Native States of Literary Sovereignty

Gerald Vizenor
With a new introduction by the author

164 pages


May 2003


$20.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

With wry humor and imaginative acuity, noted writer Gerald Vizenor offers compelling glimpses of modern Native American life and the different ways that Native Americans and whites interact, fight, and resolve their conflicts. The elusive borderland between white and Native American cultures is further complicated by exchanges of money, services, language, and skills that make up what Vizenor calls the “new fur trade.” When Native Americans resist dominance, they fight back incisively and creatively with humor in the strategic word wars of survivance over victimry.
Vizenor illuminates the troubling encounters and distant reaches of this modernist fur trade through his creative narratives. Especially memorable is the reincarnation of General George Custer as the head of Native American programs and the mystifying play of words between charity agencies and Native Americans. Several of Vizenor’s stories focus on a so-called urban reservation, Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. In the last section Vizenor recalls his experiences and observations while reporting on the murder trial of a young Native American student, Thomas White Hawk, in South Dakota.

Author Bio

Gerald Vizenor is a professor of American Studies and Native American literature at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Fugitive Poses: Native American Indian Scenes of Absence and Presence and Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance, both published by the University of Nebraska Press.


Wordarrows is a milestone in the campaign to make traditional native culture a relevant part of modern life. It represents one man’s attempt to be both meaningful and honest in using his tribal past.”—Antioch Review

“Penetrating and thoughtful, this book has value for the student of the psyche of the contemporary American Indian.”—Choice


Gerald Vizenor is the recipient of the 2005 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association.

Also of Interest