This course explores the diverse and exciting body of literature by Native peoples of North America, a literary tradition that spans 500+ tribes/Nations, numerous reservations and Territories, and international boundaries. We will emphasize contemporary fiction and poetry by Native American writers from the U.S. and Canada, and we will occasionally fold in oral tradition and other genres.
Occasionally, we will view excerpts of films and digital media to analyze the visual storytelling strategies they employ, in order to widen the variety of voices from which we can learn; we will also acknowledge pre-contact visual record-keeping (i.e. written) traditions such as pictographs and wampum. We will study major works by Charles Eastman, Eric Gansworth, Joy Harjo, Toni Jensen, Deborah Miranda, Susan Power, Eden Robinson, Hasteen Klah, Erika Wurth, and Cheryl Savageau in addition to supplemental readings.
Critical Analysis Papers
In the first Critical Analysis Paper, you will write a 4+ -page analysis (1000+ words) of one of the texts we have encountered thus far in class. Subsequent Critical Analysis Papers will be 5+ pages in length (1250+ words).
You will present an original argument about the literary text in question and support it with quotes, paraphrases, and other textual evidence that supports your interpretation.
You should engage the elements of the given genre (fiction, poetry, drama, oral tradition) in your critique of the texts as well as speak to larger thematic concerns in Native American and Indigenous literature, which we have discussed in lecture.
You are required to use 1+ scholarly works in the writing of the essay and to cite them in the body of your paper.