Sovereign Selves: American Indian Autobiography and the Law

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University of Illinois Press, 2006 - History - 217 pages
This book is an exploration of how American Indian autobiographers' approaches to writing about their own lives have been impacted by American legal systems from the Revolutionary War until the 1920s. Historically, Native American autobiographers have written in the shadow of Indian law, a nuanced form of natural law discourse with its own set of related institutions and forms (the reservation, the treaty, etc.). In Sovereign Selves, David J. Carlson develops a rigorously historicized argument about the relationship between the specific colonial model of Indian identity that was developed and disseminated through U.S. legal institutions, and the acts of autobiographical self-definition by the colonized Indians expected to fit that model.
 

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Contents

The Discourse of Indian Law
15
Seneca Politics and the Rhetoric of Engagement
39
William Apess and the Constraints of Conversion
66
William Apess and Indian Liberalism
91
Charles Eastman and the Discourse of Allotment
122
Charles Eastman and the Rights of Character
152
Notes
179
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About the author (2006)

David Carlson is an assistant professor of English at California State University, San Bernardino.

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