Weiter zum Inhalt

Citizens of the World: Writing the Citizen in Contemporary Indigenous Life Writing

Katja Sarkowsky

Seiten 511 - 534

DOI https://doi.org/10.33675/AMST/2020/4/11


This publication is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0.

Creative Commons License

Indigenous citizenship and the status of the Indigenous citizen in both the United States and Canada are multilayered issues marked by inconsistencies and contradictions and by tensions of affiliation between different polities, most prominently the tribal nation and the settler nation-state. Literary texts by Native American and First Nations authors have consistently addressed such tensions and presented complex narratives of Indigenous belonging, rights, and notions of community, both within and against national frameworks. Most of the work on citizenship in Indigenous literatures done by literary scholars tends to focus either on fiction or political non-fiction, but surprisingly little attention has been paid to Indigenous life writing as a way of not only constructing a story of self but also a story of social engagement that can productively negotiate competing stories of belonging and membership within, across, or even outside nation-states. Indigenous life writing, this contribution sets out to argue, draws on a range of genre conventions as well as culturally available models of selfhood to tell such stories. Analyzing the memoirs of three Indigenous political leaders—Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee), Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Inuit), and Wab Kinew ­(Anishinaabe)—shows how different narrative conventions—historiography, the activist memoir, the filial narrative—are used by the autobiographers to tell complex stories of agency, affiliation, and relationality that are ultimately directed towards the future of their communities.

Keywords: Indigenous citizen / citizenship; life writing; First Nations and Native American; genre conventions; relationality

1 Allen, Chadwick. Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2012. Kindle edition.

2 Blackburn, Carole. “Differentiating Indigenous Citizenship: Seeking Multiplicity in Rights, Identity, and Sovereignty in Canada.” American Ethnologist 36.1 (2009): 66-78. Print.

3 Cariou, Warren. “Life-Telling: Indigenous Oral Autobiography and the Performance of Relation.” Biography 39.3 (2016): 314-27. Print.

4 Carlson, David. Sovereign Selves: American Indian Autobiography and the Law. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 2006. Print.

5 Chariandy, David. “Black Canada and the Question of Diasporic Citizenship.” Narratives of Citizenship: Indigenous and Diasporic Peoples Unsettle the Nation-State. Ed. Aloys N. M. Fleischmann, Nancy Van Styvendale, and Cody McCarroll. Edmonton: U of Alberta P, 2011. 323-46. Print.

6 Coulthard, Glen Sean. Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2014. Kindle edition.

7 Couser, Thomas. Memoir: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. Kindle edition.

8 Denis, Claude. “Indigenous Citizenship and History in Canada: Between Denial and Imposition.” Contesting Canadian Citizenship: Historical Readings. Ed. Robert Adamoski, Dorothy E. Chunn, and Robert Menzies. Peterborough: Broadview, 2002. 113-26. Print.

9 Depkat, Volker. “Autobiography as Political Legacy in Transition Periods: Benjamin Franklin and Konrad Adenauer Compared.” Beyond Endings: Past Tenses and Future Imaginaries. Ed. Lut Missinne, Katja Sarkowsky, and Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf. Spec. issue of The European Journal of Life Writing. Forthcoming 2021.

10 Eakin, Paul John. How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1999. Print.

11 Egerton, George. “Politics and Autobiography: Political Memoir as Polygenre.” Biography 15.3 (1992): 221-42. Print.

12 Flood, Christopher G. Political Myth: A Theoretical Introduction. New York: Garland, 1996. Print.

13 Indian Chiefs of Alberta. “Citizens Plus.” Aboriginal Policy Studies 1.2 (2011): 188-281. Print.

14 Isin, Engin. “Theorizing Acts of Citizenship.” Acts of Citizenship. Ed. Engin Isin and Greg Nielsen. London: Zed, 2008. 15-43. Print.

15 Kinew, Wab. The Reason You Walk. 2015. Toronto: Penguin, 2017. Print.

16 King, Thomas. “Borders.” One Good Story, That One. Toronto: HarperCollins, 1993. 131-45. Print.

17 Krupat, Arnold. “Native American Autobiography and the Synecdochic Self.” American Autobiography: Retrospect and Prospect. Ed. Paul John Eakin. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1991. 171-94. Print.

18 Kymlicka, Will. Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995. Print.

19 Lanoix, Monique. “The Citizen in Question.” Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 22.4 (2007): 113-29. Print.

20 Mankiller, Wilma, and Michael Wallis. Mankiller: A Chief and Her People. New York: St. Martin’s, 1994. Kindle edition.

21 McCall, Sophie. First Person Plural: Aboriginal Storytelling and the Ethics of Collaborative Authorship. Vancouver: U of British Columbia P, 2011. Print.

22 Piatote, Beth. Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2013. Print.

23 Reder, Deanna. “Writing Autobiographically: A Neglected Indigenous Intellectual Tradition.” Across Cultures / Across Borders: Canadian Aboriginal and Native American Literatures. Ed. Paul DePasquale, Renate Eigenbrod, and Emma LaRoque. Peterborough: Broadview, 2010. 153-71. Print.

24 Rodon, Thierry. “Inuit Diplomacy: Reframing the Arctic Spaces and Narratives.” The Internationalization of Indigenous Rights: UNDRIP in the Canadian Context. Waterloo: Center for International Governance Innovation, 2014. 17-21. Print.

25 Sarkowsky, Katja. “Cartographies of the Self: Indigenous Territoriality and Literary Sovereignty in Contemporary Native American Life Writing.” Journal of Transnational American Studies 11.1 (2020): 103-25. Web. 17 Dec. 2020. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/1hw3p4kx.

26 ---. Narrating Citizenship and Belonging in Anglophone Canadian Literature. New York: Palgrave, 2018. Print.

27 Simpson, Audra. Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life across the Borders of Settler States. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2014. Kindle edition.

28 Simpson, Leanne. Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence. Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring, 2011. Kindle edition.

29 Smith, Sidonie, and Julia Watson. Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives. 2001. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2010. Print.

30 Somerville, Alice Te Punga, and Daniel Heath Justice. “Introduction: Indigenous Conversations about Biography.” Biography 39.3 (2016): 239-47. Print.

31 Tan, Kathy-Ann. Reconfiguring Citizenship and National Identity in the North American Literary Imagination. Detroit, MI: Wayne State UP, 2015. Print.

32 Twomey, Tyra. “More Than One Way to Tell a Story: Rethinking the Place of Genre in Native American Autobiography and the Personal Essay.” SAIL 19.2 (2007): 22-51. Print.

33 Vizenor, Gerald. “Aesthetics of Survivance: Literary Theory and Practice.” Survivance: Narratives of Native Presence. Ed. Gerald Vizenor. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2008. 1-23. Print.

34 Warrior, Robert Allen. “Indigenous Nonfiction.” The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature. Ed. James H. Cox and Daniel Heath Justice. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014. 187-201. Print.

35 Watt-Cloutier, Sheila. The Right to Be Cold: One Woman’s Fight to Protect the Arctic and Save the Planet from Climate Change. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2018. Kindle edition.

36 Wong, Hertha. Sending My Heart Back Across the Years. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992. Print.

37 Young, Iris Marion. “Polity and Group Difference: A Critique of the Idea of Universal Citizenship.” Ethics 9.2 (1989): 250-74. Print.


Export Citation