A Reading List

 A Reading List for Helping us to Enter into Relationships with First Nations People

General Convention 77 & the Doctrine of Discovery

As a direct outcome and follow-up on General Convention 76 in which the Doctrine of Discovery (DOD) was repudiated by the Episcopal Church, GC 77 included a Lament Over the DOD. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/doctrine-discovery-resources

And in conversation about that event on Sunday Aug 12, 2012 at St. David Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Shoreline, WA, someone asked for a reading list to help understand these matters more deeply. Both our Christian faith and its application to all matters of injustice are essentially matters of relationship. However, without actual face-to-face relationships with First Nations people, it is rather difficult to make sense of both the problems, as well as potential responses to those problems.

Here is such a list, accompanied by a couple of warnings, caveats, etc.:

Note: Any time someone unfamiliar with First Nations literature begins to seek it out, it is very important to be aware of the difficulty of determining the difference between books written by people who actually are First Nations, Native American, American Indian, Aboriginal etc. and those written by people who are pretending /wanting to be or are writing on behalf of Native People. Some of the more significant “fakes” include:

Marlo Morgan.  Mutant Message Down Under, MM Co. (self-published), Lees Summit, Missouri (1991);   Harper Collins, New York (1994

Forrest Carter (pseud. Asa Earl Carter), The Education of Little Tree, Delacorte Press (1976). Purported to  be a book about growing up among the Cherokee  was written by a non-Native former white supremacist.

There are however, also a few Euro-American authors who are deeply respected and trusted by many Native peoples. These include Tony Hillerman (by the Navajo and Hopi) and the Rev. Pat Twohy, S.J. (by the Colville, Tulalip and Swinomish peoples.)

While there are many Native people who accuse each other of not being “Native enough”, it is usually a good indication that a work is by someone with meaningful Native relations when they include their tribal affiliation after their names. E.g. The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, (Choctaw)

Group 1:        Authors who are more accessible to non-Native People

 These authors are “accessible” because they have found some way of “making peace” with “white” people. They employ enough of terms and images familiar to non-native folks so as to make it more likely (for us) to grasp the differences without being put off by them. These authors are considered by some other Native authors to have sold out to white culture by writing as they do. Almost all write fiction. Their reasons for writing fiction have to do with needs of both Native and non-native people. Within various native communities it is not appropriate/ allowed to relate directly the stories and traditions. And, for many ”white” people the non-fiction presentations are both extremely painful, and complicated.

N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa)    House Made of Dawn, 1969, (Pulitzer Prize for                                                                                   Literature)

Leslie Marmon Silko             (Laguna Pueblo)      Ceremony, 1977

Louise Erdrich                      (Chippewa)     Love Medicine, 1984 The Plague of Doves, 2009

Sherman Alexie        (Spokane)                 Reservation Blues  (1995)

Diane Glancy           (Cherokee)               Pushing the Bear (trail of tears) 1996

Gerald Vizenor         (Anishinaabe)           The Heirs of Columbus, 1992

Joy Harjo                   (Creek & Cherokee) A Map to the Next World: poetry and tales,                                                                             2000; She Had Some Horses, 2008

James Welsh             (Blackfeet)                Fools Crow, 1996, Winter in the Blood, 2007

Paula Gunn Allen     (Laguna Pueblo/Sioux)    Grandmothers of the Light: a medicine                                                                                      woman’s sourcebook 1991

Linda Hogan             (Chickasaw)             Solar Storms, 1995;  People of the Whale, 2008

Michael Dorris          (Modoc???)             Yellow Raft in Blue Water 1987

Ella Cara Deloria      (Lakota)                     Waterlily (1988)

Group 2:   More challenging authors for non-Native People to read

These authors are considered by some other Native authors to offer more authentic Native voices than those on the list above. However, much of what they write is understandably so painful, angry, etc. that it takes great determination and patience to read them. Nevertheless, they are worth reading.

Betty Louise Bell       (Cherokee)               Faces in the Moon, 1994

Eden Robinson         (Haisla)                       Monkey Beach, 1989

William Sanders        (Cherokee)               Are we Having Fun Yet? 2005

Ray Young Bear       (Mesquakie)              Winter of the Salamander : the Keeper of                                                                        Importance, 1980; Rock Island Hiking Club, 2001

Richard Van Camp (Dogrib)                     The Lesser Blessed (1996) A Man Called Raven                                                                                         1997 (Both are children’s books)

Luci Tapahonso        (Navajo)                     Saanii Dahataal, the women are singing :                                                                                       poems and stories,1993.

Vine Deloria, Jr.       (Lakota)                     God Is Red, a Native View of Religion, 1994;                                                          Custer Died for your Sins, an Indian Manifesto, 1969

Group 3: Native American Episcopalian Authors

 Owanah Anderson (Choctaw) 400 years : Anglican/Episcopal mission among American                                                                                  Indians 1997.

The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston,    (Choctaw)     Hope as Old as Fire: A Spiritual Diary,                                                                                                      2012

The Rt. Rev. Carol Gallagher,        (Cherokee)   Family Theology: Finding God in Very                                                                                          Human Relationships, 2012

The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald                              See ITTI Journal and editor for Liturgical                                                                Studies IV, The Chant of Life:                                                                Inculturation and the People of the Land, 2000                                                                                  

The Rev. Dr. Martin Brokenleg              (Lakota)         See ITTI Journal and

Reclaiming Children and Youth                          http://circleofcourageinstitute.org/content/reclaiming-children-and-youth%C2%AE

 ITTI Journal     Indigenous Theological Training Institute  First People’s Theology Journal

 In addition to reading, here are some places to visit that will also help with this task. Above all, wherever you live, find out who lived there first. And, once you know, then go and figure out what remains of those people. You will find such things in Cultural Centers, Museums, parks and historical sites, etc. In the Seattle area are:

Duwamish Long House & Cultural Center     http://www.duwamishtribe.org/longhouse.html

Hibulb Cultural Center & History Preserve (Tulalip)  http://www.hibulbculturalcenter.org/

Suquamish Museum & Cultural Center (Opening Sept 15, 2012)                                                                         http://www.suquamish.nsn.us/Museum.aspx

Burke Museum         http://www.burkemuseum.org/

Seattle Art Museum            http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/

Ancestral Modern, Australian Aboriginal Art (Through Sept 2nd)

Also, many permanent exhibits of local First Nations art & culture

Canoe Journey 2012 (July 2012) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqIKwjgvX2c&feature=related

Nationally, take the time to spend several days at the Museum of the American Indian, in Washington, D.C. and New York City.   http://nmai.si.edu/home/

About kathrynrickert

Possibly from watching the movie Bambie at the age of 6, I have had a life-long awareness that saying ONLY nice things, does not make the world just or kind. Thus, my 2009 doctoral dissertation..."Talking Back to God" , is one of the main aspects of the work I do. Always interdisciplinary, seeking connections across borders that are usually marked with DO NOT ENTER, I seek to pay attention, pray, think, create,and imagine using biblical laments, Christian worship texts, and the ordinary stuff of everyday life.
This entry was posted in drink and holy stuff, food, God at Gatherings, God at Work, God in Relationships, God in Struggle and Distress, God in the Media and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Reading List

  1. An intriguing discussion is worth comment.
    I do think that you need to publish more on this topic, it might not
    be a taboo matter but generally folks don’t discuss these issues.
    To the next! Best wishes!!

  2. Reblogged this on Finding God in Public and commented:

    still worth reading

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