Contesting History: Revisiting Native American Identity Through the Narratives of Momaday and Erdrich


This paper will study the works of prominent Native American writers like N.Scott Momaday and Louise Erdrich to illustrate how their works have surpassed the boundaries of the mainstream American Literature in expressing “truths” about the past that conventional history cannot articulate. Analyzing how history in the Native American context is connected to ideas of land, nationhood and spirituality, this paper will analyze the nuances of Native American identity and how Momaday and Erdrich aim to revisit and rewrite Native American history through their narrative, challenging and exploring those that were ignored or utterly misrepresented by conventional histories. Coming from a small state in the North-eastern part of India where the influence of Western culture is slowly eating away the tribal identity of the natives, this writer will draw on her own subject-position as a Mizo to reflect on the issues raised by Native American writers in articulating how tribal identity is closely intertwined with history. This paper will therefore aim to reflect the extent to which such erasure and distortion of history is echoed in this writer's own context, and how it may, arguably, be integral to the experiences of tribal nations around the world.

Author Information
Lalrinchhani Hmar, Mizoram University, India

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2017
Stream: Humanities - Literature/Literary Studies*

This paper is part of the ECAH2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon