Cowboys and Indians. Last of the Mohicans. Vanishing Americans. Hollywood’s Pocahontas and Geronimo. Lone Ranger and Tonto. Dances With Wolves.
Do popular culture and media images even begin to say anything historic, literary, about the tribes or Native life on the reservations and in the cities?
How have writers from within Native America and First Nations Canada created their own accounts – novels, poetry, drama, autobiography and different styles of discursive work?
How has oral legacy, and with it creation stories or Coyote and other trickster mythologies, become scriptural, a proliferation of texts whose luminous modern names include N. Scott Momaday and Lesley Marmon Silko, Gerald Vizenor and Louise Erdrich, Beth Brand and Tom King?
Volume 1 opens with a sequence of authors’ own overviews, Momaday to Louis Owen, followed by a roster of critical theory dealing with ideology and custodianship.
Volume 2 looks first to accounts of Native autobiography, from the Pequot William Apess onwards, and of early modern writing, from the Paiute-raised Sarah Winnemucca and Creek poet and satirist Alex Posey to the Sioux Luther Standing Bear.
Volume 3 gathers essays on modern Native fiction, a circuit of authorship to embrace writers like Momaday, Silko, Louise Erdrich, Vizenor, James Welch, Sherman Alexie, Diane Glancy and Anna Lee Walters.
Volume 4 takes on Native poetry and drama, whether Paul Gunn Allen, Luci Tapahonso, Simon Ortiz, Carter Revard, Wendy Rose, Jim Barnes or Ray Young Bear, and the plays of Hanay Geiogamah.
This wide-ranging collection includes detailed bibliographies, time-lines, and tribal groupings, together with 84 essays. It will prove invaluable to all readers with an interest in how writers of indigenous legacy have given literary imagination to their history in North America, Canada and beyond.