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Oxford University Press November paperback, pages. Barbara Groseclose. Architecture in the United States , Yale University Press November 1, - Hardcover: pages. Barksdale Maynard. James L. Arcadia Publishing July 1, Anthony Mitchell Sammarco. Martin 's Griffin March 4, William Moran. Adams, Stephen. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, Ausband, Stephen C. Byrd's Line: A Natural History.

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Charlottesville: U of Virginia P, Barillas, William. Athens: Ohio UP, Browne, Neil W. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, Casteel, Sarah P. Costello, Bonnie.

Listening to Native Americans

Dean, Sharon L. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, Dreese, Donelle N. NY: Peter Lang, Egan, Ken, Jr. Hope and Dread in Montana Literature.

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Reno: U of Nevada P, Hebebrand, Christina M. Despite this divide, however, his suggestion that ideas in general trump specific applications is valuable, and it is a consideration that I want to pursue in looking at the several American writers discussed below. And Indigenous knowledge can certainly suggest ways the West might address its massive environmental problems. Sioux , among many others, argue that ultimately the landscape or the natural world provides humans something beyond commodities, a different kind of resource, equally invaluable.

Very literally and specifically, the natural environment can be seen to provide human beings their profoundest wisdom. These writers remind their readers over and over again that such stories as the Pueblo version of Enchanted Mesa insist that human survival itself ultimately depends on memory and imagination; survival and meaning depend on the wisdom that comes from stories. Survival depends as much on this wisdom, they argue, as on scientific knowledge and technological progress.

Indeed, one could choose a different group of American Indian writers altogether and discover some of the same themes. The purpose, of course, is to refer to these writers in suggesting how different Indigenous North Americans reflect on and articulate the differences between the worldviews of Indigenous peoples and practitioners of Western science, arguing that in so doing, they are implicitly calling for a reassessment of colonial power relations. Without that imaginative wisdom, she insists, there is no knowledge worth having. No emergence. No life. I will come back to this essay below, but for now, it is important to note that Silko articulates an understanding of value perhaps different from that held by mainstream Western society.

Whether or not she intends a literal or figurative emergence, the idea of placing value on imagination and on story is clearly paramount. What we really are searching for is a language that heals this relationship, one that takes the side of the amazing and fragile life on our life-giving earth. Rather, Native American writers can be seen to be offering a fundamentally different way of looking at the world.

All he asks, in other words, is that Western tradition share in the wisdom Native Americans have garnered from the natural environment through their longevity in a specific place. Deloria and others ultimately argue that rejection of the wisdom contained in an oral tradition intrinsically necessitates a rejection of the peoples who define themselves through that tradition.

Hence, they argue, this rejection is part and parcel of the centuries-old colonial power relation between colonists and Indigenous peoples. Lakota leader from the late-nineteenth, early-twentieth century Black Elk articulates the paradox inherent in the belief in the truth value of oral narrative. Black Elk thus suggests that there is a truth that somehow transcends the literal narrative of events.

This truth is contained in the fact of the telling itself, a concept contrary to Western science, to be sure, but very much a part of contemporary American Indian writing. Myth of fact? In any discussion of this book, one must acknowledge that Deloria includes several seemingly unfortunate reactions, such as his attempt to discredit the validity of the theory of natural selection and evolution and his frequent attacks on individual scientists rather than on the worldview of Western science itself.

In the essay review of the book mentioned above, David Brumble essentially ridicules Deloria, insisting that the author is wrong on almost every page. He describes a major difference between Western science and American Indian worldviews by describing what has come to be known as the Gaia hypothesis although he does not use that terminology : he argues that the world we inhabit is itself alive, and because the earth is alive it must be thought of as one single, whole being.

If not scientists, at least some non-Native writers are listening. That is, he asserts, Western scientists oblivious to what non-human nature might actually have to teach them. To make his argument, in the instance of the American buffalo of the Great Plains, he delineates what he sees as the Native American contribution to the near total extermination of bison bison.

Following a previous chapter in which he blames Indigenous peoples for the extermination of large North American mammals of the Pleistocene, Krech describes the destruction of the massive North American bison herds and the near extinction of the species during the nineteenth century. To make his point, Krech relies adroitly on Western ways of knowing: population counts, statistics, history, biology.

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Yet along the way, he goes to great lengths to denigrate pre-Columbian Native hunting practices and to demean the participants in such hunts. There is, however, an astounding paradox in his argument. Namely, he insists that these non-conservationist Indigenous hunting practices actually endured for millennia. That these Indigenous hunting practices could endure for eleven thousand years demonstrates emphatically that such methods were indeed sustainable, were indeed conservationist, were indeed environmentally sound.

Rather, the near-extinction of the American buffalo is directly and indisputably linked to a mere seventeen years of non-Native European American hunting practices. These practices enabled hunters to decimate herds of tens of millions of buffalo, between and Indeed, in making his argument, Krech seems to need to demonize, demean, and diminish Native Americans and their wisdom as regards natural resources.

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According to Native American writers like Deloria, just so goes mainstream science in general: it excludes other ways of seeing, of thinking, and of knowing. Hence it is colonizing science. The Indians did not make any appreciable dent in buffalo numbers in the Northern Plains. Culled from her research and her activism and inspired by the actual controversial Makah whale hunt of , she has also published a novel, a fictional account of just such a hunt.

In the novel, entitled The People of the Whale , Hogan suggests an epistemology similar to that suggested by Deloria. He would watch one, its great shining side, the eye with its old intelligence, the gentleness of it in the body covered with barnacle life and creatures. It was loved by his people. It was a planet. The passage suggests very specifically the concept of a living planet, that the planet as whole is a single, living entity.

This killing, she suggests in Sightings , is a result of not listening to the elders, specifically older women, who insist on an identity relationship with the whale. They have been silenced, she argues. Their wisdom has been disregarded Sightings Hogan argues that wisdom, imagination, memory, story, these are all needed to keep the balance in a fragile world, and she looks to a precolonial philosophy to bolster her argument. As in many instances throughout the novel, Power offers apparent reversals of mainstream thinking in order to make her point. Regarding the moon landing specifically, the novel seems to insist that, along with Aldrin and Armstrong, the Dakota woman Margaret Many Wounds walked on the moon that July day in Hers is a decolonizing act.

To do this, the author presents the landing of the manned Apollo module—the event that is clearly real from a mainstream perspective—as in fact miraculous.

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That is, several characters refer to this Apollo 11 event as a miracle, as something that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature, in contrast to Margaret who has, quite simply, and in this context quite literally, been to the moon. She wanted to see it happen and know it was real: a scientific miracle worked out with equations. With this statement the mother articulates the disparity between her own Dakotan and the mainstream conceptions of history and, in a sense, of mainstream science.

Margaret is able to acknowledge that both worldviews constitute history, both are valid. Her inability in this context defines who she is.

The implication is that the reader too might suffer from a similar failure of imagination, as well as from a failure of perception. Susan Power concludes her novel by portraying the character Herod, an elder, as one who insists on the importance of telling both stories. What is important is that it demands of the reader a willingness to accept alternate ways of interpreting the physical reality and perceptions of that reality and challenge Western dominance. Although an obvious point Awiakta makes concerns the need for and power of women, she also suggests the idea that Cherokee people have, as they have had, access to a dimension that science and scientists can only speculate about.

It is important to note that Awiakta, like Silko and Hogan, for example, implies a worldview that stands in direct contrast to that of Western thinkers and scientists. The assertion itself challenges the authority and exclusivity of Western science and thus tends to decolonize. Rather, one can recognize that through her poetry, she offers a different way of envisioning the world, a worldview in which such transcendence is possible. She provides her readers with ideas about how to improve or ask appropriate questions. The speaker is Attakullakulla, a Cherokee chief renowned for his shrewd and effective diplomacy.

He has come to negotiate a treaty with the whites.