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/
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!!
Reblogged this on Finding God in Public and commented:
still worth reading