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Survivance: Narratives of Native Presence

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Survivance: Narratives of Native Presence

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The concept and idea of survivance has revolutionized our understanding of the lives, creative impulses, literary practices, and histories of the Native peoples of North America. Engendered and articulated by the Anishinaabe critic and writer Gerald Vizenor, survivance throws into relief the dynamic, inventive, and enduring heart of Native cultures well beyond the colonialist trappings of absence, tragedy, and powerlessness. Vizenor argues that many people in the world are enamored with and obsessed by the concocted images of the Indian – the simulations of indigenous character and cultures as essential victims. Native survivance, on the other hand, is an active sense of presence over historical absence, deracination, and oblivion. The nature of survivance is unmistakable in Native stories, natural reason, active traditions, customs, and narrative resistance and is clearly observable in personal attributes such as humor, spirit, cast of mind, and moral courage in literature. In this anthology, eighteen scholars discuss the themes and practices of survivance in literature, examining the legacy of Vizenor’s original insights and exploring the manifestations of survivance in a variety of contexts. Contributors interpret and compare the original writings of William Apess, Eric Gansworth, Louis Owens, Carter Revard, Gerald Vizenor, and Velma Wallis, among others.

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