American Indian Rhetorics of Survivance

American Indian Rhetorics of Survivance: Word Medicine, Word Magic

EDITED BY Ernest Stromberg
Copyright Date: 2006
DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm
Pages: 344
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wr9rm
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  • Book Info
    American Indian Rhetorics of Survivance
    Book Description:

    American Indian Rhetorics of Survivancepresents an original critical and theoretical analysis of American Indian rhetorical practices in both canonical and previously overlooked texts: autobiographies, memoirs, prophecies, and oral storytelling traditions. Ernest Stromberg assembles essays from a range of academic disciplines that investigate the rhetorical strategies of Native American orators, writers, activists, leaders, and intellectuals.

    The contributors consider rhetoric in broad terms, ranging from Aristotle's definition of rhetoric as "the faculty . . . of discovering in the particular case what are the available means of persuasion," to the ways in which Native Americans assimilated and revised Western rhetorical concepts and language to form their own discourse with European and American colonists. They relate the power and use of rhetoric in treaty negotiations, written accounts of historic conflicts and events, and ongoing relations between American Indian governments and the United States.

    This is a groundbreaking collection for readers interested in Native American issues and the study of language. In presenting an examination of past and present Native American rhetoric, it emphasizes the need for an improved understanding of multicultural perspectives.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7301-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.1
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.2
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.3
  4. RHETORIC AND AMERICAN INDIANS AN INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-12)
    Ernest Stromberg
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.4

    TO collect a series of essays beneath the terms ʺAmerican Indian,ʺ ʺrhetoric,ʺ and ʺsurvivanceʺ raises significant and potentially vexing questions. The terms of the subject matter are themselves contested. To begin with, why ʺsurvivanceʺ rather than ʺsurvivalʺ? While ʺsurvivalʺ conjures images of a stark minimalist clinging at the edge of existence, survivance goes beyond mere survival to acknowledge the dynamic and creative nature of Indigenous rhetoric. But ʺsurvivanceʺ is the easiest of the three terms to explain. For what is meant by ʺrhetoricʺ? Are there multiple rhetorics? Is rhetoric merely ornamentation: ʺthe embellishment of speech first in tropes and figures,...

  5. Part 1. Appropriation and Resistance
    • RED JACKETʹS RHETORIC POSTCOLONIAL PERSUASIONS ON THE NATIVE FRONTIERS OF THE EARLY AMERICAN REPUBLIC
      (pp. 15-33)
      Matthew Dennis
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.5

      RHETORIC proved critical in protecting Seneca homelands and buying time for Seneca communities to negotiate new ways to be Seneca within a postcolonial United States. At critical moments Seneca people affirmed and deployed the power of rhetoric; that is, in their postcolonial predicament, to paraphrase Aristotle, they discovered and utilized well the available means of persuasion. Seneca diplomat Red Jacket employed a hybrid discourse, in print as well as oratory, designed to engage and persuade white missionaries, government officials, and the public of the Seneca right to autonomy. While such speech was understood as ʺIndianʺ by whites, and as ʺwhiteʺ...

    • (NATIVE) AMERICAN JEREMIAD THE “MIXEDBLOOD” RHETORIC OF WILLIAM APESS
      (pp. 34-49)
      Patricia Bizzell
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.6

      WILLIAM APESS identified himself in his writings as an Indian.¹ He was perhaps the most successful activist on behalf of Indian rights in the antebellum United States. At the same time, he adopted the European religion of Christianity, and used the European language of English for all of his published works and public addresses.² Thus he can be described as what literary historian Bernd Peyer calls a ʺtranscultural individualʺ (17), incorporating elements from different cultures into his identity. Peyer emphasizes that this internal integration process can be empowering: ʺRather than being incapacitated by a disturbed personality, the transcultural individual can,...

    • “FORKED JUSTICE” ELIAS BOUDINOT, THE US CONSTITUTION, AND CHEROKEE REMOVAL
      (pp. 50-66)
      Angela Pulley Hudson
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.7

      IN the late 1820s, the Cherokee Nation was in the midst of a revolutionary series of sociopolitical changes that would forever change the course of its history. In fifty years, over half of all Cherokee lands had been ceded to the United States and the pressure for them to move to a territory west of the Mississippi River had been steadily increasing. The growing state of Georgia had a particularly strong desire to see the Cherokees removed, and in 1802, the federal government had assured Georgia leaders that the Indian title to remaining lands in and around Georgia would be...

  6. Part 2. Rhetorical Self-Fashioning
    • SARAH WINNEMUCCA HOPKINS HER WRONGS AND CLAIMS
      (pp. 69-94)
      Malea D. Powell
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.8

      THIS is a story.

      In 1883, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins wrote and publishedLife Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims. She did so in order to enlist the aid of the American public, particularly the eastern reform communities, in her struggle to find justice for her people, the Northern Paiutes. Winnemucca is frequently cited as the first American Indian woman autobiographer, ʺthe only Indian woman writer of personal and tribal history during most of the nineteenth centuryʺ (Ruoff 261). While I agree that Winnemuccaʹs text follows the general rules of autobiography,Life Among the Piutes(hereafter referred to asLife)...

    • RESISTANCE AND MEDIATION THE RHETORIC OF IRONY IN INDIAN BOARDING SCHOOL NARRATIVES BY FRANCIS LA FLESCHE AND ZITKALA-SA
      (pp. 95-109)
      Ernest Stromberg
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.9

      IN the preface to his autobiographical narrativeThe Middle Five: Indian Schoolboys of the Omaha Tribe, Francis La Flesche provides a poignant sense of the rhetorical context in which he and other early authors of boarding school narratives wrote: ʺ[N]o native American can ever cease to regret that the utterances of his father have been constantly belittled when put into English, that their thoughts have been travestied and their native dignity obscuredʺ (xix). In this brief passage, La Flesche indicts a history of misrepresentations of American Indians and specifically English as the vehicle for conveying these distorting and belittling representations....

    • SUN DANCE BEHIND BARS THE RHETORIC OF LEONARD PELTIERʹS PRISON WRITINGS
      (pp. 110-128)
      Janna Knittel
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.10

      LEONARD PELTIER has been in prison for just under thirty years. Accused of killing two FBI agents during a confrontation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973, Peltier has argued for his innocence. His supporters say that he is a political prisoner, held for upholding Native rights. Conversely, more recent researchers into the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the death of activist Anna Mae Pictou Aquash have sketched AIMʹs own politics as self-aggrandizing and masculinist,¹ and some historians suggest that Peltierʹs importance as a political figure has been exaggerated.² Amid these conflicting views, Peltier has publishedPrison Writings: My Life...

  7. Part 3: Writing, Rhetoric, and Pedagogy
    • DE-ASSIMILATION AS THE NEED TO TELL NATIVE AMERICAN WRITERS, BAKHTIN, AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY
      (pp. 131-148)
      Holly L. Baumgartner
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.11

      NATIVE AMERICAN history is the story and stories of a material oppression that I believe very few people would deny. It is a history of unparalleled genocide—eighty to one hundred million deaths, twenty million in the United States alone.¹ It is a history of violence perpetrated on multiple levels, including personal violence, whereby Natives were tortured, killed outright, torn from parents to be placed in boarding schools and foster homes, put on display at European courts and festivals, and made into spectacle as in the popular Buffalo Billʹs Wild West Show in the 1800s (Slotkin 165ff). Even in the...

    • INSIDE THE CIRCLE, OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE THE CONTINUANCE OF NATIVE AMERICAN STORYTELLING AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF RHETORICAL STRATEGIES IN ENGLISH
      (pp. 149-164)
      Karen A. Redfield
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.12

      I CAME to teach at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College in January 1997. Along with teaching, I was going to collect student writing samples and conduct interviews with students and staff; this work was the foundation of my PhD dissertation. In addition to that project, I was contributing to the Center for English Learning and Achievement project, specifically in the area of Wisconsin literacy. Although I had never lived through a northern Wisconsin winter, or taught at a tribal college, I was fairly confident that I had packed all the necessities for winter survival and good fieldwork: my...

  8. Part 4. A Theory of Rhetoric, a Rhetoric of Theory
    • CRITICAL TRICKSTERS RACE, THEORY, AND OLD INDIAN LEGENDS
      (pp. 167-195)
      Robin DeRosa
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.13

      THIS project grew out of my essay, ʺAssimilated Positions: Storytelling and Silence in Zitkala-SaʹsOld Indian Legends.ʺ In the paper, I used a postmodern approach to the text, which I neither fully defined nor problematized. When I was asked by one reader to step up to the plate, so to speak, and justify my use of theory in the paper, I realized I had only a slight philosophy in place about what it might mean to rely heavily on contemporary literary theory in an essay dealing with a work by a Native American author. My rote postmodern answers (that theory...

    • COMMUNICATING HISTORY JAMES WELCHʹS KILLING CUSTER AND THE CULTURAL TRANSLATION OF THE BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN
      (pp. 196-213)
      Anthony G. Murphy
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.14

      IN 1990, Blackfeet poet and novelist James Welch was asked by filmmaker Paul Stekler to join with him in co-writing a screenplay for a documentary on the Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custerʹs Last Stand. Welch agreed, and in 1992 the film, calledLast Stand at Little Bighorn,was broadcast as a successful, highly rated part of the PBSAmerican Experienceseries. The documentary project led to a contract for Welch to write a more detailed account of the battle, which appeared in 1994 asKilling Custer: The Battle of the Little Bighorn and the Fate of...

    • THE WORD MADE VISIBLE LESLIE MARMON SILKOʹS ALMANAC OF THE DEAD
      (pp. 214-237)
      Ellen L. Arnold
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.15

      LESLIE MARMON SILKO comments in her introduction toYellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit(1996) that she is interested in ʺthe written word as a picture of the spoken wordʺ (14). As I have argued elsewhere in relation to Silkoʹs first novelCeremony(1977), Silkoʹs concern with the visualization of narrative in both image and written text is part of an ongoing project in her work to close the gap between signifier and signified, to recontextualize printed language and reconnect the written word with the dynamic, multisensory, multidimensional experience of orality.¹ Silkoʹs second novel,Almanac of the Dead...

    • AMERICAN INDIAN SOVEREIGNTY NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DONʹT
      (pp. 238-255)
      Peter dʹErrico
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.16

      ANOTHER Columbus Day has come and gone. Another year, now more than five hundred since the pope divided the world between Spain and Portugal, laying down the doctrine of discovery and conquest:

      Inter Caetera, May 3, 1493—Among other works well pleasing to the Divine Majesty and cherished of our heart, this assuredly ranks highest, that in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself. …Our beloved son Christopher Columbus, …...

    • WENNEBOJO MEETS A ʺREAL INDIANʺ
      (pp. 256-272)
      Richard Clark Eckert
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.17

      WHO symbolizes a ʺreal Indianʺ? thought the trickster known to the Anishinaabeg as Wennebojo. The biology of who their parents are? Nope. Well, that is part of it, of course, but that isnʹt all of it. Maybe culture makes a person Indian? Hmmm, thought Wennebojo, that would mean some distinction between an upper and lower casecat the beginning of the word. I donʹt think I want to get caught in that debate, thought Wennebojo with a grin. Politics? Well, that might identify a person as Indian for administrative purposes, but it doesnʹt make them ʺreal.ʺ I donʹt think...

  9. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 273-276)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.18
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 277-286)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wr9rm.19