Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Summer 2008


Great Plains Quarterly Volume 28, Number 3, Summer 2008, pp. 249.


Copyright 2008 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Scholars of the American Indian experience should read this book. These three authors discuss more issues in American Indian Studies and American Indian literary criticism than you can shake a stick at, and, get this-you won't even chip any teeth trying to pronounce the words, although you might want to have a dictionary handy. Simon Ortiz provides the foundation for the conversation in his foreword, and the appendix includes his 1981 essay "Toward a National Indian Literature." Lisa Brooks provides a thoughtful afterword.

Warrior urges critics to focus on research and finding the ways that have brought the Native world to its place today; and, in his remembrance of Edward Said, he offers a comparative model that should remind all scholars of the value of cross-cultural connections. In some ways this book is a kind of sermon. But what a sermon.

Early on Weaver points out the positive aspects of literary nationalism and then talks about the relevance of Native ways of thinking and values to life today. In this first chapter he quotes Kathie Irwin on power, defines sovereignty and selfdetermination, and discusses the backlash that occurs when sovereignty is lived. Weaver states clearly that the authors are hoping to spark a conversation about sovereignty. At some point, I began to believe that there is nothing the three authors have not read and considered.