Blood as narrative/narrative as blood: Constructing indigenous identity in contemporary American Indian and New Zealand Maori literatures and politics
AuthorAllen, Chadwick, 1964-
Political Science, General.
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractFollowing the end of World War II and the formation of the United Nations organization, indigenous minorities who had fought on behalf of First World nations--including record numbers of New Zealand Maori and American Indians--pursued their longstanding efforts to assert cultural and political distinctiveness from dominant settler populations with renewed vigor. In the first decades after the War, New Zealand Maori and American Indians worked largely within dominant discourses in their efforts to define viable contemporary indigenous identities. But by the late 1960s and early 1970s, both New Zealand and the United States felt the effects of an emerging indigenous "renaissance," marked by dramatic events of political and cultural activism and by unprecedented literary production. By the mid-1970s, New Zealand Maori and American Indians were part of an emerging international indigenous rights movement, signaled by the formation and first general assembly of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP). In "Blood As Narrative/Narrative As Blood," I chronicle these periods of indigenous minority activism and writing and investigate the wide range of tactics developed for asserting indigenous difference in literary and political activist texts produced by the WCIP, New Zealand Maori, and American Indians. Indigenous minority or "Fourth World" writers and activists have mobilized and revalued both indigenous and dominant discourses, including the pictographic discourse of plains Indian "winter counts" in the United States and the ritual discourse of the Maori marae in New Zealand, as well as the discourse of treaties in both. These writers and activists have also created powerful tropes and emblematic figures for contemporary indigenous identity, including "blood memory," the ancient child, and the rebuilding of the ancestral house (whare tipuna). My readings of a wide range of poems, short stories, novels, essays, non-fiction works, representations of cultural and political activism, and works of literary, art history, political science, and cultural criticism lead to the development of critical approaches for reading indigenous minority literary and political activist texts that take into account the complex historical and cultural contexts of their production--local, national and, increasingly, global.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies