Native American Representations


Native American Representations

First Encounters, Distorted Images, and Literary Appropriations

Edited by Gretchen M. Bataille

265 pages


September 2001


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About the Book

From Columbus's journal jottings about "Indios" to the image of Sacagawea on the dollar coin, from the marauding Indians portrayed in the traditional western to the appearance of Native Americans in Dances with Wolves, from cigar box caricatures to the Crazy Horse monument rising near Mt. Rushmore, Native Americans have been represented—and misrepresented—over the past five centuries. What such depictions mean—what they say, and what they do, historically, culturally, and ideologically—is the subject of this book.
In Native American Representations, leading national and international critics of Native literature and culture examine images in a wide range of media from a variety of perspectives to show how depictions and distortions have reflected and shaped cross-cultural exchanges from the arrival of Europeans to today. Focusing on issues of translation, European and American perceptions of land and landscape, teaching approaches, and transatlantic encounters, the authors explore problems of appropriation and advocacy, of cultural sovereignty and respect for the "authentic" text. Most significantly, they ask the reader to consider the question: "Who controls the representation?"
Illuminating and timely, the animated debates and insightful analyses in this book not only showcase some of the most provocative work being done in the field of Native Studies today, but they also set an agenda for its development in the twenty-first century.

Author Bio

Gretchen M. Bataille, senior vice president of academic affairs at the University of North Carolina, is the coauthor of American Indian Women: Telling Their Lives (Nebraska 1984) and the author of Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary.


"The weighty essays in Bataille's latest compilation will more than adequately engage the attention of anyone involved with Native American studies. . . . A critically discerning collection that is sure to be resourceful for many years."—Choice

“This important collection brings together in one volume the current theoretical thinking, literary analysis, and ethnopoetic practices of eleven different contemporary scholars of Native American literature, culture, and verbal art. . . .  This volume sets the question of representation in an ethnopoetics context that focuses on the textual dynamics of works by and about Native verbal arts and cultures, providing rich avenues for exploring issues of postcoloniality, Native identities, subversive textual strategies, and productive intercultural efforts at collaboration.”—Maureen Salzer, North Dakota Quarterly

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