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Potomac Books


Native Acts, Native Acts, 0803226322, 0-8032-2632-2, 978-0-8032-2632-6, 9780803226326, Edited by Joshua David Bellin and Laura L. Mielke Afterword by Philip J. Deloria , , Native Acts, 0803239890, 0-8032-3989-0, 978-0-8032-3989-0, 9780803239890, Edited by Joshua David Bellin and Laura L. Mielke Afterword by Philip J. Deloria

Native Acts
Indian Performance, 1603-1832
Edited by Joshua David Bellin and Laura L. Mielke
Afterword by Philip J. Deloria

2012. 344 pp.
$35.00 s

Long before the Boston Tea Party, where colonists staged a revolutionary act by masquerading as Indians, people looked to Native Americans for the symbols, imagery, and acts that showed what it meant to be “American.” And for just as long, observers have largely overlooked the role that Native peoples themselves played in creating and enacting the Indian performances appropriated by European Americans. It is precisely this neglected notion of Native Americans “playing Indian” that Native Acts explores. These essays—by historians, literary critics, anthropologists, and folklorists—provide the first broadly based chronicle of the performance of “Indianness” by Natives in North America from the seventeenth through the early nineteenth century.

The authors’ careful and imaginative analysis of historical documents and performative traditions reveals an intricate history of intercultural exchange. In sum, Native Acts challenges any simple understanding of cultural “authenticity” even as it celebrates the dynamic role of performance in the American Indian pursuit of self-determination. In this collection, Indian peoples emerge as active, vocal, embodied participants in cultural encounters whose performance powerfully shaped the course of early American history.

Joshua David Bellin is a professor of English at La Roche College. He is the author of several books, most recently, Medicine Bundle: Indian Sacred Performance and American Literature, 1824–1932. Laura L. Mielke is an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas and the author of Moving Encounters: Sympathy and the Indian Question in Antebellum Literature.

"This is an excellent collection of essays with a common foundation of recent scholarship and shared geographic and temporal limitations."—S.J. Blackstone, Choice

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