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The written Native American literary tradition commenced as early as the eighteenth century, when a Mohegan Methodist missionary, Samson Occum, published his Sermon Preached at the Execution of Moses Paul, an Indian in William Apess Pequot , also a Christian minister, wrote an autobiography that protested non-Indians' treatment of Indians, and he also collected the autobiographies of other Christian Indians in Experiences of Five Christian Indians of the Pequot Tribe Blackbird Ottawa. These valuable writings represent a range of genres and reflect cultural issues of the times in which they were written.

The New Voices Of Native American Literature

Plains Indian oral literature includes literary expressions from cultures as different as Blackfeet northwestern Montana are from Kiowa Southern Plains. By far, autobiographies comprise the bulk of written literary materials. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, academics—mostly anthropologists and historians—took up the idea that Native testimony or life stories needed to be preserved. Many believed that Native Americans were disappearing and with them their languages and histories; great efforts needed to be made to preserve cultural histories and literatures in writing.

While many Native Americans wrote their own autobiographies during this period, many more had their life stories recorded as "as-told-to" autobiographies by anthropologists, ethnographers, and "Indian buffs.

North America and Europe circa 1492

Black Elk Speaks Lakota is probably the most famous as-told-to narrative, a text "told through" John G. Because the poet Neihardt was most interested in obtaining Black Elk's story for his poetic work on the American West, he omitted aspects of Black Elk's life that did not fit his own poetic purposes. In his study of Black Elk Speaks , entitled The Sixth Grandfather , Raymond DeMallie presents the transcripts of the initial interviews with Black Elk, enabling us to study the life of Black Elk and the textual creation of that famous work.

Glancy, Diane. The Cold-and-Hunger Dance. Designs of the Night Sky. In-between Places. The Mask Maker. Stone Heart: A Novel of Sacajewea.

Research, Papers, and Literature Reviews

Harjo, Joy. She Had Some Horses. Secrets from the Center of the World. In Mad Love and War. The Woman Who Fell from the Sky. Harjo, Joy, and Gloria Bird eds. Hogan, Linda. Book of Medicines. Mean Spirit. Solar Storms. Katz, Jane ed. King, Thomas. Green Grass, Running Water.


  • Chroniken der Weltensucher 3 - Der gläserne Fluch (German Edition).
  • The Native American Peoples of The United States.
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Medicine River. Truth and Bright Water. Along the Journey River.

Momaday, Scott. House Made of Dawn. Ancient Child.

Native Peoples of Oklahoma - Protecting Native American Communities - 4.3.1 Gilbert Salazar

The Way to Rainy Mountain. Niatum, Duane ed. Ortiz, Simon. From Sand Creek.

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Thus, although comedy is used by Native Americans as a rhetorical tool of survivance, it can also be argued that it is a modern tool for oral tradition, albeit a dark one. Alexie based much of the work on his own experiences a young adult. By discussing topics with which he dealt, he can effectively address the obstacles Native American youths face, such as life on a reservation, alcoholism, poverty, and bullying. As previously discussed, American Indians desire to be rhetorically sovereign, which the use of comedy ultimately makes the argument for, though not necessarily in an overt manner.

It creates these arguments subtly, infusing the ideas and urgings into their comedic discourse that the mainstream culture often subconsciously absorbs. By using a popular medium in modern culture, Native Americans are able to once again reach across the cultural lines and relate to their audience since the White population in general refuses to make the step themselves. In order to make themselves seem civilized and modern, they have historically had to make this leap so their White audience, which is the overwhelming majority, will be willing to accept the Native Americans as a people as well as their culture, and ultimately relate to their issues.

By forming an alliance with the majority, Native Americans from all tribes can have their voices heard on a more widespread platform. Despite the progress made for other minorities in the modern world, Native Americans and their issues are still severely ignored; thus, forging a relationship of some sort with the majority is still imperative for other cultures to have their voices heard. For Native Americans, specifically the Cherokee, rhetoric is not only a matter of the survival of their culture and a resistance to being overtaken and downtrodden by the dominant culture over time; their oral traditions as well as modern uses of rhetoric, such as stand-up comedy, are also vital to their sense of identity in that they allow a modern audience to gain knowledge of their culture.

Despite superficial appearances, their use of rhetoric is far more than simple communication or the art of speaking well: they are using rhetoric as a tool for persuasion in order to salvage as much of their culture as possible after the prolonged reign of terror over their way of life. This use for rhetoric is arguably more important than simply the art of speaking well, as rhetoric has been defined historically.

Like any other rhetorician, American Indian rhetoricians use various genres to convey their point, such as speeches, oral storytelling, and stand-up comedy, as well as writing, including books and newspapers, among countless others. Through them, Native Americans are able to convey their cultural identity. Employing a broad array of media further assists in the survivance of their culture and traditions the driving force behind much of American Indian rhetoric and encourages further learning of traditions that have been central to maintaining a sense of identity for a people who are all-too-often overlooked in the mainstream culture.

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However, if America is to progress further, the acknowledgement and inclusion of Native American culture and histories are imperative to create an adequate anthology of American history; without it, only a mismatched, incomplete version is available. Alexie, Sherman. Accessed 30 June Flanagan, Mark.

Hannah, Leslie D. U of Oklahoma, Harrell, Willie J. Studies in Hungary, vol. Lyons, Scott Richard. Margolis, Rick McCarty, Teresa L. Morris, Amanda Lynch. Professional Development Collection , dx. Accessed 01 July Powell, Malea. Ross-Mulkey, Mikhelle. Stromberg, Ernest.

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U of Pittsburgh Press, Weaver, Jace. Oxford UP, From the time she was old enough to read, she knew she wanted to be involved in the publishing process and is currently working as a freelance content writer and editor. In her free time, you can find her reading the latest thriller or mystery novel, hiking with her little dog, or practicing yoga.

Posted on March 24, March 28, Inquiry.