AMERICAN INDIAN LITERATURE AT THE GOLDA MEIR LIBRARY
May 6, 1996 - June 30, 1996
"Native Voices: American Indian Literature at the Golda Meir Library," featuring selections from the librarys rich holdings of Native American literary works, was on view at the Golda Meir Library May 6 - June 30, 1996. The exhibit, highlighting the work of over forty Native American authors, was drawn from the librarys general collections, Special Collections, and Curriculum Collection to demonstrate the librarys comprehensive holdings in Native American literature, covering a broad spectrum of genres including oral traditions, narrative, short stories, fiction, childrens literature, poetry, and essays.Following centuries of propaganda, oppression, and deculturalization, the indigenous peoples of America have fostered in this century a movement to reclaim their rich cultural heritages. At the forefront of this movement is a diverse literature of remarkable vitality, promising the preservation and continued growth of Native American life and culture. A rich oral tradition is the wellspring of Native American cultural identity and literary creation. Written Indian literature has its historical emergence in the early nineteenth century, although the authenticity of these first works purported to have been written by Native Americans is debatable. Gradually, authentically Native American authors moved into the literary mainstream. However, many pioneering American Indian writers such as John Oskison avoided explicit treatment of indigenous themes. Native fictive literature began to build a distinct voice in the early twentieth century, with the contemporary Native American literary movement reaching its maturity after World War II. It culminated in the so-called "Native American Renaissance" of the late 1960s, generally centered around the publication, critical recognition, and subsequent Pulitzer Prize of N. Scott Momadays House Made of Dawn (1968), a narrative which draws from personal experience, Native American identity, and oral storytelling forms.Since the late 1960s, Native American writers have crafted/pioneered a unique and innovative literature that incorporates both indigenous and western traditions. The results are transcendent, encompassing a synthesis of genres. The literature is representative of and central to the need for preserving and promoting a uniquely Native American expressive form; often personal and autobiographical, it is steeped in Native American perspective, from mythic history to modern reservation life, deriving its voice from the oral traditions of Americas indigenous cultures.It is to this post-1960s period that "Native Voices" gives focus, although earlier literature is also represented. Examples of materials on display included limited, fine-press editions of works by Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo), Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), and Wisconsin native Roberta Hill Whiteman (Oneida); signed presentation copies of works by Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur dAlene), Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee), and W. S. Penn (Nez Perce/Osage); literature for younger readers by Marilou Awiakta (Cherokee), Shonto Bengay (Navajo), and Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (Sioux); and an important, but uncommon 1899 novel, O-gi-maw-kwe Mit-i-gwa-ki by Potawatomi leader Simon Pokagon, constituting the first American Indian novel devoted to Indian life. Other authors represented in the exhibit include Paula Gunn Allen (Laguna Pueblo-Sioux), Kimberly M. Blaeser (Chippewa), Robert J. Conley (Cherokee), Vine Deloria (Standing Rock Sioux), Louise Erdrich (Chippewa), Joy Harjo (Cherokee-Creek), Linda Hogan (Chickasaw), Maurice Kenny (Seneca-Mohawk), N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa), Simon Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo), Wendy Rose (Hopi-Miwok), and Gerald Vizenor (Chippewa).The Golda Meir Librarys Special Collections has a particular focus in primary materials for research and teaching in American Indian studies, with a special emphasis on contemporary Native American literature. The collection includes historical works, contemporary narrative, fine press publications, and signed and first editions by Native American authors. Special Collections also holds a number of Native American newspapers and newsletters from around the country, providing another venue for studying Native American expression.
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| Index of Authors
Authors, A-B | Authors, C-G | Authors, H-O
Authors, P-S | Authors, T-Y | Anthologies