From As-Told-To Stories to Indigenous Communal Narratives
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; English
Book Summary: The Routledge Companion to Native American Literature engages the multiple scenes of tension — historical, political, cultural, and aesthetic — that constitutes a problematic legacy in terms of community identity, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, language, and sovereignty in the study of Native American literature. This important and timely addition to the field provides context for issues that enter into Native American literary texts through allusions, references, and language use.
Chapter Summary: As-Told-To stories (like Black Elk Speaks) were written by primarily EuroAmerican male ethnographers at the turn of the last century from interviews of Native Americans. Without readers possessing sufficient cultural knowledge of the Native informant's nation, these books continue to colonize Native peoples today as they present them and their cultures as artifacts from the past in a so-called "pure" cultural state. Indigenous Communal Narratives not only include the single Indigenous voice, but they also include tribal histories, traditional stories, and scholarship from contemporary Native peoples. ICNs are important antidotes to the continued colonization of Native peoples.
Sellers, Stephanie. "From As-Told-To Stories to Indigenous Communal Narratives." The Routledge Companion to Native American Literature Ed. Deborah Madsen (London: Routledge, 2015).