Vol. XIII, No.2                             October 1995


"Moody and the other anthropologists alleged the Ghost Dance disappeared because the people became disillusioned when the ghost shirts did not stop bullets and the Europeans did not vanish overnight. But it was the Europeans, not the Native Americans, who had expected results overnight; the anthropologists, who feverishly sought magic objects to postpone their own deaths, had misunderstood the power of the ghost dance shirts. Bullets of lead belong to the everyday world; ghost dance belong to the realm of spirits and dreams." Almanac of the Dead



Association News                         Page 3
MLA Offerings                             Page 4
Grant Opportunities                      Page 5
Calls and Notices                          Page 6
Publications                                 Page 6
Poems                                         Page 11
Commentary                                Page 12


is published three times a year for the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures. This publication is funded by American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Assistance is also given by the American Indian Student Services at UWM, and the Department of English and Comparative Lituature. A special thanks to the Woodland Pattern Bookstore, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Please submit news items to:
Michael Wilson
Department of English and Comparative Literature
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201
Phone: (414) 229-4839
Fax: (414) 229-2643
Electronic mail:

Association News

Letter from the President of ASAIL

Dear ASAIL member,
          As you know, last year we initiated two actions to encourage increased participation in our organization by native people: a grant to American Indian graduate students ($300) to offset their expenses m attending the MLA conference and a sponsorship of tribal colleges for free subscriptions to SAIL. Last year we gave grants to Fred White (a linguistics graduate student at Stanford) and Jeane Breinig (a literature graduate student at the University of Washington), both of whom gave papers on our ASAIL panel on native languages. So far we have two commitments to sponsor tribal college subscriptions of SAIL; we are asking for $35. Meanwhile we have sent a year's free subscription to all of the tribal colleges.
          Please encourage your students to apply (or apply yourself) this year for a travel grant by sending a letter of request to me at Cornell University, American Indian Program, 300 Caldwell Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853. Include a description of your work and a telephone number so that we can contact you.
          We have an exciting selection of MLA panels this year and a reading of Midwest Native writers. Following last year's form, we will hold our annual business meeting in conjunction with the American Indian Literature Division of MLA. The positions of president and treasurer will also be voted on at that meeting, and members will receive updates on our finances and our directory of American Indian Studies Programs. Planning our panels for next year's MLA and for the spring meeting of ALA will also be high on our agenda.
          If you are able to contribute to our tribal college subscription fund, please forward your check to Robert Nelson, Box 112, University of Richmond, VA 23173-0112.
          We are continuing to solicit applications for the editorship of SAIL. Please write to me or Bob Nelson if you want to nominate yourself or suggest a possible nominee. John Purdy deserves special thanks for the fine job he has done in 1995 editing SAIL.
          Thank you again for your participation in ASAIL. Well look forward to seeing you in Chicago.

                                           Happy Holidays,
                                           Kate Shanley, ASAIL President


American Indian Offerings at the 1995 MLA in Chicago

25. Native American Voices in the Midwest:
Readings by Betty Louise Bell, Kim Blaeser, William Penn, Roberta Hill Whiteman, and Carter Revard
198. Native American Literature: Seeking a Critical Center: Papers by Kate Shanley, Gordon Henry, Robert Warrior and Craig Womack. Moderated by Kimberly Blaeser.
219B. Authorizing Authenticity, with a paper by Julia Watson
292. Chicago Voices: Rewriting American Literatures, with a paper by Susan Powers
JOINT MEETING OF ASAIL & THE AI LIT DIVISION--Thurs, 7:15 Water Tower, Hyatt Regency
324. Popular Spirit, a paper by Laura Donaldson
338. Laura Murray will give a paper on Joseph Johnson, a Mohegan preacher/letter & diary writer/organizer, 1751-1777.
373. (Con)Founding Fictions: Early Native American Novels, with papers by Dale Metcalfe, Lauren Muller, and Mark Hoyer
391. Identity and Intentionality: Native Language Presence in Contemporary Texts, papers by Susan Brill, Karah Stokes, Niki Lee Manos, and Gloria Bird.
397B. Ethnic Humor: Laughing When It Hurts, paper by Nancy J. Peterson
409. Teaching Native American Texts in Introductory Literature Courses, papers by Chris LaLonde, Robert Gregory, Lou Caton, and Cheryl Brown
445. The Production of Colonialism in and about the Americas, 1660-1740, a paper by Maja-Lisa von Sneidern
538. Old Paradigms, New Directions: Rethinking Resistance in the US Left's Cultural Tradition, a paper by Jennifer Drake
568. Searching for the Amerindian Voice in Colonial Spanish America, papers by Georgina Sabat-Rivers, Alessandra Luiselli, M. Zamora, and Catherine Poupeney-Hart
583. Law and Native American Literature: Critical and Pedagogical Perspectives, papers by Maureen Konlde, Karen Piper, Lenora Ledwon, and John Peacock
646. (Re)Presenting Pocahontas, papers by Heather Bouwman, Elizabeth Donaldson, Heidi Hunter, and Deborah Preston
738. Regionalism in American Indian Literature, papers by Lee Schweniger and Stephen Osborne


Grant Opportunities

The American Philosophical Society supports research in most scholarly fields with awards of up to $5,000 through its General Research Grant and Fellowship Programs. The Phillips Grant for North American Indian Studies supports research on linguistics and ethnohistory. Grants can cover costs of foreign and domestic travel, per diem living costs, photocopies and photographs, and supplies. Younger scholars with less previous support are encouraged to apply. For application forms write a brief letter describing your project and send it to: The American Philosophical society; 104 South Fifth street; Philadelphia, PA 19106-3387.

Grants from the Earhart Foundation of up to $25,000 support research for up to 12 months in the social sciences and humanities including economics, international affairs, government/politics, and philosophy. Eligible applicants are individuals who have established themselves professionally. For additional information contact: Earhart Foundation; 2200 Green Road, Suite H; Ann Arbor, MI 48105; 313-761-8592


Calls and Notices

For several years now, City Lore: The New York Center for Urban Folk Culture in collaboration with Peabody Award winning producer David Isay, has been producing a radio series called American Talkers, which is broadcast on National Public Radios "All Things Considered." The American Talkers series seeks to foster an appreciation of the art of the storyteller and to promote a renewed interest in an oral history of American life. The series needs stories that are funny, sad, alarming, tragic, or triumphant and that are told with a passion and flair. The stories must be personal narratives, about 2-4 minutes in length. City Lore appreciates any ideas/leads in locating storytellers. Contact Alison Laird Craig at 212-259-1955 or at 212-353.1220.

The Cimarron Review, a national journal of arts, letters, and options at Oklahoma State University, will publish an issue devoted to American Indian poetry, fiction, and critical writing. In this issue, the editors hope to combine the works of established writers with the works of emerging contemporary writers. The editors therefore strongly encourage poets and writers with little or no publication experience to submit their work for this upcoming issue. Send submissions to: Michael Wilson; English Department; Box 413; The U of Wisconsin Milwaukee; Milwaukee, WI, 5320 1; 414-255-4032.


Some Recent Publications

Jack D. Forbes, Renate/Lenape, has published a collection of short stories entitled Only Approved Indians Can Play (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press). Forbes's stories "capture the remarkable breadth and variety of American Indian life. Drawing on his skills as a scholar and native activist, and, above all, an artist, Forbes enlarges on our sense of how American Indians experience the world around them."

Wendy Rose, Hopi/Miwok, has recently published a new collection of poems, Now Poof She Is Gone (Ithaca: Firebrand Books, 1994). In this new collection "we read poems that were 'safely tucked away,' kept from the reviews and reading public who believe that 'me' poems are vulgar, or at least bad literature."

Joseph Bruchac, Abnaki poet, novelist, storyteller, and editor, has published a new novel entitled Long River (Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing, 1995). Kathleen O'Neal Grear and W. Michael Gear write that the novel "proves once again that Joseph Bruchac is the master of the Native American mythic voice. His newest work echoes with the timbre of the Northeast, his prose as smooth and durable as the glacially scoured granite who nourished his Abenaki ancestors." Naomi Miller Stoker writes: "Everything is so real. . . . The story sounds as if it were written not by a person of today imagining the distant past, but with the power and authenticity of a man who actually lived in those days." From the jacket: "Set in a time and a place before memory, Long River is an exciting sequel to Bruchac's acclaimed first novel, Dawn Land. In a rich and authentic tradition as his Abenaki ancestors, Bruchac continues his story of Young Hunter, the finest warrior in the village of the Only People who lived in the Northeast ten thousand years ago."

Now available is a wonderful collection of poetry, Days of Obsidian, Days of Grace, Selected Poetry and Prose by Four Native American Writers (Duluth: Poetry Harbor, 1995), featuring a number of works by AlHunter, Denise Sweet, Jim Northrup, and Adrian C. Louis.

W. S. Penn, Nez Perce/Osage, associate professor of English at Michigan State University, has published All My Sins Are Relatives (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), which won the North American Prose Award for 1994. The jacket tells us: "In the works of other Indian writers, and in his own, Penn found that, although white and Indian cannot mingle, they can be bridged. All My Sins are Relatives is a bridge." Gerald Vizenor writes: "Penn is a literary artist of sensitive critical insight and he clearly demonstrates a diverse knowledge and powerful understanding of creative courage in literature." A. Lavonne Ruoff writes: "Penn has a wonderfully humorous, down-to-earth style. His descriptions of his and his relatives reactions are both sardonic and incisive."

Louise Erdrich has a new book called The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year (New York: Harper Collins, 1995). In this Erdrich's "first major work of non-fiction, she brilliantly and poignantly examines the joys and frustrations, the compromises and insights, and difficult struggle and profound emotional satisfaction she experiences in the course of one twelve-month period -- from a winter pregnancy through a spring and summer of new motherhood to a fall return to writing."

David Treuer, Leech Lake Ojibwe, has released his first novel, Little, in which "he quarries the layers of family secrets that have built up over three generations on the reservation of 'Poverty, Minnesota.'" Toni Morrison writes: "Mr. Treuer's accomplishments is a wonder. Out of the seasons and landscapes of a Minnesota reservation David Treuer has forged a strong, intricate narrative complete with the intimate voices of fully realized characters." Louise Erdrich writes: "Little is an exciting find, complex and compelling. David Treuer has written an ambitious novel of extraordinary emotional range."

Mark Turcotte's The Feathered Heart (MARCH/Abrazo Press, Chicago, 1995) has received considerable critical praise. Gwendolyn Brooks writes: "Brisk, but neither hard nor cold. Exciting energy and venturesomeness." Susan Power tell us: "The Feathered Heart is an honor song of bright energy and searing honesty -- a lament, a celebration, a powerful blend of old dreams and new realities." Louis Erdrich writes: "Mark Turcotte's poetry is a sound-vision stirring echoes of an Earth-based relationship in urban places, and offering the hope of a deeper human future."

Ofelia Zepeda has new book of poems called Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert. "Poet Ofelia Zepeda centers these poems on her own experiences growing up in a Tohono O'odham family, where the desert climate profoundly influences daily life, and on her perceptions as a contemporary Tohono O'odham woman. These fine poems will give the outside reader a rich insight into daily life of the Tohono O'odham, or Desert People."

Jane Katz has edited a wonderful anthology called Messengers of the Wind: Native American Women Tell Their Life Stories (New York: {9} Ballantine Books, 1995). In this collection, "Native American Women old and young, from a variety of tribal groups, speak with eloquence and passion about their experience on the land and in urban areas; about their work as artists, activists, and healers; as grandmothers, mothers as daughters; as professional women with a link to the past." Louise Erdrich praises the collection: "Here at last is a rich and authentic mosaic of voices which expresses the variety, subtlety, wisdom, and depth of

Native American women." Paula Gunn Allen writes: "'Giving energy to Mother Earth' -- Yes. That is our duty as women, as Natives, and as human beings. Messengers of the Wind is a way of doing just that. It is not a dance, feet patting our mother, but it is an offering, the voices of the women sent to comfort her. Thank you, Jane Katz, for your offering. It is a special and much-needed gift."

Mary Anne Doan and Jim Stevens have edited an anthology called Dreaming History: A Collection of Wisconsin Native American Writing (Madison: Prairie Oak Press, 1995). This book includes writing by Kimberly M. Blaeser, Charlene Blue Horse, Andrew Connors, Pamela Green LaBarge, Kenneth Brickman Metoxen, and Michael Roberts. This collection "is for the person who holds an interest in the ancient traditions of Wisconsin, as well as for the person who wishes to understand how the great native thoughts remain deeply and personally held in our present-day world."

Brian Swann reports that Everything Matters: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers, edited by he and Arnold Krupat, has been accepted for publication by Random House. This collection is a follow-up to their highly-successful collection, I Tell You Now, and will probably be available late in 1996. The anthology will include essays by Roberta Hill Whiteman, Louis Owens, Nora Dauenhauer, Hanay Geiogamah, Luci Tapahonso, Ofelia Zepeda, Greg Sarris, Duane Big Eagle, and William Penn. Swann's own Wearing the Morning Star: Versions of Native American Songpoems (a follow-up to Songs of the Sky), will appear next March from Random House. Brian Swann also reports that he is about to put together for Dover publications a sixty-page paperback of traditional songs ("songpoems") and contemporary poetry (about thirty pages each). As yet untitled, the book is part of Dover's Thrift Edition series.

The University Press of Mississippi has reprinted Tales of the Bark Lodges, dialect tales of the Wyandot Indians, originally published in 1919. "The author, Bertrand N. O. Walker, known as Hen-Toh to tribal members, hopes to preserve the dying tradition of storytelling, an oral practice used by Wyandots as a system of instilling important tribal values in the young. . . . These stories from his childhood reveal valuable lessons in etiquette, decorum, and mutual respect through games of competition, trickery, and one-upmanship played by the animals. Written as if told by an old Wyandot woman speaking to a young listener in the late nineteenth century, the book allows readers to gain insight into the art of storytelling and also the joy of listening. For more information, contact Claudette Murphree, 601-982-6205,



by Carter Revard


Wonder who first slid in
           to use another creatures skin
for staying warm -- one bloody violation,
   a heresy almost,
           to crawl inside the deer's
   still vivid presence there,
to take their lives from what had moved
           within, to eat delicious life
then spread its likeness over a sleeping
   and breathing self, musk-wrapped
              inside the wind
           the rain,
              the sleet --
to roll up in a seal-skin self beneath
   a walrus heaven
           on which the sleet would rap and tap,
              to feel both feet
   grow warm even on ice
or in the snow -- they must have thought
           the flame from tallow was like
such warmth from fur and hide --
   it must have been some kind
           of revelation when the life
came back into a freezing hand or foot
   after the fur went round its bareness, even more
when human bodies coupling in
   a bear's dark fur
           found winter's warmth and then
its child
           within the woman
              came alive.



Sometimes I think how alcohol's
a marvelous solvent, can remove
red people from a continent,
turn bronze to guilt. What was DuPont's
old motto -- Better things
for better living
through chemistry? You take
potatoes from Peru,
barley from Palestine, maize
from Mexico, sugar
from Indo-China --
put in some wild yeast from the air,
ferment it and viola! you've now
got Vodka for the Volga, beer
for the Brits, Bourbon for
Balboa's kids, Joy-juice for
the Kickapoos.
Pour this into an Inner City and create
your Designated Criminal Class purely
to blame for everything,
or rub in on the Reservations and you'll see
each fetus wizen up inside
its fertile womb.
You drip it into the veins
of Congress or a Corporation, just watch
these Mountain Men outwrestle steers,
gulping their liquid god, go wildly
enthusiastic so they can
write laws in stone with one hand while
joysticking lovers with the other,
sacking Montana and out-dunking Jordan,
out-leveraging -- who was it,
Archimedes, popped the world's blue eyeball
into a Swiss snowbank? See, ghettoites,
how sociable our masters are,
these Bacchanalians, never alcoholic,
immune in suburbs where bad sex had died
and gone to heaven, no AIDS, no illegitimate
children, all the schools
have classic curricula and every personal fetus
will be delivered right on time,
uncorked like Chateauneuf du Pape, unscrewed
like Southern Comfort to gurgle on
its snowy tablecloth, caress with rose fingers
its parents' egos and become
a tax loophole. Classic,
ah Classic these Metamorphoses of Alcohol --
but please, be careful how you tell of them,
remember Ovid shivering on
the Black Sea shores, wondering how to get
back in
to one of the Roman villas once again.

Commentary -- "Ethnic Fraud"

by Grayson Noley, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, Arizona State University

           Ethnic fraud is an ugly phrase. It raises visions of sinister appearing men in darkened offices plotting their next dastardly deed which involves cheating unsuspecting and guileless people. It invokes images of shadowy deals and perjured documents, images that are nothing like those presented by the applicants for faculty positions or for graduate or undergraduate scholarships or those people who receive and process these applications. Those individuals who interview and accept the word of applicants that they are who they say they are and what they say they are appear to be decent, hard-working people who would never knowingly commit fraud. Yet fraud is committed in American universities every time a person lies when claiming to be an American Indian to obtain some advantage in being hired or in the receipt of a scholarship. In my opinion, the institutional representative who hears the lie, reads the lie, and accepts the lie without attempting to affirm the accuracy of the information given, is a party to the lie.
           That this is not an occasional occurrence was well documented by a reporter named Paige St. John in an article she wrote for the Detroit News some time ago. This enterprising reporter interviewed students who admitted they lied or at least embellished the truth merely by checking a box indicating they were an American Indian in order to gain admission to colleges and universities in some cases and to obtain lucrative scholarships and jobs in other cases. They freely admitted that the reason they did so was to enhance their chances to obtain a scholarship that was set aside for American Indian students. The universities to whom these students lied made no attempt to verify the information given.
           Ethnic fraud apparently not only is legal, but seems to be a protected practice in the opinion of one affirmative action officer at a large university, who said it would not be appropriate to ask if people really are who they claim. This university official suggested that even though the formal relationship with an American Indian nation can be verified by virtue of an identification card, it would not be legal to ask for that proof.
           In a contrary opinion that puts all the responsibility on the applicant for special consideration, Michael Olivas has suggested that "it is clearly illegal to put forth false representations on any application." If this is so, then it would seem to be in the best interests of the universities to make a practice of challenging claims of ethnic heritage. In the case of American Indian people, these claims can be verified, but this verification is not so easily accomplished with people who may choose to claim to be members of other races or ethnicities.
           There is a strange sort of irony to this problem in a country that has a long history of intolerance and beliefs in racial superiority. In a nation that practiced genocide against its original inhabitants, it seems strange that descendants of those perpetrators now will seek to gain an advantage by claiming to be a member of a race their ancestors sought to annihilate.
           This issue was viewed as a serious problem at the 1993 annual meeting of the Association of American Indian and Alaska Native Professors held on the Arizona State University Campus. Two of the primary purposes of this annual gathering are (1) to take a stand on issues such as American Indian identity regarding its impact on students, faculty, staff, and administration and (2) to assist colleges and universities in recruiting efforts by providing information about the available pool of American Indian/Alaska Native professors. In keeping with these purposes, those in attendance at the 1993 meeting adopted a statement representing the view of the association regarding American Indian identity and the misrepresentation of such for individual and personal gain. This gathering of professors said:
           We, the Association of American Indian and Alaska Native Professors, hereby establish and present our position on ethnic fraud and offer recommendations to ensure the accuracy of American Indian/Alaska Native identification in American colleges and universities. This statement is developed over concern about the racial exploitation of American Indians and Alaska Natives in American colleges and universities. We think it is necessary to establish our position on ethnic fraud because of documented incidents of abuse. This statement is intended to assist universities in their efforts to develop culturally diverse campus communities. The implications of this statement are threefold: (1) to assist in the selection process that encourages diversity among students, staff faculty, and administration; {14} (2) to uphold the integrity of institutions and enhance their credibility with American Indian/Alaska Native Nations/Tribes; and (3) to recognize the importance of American Indian/Alaska Native Nations/Tribes in upholding their sovereign and legal right as nations to determine membership.
           The following prioritized recommendations are intended to affirm and ensure American Indian/Alaska Native identity in the hiring process. We are asking that colleges and universities:

I. Require documentation of enrollment in a state or federally recognized nation/tribe with preference given to those who meet this criterion;
2. Establish a case-by-case review process for those unable to meet the first criterion;
3. Include American Indian/Alaska Native faculty in the selection process;
4. Require a statement from the applicant that demonstrates past and future commitment to American Indian/Alaska Native concerns;
5. Require higher education administrators to attend workshops on tribal sovereignty and meetings with local tribal officials; and
6. Advertise vacancies at all levels and on a broad scale and in tribal publications.

This statement is straightforward and clear, leaving no doubt of the position of this group of professors in attendance at this meeting representing universities from all parts of the United States. We hope this problem is taken seriously by those who have hiring responsibilities for overseeing programs serving American Indian students or who have an influence on who is hired in the institutions of higher education.
           More information about the association and the annual meeting is available by writing or calling the Center for Indian Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1311; 602-965-6292.


Commentaries do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literature or the opinions of its members. Responses to commentaries are welcome.