Indigenous Representations of Birthing and Mothering in The Painted Drum, Faces in the Moon, The Way We Make Sense, The Marriage of Saints, and Once Were Warriors
AuthorBoyer, Michelle Nicole
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study examines the traditional views surrounding Indigenous birthing and mothering, as well as the mother-child relationship cycle in contemporary Indigenous literature, and compares the traditional past to the contemporary present. Five contemporary Indigenous novels from four different American Indian and Indigenous Nations are included: Louise Erdrich's The Painted Drum (Ojibwe), Betty Louise Bell's Faces in the Moon (Cherokee), Dawn Karima Pettigrew's The Way We Make Sense and The Marriage of Saints (Creek), and Alan Duff's Once Were Warriors (Maori). Themes in the novels are studied individually and collectively, through the frameworks for literary analysis that Arnold Krupat terms nationalism, indigenism, and cosmopolitanism. Each novel will be analyzed first using Arnold Krupat's theory of literary nationalism, which suggests that in order to fully comprehend an Indigenous text, it must be explored using only a culturally-specific framework that focuses specifically on the Nation depicted within the novel. However, on a broader scope Krupat's literary theory of indigenism will addressed throughout this study, examining ways in which similar parallels within each selected text and Nation overlap to create common areas of study. Lastly, aspects of the mother-child relationship will be assessed using Krupat's theory of literary cosmopolitanism, which suggests that even though there are very unique aspects of Indigenous literature that must be viewed from a tribally-specific vantage point, there are also cosmopolitan, or common, elements within the human experience that link all individuals together like the act of birthing and mothering.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
American Indian Studies