Cartographies of the Self: Indigenous Territoriality and Literary Sovereignty in Contemporary Native American Life Writing
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Cartographies of the Self: Indigenous Territoriality and Literary Sovereignty in Contemporary Native American Life Writing

  • Author(s): Sarkowsky, Katja
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license
Abstract

This contribution sets out to show how contemporary Indigenous autobiographers critically counter hegemonic territorial inscriptions of “America” and American citizenship and explore alternatives that often connect to but are not identical with tribal–nationalist notions of territoriality in their insistence on sovereignty. In the context of Indigenous life writing, this contribution suggests, “territoriality“ can be broadly understood as a land-based and transgenerational relationality; the Indigenous authors whose autobiographical work is discussed in detail—N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Louise Erdrich—engage with territoriality as a category of selfhood by way of a self-reflexive storytelling that draws its authority from reference to earlier storytelling and to storytelling conventions, but also from its orientation towards an individual and collective Indigenous future.

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