The founding idea of “America” has been based largely on the expected sweeping away of Native Americans to make room for EuroAmericans and their cultures. In this authoritative study, David L. Moore examines the works of five well-known Native American writers and their efforts, beginning in the colonial period, to redefine an “America” and “American identity” that includes Native Americans.
That Dream Shall Have a Name focuses on the writing of Pequot Methodist minister William Apess in the 1830s; on Northern Paiute activist Sarah Winnemucca in the 1880s; on Salish/Métis novelist, historian, and activist D’Arcy McNickle in the 1930s; and on Laguna poet and novelist Leslie Marmon Silko and on Spokane poet, novelist, humorist, and filmmaker Sherman Alexie, both in the latter twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Moore studies these five writers’ stories about the conflicted topics of sovereignty, community, identity, and authenticity—always tinged with irony and often with humor. He shows how Native Americans have tried from the beginning to shape an American narrative closer to its own ideals, one that does not include the death and destruction of their peoples. This compelling work offers keen insights into the relationships between Native and American identity and politics in a way that is both accessible to newcomers and compelling to those already familiar with these fields of study.
David L. Moore is a professor of English at the University of Montana. His numerous articles have appeared in Studies in American Indian Literature, American Indian Quarterly, and scholarly anthologies.
Introduction: Fool Soldiers
Chapter 1 – “knowing it was to come”: Sovereignty as Sacrifice
Chapter 2 – “a plethora of animistic factors immersed in ethereal realities”: Community as Animism
Chapter 3 – “the soul of the Indian is immortal”: Identity as Change
Chapter 4 – “the creative ability of Indian people”: Authenticity as Translation
Chapter 5 – The Last Laugh: Humor and Humanity in Native American Pluralism
Conclusion: The Anxiety of Confluence: America’s Struggle with Authenticity