Sovereign Selves: American Indian Autobiography and the Law

Front Cover
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Discourse of Indian Law
Seneca Politics and the Rhetoric of Engagement
William Apess and the Constraints of Conversion
William Apess and Indian Liberalism
Charles Eastman and the Discourse of Allotment
Charles Eastman and the Rights of Character

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

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

Bibliographic information