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Zitkala-Sa and Bicultural Subjectivity

Zitkala-Sa and Bicultural Subjectivity ron carpenter typing the indian Zitkala-Sa, or Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Yankton), thwarts most attempts to categorize her autobiographical subjectivity.1 Her narrative of her youth originally appears in the January, February, and March issues of the Atlantic Monthly (1900), as "Impressions of an Indian Childhood," "The School Days of an Indian Girl," and "An Indian Teacher Among Indians." These memoirs were reprinted in American Indian Stories, published in 1921 and reissued in 1985 and 2003. Throughout the autobiography, Zitkala-Sa's narrator avoids defining herself prescriptively according to either Yankton or Anglo culture. As Dexter Fisher rightly notes "she [Zitkala-Sa] is not reaffirming the role of the woman in tribal life . . . Nor is her purpose to praise the educational opportunities afforded her through governmental policies" (206). Although popular images, then and now, often posit them as a dichotomy, Euroamerican and Native American cultures are neither mutually exclusive nor antithetical categories.2 I seek to argue that Zitkala-Sa's persona is bicultural, and that she produces a bicultural context in order to reconfigure the representation of Native Americans and their cultural status. By bicultural, I mean that she signs in a context that is inseparably Anglo and Yankton; a context in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in American Indian Literatures uni_neb

Zitkala-Sa and Bicultural Subjectivity

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by Ron Carpenter
ISSN
1548-9590
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ron carpenter typing the indian Zitkala-Sa, or Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Yankton), thwarts most attempts to categorize her autobiographical subjectivity.1 Her narrative of her youth originally appears in the January, February, and March issues of the Atlantic Monthly (1900), as "Impressions of an Indian Childhood," "The School Days of an Indian Girl," and "An Indian Teacher Among Indians." These memoirs were reprinted in American Indian Stories, published in 1921 and reissued in 1985 and 2003. Throughout the autobiography, Zitkala-Sa's narrator avoids defining herself prescriptively according to either Yankton or Anglo culture. As Dexter Fisher rightly notes "she [Zitkala-Sa] is not reaffirming the role of the woman in tribal life . . . Nor is her purpose to praise the educational opportunities afforded her through governmental policies" (206). Although popular images, then and now, often posit them as a dichotomy, Euroamerican and Native American cultures are neither mutually exclusive nor antithetical categories.2 I seek to argue that Zitkala-Sa's persona is bicultural, and that she produces a bicultural context in order to reconfigure the representation of Native Americans and their cultural status. By bicultural, I mean that she signs in a context that is inseparably Anglo and Yankton; a context in

Journal

Studies in American Indian Literaturesuni_neb

Published: Nov 8, 2004

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