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Humanities 2016, 5(3), 62; doi:10.3390/h5030062

Cartographies of the Voice: Storying the Land as Survivance in Native American Oral Traditions

Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Academic Editors: Karen L Thornber and Tom Havens
Received: 23 February 2016 / Revised: 6 June 2016 / Accepted: 7 June 2016 / Published: 15 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Indigeneities and the Environment)
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Abstract

This article examines how Native places are made, named, and reconstructed after colonization through storytelling. Storying the land is a process whereby the land is invested with the moral and spiritual perspectives specific to Native American communities. As seen in the oral traditions and written literature of Native American storytellers and authors, the voices of indigenous people retrace and remap cartographies for the land after colonization through storytelling. This article shows that the Americas were storied by Native American communities long before colonial contact beginning in the fifteenth century and demonstrates how the land continues to be storied in the present as a method of decolonization and cultural survivance. The article examines manifestations of the oral tradition in multiple forms, including poetry, interviews, fiction, photography, and film, to demonstrate that the land itself, through storytelling, becomes a repository of the oral tradition. The article investigates oral narratives from precontact and postcolonial time periods and across numerous nations and geographical regions in the Americas, including stories from the Mayan Popol Vuh; Algonkian; Western Apache; Hopi; Haudenosaunee/Iroquois; and Laguna Pueblo stories; and the contemporary poetry and fiction of Joy Harjo (Mvskoke/Creek Nation) and Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo). View Full-Text
Keywords: Native American oral traditions; storytelling and the environment; Algonkian oral narrative; Haudenosaunee/Iroquois oral narrative; Hopi oral narrative; Joy Harjo; Leslie Marmon Silko; Popol Vuh; Western Apache oral narrative; decolonization Native American oral traditions; storytelling and the environment; Algonkian oral narrative; Haudenosaunee/Iroquois oral narrative; Hopi oral narrative; Joy Harjo; Leslie Marmon Silko; Popol Vuh; Western Apache oral narrative; decolonization
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Yi, I. Cartographies of the Voice: Storying the Land as Survivance in Native American Oral Traditions. Humanities 2016, 5, 62.

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