again, in the aftermath of HCR 108, another generation of thinkers took on the weighty task of express-{39}ing the hopes, fears, ideas, and values of Indigenous communities once more in a state of siege, during which we hear the voices of Clyde Warrior (Ponca), Robert K. Thomas (Cherokee), and Vine Deloria Jr. (Lakota) affirming the language of sovereignty and self-determination. One might say that it is precisely because of the necessity of asserting a politically active component to one's writing that makes the Indigenous intellectual something other than an "intellectual." Whether one is advocating for new legislation to enhance Indian rights or educating non-Indians about tribal culture and history, American Indian intellectuals are compelled to react and often rebel against American colonialism. Consequently Indigenous writers historically have worked outside of the confines of academia. Some were medical doctors, while others were ministers, newspapermen, tribal leaders, or amateur ethnographers. Equally important is the fact that individuals like the ones named above varied in their educational backgrounds, some having acquired a college degree while others barely achieved the equivalent of some high school, if not less.10 In short, Indigenous intellectuals were never a part of a "leisure class," complete with privileged, affluent backgrounds. Family and clan, in most cases, mattered more than degrees and titles.11
     Unsurprisingly, it would be non-Indian scholars who would bestow the title of intellectual upon Indigenous writers who were more concerned with their tribe's immediate well-being than with labels. In 1978 Margot Liberty edited an anthology titled American Indian Intellectuals of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century, in which she observed in a preface to the 2002 edition that the phrase "American Indian intellectuals" was first coined by Margaret Mead and Ruth L. Bunzel in their 1960 anthology, The Golden Age of American Anthropology (vii). Unfortunately, Liberty does not cite her reference; upon examination of Mead and Bunzel's anthology, the term is nowhere to be found. Mead, in her introduction, does refer to American Indian individuals who, during the classic period of anthropological fieldwork, 1880-1920, "made occasional pilgrimages to our great museums where their sacred pipes and sacred medicine bundles had been preserved through the efforts of those who found the old ways valuable. At the same time a few of their young men pushed on to become proficient in the new culture, but others--the majority--sank into apathy, fenced within bits of land which were inadequate to support their ancient ways of life and out of which they were only too likely to be maneuvered on the morrow" (2-3, my emphasis). {40} One of these few young men, about whom Mead speaks, was Francis La Flesche, an Omaha/Osage who collaborated with Alice C. Fletcher on a massive two-volume report for the Bureau of American Ethnology titled The Omaha Tribe. La Flesche's work independent of Fletcher is also acknowledged in Mead and Bunzel's anthology with an excerpt from a prayer for the painting of the body, which he translated for his bae report on the Osage. With respect to La Flesche, Bunzel notes:

Francis La Flesche grew up among the Omaha while the buffalo still ran, and remembered war parties though he had not participated in them. He was educated at a Presbyterian mission college. On a visit to Washington as a member of a delegation of Indians he met the Secretary of the Interior, who persuaded him to join the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Here he began his fruitful collaboration with Alice Fletcher. After the completion of the Omaha volume he was transferred to the Bureau of American Ethnology and worked on the Osage, a closely related tribe. (228, emphasis in original)

     Given the time in which Mead and Bunzel published their anthology, it is significant to note that the references to La Flesche are free of any condescending language toward his ethnicity. The coauthor of The Omaha Tribe is fully accepted as part of the anthropological tradition without any need to explain or justify his presence. At the same time it is unclear why Mead and Bunzel omitted other significant American Indian anthropologists, such as Arthur C. Parker (Seneca), J. N. B. Hewitt (Tuscarora), and James Murie (Pawnee), not to mention the equally important ethnographies and ethnohistories produced by a variety of American Indian authors, such as Samson Occom (Pequot), George Copway (Ojibwe), Andrew J. Blackbird (Ottawa), William Warren (Ojibwe), and Elias Johnson (Tuscarora), as well as George Bushotter (Lakota), George Sword (Lakota), Charles Eastman (Dakota) and Luther Standing Bear (Lakota). More than likely, Mead and Bunzel held an unconscious presumption, La Flesche notwithstanding, that anthropologists were non-Indians trained in the science of ethnography, while Indians were objects of study, bearers of a disappearing culture, which anthropology sought to preserve in the voluminous pages of BAE reports.
     Liberty, on the other hand, is explicitly aware of the Indigenous contribution to the discourse on American Indian culture and history, focusing exclusively on American Indian writers and thinkers of {41} the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Nonetheless, the volume consists of non-Indians writing about Indians, even though, as of 1976, there were several well-known Indian writers who could have written insightfully about their predecessors. Perhaps the composition of Liberty's anthology is a reflection of the social science tradition of which it is a part. The papers were written for a symposium at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting. Of particular interest to the contributors was the dynamics of cultural change within small communities as exemplified by the Indian writers under examination. As Liberty observes: "the American Indian situation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was one generally of such rapid and drastic change as to focus anthropological attention upon the nature of cultural change itself." Following in the footsteps of Mead and Bunzel, Liberty's contributors are "linked to the historical interest of the Boasian school," in which cultural change "took on a particular note of urgency." Indeed, the "stresses upon individuals which derived from acculturation are clearly reflected in the essays" of Liberty's anthology, such as the ones on Arthur Parker (Seneca) and Richard Sanderville (Blackfoot) (256-73).12 With respect to this exceptional generation of American Indian intellectuals, Liberty acknowledges the diversity among the men and women who defined the era of cultural change in which they lived, while observing some common traits among them. In the tradition of salvage anthropology, Liberty notes awareness on the part of Indian writers of lifeways that are rendered all the "more precious because they were vanishing." Consequently many of the writers examined were motivated by "the task of preserving at least something for the future." Liberty then points out some recurring themes that would remain relevant long past the "golden age" of American anthropology:

Other notes recur here-- of anger at exploitation and crusading for reform; of showmanship at times and making financial or political gain from widespread loss and tragedy; of "reverse exploitation" of anthropologists reported somewhat wryly by several authors . . . ; and of conflict and sometimes heartbreak amid the relentless currents of change which engulfed each in his or her own way. (1)

The distinction of being "intellectuals," however, did not seem to gain traction as a result of Liberty's comprehensive effort at elevating writing to a form of agency in the American Indian community. Recogniz-{42}ing the existential freedom of authoring one's own writings and what this implies about cultural change and adaptation under colonial conditions would not begin to occur until the 1990s, which is when American Indian studies or Native American studies (AIS /NAS ) reached a level of scholarly maturity that it did not have when Liberty published her seminal anthology.

During the 1990s, which also saw the emergence of "decolonization" as a dominant idea driving Indigenous scholarship, the presence of Indigenous scholars grew to a point at which the discourse changed from etic to emic in orientation. Consequently, as Warrior affirms in Tribal Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions, one must "respect the demand that Native writers be taken seriously as critics as well as producers of literature and culture." With this objective in mind, Warrior stipulates in his introduction: "after more than two centuries of impressive literary and critical production, critical interpretation of those writings can proceed primarily from Indian sources" (xvi). American Indians are now living and working in a post-anthropological era, in which Indigenous writers and thinkers may proceed without the necessity of privileging the social scientists that once dominated the analyses of their communities.13 In a controversial turn Warrior postulates the concept of "intellectual sovereignty" as a practical alternative to "native perspective," which has been used repeatedly for lack of a better term. Warrior initially defines his idea in light of his critiques of Vine Deloria Jr. and John Joseph Mathews (Osage) as moving "toward a cultural criticism that is grounded in American Indian experiences but which can draw on the insights and experiences of others who have faced similar struggles" (xxiii). In other words, just as the European intellectual tradition feels obliged to refer only to other European writers for insight into the European experience, so too can American Indian writers be just as self-referential, even ethnocentric, in their own discourses.14
     Once the discourse on American Indian writers, as thinkers and activists, alternated into an Indigenous reflection on the role of such figures in their respective communities, the critical questions consequently changed from those posed by anthropologists interested in cultural change to those in the Indigenous community interested in cultural revitalization and political self-determination. Instead of examining Indigenous writers as conduits of cultural decline or assimilation, they are active creators of ideas, opinions, narratives, and critiques, in which the {43} historical and current state of affairs among Indigenous nations is subjected to the analyses and evaluations of Indigenous writers and thinkers. With respect to American Indian intellectuals, insofar as the questions and discussions were being driven by Indigenous scholars, they also became more self-aware of their growing academic tendencies. Whereas for much of American Indian intellectual history, writer-activists worked outside of academia, since the advent of AIS /NAS more Indigenous writers have been working squarely within the academic environment, complete with all of its freedoms and limitations. At this point examining the role of the American Indian intellectual inevitably ran into questions of purpose and usefulness to Indigenous communities.
     Contemporaneous with Warrior above, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn (Crow Creek Sioux), in her 1996 article, "American Indian Intellectualism and the New Indian Story," observes the obvious absence of an intellectual tradition and role models among Indian people, in spite of the growing numbers of Indians, not only in terms of population, but also who write and publish on a regular basis. "It is true," Cook-Lynn writes, "that 'the American Indian intellectual' is to many people a bizarre phrase, falling quaintly on the unaccustomed ears of those in the American mainstream." Instead, Indians are overburdened with an array of stereotypes, none of which acknowledges Indians as writers and thinkers. "It is as though the American Indian has no intellectual voice with which to enter into America's important dialogue" on the pressing issues of the day (Cook-Lynn 57). Consequently, just as the vast majority of Indian lands are occupied by non-Indian settlers, so too are much of the stories about them told by non-Indians. Yet, Cook-Lynn states, perhaps because of the institutional pressures to represent Indian cultures and histories in a way that is amenable to the American myth of settlement and expansion, American Indian writers, even when they are tenured and tenure-tract professors, do not always live up to the needs and expectations of their respective communities:

The failure of the contemporary Indian novel and literary studies in Native American studies to contribute substantially to intellectual debates in defense of First Nationhood is discouraging. The American universities which have been at the forefront of the modern study of American Indian experience in literature for the past three decades and the professors, writers, and research-{44}ers who have directed the discourse through teaching and writing have been influenced by what may be called the inevitable imperial growth of the United States. Most seem to agree that the Indian story and what is labeled "cultural studies" are the future but their refusal or inability to use a nation-to-nation approach to Native intellectualism has prevailed. ("American Indian Intellectualism" 68)15

It is the nation-to-nation approach that Cook-Lynn advocated a mere three years earlier in "The American Indian Fiction Writers: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, the Third World, and First Nation Sovereignty," in which she criticizes those writers whom she regards as having sacrificed a concrete relationship with their community for the transnational accolades that come with pursuing a more "cosmopolitan" aesthetic agenda. "As Vine Deloria, Jr. asked the anthropologists in [1969], 'Where were you when we needed you?' Indians may now ask of their writers, two decades later, 'Where were you when we defended ourselves and sought clarification as sovereigns in the modern world?'" (Cook-Lynn, "American Indian Fiction" 28). Indeed, as Deloria would point out himself two years after Cook-Lynn's article: "the battles against derogatory images of Indians, improper histories of tribes, and misinformation on tribal programs are still being carried on largely by local Indian leaders, not by Indian academics" ("Intellectual" 27, my emphasis).16 Implied by Cook-Lynn's and Deloria's comments is the assertion that the only authentic role for the Indigenous writer and thinker is to actively immerse oneself in the social and political realities of the daily lives and ongoing struggles of Indigenous peoples, consequently developing a research agenda that is based on Indigenous lives and histories, as well as the values and ambitions of communities that remain colonized in an otherwise "postmodern" era. Moreover, one can argue that despite the institutionalization of AIS/NAS in academia-- or, perhaps, because of it-- an ironic development in the Indigenous community is a class of scholars who need to be reminded of their activist, politically aware heritage.17
     With the above in mind, a critical issue in the pursuit of an authentically Indigenous foundation for scholarship has been challenging writers and thinkers in the Indigenous community to actively affirm their connection with the non-Western traditions that define their intellectual identities. Regardless of one's academic training, there is a source {45} of value and meaning that extends beyond the academic field in which one may have been trained and educated (including AIS /NAS ) and into the bonds defined by peoplehood. Within this tribal context one is compelled to consider an array of elders as one's intellectual predecessors, including ones who may not have known English, let alone have written down their thoughts. In a 1998 essay titled "Intellectual Self-Determination and Sovereignty: Looking at the Windmills in Our Minds," Deloria bemoans the intellectualization of the Indian community among Indian academics:

Traditional people were and are natural philosophers, but if we look closely at their words, we find deep insights described in the simplest of language. Thus, self-determination, sovereignty, hegemony, empowerment, and colonialism are nice big words that philosophers and intellectuals use, but what do they really mean? I often feel they assist us in creating a set of artificial problems, wholly abstract in nature, that we can discuss endlessly without having to actually do something. Each generation has a set of concepts that it uses to feverishly discuss longstanding problems and thereby avoid responsibility for solving them. (25)

     In deference to the natural philosophers of the Indigenous community, in my 2010 article "Pulling Down the Clouds: The O'odham Intellectual Tradition during the 'Time of Famine,'" which focuses on the Pima medicine man Thin Leather, I wrote with respect to the aged but illiterate wise man being an "intellectual" in his own right:

First, each indigenous community in its own way was capable of addressing the most poignant issues of the human condition: life and death, human nature, origins, community, and the like. Second, one is only an indigenous intellectual if one is an indigenous person first and foremost, which includes valuing one's people and their relationship with their homeland, language, kinship, and sacred history. Third, being an intellectual is not limited to being college educated and speaking and writing in a European language. Fourth, while indigenous communities possess an intellectual tradition, they do not have a theoretical one; instead, philosophical and religious ideas and insights are conveyed primarily through narrative, be it in the form of a story, song, or speech. (2-3)

{46} Taking Deloria's and my articles together is not to suggest that Indigenous intellectuals ought to forego engaging in analytical or theoretical discourses, lest they be judged as "assimilated." On the contrary it is meant to caution Indigenous scholars from privileging nonfigurative forms of thinking at the expense of aboriginal knowledge traditions.18 Just as generations of parents and grandparents advised their children and grandchildren to "remember where you're from" before sending them off to college, so too must Indigenous intellectuals remember this, even after acquiring a host of advanced degrees and publications.
     So, now, having critiqued the historical origins of the "American Indian intellectual," where does that leave us? While it is clear, based on a preponderance of evidence, that Indians have been authors--complete with creative control--of a wide range of works in a variety of genres, does it make sense to speak of an American Indian intellectual tradition? After all, it was not all that long ago when Indians were thought to be struggling toward "civilization" by becoming the humblest of farmers and Christians, let alone actively generating a body of published writings exhibiting articulateness and erudition. For this Indigenous author, the question of my intellectual identity is only partially defined by my connection, as noted above, to my literate predecessors, Webb and Shaw, not to mention Thin Leather. Of equal importance is that I am directly descended from Simon Lewis, my grandfather, who was once a farmer, who then became a Presbyterian minister, and who tended to his parishioners' needs for more than forty years at the Gila Crossing First Presbyterian Church in District 6 of the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona. It was mostly his example, complete with his sincere encouragement that I further my education, that inspired me to become the writer and scholar I am today.
     Honoring one's elders, especially those of one's family, is commonplace among Indigenous intellectuals, as it is within the American Indian community in general. With respect to this, it simply does not make any sense to speak about the appropriateness of words like intellectual, or any other abstraction, without talking about kinship, be it in terms of family, language, or land. My point about relatedness, I should note before concluding, is based on a frequently uttered principle of respecting one's ancestors, in which case, in an Indigenous world where more tribal members than ever before are pursuing education, especially higher education, as a venerable life goal, the stories of how our predecessors acquired their education and how they used it to serve their {47} people are not only a part of our intellectual heritage but also our oral traditions. They are part of the stories of this world, the one in which we have all been struggling since the earliest settlers arrived on Indian land.
     An Indigenous definition of intellectual, therefore, must necessarily include a range of wise and learned figures, possessing different bodies of traditional knowledge, not the least of whom would be medicine men and chiefs, such as Thin Leather. At the same time, in between these traditional roles have emerged figures like Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, Charles Eastman, Vine Deloria Jr., and Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, who, as far as I know, were neither medicine people nor chiefs. The writer/ thinker/activist, aka intellectual, is a modern phenomenon, yet a meaningful one that Indigenous communities are still figuring out how to comprehend. May it always be the case that those of us who purport to speak, teach, and write on behalf of Indigenous peoples be consistently held accountable for our words and actions. As I have written elsewhere, Indigenous people have an intellectual tradition--as embodied in their Creation Stories--but they do not have a theoretical tradition. Such a distinction does not necessarily imply that Indigenous people are incapable of abstract thought or that the thinking done in Indigenous languages lacks sophistication. Rather, it is meant to remind both Indians and non-Indians alike that there is a very profound way of contemplating the life and world around one without relying on the Western tradition of abstract thinking, which is typically replete with technical terms and obtuse ideas, which only properly trained "experts" can understand and explain to others. What my observation suggests, instead, is that the Indigenous intellectual heritage is a tradition of wisdom without elitism, and that if contemporary AIS/NAS scholars sincerely want to respect the knowledge of their elders and communities, then they ought to maintain their discourses on an equitable plane with their oral tradition, not to mention their elders. Such a proposition, of course, will make sense depending on the extent to which one regards one's oral tradition as valid, not to mention how much an individual knows about the values, beliefs, and practices associated with these traditional narratives.19


     1. In one sense the reluctance of American Indian writers to call themselves "intellectuals" is consistent with the suspicion aimed at such individuals in American society in general. For more on the problematic history of being labeled an intellectual in America, see Richard Hofstadter.
     2. The necessarily marginal, not to mention subversive, role of the intellectual has been analyzed and reflected upon by a range of thinkers, in particular those representing subaltern groups in nations that have been historically colonized by global (mostly European) powers. See, for example, Edward W. Said.
     3. As Clara Sue Kidwell and Alan Velie argue, employing such a phrase as "native perspective" is merely "a convenient short-hand term for the idea that Native Americans think differently from other people, but the phrase itself does not explain what that difference is." On the contrary the phrase simply homogenizes Indigenous thinking, limiting it to being little more than an expression of ethnic determinism. Kidwell and Velie, 9.
     4. See Jacques Derrida, 44-64.
     5. For more on this complex subject, see Garrick Mallery and William M. Clements.
     6. Probably the most notorious example of American Indian intellectuals being out of step with changes in the community was when leaders of the Society of American Indians, namely Zitkala-Sa, Charles Eastman, Carlos Montezuma, and Arthur Parker, came out against the spread of peyote use among Indians on the reservation. See Hazel W. Hertzberg, 239-86.
     7. For more on Eastman's biography and his life as a public servant, see Raymond Wilson. For more on Eastman's intellectual development during the Progressive Era, see David Martínez, Dakota.
     8. The book known today as Pretty-Shield was originally published as Red Mother (New York: John Day Company, 1932). See also Frank B. Linderman.
     9. Similar to Eastman, Webb became a writer out of concern for the children in his life: "This book is written with the young Pima Indians in mind. Very few Pima parents tell their children about the customs and habits of their forefathers. Therefore the present young Pimas do not know of the early life of their people." See George Webb, 7. Shaw shared in the ambition of many Indigenous writers of enlightening as wide an audience as possible about the customs and values of her people: "In 1950 I began a two-year writer's course to enable myself to set down the ancient legends of our people in an interesting manner. This was all a part of my plan to help make both Indians and whites aware of the proud heritage of the original Americans." See Anna Moore Shaw, 190-91.
     10. In this respect American Indian intellectuals were part of the common people, any of whom have the right to speak on the Indigenous experience, regardless of the disadvantages of education and income. This is a notion found elsewhere and during different historical epochs. See, for example, Antonio Gramsci.
     11. The phenomenon of the "educated Indian" has been a part of Indian Country since the earliest days of compulsory education was imposed on Indian children, going back to John Eliot's "prayer villages." Ever since, there has persisted what one may call an "Indigenous class consciousness," signifying the divide between those who have obtained "the white man's education" and those who remained "untutored." Illustrative of this class consciousness is a story that Benjamin Franklin reported in 1744 during a treaty council in Virginia with members of the Haudenosaunee
{49} or Iroquois. The delegates from the Virginia colony offered to educate half-a-dozen Iroquois young men at the college of Williamsburg, to which the Iroquois delegation replied: "You, who are wise, must know that different nations have different conceptions of things . . . Several of our young people were formerly brought up at the colleges of the Northern provinces; they were instructed in all your sciences; but when they came back to us they were bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger, knew neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, nor kill an enemy; spoke our language imperfectly; were therefore neither fit for hunters, warriors, nor counselors-- they were, therefore, totally good for nothing." In turn, the Iroquois made a counter-offer, in which they would take some of the Virginians, whom they would instruct in all that they knew of living in the woods, thereby making "men of them." See Rennard Strickland.
     12. Margot Liberty, "American Indians and American Anthropology," 8-9. Liberty mentions a third name, Warbonnet, who is not featured in her anthology but is quoted in Loretta Fowler's essay on Bill Shakespeare, 256-73.
     13. See the classic critique of anthropology's difficult relationship with the Indian community in chapter 4, "Anthropologists and Other Friends," of Deloria, Custer Died for Your Sins, 78-100. It should be noted that the pursuit of a more humanistic approach to the understanding of Indigenous culture and society goes back to the earliest generations of Indigenous writers. For example, in addition to Elias Johnson's work, cited above, Eastman devoted a work on Indian religion to developing a more humane discourse. Eastman faced this dilemma when writing about the sacred customs with which he was familiar growing up in the Dakota community; however, he felt the customs were poorly understood by non-Dakotas. At the time, the prevalent idea among social scientists was the evolutionary model of social development, which stipulated that all human societies naturally progress from "savagery" to "civilization," with modern Western civilization standing at the pinnacle. With this precept in mind, scores of anthropologists set out to record the "vanishing" and "primitive" ways of Indian tribes throughout the world, from the South Pacific to the American Southwest, before they either literally disappeared or else vanished into the grind of modern life, which was analyzed and documented in works that defined the science of ethnology. In the case of the "Sioux," so-called authoritative volumes had been published by Samuel W. Pond, James Mooney, and James R. Walker, which are still being cited today. For Eastman, though, even these learned men did not sufficiently capture the essence of Dakota customs as living beliefs and practices, let alone as anything that could survive the advent of the Progressive Era. Thus, as Eastman states in the preface to his 1911 book The Soul of the Indian: "My little book does not pretend to be a scientific treatise. It is as true as I can make it to my childhood teaching and ancestral ideals, but from the human, not the ethnological standpoint. I have not cared to pile up more dry bones, but to clothe them with flesh and blood. So much has been written by strangers of our ancient faith and worship treats it chiefly as matter of curiosity. I should like to emphasize its universal quality, its personal appeal!" (4). Eastman was writing this at a time when many spoke of "race" as though it were virtually a different species. Thus, the impetus for The Soul of the In-
{50}dian, which includes a positive comparison of Dakota sacred traditions, such as the Sun Dance, with Christian sacraments, such as Baptism, was not only to enlighten his readers about why Indians held their customs and beliefs so dearly, but also to change the way Americans thought about being human. Instead of the Malthusian notion of "survival of the fittest," which demanded that non-Western peoples give up their traditional ways for modern life or otherwise perish, Eastman advocated for a more balanced relationship between peoples and places, which prioritized peace over progress, spirituality over materialism, and brotherhood over competition. In many ways, Indian thinkers are still addressing today the dilemmas of modern life that Eastman confronted. What, perhaps, has changed between then and now is the way in which many Indigenous people across reservations throughout the United States have accommodated the values of labor, education, wealth, and competition into a tribal political agenda that now sees nation-building and entrepreneurship as the latest stage of evolution in their pursuit of self-determination.
     14. In Warrior's estimation, paradigmatic of intellectual sovereignty is the work of Mathews, in particular his 1945 book Talking to the Moon, which was the Osage writer's meditation on the Blackjacks, the area of Osage Country from which Mathews came and to which he always returned. As Warrior summarizes Mathew's importance to his special notion of sovereignty: "In Talking to the Moon, Mathews is obsessed with self-critical reflection on what he was doing in his life of writing at the Blackjacks. He presents a vision of how the act of writing functions in the struggle for self-determination and is continuous with both tradition and survival. Mathews's life at the Blackjacks, in this reading, becomes a long critical reflection on the meaning of freedom through the practice of intellectual sovereignty." The term intellectual sovereignty, although Mathews probably would have found it to be alien to his salt-of-the-earth manner of writing, nevertheless adequately evokes the kind of learned meditation on Indian land and the concrete experiences that Indian people have had as part of their environment, as written by someone as abundantly educated as the author of Talking to the Moon. Mathews, after all, was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a degree in geology, as well as Merton College, Oxford, from which he obtained a degree in natural sciences. See Warrior, 101.
     15. Cook-Lynn, "American Indian Intellectualism," 68. Even more reprehensible, instead of organizing to defend against land loss or the expropriation of natural resources, American Indian intellectuals, as of 1998, were more interested in organizing themselves into a professional society, "and all indications are that the function of this group is not to be useful to Indian communities with skills gained in higher education but simply to console each other that they have such a hard time climbing the academic ladder." See Deloria, "Intellectual," 27.
     16. Deloria, "Intellectual," 27.
     17. While it has become a part of ordinary Indian life today to see college-educated Indians earning a variety of degrees, referring to Indians as "intellectuals" is still frequently seen as an uncomfortable fit, akin to cutting one's hair and putting on "citizen clothes." This is the case even when the "intellectual" in question possesses undeniable talents as a writer and thinker, not to mention as an activist. As David E.
{51} Wilkins (Lumbee) fondly recalls about his friend and mentor, Vine Deloria Jr.: "Vine was never taken with the notion of being identified as an 'intellectual.'" This was in spite of the fact that, as Wilkins notes, Deloria had authored and coauthored at least two dozen books and two hundred articles and essays, in addition to regularly giving keynote addresses and interviews and testifying before congressional committees. See Wilkins, 154.
     18. Deloria railed against the endemically obtuse and hegemonic language that institutions invariably develop, such as has been perpetrated by the three most oppressive entities in Indian history: "Indeed, the people who maintain the barricades in science, religion, and politics have one thing in common that they do not share with the rest of the citizenry. They are responsible for creating a technical language, incomprehensible to the rest of us, whereby we cede to them our right and responsibility to think." See Deloria, Red Earth, 21.
     19. While the question of identity, as in "Who is or what defines an Indian?" will always arise anytime one goes into an existential crisis over their perceived Indianness or lack thereof, as an intellectual distraction from the urgent issues and problems facing Indigenous communities it ranks at the top of the pile of hackneyed topics that academics love to discuss in class (along with defining terms like assimilation, traditional, and living in two worlds). Identity as a topic of personal reflection, according to Jace Weaver, was a particular concern of the American Indian Philosophical Association, which drew a legendary moment of wrath from Vine Deloria Jr., who attended a regional meeting of the American Philosophical Association as their guest of honor. "The organizers, however," Weaver writes, "made the mistake of inviting Deloria to respond. According to those present, after listening to the presentations, Deloria said, 'I've wasted my life. If all I have done is enabled you to be here and navel gaze about your own identities, I've wasted my life!'" See Weaver, 240.


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Remembering Polingaysi
A Queer Recovery of No Turning Back as a Decolonial Text


Riverside. Land of oranges. Land of perfume. Time of torture. After more than half a century, Polingaysi still could not recall that interval without a surge of emotion, remembering the white nights filled with the cloying scent of the orange and lemon groves, remembering the stifled sobbing of the lonely child she had been.
     But there was another, happier, memory of that time. Each day the schoolchildren sang. Song was Polingaysi's salvation.
       Polingaysi Qoyawayma, No Turning Back, 59-60


In X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent, Scott Richard Lyons claims that "[n]o aspect of Native history has been more maligned in contemporary discourse than the boarding-school experience, or, as the historian David Wallace Adams names it, 'education for extinction'" (Lyons 22).1 The "typical narrative of victimization" tells how Indian children were displaced from their homes to genocidal institutions that sought to eliminate their Indigenous identities by assimilating them into the dominant Euro-American culture (22). This narrative rhetorically opposes (settler) colonization and (Indigenous) resistance, perpetuating a binary that denigrates Indians who lived in nontraditional ways as inauthentic at best, or as successfully assimilated and no longer truly Indian at worst. In this article I offer a "more complex treatment" of boarding school histories by exploring the ways Polingaysi's as-told-to autobiography, No Turning Back: A Hopi Indian Woman's Struggle to Live in Two Worlds (1964), complicates and challenges Indian victimization rhetoric (Lyons 23).2 No Turning Back characterizes Polingaysi (born c. 1892, died {55} 1990) as a "self-willed" woman who consistently pursued her personal desires rather than conforming to the gendered social norms of Hopi or US cultures, the two worlds indicated in the text's subtitle.3 Remembering Polingaysi as an agent of her own destiny, I focus on the gendered significance of her choice to attend Sherman Institute, a federal Indian boarding school in Riverside, California, and I recollect her life story's narration of her Hopi decolonization praxis, which I call gender indiscipline.
     I open this article with an overview of the disciplinary and theoretical issues that No Turning Back raises. This introduction describes my analytic methods and explains why we may usefully consider No Turning Back as a queer Indigenous and decolonial text. Subsequent sections of the article provide close readings of Polingaysi's gender indiscipline in specific parts of the book, which bring the decolonial orientation of the story to the surface.
     In general the term decolonization denotes the undoing of colonialism. Although federal legislation affirming Indian nations' sovereignty, or right to self-determination and autonomous rule, has theoretically decolonized Indian governments, American Indian communities continue to be surrounded by a settler colonial population and imperialist sociopolitical structure.4 Decolonization involves ongoing processes of removing or transforming the pernicious cultural effects of colonization--for example, the myth of the assimilated Indian. Authoritative histories have long denied a secure space for Indian people caught in the drama of federal assimilation projects. The phrase "between two worlds," prominent in both subtitles of No Turning Back, conventionally circulates within Indian boarding school discourses as a trope that signifies a cultural chasm, a no-woman's-land that ostensibly separates Indigenous from Euro-American communities. Caught in this void, or so the story goes, assimilated Indians experience a sense of subjective fragmentation or a feeling of unbelonging in either world.5 Some Native American scholars dislike this trope because it homogenizes settler colonial and Indigenous peoples and condemns Natives who live in the space of the in-between as inauthentic and therefore powerless to claim or represent either culture. The decolonial significance of No Turning Back lies, in part, in Polingaysi's representation of herself as a bridge between Hopi and white worlds. Polingaysi's liminal identity recuperates the in-between as a productive space from which she engenders {56} new relations and modes of belonging in the face of cultural and geographical alienation.
     No Turning Back is written in the third-person narrative voice, which may induce some readers to consider Polingaysi's amanuensis, Vada F. Carlson, as an omniscient white narrator. However, significant aspects of Polingaysi's story would be elided if we were to attribute sole authorial agency to either Polingaysi (as the story's "teller") or Carlson (as the story's "writer"). Since No Turning Back was produced through Polingaysi's collaboration and relationship with Carlson, throughout this article I treat the text itself--the medium of the book--as the story's narrator.6 My reading practice attends to instances of what Michelle Raheja describes as "autobiographical disruption," the "intentional rhetorical silences" that "operate in Indian personal narratives" so that Indian authors can "strategically . . . 'stay Red' even while engaging with the white-controlled literary and publishing practices of their day," including especially the practice of collaborative authorship with non-Indigenous amanuenses (Raheja 88).7
     Autobiographical disruption in No Turning Back often takes the form of Polingaysi's recollections of sensory experiences, such as those that appear in the above epigraph to redirect readers' attention away from her subjection to torture and toward her methods of surviving her experiences at Sherman Institute, one of which was singing. No Turning Back narrates that a Sherman teacher cajoled Polingaysi into taking the lead part in a school musical production. After her performance Polingaysi found that "[s]he began to receive pleasure from giving pleasure. Compliments encouraged her and aroused in her a desire to excel" (61). By touching her audience through the sense of sound, singing provided "a way [for Polingaysi] to express her pent-up yearnings, her uncertainties, and her loneliness and to rise above them" by creating a community based on the exchange of aural and emotional pleasure (61). Polingaysi's singing, as I show, can be read as part of the erotic--a source of sovereign power that tied her to her remote relatives on the Hopi reservation, for whom singing was a common practice.
     No Turning Back narrates Polingaysi's erotic memories and silences other significant aspects of her life story. The text provides a sensuous description of how the night air in Riverside smells, for example, but does not tell us the precise reason why Polingaysi wanted to leave home and go to Sherman Institute. Rather than simple curiosity or a {57} desire for new experiences, marriage avoidance was a more probable motive. Hopi girls were expected to stay close to their homes and mothers, and Polingaysi's act of running away to attend Sherman was one of a series of gender role transgressions. From early childhood, Polingaysi's desires conflicted with the cultural norms of her Hopi community. Because Polingaysi loathed the domestic lifestyle of the "true Hopi maiden," No Turning Back tells us, more "tradition-bound" Hopis gossiped that she "'doesn't want to be a Hopi; she wants to be a white man'" (52, 145-46). The implication of this critique that Polingaysi "wants to be a white man" demonstrates the importance of gender to both colonial and decolonial discourses. I focus on Polingaysi's gender expression in order to challenge characterizations of her as an assimilationist who desired to abandon Hopi culture and adopt a white lifestyle. Polingaysi struggled to live as a bridge, located between and serving both Hopi and white worlds, not because she despised Hopi traditionalism per se nor because she considered US culture a preferable alternative; rather, she desired to find or create a space where she could live free from the gendered imperatives to marry and reproduce that confronted her in both cultural realms.
     A queer Indigenous analytic lens is crucial for understanding No Turning Back's decolonial orientation. Queer Indigenous studies methodologies help us to focus on the ways that Indigenous peoples survive colonial assimilation projects that are particularly sexist and homophobic, not only racist and imperialist. Polingaysi's practice of gender indiscipline, as rendered in No Turning Back, enacted a decolonized Native identity, which I term sovereign selfhood. My theory of sovereign selfhood challenges the binary opposition of tribalism (characterized by homogeneity, communalistic values, and dependence on kinship relations) and individualism (characterized by heterogeneity, individualistic values, and independence or self-reliance). Sovereign selfhood names Polingaysi's sense of individuality and difference while simultaneously acknowledging her relationality and responsibility to her sovereign Hopi tribe.
     In his groundbreaking work, When Did Indians Become Straight? Kinship, the History of Sexuality, and Native Sovereignty, Mark Rifkin claims that US projects designed to "civilize" American Indians and to "reorganize [N]ative social life" "can be understood as an effort to make them 'straight'" (6, 8). The "language of 'individualism'" that is so {58} central to Indian "education discourse," Rifkin explains, contrasts "an atomized notion of selfhood with traditional communal conceptions of identity among [N]ative peoples" (149). Rifkin adds that a "larger heteronormative matrix . . . is the horizon for" colonial processes of naturalizing individualism "through the representation of monogamous marriage and the single-family dwelling as the self-evident basis for true intimacy and human reproduction" (150). I concur with Rifkin's assessment of the inextricable connection between imperial efforts to detribalize Indians and to discipline them according to Eurocentric standards of sexual normalcy. But we must be careful not to conflate (supposedly Euro-American) individualism with heterosexuality or to position these characteristics as the binary opposites of (supposedly Indigenous) collectivism and queerness. To do so risks erasing the experiences of Native people like Polingaysi, a Hopi individual who struggled against what may be understood as a Hopi version of heteronormativity. Although Hopi home and family life were matrilineal and extended rather than patriarchal and nuclear, tradition nevertheless required Hopis to engage in monogamous and sexually reproductive marriage. No Turning Back offers a more complex view of Native selfhood by accounting for the ways Polingaysi's desires differed from those of her Hopi peers prior to her subjection to the individualizing or straightening influences of the Indian boarding school.
     One reason why Polingaysi assented to narrate her life story was to combat assaults on the authenticity of her Hopi identity. I want to explore the usefulness of her story for today's queer-identified Indians who struggle with queerphobia, to use Daniel Heath Justice's term, and also for Native-and non-Native-identified people who want to understand the gendered aspects of US imperialism. Viewed through queer Indigenous lenses of analysis, No Turning Back reveals that Polingaysi's practice of gender indiscipline preceded--and, indeed, instigated--her attendance of boarding school and also aided her ability to thrive in the space she cultivated between Hopi and white worlds. By offering a more complicated understanding of Native selfhood in the context of US imperialism, I hope to demonstrate how the nontraditional identities or practices of some Native individuals may have decolonial implications that benefit said individuals' tribal communities. Since the self exists only in relation to other selves in a web of relations, self-interest is not {59} necessarily opposed to communal welfare. By acting on her personal desire, Polingaysi served not only her self but also her Hopi people.
     Polingaysi's avoidance of marriage and willing attendance of Indian boarding school do not indicate her successful assimilation to dominant US culture but rather her anomalous mode of being Hopi. No Turning Back portrays Polingaysi as different from her fellow Hopis and as remarkable for her ability to transcend the boundary between Hopi and white worlds--a geographical and ideological division that arose from US settler colonialism. Polingaysi's practice of sovereign selfhood, as presented in No Turning Back, resonates with traditional Indigenous approaches to the anomalous in nature. Justice locates a potential precedent for affirming queer Native people "as Native people" in Indigenous Mississippian peoples' traditional reverence for anomaly as a necessary and integral feature of Native social life.8 Justice takes the term anomaly from anthropologist Charles Hudson, who defines anomalies as "those beings and states of being which fall into 'two or more of their categories,' and which are 'singled out for special symbolic values'" (Justice 219). Examples of anomalies include "conventional creatures whose habitats, appearance, or behavior marked them as deviating from categorical clarity," such as bats (four-legged fliers) and bears (four-legged creatures who can walk upright like humans); creatures who possessed an "ability to move between worlds," such as "the kingfisher as a diving bird" and "the turtle as both an aquatic and terrestrial four-footed animal"; and creatures who possessed "special abilities or strength" (219-20).
     Justice explains that "an anomalous reading looks to the constitutive significance of queerness," which he defines as "the world-crossing powers of the anomalous being" (227). He employs the term queer for its "mercurial and transgressive resonance" and its inclusion of "gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, pansexuals, transgendered [sic] people, and straight folk with nonconformist sexual and gender behaviors and identities" (233). I concur with Justice's "insistence that a place of legitimized queerness matters to Native cultures, and . . . to both tribal politics of sovereignty and a sovereignty of aesthetic (and erotic) expression" (208), and I suggest that No Turning Back represents the bridge, the third space of the in-between, as such a place for Polingaysi, whose Hopi traditions were seemingly intolerant of her anomalous gender expression. We can read Polingaysi as queer, at the very least, in her avoidance of marriage and motherhood, lifestyles to which Hopi women were expected {60} to conform. But her practice of gender indiscipline exceeds her refusal to marry and have children; it reveals that she neither immersed herself in Hopi traditions nor assimilated to Euro-American standards of gender normativity. Rather, she performed a politics of disidentification by bridging Hopi and white worlds and cultivating a third space in-between, a space of sovereign selfhood.9
     An early review of No Turning Back, published in 1965 by anthropologist Leo W. Simmons, claims that Polingaysi was so "atypical" of Hopi women that her story is of little value to anyone seeking knowledge about authentic Hopi culture (1567). Simmons's devaluation of Polingaysi's story neglects the fact that the margin constitutes the center rather than being outside of or insignificant to it. A queer Indigenous reading reveals how Polingaysi's gender indiscipline was precisely what suited her to serve her Hopi community by, in the words of the book's longer subtitle, "Bridg[ing] the Gap between the World of Her People and the World of the White Man" (iii). Polingaysi created a space for herself where none previously existed, but her innovation need not be seen as selfish or non-traditional. Justice understands Native "tradition" as valuing

adaptation, not stasis or assimilation; inclusivity of the strengths of our differences, not rejectionist claims to false purity; a generous engagement of expansive kinship values, rather than a simple-minded adoption of the miserly 'family values' of division; and unflinching honesty in its attention to both historical and contemporary tribal realities, not a naïve adherence to ahistorical visions of some pure, unchanging, uncomplicated past or present that neither did nor does exist. (214)

Polingaysi engendered a space for herself to be Hopi despite her nonconformist expressions of gender. Although she was anomalous among her peers, she was fully Hopi and a significant member of her tribal community. To recognize her as such is part of a decolonial project of acknowledging tribal histories that legitimate and nurture social spaces for queer Natives.
     In the following sections, I employ close reading to explore Polingaysi's methods of gender indiscipline. First, in "Stowing Away," I read her escapes from her mother's home to attend colonial schools as attempts to evade Hopi gender role expectations, which indicate her subject position as an anomalous Hopi girl. Next, in "Surviving Torture," I pro-{61}vide literary and historical contextualization for Polingaysi's strategies of surviving the torture she endured at Sherman Institute. My analysis of archival sources housed at the Sherman Indian Museum, such as the school newspaper, The Sherman Bulletin, illuminates the ways Polingaysi subverted the school's disciplinary demands of what Katrina A. Paxton calls "gender assimilation." Polingaysi continued to embody a bridge between Hopi and colonial communities throughout her life. My concluding section, "You of Coyote Clan," illustrates how Polingaysi's practice of gender indiscipline served her in her later occupations as a college student, Indian teacher, and mediator of non-Hopi presence on the reservation. By narrating Polingaysi's enactment of sovereign selfhood through her decolonial praxis of gender indiscipline, I hope to demonstrate how No Turning Back functions as a testament to her Hopi integrity and decolonial legacy.


Federal officials working to recruit Hopi students to H. R. Voth's Mennonite day school disrupted Hopi childrearing practices, which included observation of elders at work, hands-on instruction, and participation. The issue of schooling fomented factions among the Hopi people. While some Hopi parents sent their children to the day school willingly, school authorities enlisted black soldiers and armed Navajo policemen (traditional Hopi enemies) as truancy officers to forcibly take children from the homes of resistant parents. No Turning Back portrays Polingaysi's mother, Sevenka, as resistant; Sevenka laments: "The Bahana [white man] does not care how we feel toward our children. They think they know everything and we know nothing . . . It is not the Hopi way of caring for children, this tearing them from their homes and their mothers'" (18). In order to learn the responsibilities and roles of Hopi girls within the matriarchal social structure, Sevenka required Polingaysi to remain close to home, hiding beneath sheep pelts or in underground kivas when necessary to evade truancy officers.
     No Turning Back indicates that Polingaysi always harbored an aversion to the domestic labor for which Hopi girls were responsible and in which they took pride in performing. For example, Polingaysi "had never . . . been willing to consider" learning the art of weaving "reed {62} and yucca plaques," which "Hopi girls from time immemorial had learned . . . as a matter of course" (51). Although her sister "Anna had been an apt and willing student," "Polingaysi had been too restless, too filled with projects of another nature to learn such sedentary work" (51). The text neglects to name this otherness, which Sevenka disdains: "'Always you must be doing something different,' her mother sighed" (52). Polingaysi's preference for "projects of another nature" marks a specifically gendered "differen[ce]" that was out of place in traditional Hopi society.
     Polingaysi did not share her mother's value of clinging to tradition in the face of colonial incursion. No Turning Back portrays Polingaysi as having desired to attend school. By narrating Polingaysi's departure from home as a choice, the text casts her not as a victim of colonial authority but rather as an agent of her own destiny. After her sister was captured and taken to the day school by truancy officers, Polingaysi became lonely for her friends and curious about their activities. Polingaysi was weary of hiding, and she experienced nostalgia for her "old self," a self that "had been as free and unhampered as the wandering wind" (22). She descended the mesa trail--without parental permission or colonial force--and entered the school: "No one had forced her to do this thing. She had come down the trail of her own free will. . . she went into that schoolhouse . . . because she desired to do so" (24, my emphasis). When Polingaysi returned home and confessed to her mother where she had been, Sevenka chastised her for acting on her personal desire: "'You self-willed, naughty girl! You have taken a step . . . away from your Hopi people. You have brought grief to us . . . You have brought this thing upon yourself, and there is no turning back'" (26). Sevenka's admonition implies that by going to the Mennonite day school, Polingaysi had committed herself to assimilating with colonial culture, and that there could be "no turning back" to true or authentic Hopi ways.
     Polingaysi's transgression was, in particular, a gendered one, and she continued to attend the day school, spending more time in Voth's church and less time in her mother's house. Some years later, in 1906, when Polingaysi was about fourteen years of age, she learned that a wagon was bringing a group of Hopis to an Indian boarding school in Riverside, California. Since Polingaysi's parents would not permit her to join them, as historian Margaret D. Jacobs writes, she ran away from home and "stowed herself away in" the wagon "bound for Sherman Institute"{63} (48). Inverting her mother's prior command that she hide to evade truancy officers, Polingaysi premeditated her departure to Sherman Institute and carried out her plan by hiding: "Before daylight she crept out, snatched up her bundle, and fled . . . crouched beneath the wagon seat, hoping no one would discover her" (53).
     No Turning Back clearly narrates Polingaysi's departure as an escape; what the narrative obscures in rhetorical silence, or "autobiographical disruption," to use Raheja's phrase, is the precise reason why Polingaysi ran away from home. Jacobs surmises that once she was discovered hiding in the wagon, Polingaysi "refused to get out" because she "looked forward to educational opportunities beyond the New Oraibi day school" (48). However, I find the potential for "educational opportunities" a dubious explanation for Polingaysi's flight. As K. Tsianina Lomawaima notes, federal boarding schools actually "limited educational opportunity" for Indian boys and girls by primarily training--and exploiting--them to perform manual labor and domestic service work, respectively (99). David Wallace Adams's account construes Polingaysi's departure as an act of simple disobedience; he characterizes Polingaysi as a "stubborn Hopi girl" "who had already defied her parents by attending the day school" and "was determined to do so again" (Adams, "Beyond" 37). Adams claims that the "fact" that Polingaysi "eagerly wanted to go off to boarding school . . . explain[s] her overall favorable attitude toward the whole experience" (38). His summary neglects Polingaysi's description of her experience at Sherman Institute as a "[t]ime of torture." So why was Polingaysi so eager to leave Hopiland, and how were her hopes disappointed when she arrived at Sherman Institute?
     Marriage evasion seems like the most probable motive for Polingaysi's escape attempt. In 1906 Polingaysi was about fourteen years old--around the age at which Hopi girls traditionally prepare to become women: by definition, wives and mothers. According to anthropologist Byron Harvey III's observation, the Hopi language employs a single term for both "woman" and "wife" (212). Anthropologist Diane M. Notarianni also claims that it is not until a Hopi maiden "becom[es] a mother" that "she is socially recognized as a wuhti, or woman" (598). No Turning Back repeatedly states Polingaysi's desire to avoid marriage and motherhood. The potential for new experiences beyond the mesas may have been a secondary motive, but Polingaysi ran away primarily to shirk Hopi women's roles as wives and mothers.
     Polingaysi's refusal to learn traditional Hopi industry and her self-willed attendance of the Mennonite day school in New Oraibi marked her as anomalous, or "different," from her Hopi peers (52). Alarmed and aggravated by her deviance, her parents and other members of the Hopi community commanded her to conform to the standards of "the true Hopi maiden," which included preparation for marriage and motherhood (52). Such expectations incited Polingaysi to leave Oraibi and pursue her own desires. Unfortunately, if marriage evasion or a desire for greater fluidity of gender expression inspired Polingaysi's decision to run away from home, she must have been sorely disappointed upon arriving at Sherman Institute. Although Hopi and Euro-American cultures differ in their respective matriarchal and patriarchal structures, a heteronormative imperative apparently existed in each. As I show in the next section, the school's Indian education policy of gender assimilation may have constituted much of the torture Polingaysi endured in Riverside. However, No Turning Back silences the exact source of her torture and highlights her survival strategies. By claiming personal responsibility for her situation at Sherman Institute, Polingaysi foregrounds her initial desire for displacement.


Recent scholarship in the field of queer Indigenous studies attends to the effects of settler colonialism and legacies of US imperialism on the erotic lives of Native peoples. In a landmark essay, "Stolen from Our Bodies: First Nations Two-Spirits/Queers and the Journey to a Sovereign Erotic," Qwo-Li Driskill theorizes a sovereign erotic as "an erotic wholeness healed and/or healing from the historical trauma that First Nations people continue to survive" (51). Driskill does "not see the erotic as a realm of personal consequence only" but rather acknowledges how our "relationships with the erotic impact our larger communities" and vice versa.10 In The Erotics of Sovereignty: Queer Native Writing in the Era of Self-Determination, Mark Rifkin explores the ways self-identified queer Native authors draw on their most seemingly personal experiences, such as memories, as platforms from which to actualize political power and assert sovereign agency. Rifkin defines the erotic as a structure of feeling that encompasses yet is irreducible to the sexual; examples of the erotic include melancholy, shared history, connections to place, and other {65} embodied indicators of an individual's communal belonging. Remembering Polingaysi, in both senses of recalling and reassembling her life story, requires us to acknowledge her practice of gender indiscipline as an effect of her erotic power.
     As a student at Sherman Institute, Polingaysi discovered that the world of the white man also expected women to perform domestic labor, marry, and bear children. By excelling as a scholar, who eventually became a renowned teacher of Indian pupils, Polingaysi disidentified with gender normativity in both Hopi and white worlds. Acting from a third space of transformative resistance--a sovereign selfhood--Polingaysi survived assimilation.
     Adams characterizes Indian boarding schools as "assimilationist hothouses" where Indian students were taught to dress, think, speak, and behave like would-be US citizens ("Beyond" 36). Authority figures at Sherman Institute enforced Euro-American norms of gender expression and conduct; for example, girls were required to wear restrictive Victorian dresses, were physically restricted to the school campus, and were expected not only to marry and bear children but also to subordinate themselves to the dominion of men and Euro-Americans in a patriarchal and racist society. Paxton offers the term gender assimilation to articulate how school officials at Sherman Institute

established a gendered campus and curriculum . . . separated boys and girls, while female and male teachers encouraged Native American girls to accept the place of women within the dominant society. They did not want Indian girls to develop into professional women . . . The school curriculum provided opportunities for girls to become dressmakers, cooks, and servants. (174)

Although Paxton claims that the "belief that a woman's place [is] in the home" is generally a "non-Native belief," it likely resonated for Polingaysi as a white version of her mother's expectations that she get married and become a mother in her own right (174).
     Lomawaima explains how federal boarding schools' demand for gender assimilation, which "pressed Indian students into a strictly homogeneous mold of uniform dress and appearance," upheld the US government's "quest to individualize the tribal consciousness" (99). "The seeming contradiction" between homogenizing and individualizing Indian students, Lomawaima continues, "is no real paradox" because the "federal practice {66} of organizing the obedient individual" through strictly enforced codes of bodily comportment and conduct coincided with federal "policy aimed to disorganize the sovereign tribe" (99). Emphasizing the straightening effect of such individualizing policies, Rifkin claims that Indian boarding schools operated according to a "romance plot" that "impose[d] a detribalizing teleology" by encouraging Indian students to pursue companionate marriage characterized by an "isolating passion between individuals" who would leave their tribal communities and assimilate with dominant American culture by living as a nuclear family in a privatized home ("Romancing" 29). To understand Polingaysi's story, it is important to acknowledge a shared imperative for women to marry, bear children, and lead domestic lifestyles within both US and Hopi ideologies. Meeting the same dreaded expectations in both cultural contexts, Polingaysi eked out a space for herself between these two arenas.

I wondered if the archives at Sherman Indian Museum might shed light on the torture Polingaysi suffered in Riverside and help illuminate her methods of survival. Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, author of Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929, explains that he "looked in the Sherman Bulletin. . . various letterpress books and other school records, but . . . never came across [Polingaysi's] name" ("Search"). So when I began my archival research for this project, I had low expectations of finding much information about Polingaysi's time at the school. Museum archivist Lorene Sisquoc suggested that I speak with Hattie Lomayesva (Hopi), a retired teacher who currently volunteers at the museum. When I introduced myself to Hattie, I held out my copy of No Turning Back, the cover of which depicts Polingaysi as an adult surrounded by several of her young Hopi students. I asked Hattie, "Do you know about this author?" Hattie reached out her hand, touched the image of a child in the foreground, and declared, "That's me! I remember when that picture was taken. I sure loved that sailor dress." Hattie confided that Polingaysi had been the teacher of her class for beginners at the Hopi day school in New Oraibi. "I was surprised to have an Indian teacher. I thought only white people could be teachers," Hattie recalled. Like Polingaysi, Hattie attended college and pursued a career in teaching. Hattie's memories of Polingaysi's influential teaching encouraged my search.
     Together, Hattie and I perused the student registration ledgers from {67} 1905 to 1907, as No Turning Back claims that Polingaysi was born around 1892 and enrolled at Sherman at age fourteen. We discovered, as had Sakiestewa Gilbert before us, the absence of any entrance for "Polingaysi Qoyawayma." We looked for "Bessie Qoyawayma" because No Turning Back mentions that school authorities at the Oraibi day school had renamed Polingaysi as Bessie. Finding nothing, Hattie suggested that I search for "Bessie Polingaysi" because Hopi people do not traditionally use surnames; Qoyawayma was the name of Polingaysi's father. Still, we met silence. Finally, with Lorene's insight that administrators were often careless with spelling, we found Polingaysi in the B section of the ledger, misspelled as "Boliangaisy, Bessie," a "full" blood "Moqui [Hopi]" female from Oraibi, Arizona, who was enrolled at Sherman on November 29, 1906, at the supposed age of thirteen (her precise birth date is unknown) (Registration Ledger).
     I share this anecdote because the absence of evidence of Polingaysi's time at Sherman, which we originally confronted in the archive, in the end did not equate positive evidence of Polingaysi's absence from the archive. Rather, it indicated that we researchers did not yet know what we were looking for. We found it only through the process of searching together. This, I think, is how queer Natives may find the legitimate social spaces we seek.

Finding is a form of remembering. Hattie's, Lorene's, and my collective discovery, our recovery, enabled me to find Polingaysi's presence in the school's student-printed newspaper, the Sherman Bulletin: Devoted to the Interests of Sherman Institute. Relevant Bulletin articles contextualize Polingaysi's life story and lend insight into the significance of her rhetorical silences. For example, Bulletin articles regarding the school's outing program clarify Sherman's enforcement of gender assimilation through a sexual division of labor. During summer vacations, school authorities encouraged male and female students to secure employment in agricultural and domestic labor positions, respectively.11 The Sherman Bulletin reveals that local residents relished Sherman students as cheap laborers, and the school encouraged Indian girls to accept positions as low-wage domestic workers serving white citizens: "Many of our patrons are making application . . . for the same girl they had last year. This shows that the girls did their work well and is quite gratifying to Sherman."12 Another Bulletin stated, "Since the available supply {68} of Sherman girls [has] been exhausted, application[s] for their services in homes have been filed daily."13 The commodification of female students as an "available supply" to fulfill consumer demands for domestic servicers represents Sherman's primary investment in Indian children's capacity as laborers, not intellectuals. If Polingaysi's flight from home had been motivated by a desire to evade domestic labor and restrictive gender roles, obviously she would have been sorely disappointed and perhaps disillusioned to discover Sherman's plans for her.
     While the outing program trained Sherman students to accept inferior economic positions due to their Indian race, the sexual division of labor at the school disciplined female students according to the expectation that they would become wives. Indian boarding schools like Sherman often enforced a sexual double standard that fomented a sense of gender division between boy and girl students. As Lomawaima explains, school authorities allowed boys to roam campus while confining girls indoors; scrutinized girls' bodies, hairstyles, dress, and behavior more closely than boys'; and trained boys in agricultural and vocational trades while teaching girls that "you're a woman, you're going to be a wife" (85). This structure institutionalized the subordination of girls to boys in order to prepare students for marriage in a heteropatriarchal system. A Sherman Bulletin article titled "Training for Sherman Boys and Girls at the Ranch" describes the model homestead located several miles from the school's campus and explains that "[t]he boys are required to perform manual labor" while "the household duties, or ranch wife's duties," are "performed by the girls . . . just what the Indian boys and girls need."14 The Bulletin also regularly printed praise for students and alumni who united in marriage--too many, in fact, to bother citing. Such accolades would not have been available to Polingaysi, who, as No Turning Back plainly reports, "had never been seriously attracted to any young man" (70). The colonial romance plot scripted marriage as the happy ending for educated Indian students, effectively queering Polingaysi, who had no desire to wed.
     The school newspaper also publicized students' performances of gender assimilation by printing the results of the boys' and girls' industrial examinations. In January 1908 Polingaysi (misspelled as "Bessie Bolingasie") scored 61 percent in "Primary Sewing."15 In March of that same year, she (misspelled as "Bessie Boliangaisy") scored 91 percent in "Dining Room Work"; she was one of six A students in this class of twenty-{68}four girls.16 Rather than indicating her successful gender assimilation, the 30 percent improvement in Polingaysi's exam scores from January to March was most likely due to the difference in subject matter. Among the Hopi, sewing is traditionally men's work, so her low score on the sewing exam perhaps illustrates the fact that she had little to no previous training in the skill. In his ethnological report H. R. Voth writes, "Dresses . . . are worn by all Hopi maidens and women. The material is prepared and the dress is made by the men . . . wool . . . is carded, spun and dyed . . . and woven and worked up by the men" (24, 33). Historian Cathy Ann Trotta also writes in her unpublished dissertation on the Voths' Mennonite mission that Martha Moser Voth's sewing circle for Hopi women "crossed gender lines, since . . . sewing was traditionally a male activity at Hopi" (144-45). Sherman's Euro-American domestic science curriculum effectually queered Polingaysi (and Hopi culture in general) by marking her as inept at the civilized girl's task of sewing.
     Despite her early lack of skill, Polingaysi improved to become an adept seamstress, and her new attachment to sewing queered her to her Hopi community, where weaving and textile production are traditionally men's work. When Polingaysi prepared for her homecoming, she packed clothes that "were neat and new, products of her skill in sewing. A sewing machine would be one of her first purchases, she promised herself. She would make good clothes for her mother and the younger children" (67). No Turning Back implies that Sevenka disapproved of Polingaysi's textile productivity because she considered it to be part of the "white man's way of living," a lifestyle that did not coincide with traditional Hopi gender roles (67). By offering to produce clothing for her mother and siblings, Polingaysi attempted to assume a Hopi man's role.
     While Polingaysi disidentified with the sexual division of labor at Sherman by embracing a traditionally male line of Hopi work, she also resisted the school's romance plot by constructing community beyond gendered borders through the practice of singing. In "Song, Poetry, and Language--Expression and Perception," Acoma Pueblo writer Simon J. Ortiz speaks of song as simultaneously receptive and performative. Ortiz argues that "[l]anguage as expression and perception" lies "at the core of what a song is" (108). He expresses doubt that "there is much of a division except arbitrary" between these two modes and explains that "[y]ou perceive by expressing yourself" (109, 117).17 Ortiz writes that song is

an opening from inside yourself to outside and from outside yourself to inside but not in the sense that there are separate states [or fragments] of yourself. Instead, it is a joining and an opening together [as a bridge joins both sides of a chasm] . . . the song is part of the way you're supposed to recognize everything . . . the singing of it is a way of recognizing this all-inclusiveness . . . It is basically a way to understand and appreciate your relationship to all things. The song as language is a way of touching. (114)

By touching her audience through the language of song, Polingaysi understood and expressed her relationship to all things, creating a sense of communal belonging despite her anomalousness or gender queerness. Through the transformative practice of singing, Polingaysi created relationships based on communal pleasure rather than on heterosexual romance. Such sensual relations transcended the boundary between her self and others, deconstructing the binaries of Hopi/white and community/individual and fomenting a sense of belonging--to the students, to the school, and to the Hopis--founded on the shared experience of pleasure.
     Polingaysi's vocal performances subverted the school's disciplining of students' gender assimilation. A December 1908 article of the Sherman Bulletin inscribes some of the compliments Polingaysi's singing inspired: the "program . . . was very entertaining . . . The student body sang in bright, buoyant spirit . . . One of the most pleasing features was the double number sung by Bessie Bolaingaisy, who shows much talent and promise in the quality and strength of her voice."18 This public praise of Polingaysi's vocal "talent" and future "promise" remarks, significantly, on her voice's "quality" and "strength," contradicting the school's general advisement for girls to cultivate soft, ladylike voices. In a September 1909 Bulletin article titled "For the Girls" an omniscient narrator asks, "Girls, do you know that there is no adornment quite so becoming as a sweet voice?"19 This article encourages girls to "cultivate a soft, low voice" because such is "the mark of a lady," and a "sweet voice for speaking is as much to be desired as a sweet voice for singing."20 Claiming that vocal utterance marks the difference between "real ladies" and "common" women, the article asserts that those who "speak in loud, harsh, rasping voices" are "not real ladies."21
     Polingaysi's memories of her vocal performances at school, recorded {71} in No Turning Back, recall her survival strategy of singing for and with others as a practice that created new communities in an alien context and simultaneously secured her connections with Hopi people and culture, albeit in her anomalous way. As Sakiestewa Gilbert explains, song was significant to Polingaysi because it connected her to her mother, Sevenka, who was a member of the Mazhrau, a Hopi women's religious singing and dancing society (106). However, Mazhrau society membership was contingent on one's social status as a woman/wife, so the opportunity for public self-expression through song would not have been available to Polingaysi. No Turning Back tells how Sevenka "composed songs regularly" for the Mazhrau society "and at one time composed a song which was used for years afterward by the [male] Niman Dancers . . . This was a stepping out of her woman's place to compete with men" (60). This detail evidences the potential for some fluidity of gender roles at Hopi. However, Sevenka's freedom to compete with men nonetheless resulted from her overall compliance with the parameters of women's gender norms of marriage and maternity and her resultant social status as a wife and mother. The Sherman Bulletin provides further indication that, in general, performance of traditional Hopi songs was restricted to boys. Polingaysi's Oraibi village chief, Tewaquaptewa, attended Sherman at the same time she did. The Bulletin records several instances of Tewaquaptewa leading his followers, who appear to have consisted solely of Hopi boys, in performances of Hopi song and dance for various audiences, including Sherman students, tourists, and Riverside citizens; a convention of Indian teachers in Los Angeles; visiting government officials; and even a music critic who wanted to hear Native songs.22
     Polingaysi's vocal performances at Sherman signified more than mere musical talent. "Her singing," No Turning Back notes, "was a means of communication, beyond language, leaping all barriers," and especially the borders of normative gender (104). Through gender indiscipline, Polingaysi asserted her difference from typical Hopi girls yet related herself to them by going away to school and learning the skills necessary to later serve them as a cultural bridge who mediated relations among Hopi and non-Hopi people. Polingaysi's decolonial praxis enabled her to thrive at boarding school and paved the way for future coalitional politics.



[Polingaysi's] former Sherman schoolmates had returned, married, and were living the traditional life. She was still reaching out for education. What for? they . . . asked . . . Sometimes she asked herself that very question: what for? Why, she thought, should she be so determined to learn, and learn, and learn?
     Polingaysi Qoyawayma, No Turning Back, 116

As her years of schooling at Sherman drew to a close, Polingaysi contrasted herself with her Hopi classmates and acknowledged her anomalousness. "She almost envied the girls who looked forward to returning home and taking up the old ways" because she guessed that, unlike herself, "they would be content with home and children and routine duties" (66). From the first, Polingaysi eschewed marriage and motherhood, which she avoided by attending Sherman. The prospect of returning to Hopi presented her with the very challenges she had faced as an adolescent runaway.
     On the day Polingaysi returned to Oraibi after spending three years at Sherman, Sevenka wasted no time broaching the subject of her daughter's marriageability. Presenting Polingaysi with "a stack of beautiful plaques," Sevenka declared, "'These I have made for your wedding . . . You have reached that age. You must begin to think about taking a mate'" (69). Polingaysi balked at this prospect: "Marriage! It had not entered Polingaysi's mind" (69). The narrative explains that Sevenka's command "was appalling to Polingaysi," who was not "willing to become a living seed pod for her Hopi people . . . she had never been seriously attracted to any young man . . . And for no man . . . would she grind corn on her knees" (70). Ignoring her stated lack of romantic desire for men, some critics interpret this passage as an indication that Polingaysi considered marriage to constitute a breach of her liberation from men--an autonomy granted by the benevolent colonial influence of white teachers and field matrons who devoted their efforts to "uplifting" benighted Indian drudges and instilling progressive feminist ideals.
     In a chapter titled "Uplifting Indian Women," Margaret D. Jacobs compares the autobiographies of Polingaysi Qoyawayma, Helen Sekaquaptewa, and Maria Martinez to advance her argument that white edu-{73}cators and field matrons imbued Pueblo women with a sense of the importance of becoming educated and financially independent. Jacobs proposes that Polingaysi "probably had not acquired her yen for independence and her aversion for domesticity among the Hopis in Oraibi. Rather her white women teachers, many of whom . . . shared . . . ambivalence about domesticity and who themselves never married, may have imbued her with a criticism of women's domestic role within late-nineteenth-century Victorian marriages" (Jacobs 53). I wonder why Jacobs assumes that Polingaysi's independence must have been "acquired," contradicting her observation that "[b]efore ever attending American schools, Qoyawayma . . . already evinced a rebelliousness and independence" (52). By claiming that "encounters with white women had led [Polingaysi] to . . . shape a unique, multicultural view of womanhood," Jacobs renders white women as Polingaysi's emancipators from a stifling Hopi gender normativity and effaces No Turning Back's narration of Polingaysi's subjective agency (54). I privilege the narrative's account of Polingaysi's personal desire.
     When Polingaysi rejected her mother's proffered wedding implements, she credited her own aspirations as reasons for doing so. Sevenka tried to reason with her daughter: "'You are a woman,' her mother said, her voice uncertain. 'You should have a man and babies. You should have a home of your own'" (70). The "uncertain[ty]" of Sevenka's voice indicates her understanding that Polingaysi's desires differed from those of typical Hopi women. In response, Polingaysi declared, "'I intend to have a home of my own . . . I will build a home for myself some day'" (71). This statement would alarm a traditional Hopi matriarch; as Albert Yava, a Tewa-Hopi, explains, "The man [husband] builds the house but the woman [wife] is the owner" (Trotta 105). "Sevenka looked steadily into the flushed and defiant face of her daughter, and her own face was sad. Whatever it was she saw there . . . made her turn away, weeping silently" (71).23 This conversation between mother and daughter foregrounds Polingaysi's rejection of Hopi gender roles, even as it silences the issue of her lack of romantic interest in men, which was likely a significant source of her aversion to marriage.24
     I want to conclude by summarizing No Turning Back's narration of Polingaysi's life post-boarding school. The survival methods Polingaysi developed during her time at Sherman continued to serve her beyond her experiences at that institution. As a college student, Polin-{73}gaysi resisted the designs her white benefactors had for her to become a Christian missionary, and she used her schooling to pursue her own desires for musical training and financial independence. In her career as a teacher of Indian pupils, Polingaysi applied her extensive educational experiences to revolutionize federal Indian education policy by refusing to follow colonial authorities' rules of English-only instruction and pioneering esl practices. Polingaysi incorporated Hopi pedagogy within--and often in replacement of--the Eurocentric curriculum in order to help her students learn Anglo-American language and culture through their Hopi knowledge. In her home and family life, Polingaysi established her subjectivity and belonging according to what Rifkin calls "the kinship plot," an Indigenous counternarrative to the colonial romance plot ("Romancing" 44). The romance plot initiates "a process of breaking away from [one's] family and tribe to create an independent household," whereas the kinship plot "reaffirms [one's tribal] identity . . . and underscores the fact that expansive notions of family suffuse . . . [tribal] relationships, providing a shared conceptual and political basis for individual and collective action" (44). Following "her desire to be different, to make a new place for herself in a world that sometimes seemed determined not to allow her a place in it," Polingaysi located her self-designed home on the margins of New Oraibi, far from the center of village life (95). She fitted her large house with modern conveniences, such as electricity and indoor plumbing, and she operated her home as a sort of hotel or bed-and-breakfast that served her Hopi community by providing a buffer to mediate the influx of visiting tourists, archaeologists, scholars, and other outsiders brought in by the railroads and new government roads.
     Polingaysi's home/hotel nurtured "alternative figurations of home and family," which Rifkin claims "contest the political economy of imperial domesticity" (When 148). Polingaysi became an adoptive parent who raised several of her nieces and nephews in her home. Additionally Polingaysi's choice to open her home to strangers and her acquaintance with her visitors often led to lifelong kinship relationships and even political coalitions that benefited Hopi national interests. For example, she worked with philanthropists to endow a college scholarship fund for Hopi students--many of whom eventually served the Hopi nation as lawyers, tribal politicians, or federal employees. In a letter to one of her visitor friends, Polingaysi describes her home as the "meeting place {75} of the outside world" where "people of all walks of life" gathered (Linder 3). Although her visitors were outsiders at Hopi, their status as such did not disqualify them from being regarded as kin. For Polingaysi, kinship includes all relations, regardless of colonial markers of difference. Polingaysi writes, "I want all my friends . . . to know of my gratitude and love for them. The white ones, the red ones, the black ones, the yellow ones. We are all one family, all leaves of the same tree" (Linder 145).25 Polingaysi's tree metaphor for her interracial family of friends evinces the kinship plot that structured her interpersonal relations. Polingaysi's dealings with non-Hopi people, in her career and in her home life, contributed to her creation of a space from which she asserted Hopi ideologies of interconnectedness and relationality--qualities of sovereign selfhood.
     Although many of Polingaysi's contemporaries misconstrued her as an assimilationist for her involvement with non-Hopi people and settler colonial culture, she took pride in fulfilling her tribal obligations as a member of the Coyote clan. Polingaysi's foreword to No Turning Back explains: "My grandmother . . . used to say: 'It is to members of Coyote Clan that Bahana [white man] will come, within your day, Polingaysi . . . and you of Coyote Clan will be a bond between the Bahana and the Hopi people" (vi). Polingaysi asserts, "I . . . believe that her prophecy has been fulfilled" (vi). In her capacities as a student, a teacher, and a hotel keeper, Polingaysi realized her role as a mediator between the "two worlds" set at odds due to US imperialism. Throughout her life Polingaysi mitigated the violence of colonial incursion and performed her sovereign responsibility to protect Hopi interests by bridging gaps between Hopi and non-Hopi people. Despite--and in some ways because of--her anomalous gender, Polingaysi cultivated a sovereign selfhood and survived the assimilation era as an unequivocally Hopi person. Her life story, No Turning Back, is a testament to her legacy of decolonial transformation.


I want to express my gratitude for the assistance of Hattie Lomayesva and Lorene Sisquoc, who played key roles in the development of my archival research at Sherman Indian Museum. In acknowledging their cooperation, I must also clarify that my reading of No Turning Back does not represent anyone's opinions or perspective but my own. Rooted in {76} the historiography of Indian boarding school texts, this study does not aim to provide a true or corrective account of Polingaysi's autobiography but rather seeks to highlight textual silences and archival erasures and to raise questions about the possibilities that may arise for future readers by remembering anomalous figures like Polingaysi. Any mistakes are my own.


     1. See Adams, Education.
     2. As-told-to autobiography is a genre that is defined by a collaborative production process in which a so-called Indian informant orally narrates his or her life to a non-Indigenous amanuensis who transcribes, edits, and secures publishing for the story. Some critics argue that collaborative authorship compromises the representational authority that characterizes autobiography as a genre. For example, Gretchen M. Bataille and Kathleen Mullen Sands propose that the "best" way to engage as-told-to autobiography, due to its "problematical form," is to analyze the "process of its creation" rather than considering it "as an established genre" (3). In contrast, Stephanie Fitzgerald contends that this "scholarly emphasis on the process of creation" often has the effect of "obscur[ing] the Native voice, shifting the focus away from lived experience of the Native subject to that of the non-Native editor" (109). Fitzgerald encourages critics to "foreground Native agency in the process of collaboration" and to explore Indian women's use of "life-writing as a tool to interrogate and secure their legal and social identity as Indian women during an era of tremendous social change" (110).
     3. Qoyawayma 26. I note subsequent citations of this text parenthetically.
     4. I agree with Mark Rifkin's definition of sovereignty, which explains that "sovereignty is a translation," a term meant to articulate Native peoples' "existence as polities through a comparison to the logics and structures of the settler state . . .'sovereignty' often is used to mark the rightful autonomy of [N]ative peoples--their existence as polities that precedes and exceeds the terms of settler-state jurisdiction" (Rifkin When 17).
     5. See Bahr; Henze and Vanett; and Vuckovic.
     6. In correspondence about the production process of No Turning Back, Carlson refers to the book as "our baby," indicating that she shared not only authorship but also kinship with Polingaysi (Linder 127). Furthermore, Polingaysi wrote the book's foreword in the first-person narrative voice; her opening statement suggests that she ultimately approved of Carlson's account of her narrative.
     7. Michelle H. Raheja is not the only Native literary scholar who advocates a somewhat intuitive method for reading silences in as-told-to Indian autobiographies. Queer Indigenous scholar Craig Womack (Creek) offers "suspicioning" as a method for queer Native readers to reconcile their nonnormative subjectivities and desires for social legibility with their critical practices of interpreting queer signifi-
{77}cances in Native American literatures. Womack's theory makes the crucial claim that silence surrounding queer Native identities and practices does not equate absence. See Womack.
     8. Although Justice's theory of anomaly arises from a Southeastern Native-specific context, my reading of No Turning Back explores its potential transnational significance. As Justice explains, "until the Native folks familiar with queer tribal knowledge are less reluctant to talk about that information, we simply don't have a lot of community resources to draw on. The inevitable results of this lack of information are continuing silence--which clearly hasn't been a particularly productive strategy . . . or turning back to the extant ethnographic record and applying our own analytic lenses to them to the best of our ability, fully acknowledging the fact that any answers we come back with will always be partial and, to some degree, unsatisfying" (Justice 216).
     9. Queer of color theorist José Esteban Muñoz theorizes disidentification as "a strategy that works on and against dominant ideology" to "transform" settler colonial "logic from within" (Muñoz 11). Disidentification is a third space of negotiating colonial situations that transcends the reductive paradigms of accommodation versus resistance, assimilation versus tradition, or identification (with colonial ideologies) versus counteridentification. Muñoz's theory of disidentification is useful for articulating the decolonial potential of Polingaysi's gender indiscipline. Native feminist and queer Indigenous theorist Andrea Smith notes that a "politics of disidentification can be helpful to the project of decolonization" because it "forces us to admit that we cannot organize from a space of political purity, that we have been inevitably marked by processes of colonization. When we no longer have to carry the burden of political and cultural purity, we can be more flexible and creative in . . . us[ing] the logics of settler colonialism against itself" (Smith 56).
     10. Qwo-Li Driskill pays homage here to black feminist Audre Lorde; he claims, "I am in agreement with Audre Lorde when she writes, "Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning in our lives" (Driskill 51-52).
     11. For more on the outing program, see Whalen.
     12. "Local Items," Sherman Bulletin 1.12 (22 May 1907): 4.
     13. "Local Items," Sherman Bulletin 1.15 (12 June 1907): 3.
     14. "Training for Sherman Boys and Girls at the Ranch," Sherman Bulletin 1.17 (26 June 1907): 1; my emphasis.
     15. "Industrial Examinations," Sherman Bulletin 2.1 (1 Jan. 1908): 3.
     16. "Industrial Examinations," Sherman Bulletin 2.13 (25 Mar. 1908): 3.
     17. Muñoz also speaks of the simultaneously receptive and performative aspects of singing as a metaphor for disidentification. He claims that the "utmost precision" that musicians employ in performance "is needed to rework that song, that story, that fiction, that mastering plot. It is needed to make a self . . . we hear and [at the same time] sing disidentification" (21).
     18. "Thanksgiving Program," Sherman Bulletin 2.39 (2 Dec. 1908): 2-3.
     19. "For the Girls," Sherman Bulletin 3.30 (29 Sept. 1909): 1.
     20. "For the Girls."
     21. "For the Girls"; my emphasis.
     22. See "Hopi Song," Sherman Bulletin 1.1 (6 Mar. 1907): 1; Sherman Bulletin 1.11 (16 May 1907): 2; "General News," Sherman Bulletin 1.12 (22 May 1907): 3; and "General News," Sherman Bulletin 1.19 (11 Sept. 1907): 3.
     23. The text I have excised here reads "--implacable opposition to all things Hopi, perhaps--" (71). I have omitted it because its presumption strikes me as Carlson's, not Polingaysi's. In this brief article I aim to highlight Polingaysi's voice and silence Carlson's interference.
     24. The question remains: was Polingaysi attracted to, or romantically involved with, any woman? A study of Polingaysi's sexuality is beyond the scope of this paper, but I think it warrants future work, as many of the narrative's autobiographical disruptions obscure sexual issues. Such a project may prove productive for today's queer Indigenous scholars concerned with "Bringing 'Sexy Back' and Out of Native Studies' Closet" (Finley 31). Anthropological literature and historical archives indicate that alternative gender and sexual lifestyles may have been available for Hopi men, but the documentary record lacks any account of a counterpart role for Hopi women. Sabine Lang claims that "homosexual acts were commonplace, mainly among boys," but that "[f]emale homosexuality . . . was expressly denied among the . . . Hopi" (326, 328). Will Roscoe concurs: "Alternative roles for males (but apparently not females) existed among the . . . Hopi" (16).
     25. I found these letters in an esoteric collection of independently printed and bound letters, anecdotes, drawings, photographs, and poems, titled When I Met Polingaysi underneath the Cottonwood Tree (1983), a source that has proven to be invaluable for my understanding of Polingaysi's coalitional strategies of mediating the presence of non-Hopi visitors to the reservation. The solicitor, collector, and editor of this laudatory, living eulogy was a female friend of Polingaysi's named Jo Linder, who contacted each person listed in Polingaysi's guestbook to solicit testaments of her significance to them.


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Simmons, Leo W. Rev. of No Turning Back: A True Account of a Hopi Indian Girl's Struggle to Bridge the Gap between the World of Her People and the World of the White Man, by Polingaysi Qoyawayma (Elizabeth Q. White), as told to Vada F. Carlson. American Anthropologist ns 67.6 (1965): 1567. Print.

Smith, Andrea. "Queer Theory and Native Studies: The Heteronormativity of Settler Colonialism." Driskill et al. 43-65.

Trotta, Cathy Ann. "Crossing Cultural Boundaries: Heinrich and Martha Moser Voth in the Hopi Pueblos, 1893-1906." Diss. Northern Arizona U, 1997. Print.

Voth, H. R. The Henry R. Voth Hopi Indian Collection at Grand Canyon, Arizona: A Catalogue Prepared for the Fred Harvey Company in 1912. Phoenix: Byron Harvey, 1967. Print.

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Whalen, Kevin. "Labored Learning: The Outing Program at Sherman Institute, 1902-1930." The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images from Sherman Institute. Ed. Clifford E. Trafzer, Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, and Lorene Sisquoc. Corvallis: Oregon State UP, 2012. 107-36. Print.

Womack, Craig. "Suspicioning: Imagining a Debate between Those Who Get Confused, and Those Who Don't, When They Read Critical Responses to the Poems of Joy Harjo, or What's an Old-Timey Gay Boy Like Me to Do?" GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 16.1-2 (2010): 133-55. Print.


Ecological Ethics in Two Andean Songs


In this article, I illustrate how two Andean songs serve as lessons for ethical behaviour. This ethics does not constitute an abstraction away from daily concerns; rather, its rationale is pragmatic, based on the kind of behavior that is most conducive to individual and social survival. The ethical vision portrayed in the songs is therefore profoundly ecological. It is grounded on the notion of "reciprocity," where reciprocity can be broadly defined as a "mutually open predisposition for engagement." I collected the songs during doctoral fieldwork in Indigenous communities in Pomabamba province, Ancash department, Peru, in 2011. The first song is in the Indigenous language Central Peruvian Quechua, while the second is in Spanish. Both Quechua and Spanish are used interchangeably in the region, to the extent that Spanish can nowadays also be considered a Native language. Indeed, each song displays influences from both languages. The Wayta Muruy stanzas present a positive enactment of reciprocal cooperation, whereas those of the Negritos have a more sinister edge, foretelling the negative consequences of discrimination but with the hope of transformation.
     The theoretical framework that I deploy in this article derives from Andean philosophical tendencies. Thus, by deploying this framework, I illustrate that Indigenous worldviews (or lifeways) can be just as intellectually robust as theories that derive from academic scholarship in an institutional setting. This framework has been termed ecosofia by Josef Estermann (Ecosofia) and Sumaq Kawsay in its politicized variant (having formed part of the Ecuadorian and Bolivian constitutions). Estermann has coined the term ecosofia in order to convey the sense that "Andean philosophy" is "not a philosophy that is centered on the substantiality of entities and of the universe, rather on relationality as an {82} irreducible fact of the all-encompassing structure of the cosmos" (Ecosofia). Thus, Andean lifeways stress the mutual constitution of entities, so that relation, not the "entity," is the ontological prime.
     Sumaq Kawsay is a Southern Quechua word, reflecting its currency in Bolivia and Ecuador (Ecuadorian Quechua is closely related to Southern Quechua). However, translated into Central Peruvian Quechua as Shumaq Kaway, it provides a congruent theoretical framework for understanding the philosophical orientations of the songs in this article. It is generally translated into Spanish as El Buen Vivir ("the good life"). This translation, however, reduces much of its philosophical meaning (Estermann, Ecosofia). First, as with most Quechua words, kaway is both noun and verb. This conflation of the "nominal" and "verbal" conveys the relationality and dynamism that is implicit in any kind of entity. As a consequence shumaq is both adjective and adverb, so that the translation could equally be "to live well." A second difference is that shumaq is not only ethical and aesthetic, but also affective. This fact anticipates the songs where ethical, aesthetic, and affective domains are fused. Third, the concept of kaway is not reducible to "life" in a purely biological sense but also includes those entities that, in Western understandings, are classed as inanimate. Thus, relationality is extended to all domains of the cosmos. As a whole the concept of Shumaq Kaway communicates how "humans realize their potential (or should do so) as part of a community; with and in function of other human beings, without claiming to dominate Nature" (Acosta 38).
     The notion of Sumaq Kawsay (Shumaq Kaway) became part of the Ecuadorian constitution in 2008 and the Bolivian in 2009 (Gudynas 3). The concept is thus deployed in a primarily political context, and is not in wide circulation among Indigenous communities as a means of defining Andean Philosophy (Gudynas 8). It is not my intention in this article to reify "Andean Philosophy" as a homogeneous block that can be unproblematically labeled Shumaq Kaway, given that there is considerable diversity among Andean communities. Instead I deploy the concept as a means of identifying general philosophical tendencies across the Andes that inform the messages of the two songs that I examine. Another caveat is that I do not aim to generalize about daily life in the Andes on the basis of just two songs. Envy and individualism exist just as much in the Andes as they do elsewhere, and denying this because it contradicts Shumaq Kaway is just as fallacious as arguing that {83} all churchgoers automatically follow every tenet of the Bible. Indeed, the very fact that songs serve to remind people of the value of Shumaq Kaway shows that adherence to this principle is not a foregone conclusion. The Incas, while generally accepting cultural diversity within their empire, were imperialists nonetheless and, like all imperialists, defined themselves as the pinnacle of a rigid hierarchy that had little to do with Shumaq Kaway (Bauer).
     Neither is it my intention in this article to engage in the political debate about the contexts in which, and extent to which, Shumaq Kaway should be applied to spheres of life beyond the Andes. I do not aim to use Shumaq Kaway as a tool of critique against Western lifeways, nor do I exclude the possibility that it can contribute in important ways. To engage productively in these debates really requires extensive training in politics and economics, and the focus of this article is, instead, literary, linguistic, and anthropological. The objectives of this article having been introduced, together with the Indigenous theoretical framework that informs them, it is now time to engage in detailed exegesis of the texts themselves.


Wayta Muruy, literally "sowing of flowers," is a genre where people "dance out" certain agricultural activities. It is performed in festivals between April and June across the province. This version was sung to me by Doña Catalina Salvador Salinas, from the village of Pajash. The main performance is the spreading of cut flowers by the dancers (hence the genre's name). The flowers constitute a gift to a religious figure (in this case, Christ), and also symbolize the sowing of seeds. Thus, already we see the intertwining of the religious/ethical with a pragmatic preoccupation with survival. The whole festival takes place in front of the church, in the main square of Pajash. The principal dancers are warmi willka (granddaughter); ollqu willka (grandson); chakwas (old woman); awkis (old man). A fifth character is the capitán yunka, who helps the other four characters in the sowing of the flowers. The stanzas are as follows:
Tayta Cristi Asunción
Ima shumaqmi shuyaamun
Caña dulce mallkintsikta entregashunmi
Father Christ of the Ascension
How beautifully he awaits us
We will give him our plant of sugar cane
Caña dulce plantantsikta entregashunmi
Naranjada plantata entregadanaaqmi

Tsaqullay, tsaqullay, awkin runa, tsatsa runa
Tayta Cristu Asunción
Warmi willka, ollqu willka, awkis, chakwas
Alli shumaq tsaquyamunki
Naranjada mallkintsikmi

Sindi waqra tuuruntsik
Mana shumaq troncuta

Alli shumaqlla sindiylla sindiy
Capitán yunka, awkis, chakwas
Alli shumaq sindimunki
Mana pantar
Mana cricinqatsu

Ayway toruntsikta ashimunki
Wawra kachita aparkur
Ayway rogapar, shoqapar
Apamunki, achkumunki, laasumunki

Señorllay capitán yunka
Qarapaay yachanqanpita, Allimunki.
Envernadushqa tsay toruntsik, yunka señorllay
Waqrashuptiyki tsay chukaru toruqa
Kachita uchutsinki
Kachiwan rogapanki

We will give him our crop of sugar cane
I am about to give you the orange plant

Cut, cut, old man, elder man
Father Christ of the Ascension
Granddaughter, grandson, old man, old woman
Clear the vegetation well
Our orange plant

Our horned bull that plows
Might open up
If you do not remove the trunk

Sow, sow well
Captain yunka, old man, old woman
Sow well
Erring not
It will not grow

Go and look for our bull
In order to plow
Bringing shining salt
Feeding it
Go and beg it, comforting it
Bring it here, escort it, transport it

Honorable capitán yunka
Treat it in the way to which it is accustomed, persuade it.
It has been hibernating, this, our, bull, honorable yunka
If this stubborn bull should butt you
Give it salt to suck
Beg it with salt
Comfort it

Kurpata mashashun
Kurpantsikta wiruyaamuy
Alli shumaq, alli shumaq wiruyallaamunki
Caña dulcintsikta planta
Caña dulcintsikta planta malograykanman

Awkin runa, tsatsay runa
Alli shumaq parqulla, parqulla
Alli yaku parqullay
Plantanta mama sequiaqa parqunampaq

Naranjada plantantsikta suwayanqa
Caña dulcintsikta, caña dulcintsikta
Mishi makin apanqa plantantsikta
Alli shumaq cirkuykamunki

Mishi maki, lluta sik
Tsay waytata apaskin
Tsay waytata ushaskin

Misalla blanca, mesalla
Awkin runa, tsatsay runa
Hamaykuy, mikuyay, almorzay

We will heat the balls of earth in the sun
Make our balls of earth grow stalks
Make them grow stalks well
Our plant of sweet cane
Our plant of sweet cane could get damaged

Old man, elder man
Irrigate, irrigate well
With good water, irrigate well
So that mother stream can irrigate her plant

They will steal our orange plant
Our sweet cane, our sweet cane
Thieving hands will carry of our plant
Enclose it well

Thieving hands, useless bottom
Are carrying of this plant
Are destroying this plant

White table, table
Old man, elder man
Rest, eat, have lunch

The first stanza relates to Christ, Cristi. The word Cristi is an affectionate term that indicates that Christ is not presented as a remote figure, but rather as a close friend or relative; tayta, literally "father" but a term of affection and respect for any male, can also be interpreted in this way. In the second line, Ima shumaqmi shuyaamun ("How beautifully he awaits us"), the beauty originates from the relation, namely Christ's openness to receiving the devotees (the aesthetic dimension in shumaq ["beautiful"] is emphasized by the evidential suffix -mi, which serves an emphatic function). For Henry Stobart, affective language in Quechua communities serves "as a means to appeal to the generative power or spirit (animu) of the object, being or place, and to set it into 'communi-{86}cative mode,'" where "well being and (re)productive potential are largely understood in terms of the quality of relations with the various personified places, objects or beings" (9). In our song the intertwining of affective, aesthetic, and cognitive dimensions likewise serves to strengthen a relationship with Christ that will be conducive to survival. The importance of relation is also conveyed by the directional -mu (in shuyaamu-n, "waits for us"), which normally indicates movement toward the speaker. In this case, however, it is the speaker who is moving toward Christ. Thus, the suffix can be interpreted metaphorically to indicate an emotional, relational approximation, whereby Christ disposes himself to receiving the devotees. The reciprocal basis of this relation is suggested by the fact that, with this suffix, "there is the suggestion of a circular movement, as the effects of the action referred to are expected somehow to revert to the speaker" (Adelaar 141-42). As Ramiro Condori et al. note, "The festival is, for the Andean, a sacred space where one enters into communion with one's gods and one's ancestors; the relation that is generated requires reciprocity with beings of other spheres" (52).
     The next two lines exemplify this reciprocity: Caña dulce mallkintsikta entregashunmi / Caña dulce plantantsikta entregashunmi ("We will give him our plant of sugar cane / We will give him our crop of sugar cane"). According to Doña Catalina, by receiving the fruits of harvest, Christ will ensure a bountiful harvest next year. Thus, the more valuable the product that is given (and little is more valuable than food for survival), the more auspicious the result will be. Pragmatism does not contradict, but is reinforced by, reciprocal ethics. The parallelism of the lines, with Quechua mallki ("plant") followed by its Spanish cognate planta, arguably heightens the sense of reciprocity, while the evidential -mi grounds this relation on an epistemic basis of certainty. The group possessive -ntsik ("our") conveys the sense of group unity by defining the plant as "belonging to everyone." Quechua has two different categories for "we": an inclusive (noqantsik), whereby the addressee is included in the group ("all of us including you"), and an exclusive (noqakuna), whereby the addressee is excluded ("all of us but not you"). Here the inclusive category is deployed, conveying the fact that the group can be considered a single unit for the purposes of agriculture. By handing the plant over to Christ, moreover, the community incorporates Christ into the same web of relations. But the motivation for this inclusion is because Christ is not like everyone else--he has certain powers over the {87} natural world that the community does not have, and this is the reason for relating to him in the first place. Thus, community is built as much through difference as through similarity. The final line confirms the inclusion of Christ as part of the group, with the object changing from third person (grammatically unmarked category) ("he") to second person -q ("you"), coinciding with the suffix -naa, which indicates imminent action ("about to"). Thus, Christ becomes a direct interlocutor. The naranjada "orange" refers to the color of sugar cane; it is also tempting to see an allusion to the sun, a fundamental element of Andean religion and mythology.
     The second stanza refers to the four characters, representing two genders and two generations, who act out fundamental agricultural processes. The elder man is induced to tsaqu-, or "fell shrubs to create fields for sowing." There is semantic parallelism with awkin and tsatsa, both denoting an "elderly man." The second line shows that the action is performed with a view to Christ (here Cristu, from Spanish Cristo ["Christ"]). The third line lists all of the performers in turn: the young girl, the young boy, the old man, the old woman. As well as illustrating the productive synthesis of complementary opposites (two genders uniting to create two generations, and thereby temporal progression), the foursome also symbolizes the whole community and arguably reinforces the fact that everyone has their own role and is expected to cooperate for everyone's benefit. In the line Alli shumaq tsaquyamunki ("Clear the vegetation well"), we see again the intertwining of the aesthetic and pragmatic, where a job well done is alli shumaq ("very beautiful") (recall that shumaq is at once affective, ethical, and aesthetic). Here, the directional -mu serves to soften the imperative, which thereby acts more as a suggestion than a command; thus, the implication is that unity is built through cooperation rather than coercion. In the fifth line the group possessive -ntsik reinforces the creation of unity through common relation to the plant and thereby the role of agriculture in perpetuating the survival of the community. Indeed, agriculture is both the cause and effect of communal cooperation: a successful harvest allows the community to survive, while the success of agriculture depends on cooperation within that community. Already, then, we can see how the formation of relations, on the basis of emotional and aesthetic engagement, is oriented toward survival and how, in these stanzas, an ecological ethics emanates from entirely practical concerns.
     The third stanza explains the importance of the actions described in the previous stanza. The first line describes a tuuru ("bull"), again appropriated by -ntsik. In the festival the bull is enacted by three men. This does not mean that the bull is, from an emic (local) point of view, "unreal": "In certain feasts one observes runas that wear the skin of a bear or the flower of a plant . . . It is not . . . that they represent this or that plant or animal, but that in those circumstances they are that plant or animal" (Vásquez 114). Reference is made to the bull's waqru ("horn"), conveying the animal's strength and vitality. The word sindi probably originates from Spanish sendero ("path"); here it refers to the furrows plowed by the bull and into which seeds are placed. The subsequent lines state that the bull abrillakunqaman ("might open up"), Mana shumaq troncuta / Hipimuptiyki ("If you do not remove the trunk / Carefully"). Any broken trunks left in the field might pierce the bull's skin (cause it to "open"). The affective -lla conveys empathy, showing that the welfare of the bull is not simply a practical necessity but also a moral obligation. As Edmundo Bendezú states of Andean poetry generally: "The meaning of the poem depends to a great extent on the function of certain morphemes with emotional connotations. . . . The morpheme lla indicates a softened affirmation, not categorical" (111).
     The fourth stanza conveys the same ethical/pragmatic obligation for the seeds. The first three lines induce the yunka, old man, and old woman to Alli shumaqlla sindiylla sindiy ("Sow, sow well"). The affective -lla, use of shumaq ("beautiful, good"), and cooperative -mu again convey a caring, advisory tone, where the actors are encouraged, rather than coerced, to perform the activity. The fourth and fifth lines illustrate the importance of sowing "beautifully": Mana pantar / Mana cricinqatsu ("Erring not / It will not grow"). Only if the seeds are treated with care will the plant grow and reciprocate by producing the food necessary for survival. The parallel repetition of the negative mana ("not") reinforces the warning and also the two- way exchange: if negativity exists at one side, it will be reproduced at the other. This is conveyed by the Quechua concept of ayni, as described by Catherine Allen ("When"):

At the most abstract level, ayni is the basic give- and- take that governs the universal circulation of vitality. It can be positive . . . or . . . negative . . . This circulation . . . is driven by a system of continuous reciprocal interchanges, a kind of dialectical pumping mechanism. Every category of being, at every level, participates in {89} this cosmic circulation. Humans maintain interactive reciprocity relationships, not only with each other but also with their animals, their houses, their potato fields, the earth, and the sacred places in their landscape. (77)

We are reminded of Estermann's insight that ecosofia in the Andes entails conceptualization of life that is not hierarchically ordered (progressing from "inanimate" through "vegetable" and "animal" to "human") but rather locates each being within an egalitarian system of mutual dependence (Ecosofia).
     The fifth stanza begins by persuading the actors to fetch the bull, so that the field may be plowed: Ayway toruntsikta ashimunki / Yapyaykunapaq ("Go and look for our bull / In order to plow"). The third to fifth lines again stress cooperation over coercion: Rawra kachita aparkur / Mikutsipar / Ayway rogapar, shoqapar ("Bringing it shining salt / Feeding it / Go and beg it, comforting it"). By enticing the bull with salt, the actors are entering into reciprocal relations with the bull, recalling Inge Bolin's comment on treatment of camelids in southern Peru: "Alpacas and llamas are not to be dominated and looked upon as mere resources. They must be respected in their own right, and the relationship is built on perfect reciprocity" (66). Likewise, Rodrigo Montoya et al. argue that in the Andes, "[a]nimals are treated like humans (with love, rage, insults)" (29). Here, we see this in the verbs roga- ("beg") and shoqa- ("console"). The suffix -pa denotes a short period of time; here, its diminutive role is probably affective. The treatment of Christ, the plants, and the bull all reinforce the pragmatic basis of ethics as conveyed in the stanzas, where survival depends on productive reciprocal agreements.
     The sixth stanza also describes the treatment of the bull: Señorllay capitán yunka / Qarapaay yachanqanpita, Allimunki ("Honorable capitán yunka / Treat it in the way to which it is accustomed, persuade it"). The yunka is addressed respectfully as Señorllay, shown by the Spanish honorific Señor ("Sir"), affective -lla, and affective/semi- possessive -y. Qarapay contains the verbal root qara- ("gift, bestow"), again demonstrating the cooperative, rather than coercive, relation toward the bull. The intertwining of reason and emotion throughout the stanzas, as part of a strategy of ecological ethics, recalls the close interdependence of the nervous (cognitive) and endocrine (emotional) systems. To quote Maurice Trask:

The hypothalamus, which is the switchboard of the brain, receives both nerve and chemical messages. It sends out messages in two ways, by impulses through the nerve networks and by hormones to the pituitary gland. These hormones travel along the inside of the nerve axons, so that there is a close association between the two systems. When information enters the brain as nerve impulses and the response is hormone secretion the cycle is a neuroendocrine reflex. (137-38)

The phrase yachanqanpita comprises yacha- ("know, become accustomed to"); nominalizer -nqa; third person present -n; -pita ("from"). The phrase can therefore be translated as "in the way to which it is accustomed." This implies that auspicious relationships are gradually built up over time, through repeated reciprocal actions. What is stressed, then, is an abidingness in the relationship between bull and yunka, which does not mean that the relationship is always empirically in force, rather that every new agreement is projected from a history of past agreements (this projection is conveyed by the directionality of -pita ["from"]). The cumulative result is a latent mutual understanding that facilitates the process of making new cooperative endeavors in the future. At the emotional level, this could be tantamount to "trust." The verb Allimunki comprises adjective alli ("good"); directional -mu ("toward"); second person -nki. It therefore reads roughly as "you make good," though here its most plausible interpretation is "you persuade," since the aim is to tame the bull so that it wishes to cooperate. The wide semantic orbit of alli ("good"), together with -mu (toward the speaker), indicates the grounding of ethics on self-interest, which is also communal interest. The remaining lines tell the yunka what to do if the bull is aggressive: Waqrashuptiyki tsay chukaru toruqa / Kachita uchutsinki / Kachiwan rogapanki / Shoqapanki ("If this stubborn bull should butt you / Give it salt to suck / Beg it with salt / Comfort it"). The yunka is encouraged to entice, rather than force, the bull to cooperate, not because of disinterested altruism, but because this is the most productive strategy: the bull will work better if it does so willingly, and aggression is a waste of energy, particularly in the high Andes where the air is thin, the temperature low, and the soils poor. Empathy is therefore a particularly useful means of securing what one requires in order to survive.
     The seventh stanza refers to the kurpa, or balls of earth, which are {91} made around the seeds to maximize their chances of survival: Kurpata mashashun / Kurpantsikta wiruyaamuy / Alli shumaq, alli shumaq wiruyallaamunki ("We will heat the balls of earth in the sun / Make our balls of earth grow stalks / Make them grow stalks well"). The group possessive -ntsik is not strictly necessary here: it is already obvious that the kurpa belong to the group. Arguably, therefore, the use of this suffix is enactive rather than descriptive, encouraging people to work together as a community through reinforcing their latent potential to do so. If reciprocal unity is maintained, the kurpa will wiruu ("grow stalks"). Denise Y. Arnold and Juan de Dios Yapita note a similar tendency to engage personally with nature among the Bolivian Aymara: "it is believed that it is precisely the general intimacy of this personal communication between the human mamalas [mothers] and their spiritual counterparts, the mamalas of food-products, which results in the success of future harvests" (Río 164). Thus, as in Wayta Muruy, nature is related to on a profoundly empathetic basis whose premise is the ultimate unity of all things.
     The fifth line of this stanza is a warning of what will happen if reciprocity is not respected: Caña dulcintsikta planta malograykanman ("Our plant of sweet cane could get damaged"). The group possessive -ntsik reinforces that the welfare of the plant is the welfare of the group. The eighth stanza induces the elder man to parqu- ("irrigate") the seeds with alli yaku ("good water"). This is Plantanta mama sequiaqa parqunampaq ("So that mother stream can irrigate her plant"), whereby a physical process is also described in terms of reciprocity, just as a mother gives milk to her child. This recalls a stanza recorded in southern Peru by Francisco Carrillo: "Dilated stream with a smooth surface, Step on it! / It will carry its waters to our seeds, Step on it! / Step on it with strength, Step on it! / Step on it again with strength, step on it! / Thanks to you, our plants have their flower, Step on it! / Their beautiful fruits their propagation, Step on it!" (79). In both this stanza and the Wayta Muruy the stream is addressed as an animate being. In Wayta Muruy the stream is an agent, since the elderly man only provides the necessary conditions under which the stream can follow her natural tendency of nurture and, in the extract from Carrillo, because the stream is given thanks and addressed in the second person. This reflects Andean philosophical tendencies whereby "the land is an animated being and, consequently, the relation which is established between the runa ('human {92} being') and the land is not that which obtains between a subject and object, but an interaction between animated entities which are ultimately mutually dependent" (Godenzzi 53). Water is particularly important because of its role as a basis of Andean communality. Gary Urton, for example, notes how, in his southern Peruvian field site, "reservoirs and irrigation canals--and probably water in general--are crucial to the definition of social versus non-social space" (53). The importance of water for defining social relations can be traced to pre-Hispanic times, when "[d]ifferent peoples or ayllus [communities] could link themselves to others on the ideological basis of the connections between bodies of water and thus form local regions" (Sherbondy 57). Ultimately the role of water as an agent and principle of socialization is probably bound up with its biological function as sustaining life, particularly if we see communities as formed on a pragmatic basis of survival. The circulation of water is also a physical manifestation of the principle of reciprocal circulation of resources (ayni): "Rivers and streams provide a tangible manifestation of the samis' [spirits'] flow and they are conceptualized in terms of a vast circulatory system that distributes water throughout the cosmos" (Allen, Hold 36). Thus, the presentation of mama sequia serves to reinforce ayni both at a practical and conceptual level.
     The ninth stanza shifts to what happens when proper relations are not observed: Naranjada plantantsikta suwayanqa / Caña dulcintsikta, caña dulcintsikta ("They will steal our orange plant / Our sweet cane, our sweet cane"). This refers to the performance of the Turks, who arrive on the scene in mock Turkish costumes after the five cultivators have left, and destroy the newly sown plants. The phrase mishi makin ("thieving hands," literally "cat hands") refers to the fact that cats are opportunistic scavengers that often steal the fruits of people's labor. The cultivators are therefore urged to circuykamuy ("circle around") the crops to protect them. This stanza illustrates the destruction caused when reciprocity is not observed, and when adequate care is not taken to protect that which is important to one's welfare. Thus, it serves as a lesson to take care of the relationships that one cultivates. The reference to the Turks is an allusion to medieval dramatizations that circulated widely in Spain and were subsequently introduced to Latin America during the colonial period (Millones 26). They depicted the victories of Christians over Muslims at the time of the Crusades. In Wayta Muruy, however, {93} the Turks are devoid of any ethnic association and are simply a symbol of the non- adherence to ayni ("reciprocity"). The tenth stanza marks a change of tense, from future to present, illustrating the fulfillment of the warning: Mishi maki, lluta siki / Tsay waytata apaskin / Tsay waytata ushaskin ("Thieving hands, useless bottom / Are carrying off this plant / Are destroying this plant"). The Turks are again described as "thieving hands," and this time also as lluta siki ("useless bottom")! The suffix -ski (in apa-ski-n) ("take, carry off ") and usha-ski-n ("finish, destroy") denotes sudden and resisted action (Julca-Guerrero 408), thus emphasizing the rapidity of the destruction in a moment of carelessness.
     The final stanza conveys reciprocity in a different context. Here, the mayordomo (organizer of the festival) invites the grandfather to have lunch (Doña Catalina told me that all five dancers are in fact invited): Misalla blanca, mesalla / Awkin runa, tsatsay runa / Hamaykuy, mikuyay, almorzay ("White table, table / Old man, elder man / Rest, eat, have lunch"). The participants are thus rewarded for their efforts by being offered food. This sharing of food serves to confirm the message of "reciprocity" that the song is designed to convey: "Because Andean relationships of reciprocity are initiated, sacralized, and sustained through the ritual sharing of food . . . , food is essential not only to sustain each physical life, but also to sustain the human and spiritual relationships that allow life to go on" (Paulson 251-52). The Turks then return in order to rob the food. According to Doña Catalina, the Turks rob because tienen envidia ("they are jealous"). Jealousy, more than egoism, can be seen as the opposite of reciprocity. While reciprocity is beneficial both for Self and Other, jealousy is the complete denial of the Other, the severing of any meaningful social ties, and while it may lead to short-term benefit, it is ultimately self-destructive as it removes the communal support-basis on which life depends. As Estermann states for the Andes in general, "an isolated person, with no relations, is a dead entity" (Filosofia 98). Thus, "[r]eciprocal rituals (despatch, pay) are an essential condition for the Pachamama [nature] to continue to be generous and for life to be maintained" (235). Transgressions of "this system of communal 'justice' are severely punished, because they risk the economic process of cultivating land and the coexistence of the population" (237).
     The above exegesis of Wayta Muruy has shown how the stanzas do not represent literary abstractions from daily life but serve a function {94} of enhancing survival by presenting a blueprint of proper relations with the social and natural environment. Just as empathy unites the cognitive and affective and serves as the basis of reciprocity, so the ethical and the pragmatic are two sides of the same coin. We saw this in the following examples: the affective and reciprocal treatment of Christ in order to secure a good harvest; the fourfold nature of the participants, where the complementary unity of two genders results in the production of two generations and thus allows life to continue; the sense that the participation of both genders and all ages represents the whole ayllu ("community"), the members of which must take an equal share of the work, and all of whom are rewarded for their efforts with food; the treatment of the bull, who must be safeguarded from split tree trunks because this is both a practical necessity and a moral requirement that is felt empathetically; likewise the sense that nature should be related to as a person, in the encouragement of the seedlings to sprout, in the gifting of salt to the bull in exchange for its plowing, and in the engagement with the stream as a mama ("mother") who nurtures her offspring, the seedlings; finally, the mention of the Turks who are the alter that serve to reinforce the practical validity of reciprocity.
     All of these examples dialogue with the concept of Shumaq Kaway, which communicates the sense that "everything has to do with everything else (holistic principle), [so that] life . . . is . . . a characteristic of every entity" (Estermann, Ecosofia). The Turks, in contrast to the participants, illustrate how an "economy of unmeasured exploitation of natural resources . . . does not correspond with the logic of cosmic justice and significantly harms the balance of life" (Estermann, Ecosofia). The "logic of cosmic justice" can be defined as ayni, the principle of reciprocity. In the next song, we witness the presentation of another alter that seems reluctant to follow the principle of ayni. Unlike Wayta Muruy, however, the voice of the following song does not simply reject this alter but aims to bring her back into the fold of reciprocity, of Shumaq Kaway.


The dance of Negritos is widespread in Pomabamba province and is performed by a small group of men who depict slaves of African descent (the negritos) working under a capitán, literally "captain." The songs specific to the Negritos were in Spanish but were interspersed with more {95} well-known folksongs in either language. The dance is often burlesque and has sexual connotations. This song is one of the sixteen sung by the negritos in the village of Huanchacbamba. It was recited to me by Don Marianito, a local singer and folklorist who has performed the songs. The song describes the negritos' encounter with the Antis, a group of female performers who enact the dance of the same name. In Pomabamba rumor has it that this dance originated from the rainforest, also suggested by the following: "Anti (pluralized by the Spanish to Antis), the word from which Andes is derived, originally meant not the mountains, but people: the forest dwellers at the eastern margin of the Inca empire" (Gade 31). Don Marianito explained that the negritos and Antis would exchange stanzas, in a "call- and- response" manner. The Antis' text seems to have been lost (in memory as well as in writing), but the overall theme of the exchange, and its importance for our discussion of a pragmatic ethics based on ayni (reciprocity), are clear from just the negritos' half:
Acércate bella noble guiadora
Venir pues guiadora valiente
¿Por qué eres tan orgullosa
Contra negretos africanos?

Te deré lo que pretendo decerte
Y luego comunicaré de corazón
Al fin te pido bella guiadora
Que serás bien recibida

No procures afligerte
A voz de cajón y clarenes
Porque ese van deciendo
Que hemos de tener mal fin

Flor de rima rima
Regadita de aguas puras
¿Por qué quieres despreciarme?
Conf ado en los blancos
Siempre guidar marchitada

Brindemos cristal de licores
Con estos dulces majors
Desfrutar todas las prencesas
Matezado con altura

Come closer, noble guiadora
Come, then, brave guiadora
Why are you so proud
Against black Africans?

I'll tell you what I hope to tell you
And then I'll say it with my heart
Ultimately, beautiful guiadora,
I ask that you be well received

Do not try to be disdainful
With the voice of drums and bugles
Because these only tell us
That we will finish badly

Flower of rima rima
Showered with pure waters
Why do you wish to despise me?
Trusting in the white people
Always to lead withered

Let us drink crystals of liquor
With these sweet majores
So that every princess may be joyous
Adorned with elegance

El amor que te tengo
En mi corazón se queda
Viene un fuerte remolino
Mi bella prensesa se la lleva

Qué hermosura eres prensesa
Con tres plumajes de colores
Qué bella te veo con tus velos
Y tus collares de oro y plata

Por estas bellas prensesas
El negreto se encuentra rendido
Mi corazón lleno de alegría
Desfrutemos nuestra danza

The love that I have for you
Remains in my heart
If a strong eddy should come
My beautiful princess will be carried off

What beauty you are, princess
With three colorful feathers
How beautiful I see you with your veils
And your necklaces of gold and silver

Because of these beautiful princesses
The black man finds himself overcome
My heart filled with happiness
Let us enjoy our dance

The first stanza introduces the negrito's desire to reduce the (physical and emotional/cognitive) distance between the antis and himself: Acércate bella noble guiadora / Venir pues guiadora valiente ("Come closer, noble guiadora / Come, then, brave guiadora"). The guiadora is the leader or "spokesperson" of the antis. She is described as bella ("beautiful") and noble ("noble"). This, while stressing the attraction of the singer to the guiadora, also emphasizes the gulf between them, for the term noble conveys a sense of hierarchy that, combined with bella ("beautiful"), suggests that she is removed in the way that a goddess is haughty and distanced from the more mundane world of her worshippers. The placing of noble ("noble") before the noun is an honorific style in Spanish where (apart from a handful of adjectives such as bella) the noun otherwise precedes the adjective. The word valiente ("brave") conveys a sense of fierce independence, for this is a term strongly associated with warfare. The distance of the guiadora from the singer is explicitly mentioned in the third and fourth lines: ¿Por qué eres tan orgullosa / Contra negretos africanos? ("Why are you so proud / Against black Africans?"). The term orgullosa ("proud") generally has negative connotations in the Andes, suggesting egoism, hierarchy, and the denial of reciprocity. These lines allude to the long history of racial discrimination in Peru, against both Indigenous Andeans and Africans on the coast. Both groups were severely exploited by the Hispanic-descended elite in plantations and ranches. Racial discrimination still exists today, as indicated by many of my informants who spoke of discrimination against use of {97} Quechua, Andean style of dress, and other cultural traits. Indeed, this line of the song contains one linguistic element that commonly incites discrimination, namely the conflation of [i] with [e], on the one hand, and of [u] with [o], on the other hand, in negreto (as opposed to the standard Spanish negrito). This results from the fact that in Quechua, unlike Spanish, these sounds are not separate phonemes (i.e., they do not carry different meanings). The communicative gap between negrito and anti is highlighted by the word contra ("against"), which has no direct translation in Quechua. While the Wayta Muruy stanzas reinforce differences between groups, the rationale for these differences is the potential for productive complementarity; by contrast, the term contra in this stanza suggests an egoistic aim of self-gratification at the expense of the Other. The use of the interrogative form encourages the opening of dialogue, in that a response is clearly expected. It also prompts listeners to reflect on their situation, as to why discrimination occurs. This may be a way of creating unity out of a common sense of injustice, and of encouraging people to consider how the discrimination can be reduced.
     The first two lines of the second stanza are notable in their emphasis on dialogue: Te deré lo que pretendo decerte / Y luego comunicaré de corazón ("I'll tell you what I hope to tell you / And then I'll say it with my heart"). The lines comprise four verbs all relating to communication: deré, from diré (first-person future tense "say"); pretendo (first- person present tense "claim, hope"); decer (from decir, infinitive "say"); comunicaré (first- person future "communicate"). This implies that, through dialogue, the gap between the negrito and the guiadora can become narrower, for a communicative field will have been set up between them, with mutual understandings. Given the obvious reproductive connotations of the song (in that the opposing pairs are male and female), we can see this discussion of communication as a kind of copulation, where understanding is the fruit of symbiosis between the two interlocutors. Once this communicative copulation has been achieved at one level, it can progress to a more fundamental level where, from being purely linguistic (evident in the two uses of the verb deci- ["say"]), it becomes de corazón ("with the heart"). Thus, these two lines imply the beginnings of the historical process that originates in the first communicative encounter, where layers of meaning build on layers of meaning, just as trust and affect grow with time. We also saw this in Wayta Muruy, where the bull is treated yachanqanpita ("in the way to which it is accustomed"). The {98} "heart" in Andean communities has a wider meaning than in European cultures. The seventeenth-century chronicler Holguín defines the Quechua near-cognate, shonqu, as "heart and entrails, the stomach and consciousness, judgment and reason, memory, the core of wood, willfulness and understanding" (Holguín, qtd. in Husson 111). Bruce Mannheim suggests that "essence" might be a better translation (51n14). For Montes, chuyma, the cognate of shonqu in Aymara (another major Andean language), denotes "heart and everything that pertains to the inner state of the soul, emotion, sensibility, effort, judgment, understanding, knowledge, intelligence, memory, wisdom, disposition and attitude" (Montes, paraphrased by Condori et al. 40). The Andean notion of the "heart," then, combines the emotional and the rational, incorporating the pragmatic and affective nature of community whose basis is physical and psychological security. This dialogues with the ethos of the Negritos stanzas, which aim to build a solid reciprocal relation (ayni), grounded on reason and affect, that is conducive to survival and reproduction for both interlocutors. The fact that there is a distinction between what is said through words and what is said by the heart implies a mistrust of the use of language, recalling the widespread linguistic discrimination of Quechua speakers. The verb pretendo (first person "claim, hope") is also ambiguous in implying uncertainty about how genuine the communication is. Quechua grammatically distinguishes between degrees of certainty in the use of three "evidential" suffixes: -mi indexes certainty (we saw this suffix in Wayta Muruy); -chi is dubitative; -shi indicates reported speech. It is possible that this evidential system is maintained in the Spanish stanzas of the Negritos, so that the verb pretend- would correspond here to the Quechua dubitative -chi.
     The final two lines, Al fin te pido bella guiadora / Que serás bien recibida ("Ultimately, beautiful guiadora / I ask that you be well received"), at first appear somewhat ambiguous. The informal second-person singular object te ("you") makes it clear that the request is directed toward the guiadora herself. But how is it possible to request of an individual that she be well received? Surely this depends on the people who receive her, not on the person who is received. In the reciprocal cosmology of the Andes, however, this request makes perfect sense. Being well received depends on how willing the guiadora is to engage with the negrito (communicatively, cognitively, and emotionally). The fact that this is conveyed in implicit, rather than explicit, form suggests cau-{99}tion, where the speaker is hedging his bets, testing the water, so that he does not give too much if the guiadora is unwilling to give in turn. This recalls the ambivalence around the verb pretend- ("claim"), where the communication cannot be entirely genuine if it is not based on the trust that develops after several encounters. The phrase al fin ("in the end, ultimately") conveys precisely this sense of bonds being made through time. If, as the negrito hopes, the guiadora is well received, then the fin ("ending") is also a new beginning. The expression al fin is also used in a colloquial sense to introduce the conclusion of one's previous utterances; thus, the ambiguity again allows the speaker to hedge his bets, in that the guiadora can interpret a variety of possible messages but will grasp the intended one if she is willing to attune herself to the same wavelength. The word bella ("beautiful") conveys distance as much as attraction, being deployed in an honorific rather than affective sense. All in all, the ambiguity of the words allows the speaker to convey willingness to open relations with the opposite party, while also being a getout strategy that allows him to state that the meaning has been misinterpreted should the guiadora not be willing to accept. Thus, the negrito avoids the risk of giving more than he receives. This can be understood in terms of the Quechua concept of tinku:

through tinkuy, social unity is created dialectically and expressed in terms of complementary opposition. Although tinkuy refers to ritual dance-battles, the word has wider applications. . . . When streams converge in foaming eddies to produce a single, larger stream they are said to tinkuy, and their convergence is called tinku (or tingu). Tinkus are powerful, dangerous places full of liberated and uncontrollable forces. (Allen, Hold 205)

Likewise, there is a danger inherent in the negrito's encounter with the guiadora, where there is no history of prior actions to enhance the probability of an auspicious result for both, and where the inherent "beauty and violence" (Stobart 144) of tinku--the approximation and the antagonism--have not yet been harnessed toward productive ends. In Wayta Muruy, by contrast, difference is oriented strategically so that complementarity, rather than destruction, results. In the Negritos song, the tinku is still in flux, negotiation, so ambiguity and ambivalence are necessary if the negrito is not to lose control completely.
     The first two lines of the third stanza, No procures afligerte / A voz de {100} cajón y clarenes ("Do not try to be disdainful / With the voice of drums and bugles"), are a warning not to stand aloof and maintain distance. The verb afligerse (afligirse) literally means "to get upset," but according to Don Marianito, the line means no te pongas sobrada ("do not become disdainful, haughty"). This suggests that the guiadora is only feigning to be upset, perhaps to avoid her interlocutor because of his low social status. The fact that this melodrama would be A voz de cajón y clarenes ("With the voice of drums and bugles") (instruments that are commonly played in Andean festivals) probably alludes to the volume of the guiadora's voice as she complains! The third and fourth lines return to the theme of communication: Porque ese van deciendo / Que hemos de tener mal fin ("Because these only tell us / That we will finish badly"). The use of the continuous aspect in the form deciendo (from diciendo ["saying"]) conveys an underlying and preoccupying uncertainty. The notion of mal fin ("bad ending") is ambiguous from a non- Andean perspective. Is the ending bad for each as individuals, or for the possibility of them joining together? In an Andean worldview of mutual attunement, both interpretations are correct given the predication of individual survival on communal cooperation.
     Indeed, several scholars have cited the specific importance of gender complementarity in Andean cosmology. Irene Silverblatt notes how, in Incan society, "male and female occupations--defined as interdependent and complementary activities--were conceptualized as forming the basic unit of labor required for the reproduction of Andean society" (154). Further, "[a] dialectical view of oppositions, often phrased in terms of sexual parallelism, was a fundamental cosmological principle shared by Andean peoples," whereby the principal deity, Wiraqocha, combined "both male and female sexual elements" and thereby contained "all the forces that these elements symbolize: 'the sun, the moon, day, night, winter, summer'" (Pachacuti Yamqui, qtd. in Silverblatt 159). Silverblatt concludes: "These forces stemming from the interplay between the model's male and female constituent parts were conceptualized as creating the driving energies of the universe. Thus, a fundamental cosmological structure which conditioned the Andean conception of the universe was in large part based on a dialectical view of the relations between the sexes" (159). This complementary dualism can be understood in terms of tinku, the productive orientation of which is ayni. Olivia Harris notes how this practical philosophy continues to {101} the present day: "It is the fruitful cooperation between woman and man as a unity, which produces culture, and which is opposed to the single person as a-cultural; culture is based on duality" (25). The dependence of each individual on gender complementarity is also emphasized by Allen: "While each man and woman is a complete individual with both male and female qualities, the two unite to form another individual of a higher order: a warmi-qari, the nucleus of the household" (Hold 85). What all of these quotations suggest is that the mal fin ("bad ending") is much more profound than the end of a possible relationship. It is the denial of the possibility of survival, the unbalancing of the natural order where incompleteness means isolation and extreme vulnerability. The phrase mal fin links with al fin in the previous stanza, stressing the notion of an "ending." This serves to highlight the nature of the encounter as a progression from one state to another, unknown state, demonstrating how interaction perpetuates the historical dynamic. Either the ending could be productive unity (bien recibida) or alienation and destruction (mal fin).
     The fourth stanza begins by comparing the guiadora to a flower: Flor de rima rima / Regadita de aguas puras ("Flower of rima rima / Showered with pure waters"). This kind of comparison is very common in Andean songs and reflects the association between reproduction, agriculture, and survival. The name of the flower, rima rima (Krapfia weberauerii), continues the theme of communication: rima- is the original Quechua verb for "speak." In the modern Quechua of central Peru, however, it now usually denotes negative gossip (the Old Spanish loan parla- is now the commonest verb for "speak"). Thus, we see a contrast between the negrito, who, in the second stanza, states that he will communicate first with words and then with his heart, and the guiadora, who communicates only with words, but negatively; this again reflects a mistrust of language. The second line Regadita de aguas puras ("Showered with pure waters") probably refers to the privileges that the guiadora enjoys, particularly on analysis of the fourth line (discussed below). The third line, ¿Por qué quieres despreciarme? ("Why do you wish to despise me?"), alludes once more to life- denying discrimination, while the fourth and fifth lines, Confiado en los blancos / Siempre guidar marchitada ("Trusting in the white people / Always to lead withered"), depict the racial inequalities that have existed in Peruvian society for centuries. The absence of gender agreement in confiado (which would {102} normally take the feminine ending -a) is characteristic of Andean Spanish. Here, the text implies that the guiadora has received privileges, has been regadita de aguas puras ("showered with pure waters"), as a result of her association with the exploiters. However, this is not conducive to a healthy existence because it rests on a state of inequality: the elite are always her superiors, and she likewise exploits those in a less favorable position. This is why, if she follows this path and continues to despise the negrito, she is destined to Siempre guidar marchitada ("Always to lead withered"). She may indeed lead, but this won't lead to flourishing and fulfillment because it is a denial of reciprocity. This dialogues with Estermann's concept of ecosofia, which stresses relationality: "For Andean philosophy, the individual as such isn't just 'nothing' (a 'nonentity'); it is something completely lost if it isn't located in a network of multiple relations. If a person doesn't belong to the local community (ayllu), because he or she has been expelled or because he or she has excluded himself or herself through his or her own actions, it's as if he or she didn't exist anymore" (Estermann, Filosofia 97-98). Therefore, "To disconnect oneself from natural and cosmic links . . . would, for the runa [people] of the Andes, mean signing one's own death warrant" (98). In this song, then, ayni ("reciprocity") is not just advised but inevitable: positive reciprocity results in a fruitful outcome for all concerned; negative reciprocity is the process whereby ill effects boomerang back on those who conduct negative actions. Again we see how, in these songs, ethics has a practical rationale in the social ecosystem.
     With the fifth stanza comes a change of tone: Brindemos cristal de licores / Con estos dulces majores ("Let us drink crystals of liquor / With these sweet majores"). From the previous stanzas, which discuss the possibility of the guiadora entering into a relation with the negrito, comes an inducement to imbibe food and drink, the sharing of which would indicate a greater unity (recall the reciprocal sharing of food at the end of Wayta Muruy). The phrase cristal de licores ("crystals of liquor") refers to a brand of beer, Cristal, ubiquitous at Andean festivals. The second line, Con estos dulces majores ("With these sweet majores"), refers to an Andean sweet dish. However, cristal ("crystal") and dulce ("sweet") also seem to refer to the guiadora, particularly with the mention of aguas puras ("pure waters") in stanza four, and the fact that dulce is often used in amorous contexts; again, this possible play on words reflects the ambivalence and thereby the hedging. The third line, Des-{103}frutar todas las prencesas ("So that every princess may be joyous"), is also ambiguous, due to the use of the infinitive, which renders the verb disfrutar ("enjoy") devoid of a subject. One possible meaning is that it is the prencesas ("princesses") (i.e., the antis) who enjoy themselves. This is the interpretation I have chosen in my translation ("So that every princess may be joyous"). Another possibility is that the phrase refers to the negritos, who "enjoy the princesses" in a sexual sense (the preposition de, which follows disfrutar and precedes its object in standard Spanish, is usually absent in Andean Spanish). This is an equally plausible interpretation, given the sexual overtones of the song. The negrito allows the guiadora to interpret the true meaning if she wishes to attune herself, but doesn't give too much away in case she remains aloof. The word prencesa (from Spanish princesa) is a term of endearment for young women, but here it also links with the theme of hierarchy and exploitation. Thus, the use of this term is also ambivalent: it could convey either a strong attachment or an opposite sense of remoteness. I have translated the last line, Matezado con altura, as "Adorned with elegance," as this is more natural in English. However, altura means "height" and therefore conveys a sense of remoteness and aloofness as well as being on the surface a term of praise and respect. Thus, this line, too, is ambivalent.
     The sixth stanza begins with a frank declaration of love: El amor que te tengo ("The love that I have for you"). The ambiguity returns, however, in the second line, which states that the love En mi corazón se queda ("Remains in my heart"). One possible interpretation is that the love exists in the person's heart (the verb quedarse can sometimes just denote physical location). Another interpretation, however, is that the love will go nowhere outside of his heart, will not touch the heart of the guiadora (quedarse can also mean "to remain"). This second meaning is congruent with the rest of the stanza: Viene un fuerte remolino / Mi bella prensesa se la lleva ("If a strong eddy should come / My beautiful princess will be carried off"). The notion of the "eddy" relates to the theme of aguas puras ("pure waters") and cristal de licores ("crystals of liquor") and endows the natural elements with agency, as we saw with the discussion of the "stream" in Wayta Muruy. In the Andes, rivers are both a source of life and an agent of destruction, particularly in the rainy season where floods and strong currents frequently cause loss of life. In this stanza the "eddy" may be anything--the allure of wealth, another man, or even just its literal meaning. Nonetheless, the obvious {104} association with raging torrents foregrounds the vulnerability of life in the Andes, which requires strong reciprocal bonds in order to survive; thus, the lines are as much a warning against individualism as a regret at the possibility of losing the guiadora's affection. There is an interesting deictic transformation within this stanza. In the first line the guiadora is directly addressed as te ("you"), whereas in the last line she is addressed in the third person, "my beautiful princess." While this may be honorific use of the third person, it also suggests distancing in that--grammatically, at least--she is no longer a direct interlocutor.
     The seventh stanza describes the beauty of the guiadora: Qué hermosura eres prensesa / Con tres plumajes de colores / Qué bella te veo con tus velos / Y tus collares de oro y plata ("What beauty you are, princess / With three colorful feathers / How beautiful I see you with your veils / And your necklaces of gold and silver"). Again, the word prencesa ("princess") can be interpreted affectively or critically. The remaining lines describe the guiadora's beauty in terms of her dress, specifically her tres plumajes de colores ("three colorful feathers"), her velos ("veils"), and her collares de oro y plata ("necklaces of gold and silver"). This mention of wealth can be interpreted as a veiled criticism of the material success of those who exploit others by being confiado en los blancos ("trusting in the white people") (i.e., in the elite), negating reciprocity and thereby isolating themselves in the long term. The eighth stanza concludes the song with characteristic ambiguity: Por estas bellas prensesas / El negreto se encuentra rendido ("Because of these beautiful princesses / The black man finds himself overcome"). The most obvious reading is that the negrito is overcome by his attraction toward the guiadora. However, a more sinister interpretation is that the negrito has been "defeated" in the same way that Africans and Indigenous Andeans have been exploited by the European- descended elite. This interpretation is highly plausible given the superior wealth of the guiadora, her association with the exploitative group, and the indications of her unwillingness to relate to the negrito. Moreover, Huanchacbamba, where this text was performed, is on the site of a former hacienda, where residents were exploited by the landowners. The ambivalence dissipates for the concluding two lines: Mi corazón lleno de alegría / Desfrutemos nuestra danza ("My heart filled with happiness / Let us enjoy our dance"). The tone is that of carpe diem, despite the underlying uncertainty. The alegría ("happiness") is nonetheless noncommittal, since it could result more from the {105} music than love for the guiadora. Overall, then, this song illustrates a desire to form a unit through communicative reciprocity, but part of this reciprocity is in meeting the guiadora only halfway, not giving her too much of oneself should she reject the negrito's advances. There is also a strong but tacit criticism of the adverse effects of socially negating pride. A link is formed through the very act of communication, but it depends on the guiadora whether to convert it into a productive unity through mutual attunement. This dialogues with Stobart's findings in Bolivia: "For young women, singing takis [songs] is a powerful expression of independence, freedom and sexuality whilst at the same time a critical force in shaping and defining their identity, as well as potentially securing a marriage partner" (129).
     The Negritos song continues the theme of Wayta Muruy in conveying the life-enhancing nature of productive ayni ("reciprocity") in contrast to the self-denial that results from egoism. The negrito aims to overcome the guiadora's individualism by projecting his own positive disposition in the hope that she will in turn look more favorably on his advances. He thus recognizes a latent potentiality in the guiadora that can only be actualized through careful attunement on the part of the negrito (though whether the guiadora ultimately accepts the negrito is not known). The care that this process necessitates is demonstrated by the hedging, which can be viewed both as a means of self-preservation (should the guiadora use the negrito's openness as a means to harm him) and as a mode of attunement to the guiadora's reserve (finding a productive "middle ground" from which the relation can build). The hedging was revealed in examples such as the following: the numerous honorific phrases that suggest both respect and veiled criticism; the progression from merely "saying" to "saying with the heart"; the request that the guiadora be well received, which conveys both hospitality (on the part of the negrito) and responsibility to reciprocate (on the part of the guiadora); the likening of the guiadora to the rima rima flower, which conveys both beauty and negative gossip; the suggestion that the love will "remain in his heart," which can be interpreted both positively (the love exists) and negatively (it is not reciprocated). In sum, this song can be interpreted within the frameworks of ecosofia and Shumaq Kaway, insofar as the individual is presented as a profoundly relational entity whose survival ultimately depends on forging productive reciprocal relations with other social beings.



In this article I have shown how both Wayta Muruy and Negritos can be interpreted under the Indigenous philosophical framework of ecosofia and its practical manifestation as Shumaq Kaway. This is not a disinterested ethics that advocates the preferential treatment of Other over the Self, but a life- affirming one for all involved, since both disinterested altruism and egoism deny the sociality of any individual. In each there is a sense of intrinsic incompatibility between the interests of Self and Other. The difference between the "ethical" and the "unethical" is, in this worldview, only a question of who suffers. In the philosophical orientation of Shumaq Kaway, by contrast, the ethics is both altruistic and self-interested. This is because the individual is not seen as a discrete and atomized entity, but as a form that emerges and transforms in relation with the environment. In this worldview the "ethical" and the "pragmatic" are not diametrically opposed but are mutually reinforcing, and attunement toward the Other enhances one's own existential possibilities. Thus, Andean communities share a tendency to "reproduce themselves . . . by appropriating the strength of the Other, and then in revivifying the Other, but now as a part of the Self" (Arnold and Yapita, Metamorphosis 161-62).
     This means that according to Shumaq Kaway "social advancement--its development?--is a category in permanent construction and reproduction. Life depends on it" (Acosta 35). This practical, pragmatic orientation of Andean ethics undermines many of the traditional dualisms of Western scholarship, such as "spiritual versus material," "personal versus social," "nature versus culture," "mind versus body," and even "Self versus Other." The dualisms do not simply dissolve, however, since this would imply absolute negation that is contrary to the life-enhancing orientation of ecosofia. Instead, they are reoriented, to be conceived, not as an ontological basis of reality, but instead as contrasts that may be relevant in some situations and irrelevant in others. It may sometimes be useful to distinguish between "humans" as opposed to "nonhumans," but this is not to imply that the circumstantial validity of such a distinction can be generalized as a fundamental ontological separation. Likewise, the categories of "Self" and "Other" may at times constitute points of reference for our engagement with the world, but this is not to negate the fact that ultimately everything is reducible to everything else. Cat-{107}egories are acknowledged as contingently valid in relation to particular purposes and orientations, but no category has validity in and of itself. In this respect Andean philosophical orientations are redolent of Derrida's notion of the "trace," whereby "meaning" (including any "concept" or "entity") is constructed through a pre- ontological condition of discourse. However, rather than this contingency being a reason for skepticism, in Shumaq Kawsay it is a reason for proactive optimism, an acknowledgment that our relational nature opens us to new existential potentialities in each dialectic encounter.
     This was revealed in the notions of ayni ("reciprocity") and tinku ("mutual constitution through engagement"), where the strategic attunement between Self and Other--itself an acknowledgment of our fundamental sameness and reactivity--results in the attainment of optimum conditions for survival. Moreover, this "relationality manifests itself through the principles of correspondence, complementarity, reciprocity and cyclicity, at cosmic, anthropological, economic, political and religious levels" (Estermann, Ecosofia). The cyclical, temporal nature of ayni and tinku stresses the emergence of entities through ever-deepening mutual attunement, as we saw in the annual rotation of Wayta Muruy, the treatment of the bull yachanqanpita ("in the way to which it is accustomed"), and in Negritos in the progression from mere communication to communication de corazón ("from the heart").
     In this view of ecosofia, difference is not a gap to be overcome but a possibility to be harnessed: "the zones of transition between one level and another, between one period and another, between one entity and another, are of vital importance for the genesis, the fostering and conservation of life. These zones of transition . . . [are] indispensable for the balance and harmony of the entire universe" (Estermann, Ecosofia). Such relationality, moreover, is only possible given the multiple, contingent nature of the Self, since this multiplicity allows the individual to be "like" other dimensions of its environment, paving the way for mutual adaptation in the instant of congruence. The concept of ch'ixi--from the southern Andean Aymara language--expresses this notion well: "it refers to a color that results from the juxtaposition of two opposite colors, whereby something is and is not at the same time" (Gudynas 12). It is possible to "be" and "not be" something because the idea expressed by ch'ixi goes beyond the bona fide entity, rendering "either/or" categorizations ontologically meaningless. In some situations it will be useful {108} to group "orange" with "red," and in other situations "orange" with "yellow." What makes "orange" different from both "red" and "yellow" is not a lack of something but an ability to relate in ways that neither of its progenitors can, a dynamism that cannot be reduced to any single property. This is the relational cosmology of ecosofia, which manifests in the practical rubric of life that is Shumaq Kaway. And by examining the literary, linguistic, and anthropological dimensions of Wayta Muruy and Negritos, we have seen how these notions, while not explicitly defined under such labels, continue to play a functional role in the communities whence the songs emanate.


This research was generously supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, United Kingdom.
     All translations into English are the author's unless otherwise noted.


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Beth H. Piatote. Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature. New Haven: Yale UP, 2013. ISBN : 978-0-300-17157-0. 248 pp.
      Cristina Stanciu, Virginia Commonwealth University

In this carefully researched and provocative study, Beth H. Piatote turns to a fascinating archive of literary and legal texts from the assimilation era (1879-1934) to illuminate some of the ways in which Native writers responded to the violence of legal policies on the Indian homeland (what she calls "the tribal-national domestic") by centering their work on the resilience of the Indian home and family (or "the intimate domestic"). In Piatote's words, "The primary objective of this book is to make visible the resilience of the tribal-national domestic by centering the intimate domestic (the Indian home and family) as the primary site of struggle against the foreign force of U.S. domestication" (4). Clearly and persuasively supporting the claim that Indian wars were wars against Indian families (171), Domestic Subjects, grounded in archival research and in literary and legal theory, also builds on recent scholarship on domesticity, gender, nation, empire, and settler colonialism--engaging, for instance, the work of Anne McClintock, Laura Wexler, Hazel Carby, Lora Romero, Ann Stoler, and Mark Rifkin--to showcase not only the political dimension of domesticity but also to illustrate how the political shapes the aesthetic in the literary work of five carefully chosen writers: E. Pauline Johnson (Mohawk), John Milton Oskison (Cherokee), S. Alice Callahan (Creek), Mourning Dove (Okanogan), and D'Arcy McNickle (Cree/Salish).
     Placing these writers' works in the broader literary spectrum of a {111} prolific generation at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century (writers and public figures like Sarah Winnemucca, Gertrude Bonnin, Laura Cornelius Kellogg, Charles Eastman, Carlos Montezuma), Piatote is also interested in their political work. Reading literary works alongside legal texts, Piatote proposes two intriguing lines of inquiry: on the one hand, she shows how literature can illuminate the unseen social relations that the law obscures; on the other, she argues that literature "challenges law by imagining other plots and other resolutions that at times are figured as nonresolution or states of suspension" (9). In four chapters, a detailed introduction, and a conclusion, Piatote shows meticulously the various political dimensions of the literary works she studies, making both the aesthetics and politics of this essential (and understudied) period in Native American literature equally prominent and constitutive categories of analysis in Native American literature.
     Chapter 1, "Entangled Love: Marriage, Consent, and National Belonging in Works by E. Pauline Johnson and John M. Oskison," offers a legal and literary history of marriage law in the United States and Canada by examining the stakes of two forms of marriage for Indigenous communities, interracial marriage and polygamous marriage, in E. Pauline Johnson's "A Red Girl's Reasoning" (1893) and John Milton Oskison's "The Problem of Old Harjo" (1907). Piatote is interested in the tropes of "Indian suicide" and "religious conversion" as forms of voluntary surrender in both legal and literary texts. She starts by showing that both in the United States and Canada Indigenous people are subject to two forms of what she calls "the national domestic": the tribal-national domestic and the settler-national domestic. Examining the implications of Canada's Indian Act of 1876--which stipulated that Indigenous women who "married out" of their tribal nation lost not only their property but also their identity as Native women--and the anti-polygamy campaigns in the United States, Piatote shows how settler societies (like the United States and Canada) were anxious about the threat posed by contemporary Indigenous communities' capacity to reproduce not only lives but also culture and land claims (25). She shows persuasively how writers like Johnson and Oskison engage the laws by offering alternative endings in their works and thus suggesting the potential for resistance in Native communities. Tracing the long history of death of Native women in American sentimental fiction, Piatote {112} shows how Johnson uses this genre and to what ends: "unlike the suicidal Indian women of historical romance or the plucky yet ultimately domesticated heroines of sentimental fiction, Johnson's female protagonists often unsettled nationalist narratives of containment" (25); at the end of the story Christine Robinson, daughter of an Indian mother and a Hudson Bay trader, withdraws willfully from a marriage with Charlie McDonald, a white man. Similarly, Oskison's story is about a polygamist marriage of Creek elders in Oklahoma, whose marriage is in jeopardy when Harjo wants to join the church yet refuses to end his plural marriage. Piatote shows that Johnson's and Oskison's stories represent "the struggle of Indian protagonists who sought to separate the terms of consent, agreeing to one aspect (love) but not the other (death)" at the same time that they "animate the possibility of resistance by disentangling the terms of consent" (47).
     In chapter 2, "Unnatural Children: Adoption and Loss in S. Alice Callahan's Wynema and E. Pauline Johnson's 'Catharine of the "Crow's Nest,''" Piatote turns to sentimental fiction again to show how and why Callahan and Johnson portrayed Native women as mothers of adopted children. Here she is concerned with the meaning of "unnatural children" in two senses: the adoption of nonbiological children, on the one hand, and "the legal invention of Indians as wards of the nation and perpetual minors under law" (12), on the other. Interested in adoption both for its promise and its limitations, Piatote shows how, as legal wards, or "unnatural children" of the state, Indian people have very little status to make claims as parents. She turns to Callahan's Wynema (a sentimental novel recovered by A. LaVonne Ruoff in 1997) and to Johnson's story to show two distinct ways in which motherhood and adoption become useful tropes to counter the relegation of Indian people to wardship and the public suspicion that Native people could be fit for domesticity. One of the contributions of this chapter is Piatote's interpretation of domesticity as a potential place for recovering Native agency. She reads adoption in Johnson's "Catharine of the 'Crow's Nest'" (1910) as "an act of familial and national autonomy" (74); when a white child's mother drowns in a canoe, an Indian mother rescues the white child, the story thus reversing the trope of the suicidal Indian woman. Piatote shows how, for Callahan, adoption came at a cost: the erasure of sexual agency and the "suppression of the threat of Indian women as reproducers of life and culture" (53). For Johnson's heroine, adoption erases the moth-{113}er's {113} sexuality; this erasure, Piatote notes, must be understood in the context of (national) surveillance and disciplining aboriginal women's agency (82).
     Chapter 3, "Preoccupations: Labor, Land, and Performance in Mourning Dove's Cogewea," zooms in on the concept of "occupation" as place, labor, and military action. Specifically building on two distinct threads on scholarship on Morning Dove's work--on mixed-blood identity and the novel's complicated authorship--Piatote offers a reading of the novel centered on its claims to land: "Cogewea links indigenous histories and economies with the practices of place making, again affirming 'lived topographies' or Indian occupations in multiple senses" (108). Piatote shows how both historical and legal records support the view that Indian women's lives and land allotments (like Cogewea's) were in danger if women made the wrong choices in love. A particularly provocative section of this chapter is the connection between Indian occupation and citizenship through performance. More specifically, taking the readers on a tour of federal Indian policy, from the Marshall trilogy to the Dawes Act of 1887 and the work of the Competency Commissions in determining Indian claims to and qualifications for US citizenship, Piatote focuses her attention on the performance of citizenship in Cogewea, which included the purposeful performance of incompetence and other subversive uses of patriotism: "performing Indianness by pandering to audience expectations created space for indigenous subjects to express their difference and resistance to American imperialism" (115). The chapter also meditates on the concepts of authorship and authority in the novel, pointing to both Morning Dove and editor Lucullus McWhorter's commitment in the novel yet noting the collaborators' "separate and shared" investments in it. Last but not least, Piatote argues that Cogewea "introduces an important aesthetic in Native American literature: the dialectic of preoccupation, which links pre-occupation of land to current colonial occupations to dreams of future reoccupation or alternative routes of survival" (130-31).
     In chapter 4, "The Long Arm of Lone Wolf: Disciplinary Paternalism and the Problem of Agency in D'Arcy McNickle's The Surrounded," Piatote turns to a landmark ruling, Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock (1903), to examine entrapment and the possibilities for escape that McNickle's novel envisions. Two Supreme Court rulings, US v. Kagama (1886) and Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock (1903), positioned Indian communities "as ines-{114} capably subjected to federal authority" (135). Specifically, in Lone Wolf the Supreme Court made the plenary power of Congress over tribes unrestricted, erasing tribal consent (required by treaties) and reaffirming Indian dependence. Piatote argues, "The closed circuit of legal discourse represented in Lone Wolf that forecloses Indian opposition is precisely a form of surrounding and thereby provides a critical context for examining motif of entrapment and escape in The Surrounded" (137). She places the novel in the context of competing narratives of Salish history and the ruling in Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, focusing her attention on the subplots of Catherine and Elise. Acknowledging that most scholarship on this novel so far has focused mainly on Archilde, the male protagonist, Piatote turns her attention to alternatives for escaping (such as Catherine's renunciation of Catholicism) and models of resistance (provided by Elise and Catherine). Especially provocative and insightful is the reading of Catherine's renunciation of Catholicism through what Piatote calls "the Kateri narrative," reading Catherine's moves between temporal spiritual worlds alongside the story of Catherine Tekakwitha, the seventeenth-century Mohawk woman who converted to Christianity and was recently sanctified by the pope. Similarly, extending her discussion of gender and Indigenous forms of power, Piatote reads Elise La Rose's sexual, physical, and verbal power in opposition to the contained, desexualized female characters in the works of Johnson and Callahan she explores in previous chapters.
     The strong analysis of Native literature, history, gender, and law in Domestic Subjects is punctuated by photographic intermezzos--beautiful and suggestive photographs from the Idaho State Historical Society, Washington State University Special Collections, Gonzaga University Special Collections, and personal collections---opening each new chapter and providing a snapshot into the lives and endurance of the people at the heart of Beth Piatote's study. The title of the book also captures the two interrelated conditions of Indian communities during the assimilation era: their legal status as "domestic subjects" of the US settler state and their participation in the national domesticity project as convenient subjects of representation. Among many others an important contribution of this book is Piatote's positioning of the category "domestic subjects" in opposition to that of "US citizenship" to showcase how Native Americans, as "domestic subjects" by law, were considered legal wards of the US state, even after the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. {115} Piatote argues forcefully for understanding the implications of federal Indian policy on both Native families and Native representation. She rightly notes that Native American citizenship deserves more attention in American studies scholarship. The concluding chapter extends the analysis to contemporary Native communities and the ways in which contemporary Native literature continues to seek alternative visions that defy the colonial imaginary.

A. Robert Lee, ed. The Salt Companion to Jim Barnes. London: Salt, 2010. ISBN : 978-1-84471-718-7. 186 pp.
      Ingrid Wendt, Eugene, Oregon

One of the hazards of sustaining a long, productive writing career is that readers seeking insights into that lifetime of work may be able to find reviews and studies of individual books but little overview. For prolific and well-established poet, essayist, critic, translator, and fiction writer Jim Barnes (1933-), A. Robert Lee's collection of eight critical essays, by a wide range of scholars, plus Lee's own comprehensive introduction, essay, and lively interview with Barnes, begins to fill that need and makes a well-informed, long-overdue, and valuable beginning toward a rightful placing of Barnes within the canon of late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century American literature.
     To fully appreciate the need for Lee's collection, a short Barnes biography is in order. Born in Oklahoma, where he served as state poet laureate from 2009 to 2011, Barnes can rightly be called a citizen of the world. Recipient of numerous awards--among them a Rockefeller Bellagio residency, a residency at the Villa Waldberta, from Munich's Kulturreferat, two residencies (each) from Stuttgart's Schloss Solitude and France's Camargo Foundation, the Columbia University Translation Center Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the American Book Award, and an NEA fellowship--Barnes has spent substantial periods of time working, teaching at universities in the United States and abroad, and writing in France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland, as well as in Missouri, Utah, Oregon, New Mexico, and elsewhere in the American West.
     Drawing from his complex Anglo-Welsh-Choctaw lineage, plus his deep knowledge of ancient Greek literature, Dante, Calderón, British late-Augustan and Romantic poets, as well as French, Italian, Spanish, {116} and German history and literature, Barnes has produced a dozen highly acclaimed volumes of poetry; the autobiography On Native Ground: Memoir and Impressions; two book-length translations, from the German, of the poetry of Dagmar Nick; an important critical study on Malcolm Lowry and Thomas Mann; and dozens of poems, short stories, essays, and translations in literary magazines and anthologies. Indeed, Barnes's bibliography, at the end of the Companion, fills an impressive seven pages. His contributions to the world of letters furthermore include more than thirty years as editor of the Chariton Review and a long stint as poetry editor of Truman State University Press.
     One of the themes most constant in Jim Barnes's body of work--a theme touched on throughout the Companion--is his keen sense of the rich interconnectedness of time, place, and self: of being, as Lee suggests, "shaped by location," by the "pull of the past-within-present" (4), and by his complex lineage. Furthermore, as Kenneth Lincoln posits in his contribution to the Companion titled "Jim Barnes from the Heart of the Heart of Things," Barnes bridges "Euro-American traditions and Native American ceremonial cultures," connecting "classical and modernist through-lines of mainstream art with deeply rooted aesthetics and tribal intelligence of Native peoples" (28), becoming a modern-day Odysseus in his quest for understanding the uniqueness, as well as the complexly layered and linked histories and geographies of places he's lived, visited, or known through scholarship.
     In his essay "Oklahoma International: Jim Barnes, Poetry, and the Sites of Imagination," Lee finds throughout Barnes's collections a "life-and-imagination linkage of Europe and America," in which firsthand experiences of new locations are made over into his own "energy of image" (54). Citing passages from Barnes's On Native Ground: Memoirs and Impressions and from eight books of poems, primarily The Sawdust War, La Plata Cantata, The American Book of the Dead, and A Season of Loss, Lee points to recurring metaphors and image patterns that 1) establish "the land" as central to Barnes's identity, with land as "the tribal repository of both body and spirit" (43); 2) declare the importance of "naming"; and 3) manifest Barnes's tribal sense of the sacred as found in markers of past habitation (knife, bones, ghosts) as well as in unfolding time. "Choctaw ancestry," notes Lincoln, "flows through his Oklahoma up-bringing the way streams flow down to the great river into the sea" (27).
     Critics Lance Larsen and Samuel Maio focus on Barnes's early and middle periods. Larsen finds in the early work a "collage of various types of battle"--from the Trojan War to wars between American Indians and settlers, from contemporary military campaigns to "ongoing struggles with implacable nature" (62)--a collage manifesting another theme that echoes throughout Barnes's work: the ubiquity of violence throughout human history and his condemnation of it. Maio examines Barnes's lifelong search for "literal, spiritual, metaphysical" (77) identity--as well as Barnes's cosmopolitan concerns with European art, politics, and history--and joins other Companion authors in discussing Barnes's various stylistic trademarks, among them his signature juxtaposition of widely divergent images within the same poem (e.g., the art of Pablo Picasso and fishing for carp).
     Authors Robin Riley Fast, Paul Beekman Taylor, and Patricia Clark Smith concentrate on Barnes's collection of essays and poems On Native Ground, in which Barnes the storyteller affirms his "loyalty to his Oklahoma place of origin" (Fast 131) and to all parts of his mixed ethnicity. Categorized at times as a Native American poet, because he writes from his Choctaw heritage, Barnes has stated: "I am proud of the Choctaw blood I carry. . . . Equally proud of the Welsh blood in my veins. But I object to the term regional writer or ethnic writer or even the term Native American writer" (Barnes, qtd. in Fast 135).
     Linda Lizut Helstern and James Mackay pay specific attention to Barnes as both a master formalist and a stylistic innovator, adept at infusing traditional poetic forms with his own, contemporary voice and at borrowing their reins to give direction to other poems written in free verse. Helstern offers Barnes's "postcard poems" in The Sawdust Wars as examples of his sonnet transformations, while Mackay, exploring Barnes's "claim to Welsh as his primary familial inheritance" (111), traces the stylistic and thematic influences of poet Dylan Thomas.
     The Salt Companion to Jim Barnes is a fitting tribute to a superb writer. It should enrich readers' understanding of Barnes's work and also lead to further scholarship about this prolific writer.


Blake A. Watson. Buying America from the Indians: Johnson v. McIntosh and the History of Native Land Rights. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2012. ISBN : 978-0-8061-4244-9. 494 pp.
      Valerie Henry, University of Texas-Austin

In Buying America from the Indians, law professor and former attorney Blake Watson conducts an extensive investigation into the historical context surrounding the Supreme Court case that established early federal policy on Native land rights. In Johnson and Graham's Lesee v. McIntosh (1823) Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that Indigenous peoples did not own their lands based on the infamous doctrine of discovery. While the case has been denounced as "conquest by judicial fiat" and "an extraconstitutional fiction," it remains the oft-cited legal precedent upon which many Indigenous land claims are settled to this day. Watson seamlessly integrates primary source material into the flow of the narrative, privileging readers to the original language alongside his own thorough commentary. Watson's mode of historicism portrays history as an ongoing process and demonstrates how decisive events emerge from a variety of actors fighting for divergent interests amid shifting alliances, opinions, and fortunes. Watson proves that prior to the Johnson v. McIntosh decision, land policy in the Americas was a highly contentious debate that was by no means settled.
     The work is divided into an excessive eighteen chapters, which causes discontinuity and unnecessary repetition. At times the narrative devolves into a miasma of cluttered details that do not contribute to understanding the legal dilemma. While the extent of the historical research is impressive, it is unclear whether this volume is intended as an academic argument or a reference work. Written from a scholarly perspective that emphasizes the European settler-colonial context, the author's attention to Native concerns may fall short of the expectations of those immersed in Native studies.
     Watson rightly proposes to emphasize the role of the Native tribes as actors in the struggle by asking why they decided to sell their land in 1775 and again in 1805, by examining how legal arguments affected their communities and by giving attention to what tribal chiefs had to say about the issue. Despite recognizing the Illinois and Piankeshaw leaders as decision-making agents, these early chapters fail to offer any insight into why these tribes decided to sell their land and read as a fated declen-{119}sion narrative. While giving ample attention to the resistance efforts, battles, and arguments of Native tribes and leaders, Watson's colonial history focuses on eighteenth-century British attempts to counter the French, with Native tribes playing an intermediary role. However, Watson astutely complicates the often oversimplified set of contending forces by reminding us that in some cases different tribes held conflicting claims to an area, conquered land from each other, and in fact sold land occupied by enemy tribes. Watson brings to life the early debates of the 1600s through the voices of prominent French, Spanish, Dutch, and British intellectuals to prove there was never an agreement among Europeans concerning land rights. In many cases early settlers argued for Native rights in order to circumvent royal grants and proclamations to purchase land directly from the tribes. Even amid the pressure of western settlement, some seventeenth-century settlers such as Roger Williams argued for the absolute rights of Native peoples to their land.
     Watson spends a considerable amount of time reviewing the maze of attempts made by eighteenth- century speculators to secure land, giving attention to the specific individuals such as George Croghan, William Murray, and the earl of Dunmore, who argued in favor of tribal rights in order to enrich their own claims. Framed against the backdrop of the American Revolution, the efforts of Founding Fathers such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Patrick Henry are cast into a new light as their involvement in land speculation takes center stage. Enraged by restrictive policies such as the Proclamation of 1763 and the Quebec Act, colonists argued against the Crown's title to land in the Americas. While at times Watson uncovers gems of legal history such as the circuitous application of the East Indian Camden-Yorke opinion to American Indians, much of the minute historical data does not advance the understanding of land rights or legal history.
     Watson traces how during and after the American Revolution, land policy in the United States underwent two major shifts. In 1773 colonial intellectuals began to argue that the Crown was not the legal source of title to land in America and that colonists received title by buying directly from Native inhabitants. As the newly established federal government began developing its policy toward the Indians, the United States first contended that as conquered nations, the Indians had ceded all land rights to the US government by right of conquest. This opinion was soon abandoned for a policy centered on the right of preemption by {120} which the US government asserted an exclusive right to buy land from Indians that preempted the claims of all others, including land speculators and private purchases. Native leaders, however, continued to argue for their right to sell to whomever they pleased. Federal officials maintained that they were not obligated to pay for Native land but did so as an expedient to bloodshed.
     Watson recounts the specific arguments made during the Johnson v. McIntosh hearing, focusing on the efforts of lawyers Daniel Webster and Robert Goodloe Harper to convince the Supreme Court that individuals could purchase directly from the Indians. In defense of a 1775 purchase by the Illinois and Wabash Land Company, Webster and Harper argued against the precedents set by statutes, judicial decisions, and committee reports from authorities ranging from the British Crown to the state of Virginia to the Continental Congress. Watson considers how the prior case of Fletcher v. Peck addressed Indian titles with the rationale that Indians possess the land but do not own it. The additional precedent of Thompson v. Johnston (1813) argued Indians did not have any right to the land, but rather held a claim that "more for the sake of peace than obligation" was extinguished with treaties and payment. After examining the particular histories and interests of each justice on the court, Watson explains Chief Justice John Marshall's opinion that the international European agreement to respect each other's right of discovery "diminished" Native sovereignty and disallowed them from selling to anyone other than their conqueror.
     Watson concludes with an insightful examination of the legacy of Johnson v. McIntosh as it has affected Native land rights in such pivotal decisions as the Indian Removal Act, Cherokee Nation v. The State of Georgia, Worcester v. Georgia, and cases as recent as 2005. Surprisingly, in Worcester v. Georgia (1832) John Marshall renounced his earlier view, dismissed the doctrine of discovery as a "pretension," and declared tribes to hold sovereignty and property rights. While this ruling arguably overturned Johnson v. McIntosh, it has rarely been acknowledged or cited in subsequent cases. The discovery doctrine remains central to US federal Indian policy today. It established the influential policies of diminished tribal sovereignty, the federal trust relationship, and the plenary power doctrine. Despite Chief Justice Marshall's later disavowal of the Johnson decision, it remains the leading case cited concerning Native property rights.
     Watson concludes by examining how recent legal scholars have inter-{121}preted and denounced the Johnson v. McIntosh opinion, with special attention to the emergence of Native scholars, such as Vine Deloria Jr. and Robert Williams, invested in interrogating legal history. He considers the case's influence on international law, such as the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, and cases beyond US borders in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Most critics agree that Marshall was wrong to give credence to the doctrine of discovery and correct to reinstate Native ownership in Worcester. Some have even called for the Supreme Court to overturn the Johnson decision. As Watson demonstrates, scholarly debates continue to untangle the contradictory terms and legal positions that have shaped Native land rights. Watson's impressive volume leaves the reader with the sense of how all US law, far from being historically determined, has resulted from decisions made by particular persons with their own sets of interests. Watson concludes that while the Illinois and Wabash Land Company disbanded in defeat, the Illinois and Piankeshaw tribes joined with the Kaskaskias and Weas to become the Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma, and advocates for Indigenous rights continue to fight against the doctrine of discovery today.

Gerald Vizenor and Jill Doerfler. The White Earth Nation: Ratification of a Native Democratic Constitution. Intro. David E. Wilkins. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2012. ISBN : 978-0-8032-4079-7. 100 pp.
      Anne Stewart, University of Texas-Austin

Simultaneously an argument and a cultural record, The White Earth Nation: Ratification of a Native Democratic Constitution is a uniquely constructed collection of documents including the full text of the proposed Constitution of the White Earth Nation, bookended by a series of essays produced by authors Gerald Vizenor and Jill Doerfler and consultant David E. Wilkins, all of whom were closely involved in the writing and ratification of the Constitution. For the purpose of this review, I follow David J. Carlson's review of the Constitution in SAIL 23.4 in referring to the Constitution itself as the CWEN. I refer to the subject of this review as Ratification, in order to distinguish it from the Constitution itself and to draw out the ways in which this collection is very much a narrative of public debate, political action, and, ultimately, democratic process.

     Ratification, which lists Vizenor as its primary author, serves several purposes. If, as Carlson points out, the CWEN offers scholars of Native American literature a glimpse into the political applications of Vizenor's critical theory, Ratification reads as an extension of this glimpse into a public appeal and call to action. Like the CWEN, Ratification is suffused with references to Vizenor's articulations of survivance, natural reason, and irony, which the author ties to Anishinaabeg everyday life. Ratification also functions both as a useful source text for White Earth citizens seeking to learn more about the CWEN and as an argument for a vote in favor of passing the new Constitution. Finally, Ratification serves as a roadmap of struggles, successes, and contexts for other Indigenous communities engaged in the labor of developing political autonomy and defining national sovereignty. Significantly, then, Ratification stands as the record of a process that led to a successful referendum, which passed with 80 percent voter approval of the new Constitution on November 19, 2013.
     As Ratification outlines, the CWEN was ratified in April 2009 after a convention of White Earth delegates met four times between 2007 and 2009 in order to achieve consensus on the language and spirit of a new White Earth Constitution written by the people of the White Earth Nation. Ratification of the Constitution was not unanimous. Of the forty sworn delegates, twenty-four voted, and the vote was passed with sixteen for and eight opposed to ratification. These numbers are perhaps indicative of the agonism inherent in the process of constitutional reform, a process White Earth Chairwoman Erma J. Vizenor has been advocating since 1987. To address potential post-ratification concerns stemming from these numbers, Ratification carefully makes the appeal to readers to look back to the roots of Anishinaabe legal thought and to consider the CWEN a part of this tradition, while also positioning the new Constitution within the history of constitution building beginning with the Magna Carta and leading up to current struggles for constitutional reform and national sovereignty around the world (6). Through this strategically multipronged approach, Ratification asks White Earth voters, as well as Native communities more generally, if Aboriginal nations are in or out of this global conversation.
     Making this move for the reader, Ratification opens with David E. Wilkins situating White Earth firmly within global discourse on national sovereignty. "Sovereignty, Democracy, Constitution: An Introduction" {123} strategically aligns White Earth's "difficult process of establishing a new constitutional arrangement that links directly with their organic values, lands, and traditions" to a global movement of democratic constitution-building enterprises (8). While the CWEN is not "commensurate with the federal executive structures of governance," as Vizenor makes explicit in his essay, it is an emphatically democratic constitution (16). This situating rhetorical move is central to the argument in Ratification, which, like the CWEN itself, repeatedly evokes White Earth's position at the forefront of "a great tradition of continental liberty" (63). Vizenor's argument here is a complex one. He acknowledges that not all delegates "altogether appreciated" his evocation of the Magna Carta as an ideological ancestor of the CWEN (56). However, he insists that the "legacy of liberty" stemming from this originary document is more closely aligned with Anishinaabe political commitments and traditions than are the rigidly hierarchical models of governance instantiated by federally executed constitutions (56).
     Vizenor's chapter, entitled "Constitutional Consent: Native Traditions and Parchment Rights," strikes a balance between global and local imperatives, while simultaneously arguing for the necessary presence of the literary-critical that is woven throughout the CWEN. Vizenor emphasizes that the system of governance mapped by the CWEN deliberately privileges the importance of storytelling to Anishinaabe legal thought. "Native liberty, natural reason, and survivance are concepts that originate in narratives," he writes, "not in the mandates of monarchies, papacies, severe traditions, or federal policies" (11). As Vizenor parses the political agendas and histories that guided the creation of the CWEN , he also takes readers through the process of ratification: the meetings leading up to the final vote, the challenges and debates experienced by delegates, and the reasoning behind some of the more transformative items in the Constitution.
     Readers of Ratification move from Vizenor's essay to the CWEN itself with an ease that recalls the two texts' shared authorship. The CWEN begins with a preamble that defines the spirit of the Constitution, situating White Earth within "a great tradition of continental liberty": "The Anishinaabeg create stories of natural reason, of courage, loyalty, humor, spiritual inspiration, survivance, reciprocal altruism, and native cultural sovereignty" (63). Like Vizenor's essay, this preamble identifies narrative as the defining legal-exegetical tool of Anishinaabe self-governance and, {124} significantly, as that which places White Earth within the tradition of "continental liberty" while challenging some of the basic assumptions of that tradition. The proceeding bulk of the CWEN reads, respectively, as an argument for Native national democracy, as a stance on the politics of Anishinaabe identity, and at times as a specifically Vizenorian take on both of these.
     Ratification was published in anticipation of November 2013, when the Anishinaabeg of the White Earth Nation held a constitutional referendum, and the degree to which White Earth citizens identified with Vizenor's approach may have played a major role in the vote's outcome. As Lisa Brooks points out, "the Constitution of the White Earth Nation is likely the first governing document to honor its citizens' right to irony [chapter 3: article 5], making it wholly unique within the genre" (71). Whether this uniqueness was interpreted by voters as revolutionary, idiosyncratic, or a little bit of both, the successful referendum now stands as a testament to the compelling appeal of Vizenor's approach.
     Ratification concludes with "A Citizen's Guide to the White Earth Constitution: Highlights and Reflections." Jill Doerfler's series of short essays were originally published in Anishinaabeg Today and were written to inform voters. The essays are also Ratification's last argument for voting "yes" on constitutional reform. Each essay situates specific chapters of the Constitution within the context of Anishinaabe value systems and demonstrates how essential constitutional reform is to White Earth's "decolonization process and . . . demonstration of sovereignty" (84).
     The series of epigraphs that open Ratification announce the themes of land, narrative, and cultural sovereignty that structure the text's argument. A passage drawn from Fernando Baez suggests the importance of cultural sovereignty to White Earth. It begins: "The book is an institution of memory for consecration and permanence, and for that reason should be studied as a key element in society's cultural patrimony." I conclude with this quote because it draws attention to the signifying value of the collection of documents that make up Ratification. This value announces the text itself as a record of import that seeks to become part of the White Earth cultural memory even if constitutional reform had not proven successful. Since the CWEN passed, Ratification is an indispensible background record for understanding and, perhaps, emulating its groundbreaking process. If the new Constitution had not passed, on the other hand, Ratification would nonetheless stand as a cul-{125}tural artifact memorializing a revolutionary gambit well worth preserving in cultural memory and textual history. The outcome of November's referendum makes Ratification a roadmap to success and a source of celebratory memory. However, whatever the outcome of the White Earth vote, the process recorded in Ratification is itself witness to a landmark moment and a triumph in the ongoing struggle for Native sovereignty.

M. Elise Marubbio and Eric L. Buffalohead, eds. Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 2013. ISBN : 978-0-8131-3665-3. pp.
      Erin J. Cotter, University of Texas-Austin

Native Americans on Film compiles essays and interviews from various scholars and Native filmmakers in order to discuss Native film from a Native perspective. The anthology posits how alternative ideas and visions of Native-ness within Native film serve to combat the stereotypical depictions of Native people and culture found in most mainstream films. The three sections of the anthology, "Theoretical Conversations," "Pedagogical Conversations," and "Conversations with Filmmakers," organize the information in broad, accessible categories for both scholars and nonscholars alike. These conversations capture the contemporary moment of Native film while both looking backward and forward, allowing the anthology to demonstrate that discussions about Native film have been, and will continue to be, a process involving all members of the Native film community.
     The beginning section, "Theoretical Conversations," contains essays outlining major theories surrounding Native film and filmmaking. Houston Wood opens the section by comparing and contrasting Native and Euro-American filmmaking but maintains that what can be understood as Native film and filmmaking is in itself quite diverse and cannot be reduced to a single category. Wood's essay is an excellent introduction to the primary debates and issues in Native film, particularly the tensions between Native and non-Native depictions of Indigenous people. Visual sovereignty is the topic of Michelle H. Raheja's essay. She introduces and discusses the concept in relation to two films, the non-Native-made Nanook of the North and the Native-made Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. Both films have the Inuit people as their subject but rep-{126}resent them quite differently. For Raheja, visual sovereignty involves freeing the Native subject from racist mainstream depictions of Native identity and community. Jennifer L. Gauthier discusses two female documentary makers, Alanis Obomsawin and Loretta Todd, and their documentaries depicting the challenges confronting Canadian Native people in their quests for sovereignty and state recognition through a feminist aesthetic. Hunkpapa Lakota artist Dana Claxton and her live and video-produced Indigenous installation art is Carla Taunton's topic of interest. She argues that such art can reclaim bodies, lands, and stories subjugated by colonial powers and return them to a place of Indigenous sovereignty.
     Section 2, "Pedagogical Conversations," explores what Native film can do for Native people and discusses how educators can introduce students to many of the theories referenced in section 1 and help them obtain a visual literacy for Native film. The problematic creation and re-creation of reified images of Native people in Hollywood concerns Carole Gerster, who offers a reading of several Native films with alternative depictions of Native people, all while providing advice on how to introduce these ideas and films to students. Amy Corbin argues that Sherman Alexie employs a nomadic point of view--that is, a point of view that places the viewer as both an insider and an outsider in the film's landscape--to show the irreconcilable nature of his Native protagonist's identity as both cosmopolitan and Native in his film The Business of Fancydancing. The flexibility of the nomadic point of view contests the touristic point of view used by many non-Native filmmakers when filming Native people. The practicality of creating lesson plans is addressed by Angelica Lawson, who offers classroom units organized around individual films to teach Native film from a Native perspective. Issues of representation and self-representation are paramount in her classroom units. Sam Pack conducts two reception studies among white and Native audiences by screening a Native and a non-Native made film to each audience and then asking each audience to observe the differences, similarities, and their individual impressions of the films. Filmmaker Beverly Singer reflects on her experiences teaching students about Native film and the need to privilege the complexities of Native history and stories for students rather than to discuss Hollywood constructions of Native identity. She argues that re-appropriating a non-Native technology like film can combat the influence of colonialism on {127} contemporary life, link Native people to their ancestral past, and enable them to imagine historical ways of Native life.
     "Conversations with Filmmakers" is the third and final section in the anthology. Here, "the theoretical and analytical are reframed by the practical and personal" through interviews with Sterlin Harjo, Blackhorse Lowe, Shelley Niro, Sandy Osasa, Randy Redroad, and Mono Smith (261). Through discussions of their methods, personal interests, and goals as filmmakers, the conversations present in the rest of the anthology come together to sketch the dynamic and multifaceted reality of Native film and filmmaking. In particular, many filmmakers in this section debate use of the term Native filmmaker itself and whether the term empowers or disenfranchises Native film at a universal level. In the first interview Randy Redroad likens Native filmmaking to a "greased pig" whose meaning remains slippery and evasive, and the ensuing interviews expound upon the slipperiness of the term (298).
     M. Elise Marubbio and Eric L. Buffalohead have succeeded in depicting the complexities in studying, teaching, and creating Native film. The anthology's organization and content are accessible for neophytes to Native cinema while still proving useful for more seasoned veterans. Due to the extensive and informative notes at the end of each article, interested readers can easily further their knowledge of a particular topic of interest. Within the eclectic range of materials in the contributors' essays, several themes emerge as key to Native film: sovereignty, the ever-evolving meaning of Native film itself, and what qualifies as Native film. Regardless of an individual's level of knowledge and expertise in Native film, Native Americans on Film is a valuable read for anyone interested in this topic.

M. Bianet Castellanos, Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera, and Arturo J. Aldama, eds. Comparative Indigeneities of the Américas: Toward a Hemispheric Approach. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2012. ISBN : 978-0816521012. 390 pp.
     Mario N. Castro, University of Texas-Austin

What are the challenges for the field of ethnic studies? The antagonistic discourse of conservative groups in the United States against minority groups only marks the urgency of ethnic studies as a field of political {128} and racial debate. When I discuss the future or possible directions of the field with other scholars and students, the word transnationalism often emerges. Although Mexican American and African American scholars have always dealt with issues of transnationalism (diaspora) and border crossing (immigration), it is not until very recently that these fields attempted to include the views of Indigenous and American Indian communities beyond the questionable frameworks of indigenismo or cultural mestizaje.
     A recent and noteworthy attempt at filling these gaps is the publication of Comparative Indigeneities of the Américas: Toward a Hemispheric Approach, a collection of essays edited by M. Bianet Castellanos, Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera, and Arturo J. Aldama. As the title implies, the twenty-one essays that form the book attempt to be the first steps into building a "hemispheric" approach to Indigenous studies. Indeed, as stated in the introduction to the collection, titled "Hemispheric Encuentros and Remembering," the editors "hope to provide scholars with new tools and alternative frameworks" to analyze contemporary struggles of Indigenous peoples and how their experiences and communities are affected by "broader forces of neocolonialism, globalization, neoliberalism, and violence" (3). In this sense the collection attempts to disrupt traditional Western epistemologies by means of Indigenous conceptualizations of autonomy, self-determination, sovereignty, and human rights that shape identity and community, in multiple forms, throughout the hemisphere. Whether the book achieves these ambitious and broad goals is open to debate. As with any other collection of essays, the strength of the book rests on the fact that each essay must stand on its own, while at the same time functioning as part of a cohesive whole.
     In the case of Comparative Indigeneities the essays are separated into four different sections, which each cover different forms of sociopolitical struggles. Although the essays are widely different in their methodologies, perspectives, and political approaches, they can be roughly divided into historical, ethnographic, and literary (or film) criticism, with a clear aim at comparative research between different cultural contexts.
     The first section of the anthology, titled "Re-envisioning Indigenisms, Decolonizing Mestizaje," attempts to bridge the political and identity struggles of American and Canadian Indians with the problematic effects of mestizaje in Latin America, but in particular with theories of Chicana Indigeneity. The section opens with Penelope Kelsey's analysis {129} of American Indian Literary Nationalism (AILN), a political and literary movement that gained attention thanks to the recent work of Indian scholars Robert Warrior, Jace Weaver, and Craig Womack. The group of Indian scholars attempted to reconfigure nationalism as a form of resistance and as a political critique of federal policies. Kelsey links these issues with specific debates of mestizaje in Bolivia, Brazil, and México, revealing how kinship, orality, family, and self-making serve as "lived nationalisms" that resist colonialist discourses of blood purity and racial erasure. However, subsequent chapters explore the historical and sociopolitical obstacles of this, perhaps, utopian project of pan-tribal Indigeneity. For example, chapter 2 by Lourdes Alberto focuses on some of the most problematic implications of the work of Chicana scholar Gloria Anzaldúa. Through her analysis of Ana Castillo's Mixquiahuala Letters, Alberto delves into the impossibilities of transferring a Chicana border identity (and the return to erased Indigenous roots) into the realities of racial oppression in contemporary Mexico. In a similar vein chapter 5, Jasmine Mitchell's essay on Brazilian cinema, discloses the close interconnections of mestizaje with nationalistic discourses of class and race.
     "Displaced Peoples, Reterritorializing Space," the second section of Comparative Indigeneities, shows how Indigenous migrants' identities are shaped in urban spaces by nationalistic narratives of poverty and racial inferiority. However, these studies also disclose how spirituality and religion, both Indigenous and mestizo, can reshape colonial spaces into new forms of community and belonging. Chapter 7, Bianet Castellanos's essay, focuses on female Mayan immigrants in the tourist area of Cancún, showing how Mayan immigrants seemingly re-appropriate popular telenovelas and the figure of the Virgen de Guadalupe to construct spaces of female empowerment. Similarly, chapter 9, Diana Negrín da Silva's essay, chronicles the social and political activism of Wixárika college students and their use of the Internet and social networks as virtual spaces of resistance that serve to counterattack neoliberal representations of Indigenous peoples. Through the reconfiguration of spaces online and in public higher education, these students aim to change the "racial imaginary" of Mexico. In this sense Da Silva's essay represents an innovating perspective on Indigenous research.
     The third section of the collection, "Practicing Autonomy, Autonomy as Practice," includes a strong series of essays on Latin American models of democracy, nationalism, sovereignty, ethnopolitics, natural resources {130} and land rights, autonomy, legal representation, and self-subsistence. Unfortunately, this section also reveals the limitations of the book's format. Since the selection of the anthology privileges quantity, the direct consequence is that the essays are short (all of them below the twenty-page mark). In fact, according to many of the authors' notes, most of the essays are either drafts or condensed versions of much larger articles or past publications. This is painfully evident in chapter 10 by Natividad Gutiérrez Chong, who attempts to create a historical evolutionary model of Latin American nationalism by analyzing the history and Indigenous politics of Mexico, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Perhaps intended as a general introduction to the rest of the pieces in part 3 (Chong's essay is the first one in this section), the piece offers only a superficial summary (barely a page to cover each of the countries) of ethnopolitics and the effects of the democratic apparatus in three different countries. Chong's general thesis is that the struggles of Indigenous people are forcing "the modern-state [to give] room to a new politicized ethnicity" (174). The validity of this argument notwithstanding, the essay fails at giving a comprehensive overview of the recent history of these three nations, leaving out many political contradictions and recent institutional abuses of Latin American nation states.
     Part 4, "Seductive Alliances, Healing Stories," is by far the most uneven section of the entire book. A mixture of queer and gender crossborder theory, transnational coalitions, and activism, the essays work as individual projects, but they do not function as a coherent whole. At the same time, this section has the dubious honor of having the weakest piece in the whole book: Gabriel S. Estrada's essay, chapter 16, exemplifies this lack of focus. Covering two novels (including Silko's Almanac of the Dead, a seven-hundred-page novel), a collection of poetry, and four films, the essay offers some interesting transnational readings on a diverse selection of texts, but it ultimately lacks a proper focal point and feels overly ambitious for such a limited number of pages. The last essay in this section, Luis Urrieta Jr.'s "Las Identidades También Lloran, Identities Also Cry: Exploring the Human Side of Indigenous Latina/o Identities," functions as an outstanding closure to this daunting book. In this personal confession Urrieta recalls the violent beating of his P'urhépecha grandmother by a mob of Indigenous women. The historical and transnational reconstruction of race and identity that Urrieta produces is clearly undertaken as a way to understand and come {131} to grips with his "multiple identities" as Mexican, Xicano, P'urhépecha, Latino, and Chicano. Urrieta exhibits the contradictions of identity and the barriers that stand in the claiming or creation of pan-Indian coalitions. Bitterly he asserts, "Despite the anger and confusion, I still don't understand the meaning of all this in my own context, in my own life, and in my role as scholar" (326).
     Most collections of essays and articles leave the conclusions to the end. They serve as summaries and afterthoughts directed at the reader or scholar. However, the last essay of Comparative Indigeneities presents no definitive conclusions, only open questions and ongoing challenges to framing and integrating a "hemispheric" approach in Indigenous studies. Even with its limitations in format, the book is without a doubt one of the most important publications of the last five years. Comparative Indigeneities' surprising content will become a turning point in the academic fields of Mexican American, Native American, and transnational American studies. Nevertheless, it is important to point out that the book represents only the very first steps in reformulating decolonization and Indigenous transnationalism as the new center of academic research.



MARIO N. CASTRO was born and raised in the north of Mexico, where he completed his undergraduate education in Mexican culture and literature. Currently he is a second-year graduate student in the master's program in Mexican American studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

ERIN J. COTTER is a graduate student in the English department at the University of Texas at Austin.

ALICIA COX has studied American Indian literatures for more than ten years, since her undergraduate career at the University of Kansas. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of California, Riverside, where she will complete her degree in June 2014. Her research and teaching interests include Native American literature and cultural studies, early American literature, and gender and sexuality studies.

VALERIE HENRY is a doctoral student in the English Department at the University of Texas at Austin.

DAVID MARTÍNEZ (Gila River Pima) is an associate professor of American Indian studies at Arizona State University. He is the author of Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2009) and the editor of The American Indian Intellectual Tradition: An Anthology of Writings from 1772 to 1972 (Cornell University Press, 2011). Most recently, he has published articles in Journal of the Southwest, American Indian Quarterly, and {133} Studies in American Indian Literatures. Currently he is working on an intellectual biography of Vine Deloria Jr.

CHARLES PIGOTT recently completed a PhD (2013) at the School of Oriental & African Studies, London, on Quechua oral literature and has begun a postdoctoral project at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mexico, studying oral and written literature in Yucatec Maya. His research focuses on how Indigenous epistemologies are communicated through verse and how they dialogue with European philosophical precepts. He has published and presented in several interdisciplinary forums, particularly anthropology, comparative literature, folkloristics, Hispanic studies, and linguistics.

CATHERINE RAINWATER is the author of Dreams of Fiery Stars: The Transformations of Native American Fiction (1999). Her works have appeared as book chapters and in journals including lit: Literature, Interpretation, Theory, American Literature, Philological Quarterly, Modern Fiction Studies, Mississippi Quarterly, Southern Literary Journal, and Texas Studies in Literature and Language. She is past recipient of national awards including the Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Literary Award by the Center for Women Writers at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the Norman Foerster Prize by the Modern Language Association. She also serves on the editorial board of Modern Fiction Studies.

CRISTINA STANCIU is an assistant professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she teaches courses in US multiethnic literatures, American Indian studies, critical theory, and visual culture. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Indian Quarterly, Studies in American Indian Literatures, Wicazo-Sa Review, Film and History, Intertexts, College English, and Chronicle of Higher Education.

ANNE STEWART is an English graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her ma at the University of British Columbia in 2012. Her area of interest is twentieth-century novels, with a focus on legal theory, land rights, and giant objects.

INGRID WENDT is a poet whose books include Moving the House, Singing the Mozart Requiem (winner of the Oregon Book Award), The Angle of Sharpest Ascending (winner of the Yellowglen Award), Surgeonfish (winner of the Editions Prize), and Evensong. She is co-editor of From Here We Speak: An Anthology of Oregon Poetry and In Her Own Image: Women Working in the Arts, and author of the teaching guide Starting with Little Things: A Guide to Writing Poetry in the Classroom. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, and has taught in arts in education programs around the country and abroad.

Contact: Robert Nelson
This page was last modified on: 05/07/15