Synopses & Reviews
From Sherman Alexie's films to the poetry and fiction of Louise Erdrich and Leslie Marmon Silko to the paintings of Jaune Quick-To-See Smith and the sculpture of Edgar Heap of Birds, Native American movies, literature, and art have become increasingly influential, garnering critical praise and enjoying mainstream popularity. Recognizing that the time has come for a critical assessment of this exceptional artistic output and its significance to American Indian and American issues, Dean Rader offers the first interdisciplinary examination of how American Indian artists, filmmakers, and writers tell their own stories.
Beginning with rarely seen photographs, documents, and paintings from the Alcatraz Occupation in 1969 and closing with an innovative reading of the National Museum of the American Indian, Rader initiates a conversation about how Native Americans have turned to artistic expression as a means of articulating cultural sovereignty, autonomy, and survival. Focusing on figures such as author/director Sherman Alexie (Flight, Face, and Smoke Signals), artist Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, director Chris Eyre (Skins), author Louise Erdrich (Jacklight, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse), sculptor Edgar Heap of Birds, novelist Leslie Marmon Silko, sculptor Allen Houser, filmmaker and actress Valerie Red Horse, and other writers including Joy Harjo, LeAnne Howe, and David Treuer, Rader shows how these artists use aesthetic expression as a means of both engagement with and resistance to the dominant U.S. culture. Raising a constellation of new questions about Native cultural production, Rader greatly increases our understanding of what aesthetic modes of resistance can accomplish that legal or political actions cannot, as well as why Native peoples are turning to creative forms of resistance to assert deeply held ethical values.
Sky Loom offers a dazzling introduction to Native American myths, stories, and songs drawn from previous collections by acclaimed translator and poet Brian Swann. With a general introduction by Swann, Sky Loom is a stunning collection that provides a glimpse into the intricacies and beauties of story and myth, placing them in their cultural, historical, and linguistic contexts.
Each of the twenty-six selections is translated and introduced by a well-known expert on Native oral literatures and offers entry into the cultures and traditions of several different tribes and bands, including the Yupiit and the Tlingits of the polar North; the Coast Salish and the Kwakwakaandrsquo;wakw of the Pacific Northwest; the Navajos, the Pimas, and the Yaquis of the Southwest; the Lakota Sioux and the Plains Crees of the Great Plains; the Ojibwes of the Great Lakes; the Naskapis and the Eastern Crees of the Hudson Bay area in Canada; and the Munsees of the Northeast. Sky Loom takes the reader on a wide-ranging journey through literary traditions older than the andldquo;discoveryandrdquo; of the New World.
Catharine Brown (1800?and#8211;1823) became Brainerd Mission Schooland#8217;s first Cherokee convert to Christianity, a missionary teacher, and the first Native American woman whose own writings saw extensive publication in her lifetime. After her death from tuberculosis at age twenty-three, the missionary organization that had educated and later employed Brown commissioned a posthumous biography, Memoir of Catharine Brown
, whichand#160; enjoyed widespread contemporary popularity and praise.
In the following decade, her writings, along with those of other educated Cherokees, became highly politicized and were used in debates about the removal of the Cherokees and other tribes to Indian Territory. Although she was once viewed by literary critics as a docile and dominated victim of missionaries who represented the tragic fate of Indians who abandoned their identities, Brown is now being reconsidered as a figure of enduring Cherokee revitalization, survival, adaptability, and leadership.
In Cherokee Sister Theresa Strouth Gaul collects all of Brownand#8217;s writings, consisting of letters and a diary, some appearing in print for the first time, as well as Brownand#8217;s biography and a drama and poems about her. This edition of Brownand#8217;s collected works and related materials firmly establishes her place in early nineteenth-century culture and her influence on American perceptions of Native Americans.
During much of the nineteenth century, paintings functioned as the Plains Indiansand#8217; equivalent to written records. The majority of their paintings documented warfare, focusing on specific war deeds. These pictorial narrativesand#8212;appearing on hide robes, war shirts, tipi liners, and tipi coversand#8212;were maintained by the several dozen Plains Indians tribes, and they continue to expand historical knowledge of a people and place in transition.
War Paintings of the Tsuu Tand#8217;ina Nation is a study of several important war paintings and artifact collections of the Tsuu Tand#8217;ina (Sarcee) that provides insight into the changing relations between the Tsuu Tand#8217;ina, other plains tribes, and non-Native communities during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Arni Brownstone has meticulously created renderings of the paintings that invite readers to explore them more fully. All known Tsuu Tand#8217;ina paintings are considered in the study, as are several important collections of Tsuu Tand#8217;ina artifacts, with particular emphasis on five key works. Brownstoneand#8217;s analysis furthers our understanding of Tsuu Tand#8217;ina pictographic war paintings in relation to the social, historical, and artistic forces that influenced them and provides a broader understanding of pictographic painting, one of the richest and most important Native American artistic and literary genres.
About the Author
Brian Swann is a professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He is the author and editor of many books, including Voices from Four Directions: Contemporary Translations of the Native Literatures of North America (Nebraska, 2004), Algonquian Spirit: Contemporary Translations of the Algonquian Literatures of North America (Nebraska, 2005), and Coming to Light: Contemporary Translations of the Native Literatures of North America.