Deep Waters: The Textual Continuum in American Indian Literature

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U of Nebraska Press, 2010 - Literary Criticism - 270 pages
Weaving connections between indigenous modes of oral storytelling, visual depiction, and contemporary American Indian literature,Deep Watersdemonstrates the continuing relationship between traditional and contemporary Native American systems of creative representation and signification. Christopher B. Teuton begins with a study of Mesoamerican writings, Dine sand paintings, and Haudenosaunee wampum belts. He proposes a theory of how and why indigenous oral and graphic means of recording thought are interdependent, their functions and purposes determined by social, political, and cultural contexts. The center of this book examines four key works of contemporary American Indian literature by N. Scott Momaday, Gerald Vizenor, Ray A. Young Bear, and Robert J. Conley. Through a textually grounded exploration of what Teuton calls the oral impulse, the graphic impulse, and the critical impulse, we see how and why various types of contemporary Native literary production are interrelated and draw upon long-standing indigenous methods of creative representation. Teuton breaks down the disabling binary of orality and literacy, offering readers a cogent, historically informed theory of indigenous textuality that allows for deeper readings of Native American cultural and literary expression.

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1 The Oral Impulse the Graphic Impulse and the Critical Impulse
2 N Scott Momadays The Way to Rainy Mountain
3 Trickster Leads the Way
4 Transforming Eventuality
5 Interpreting Our World
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About the author (2010)

Christopher B. Teuton (Cherokee Nation) is a professor of American Indian studies at the University of Washington. He is the author of the American Book Award–winner Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars and the coeditor of Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective.

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