ron carpenter Since this essay may be read as a complaint, I want to begin by acknowledging the necessity of teaching Native American and other indigenous literatures both alongside and independent of Western texts. Instructors should teach these works by listening to the Native authors' worldviews and literary traditions. I'm sure many of us would like to see more literature professors able to integrate Native works into their reading lists and to do so competently--that is, in a culturally sensitive manner that allows students to recognize tribal influences. As Paula Gunn Allen's 1983 handbook for teaching Native literature asserts, "context and continuity are two of the most important areas to be taken into account in the study and teaching of American Indian literature" (xi). We who are teachers of Native literature occupy a critical role in contextualization because we are introducing many non-Native students to Native American peoples and literatures. We are responsible for teaching students to listen to Native voices in Natives' own tongues. If we are successful, "nonIndian students are forced to consider a culture alien to their own: a view of the world that is holistic rather than pluralistic and one to which writers and
Studies in American Indian Literatures – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Apr 4, 2008
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