© Listening: Journal of Religion and Culture
Vol. 31, No.1 Winter 1996 pp. 24-36

Listening to Native Americans:
Making Peace with the Past for the Future

John Barry Ryan

John Barry Ryan is Professor of Religious Studies and a member of the Peace Studies faculty at Manhattan College. His research interests include liturgical studies and American Indian religions.
It is a Native American tradition to introduce oneself before one speaks. In that spirit, I begin with some steps in my own journey of listening to Native Americans. I acknowledge at the outset that for most of my life I did not listen, maybe could not listen. But for a decade now, I have been attempting to listen to Native Americans. "Attempting" is the appropriate word because I am very much aware that I bring preconceptions, hardheadedness, and lack of attention to the conversation. Even worse, Native Americans have taught me that I carry a much heavier burden. I view the world from the conqueror's point of view, which informs everything I do. I knew this intellectually, but in listening to Native Americans I understand more concretely and in some detail what it means.

I only dared propose a course on Native American Religions because I had researched Navajo prayer forms for two papers that I presented, one in 1985 at the annual meeting of the North American Academy of Liturgy and the other in 1991 at the biannual meeting of Societas Liturgica, an international ecumenical organization of liturgical scholars.

My first paper, "Sacred Words: Navajo Prayer and the Eucharistic Prayer," was a study comparing and contrasting Navajo prayer forms with Christian Eucharistic Prayers. In the second paper, I discussed the Navajo Blessingway. Since it was oral, not written (scriptural), and accompanied a Native American Ritual, it was the obverse of the meeting's topic, the Bible and Christian Liturgy. My effort was to introduce, even if only into a tiny corner of this meeting on the Bible and Christian liturgy, its counterpart from the Native American tradition. I wanted to remind indirectly anyone who would listen that there was another world, still living, whose oral prayer was immense and whose ritual was effective. I wanted to include what was excluded by definition. My simple gesture was to ask scholars of Christian liturgy to take into account the very religion their own religious tradition sought to displace indeed to wipe out. In the same way, the sprawling city of Toronto, the meeting's venue, had covered up and made the first inhabitants of the area virtually disappear.

As I came into greater contact with the Navajo and their chants or sings, a change began to take place in the way I viewed the Indians and related to them. Maybe the best way to say it is that, if I wanted them to become my teacher, I had to listen to them. In this way, my personal research emboldened me to start a seminar that would lead college students to undertake, in a parallel fashion, for other Native American traditions what I was doing for the Navajo. Out of this first course grew an elective course in Peace Studies and Religious Studies. My students opened me to a wide variety of Native American groups. Their papers on the Santee Sioux, the Hopi, the Omaha, the Haida and other Native American peoples were particularly instructive for me. In writing them, each student became knowledgeable about a single religious tradition and listened to fellow v students discuss their Native American group. This meant that Native American groups from different cultural areas were being discovered in their particularity, thereby breaking down the idea of some single Indian type. Before one can make peace with the Native Americans, one must first understand them in their separate identities with their own histories and traditions.


In the movement from a seminar to an elective course, I realized how important it was that Native American voices and viewpoints were the principal ones that students heard. The challenge was to make visible what had been largely invisible although present all around us. The syllabus included general background introductions, Native American literature, rituals, issues, artistic creations, and documents of Indian relations with the United States. The literary voices we listen to are those of Scott Momaday (Kiowa) and Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo). Momaday's House Made of Dawn is an American classic, with wonderful descriptions of the natural beauty of the American Southwest.1 In telling the story of Abel, a young Indian in need of healing and restoration of spirit, Momaday showed the possibility of Indian religious traditions and the role these traditions play in Abel's healing from war, from contempt, from racism, and from the United States government's policy of social engineering. At the same time, virtually every page introduces the reader to the integration of religious forms into the everyday life of the Pueblo people. The entire first section of the book is an expression of Momaday's love of growing up Indian in the Southwest. His memories become palpable as he transmutes them into an extraordinarily rich prose. He does not invest the land with moral purpose. Instead he discovers the moral dimension of the land.

Silko's Ceremony takes as its protagonist, Tayo, also a young Native American who returns from World War II.2 She makes extensive use of-Native American mythology, in effect telling her story on two registers, first in poetic mythological language and then in narrative prose. The healing of Tayo, of mixed ancestry, through Native American ritual gives the book its title, Ceremony. Tayo's journey to wholeness allows Silko to show the effects on Native Americans of alcoholism, dislocation, industrial exploitation of the land, loss of Indian self-esteem, and religious moralism. Like Momaday, Silko gives the victim voice. At the same time, her characters illustrate the spiritual power of the feminine to restore the broken to wholeness.

These novels by Native American authors have led me to sample an even greater variety of Native American fiction, particularly those authors who have enjoyed commercial success, such as Michael Dorris (Modoc), Louise Erdrich (Chippewa), James Welch (Blackfoot and Gros Ventre), and authors found in such collections as Paula Gunn Allen's (Laguna Pueblo), Spiderwoman's Granddaughters,3 Alan Velie's The Lightening Within,4 and Clifford Trafzer's Earth Song, Sky Spirit.5 These collections contain some of the best in Native American creative writing. Additionally, the whole field of Native American writing is surveyed in Paula Gunn Allen's Studies in American Indian Literature 6 and A. LaVonne Brown Ruoffs American Indian Literatures.7 The autobiographical details on many Native American authors can be found in Growing Up Native American.8 Krupat and Swann's, I Tell You Now,9 and Laura Cortelli's Winged Words: American Indian Writers Speak.10 Most recently, Brian Swann has edited an extraordinary collection of Native American literature in his anthology Coming to Light,11 a phrase from the Native American poet Linda Hogan (Chickasaw).12 Swann's general introduction, the introductions to the particular selections, and the selections themselves give an excellent presentation of Native American literature and some background for appreciating each entry. The anthology illustrates the collaboration of Indian and non-Indian in the preservation of the literature from all the Native American cultural areas in the United States. Through these authors, Native American Literature, almost invisible to me only a decade ago, has become fascinatingly familiar. These authors are a valuable resource not only in their treatment of Indian themes but also in their insight into the very experience of what it has meant to be an American in the twentieth century.


Native American ritual plays an important role in the assigned class readings. If students can get beyond the initial dislocating strangeness that Native American ritual provokes, they may be able to appreciate how such ritual deals with some realities that modern medical practice often ignores. I have in mind here the psyche of the patient and the connectedness of the patient with the larger community and its origins, inevitably religious. In the Navajo singer, for example, the doctor and the hospital chaplain are one. The point is that modern medicine is not all gain, and while the Navajo singer, like Frank Mitchell, resorts to it he does not neglect Navajo sings.13

In Native American Religions: Sources and Interpretations, Sam Gill has put together a collection of Native American rituals associated with the life cycle, the seasons, and moments of crisis.14 Students are introduced to such Native American rituals as the vision quest the sun dance, shamanic cures, Navajo sandpainting, and the peyote ceremony of the Native American Church. These rituals are communal, earthy, and experiential, with group involvement in rites that appeal to the senses. This contrasts strongly with an individualistic approach to overly intellectualized worship forms that leaves the participant alienated. Studying Native American ritual is a subversive practice that hopes to undermine individualism and, not the same thing, the experience of being disconnected from others and from society.


Videos allow Native Americans to speak on a variety of topics and to present their own point of view on American history. Such video documentaries are highly subjective. They present well-founded alternative views often neglected by American education and popular culture. Among other topics, these videos discuss the suppression of the Native American religious traditions, the unjust taking of tribal lands, the educational social engineering of Indian children by Americans who saw themselves as friends of the Indians, and the achievements of the peoples who inhabited this land before Columbus set foot upon it. Fortunately, the younger generation of students in our schools are being introduced to the sad history of relations between the United States government and Native Americans through school materials such as a 1994-95 Scholastic/ NBC News video, with a segment on the Native Americans entitled, "A History of Mistrust." Turner Home Entertainment has a series on The Native Americans that presents the American Indian point of view without apology.


To come into direct contact with Native American arts and crafts and Native American artists, students are required to visit the American Museum of Natural History and The George Gustav Heye Center of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Smithsonian Institution. The NMAI is a unique seeing and listening post. The Museum, in Washington, D.C., will open a facility on the National Mall by the end of the decade. This planned national museum, established by an act of Congress in 1989, is dedicated to the preservation, study, and exhibition of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of Native Americans. The Heye Center, which serves as an adjunct exhibition and educational facility is already in operation in the Alexander Hamilton Custom House in lower Manhattan. The Center perfectly illustrates the intention of the NMAI to work in collaboration with indigenous peoples to protect and foster native cultures throughout the Western Hemisphere. From the very beginnings of the Heye Center, Native Americans were prominent in deciding what to exhibit and how to exhibit it. The NMAI is to be a place of life, not a morgue for artifacts. It affirms the survival of Native American practices, shows reverence for the spiritual objects of tradition, and attempts to draw the visitor into the culture of Native Americans through the plastic and performing arts. In this way, the vanished Indian becomes very much present. Native Americans themselves invite the public into their circle. This contrasts remarkably with the older approach seen in the American Museum of Natural History.

The Museum of Natural History presents exhibits on the Plains and Northeast and Southeast Indians, the Northwest Coast Indians, and the natives of the Arctic and Subarctic. The exhibits here are informational and almost detached from the spirit of the Native American even while a sound track plays Native American chants in the background. The viewer is separate from the objects exhibited and, despite all good intentions, the native voice seems to disappear behind the objectification of the assembled items in the exhibition. The presentation mutes the dialogue that the exhibits aim to stimulate. Only the most sensitive of listeners can discern their power. Lévi-Strauss was such a listener. He recounts his love affair with the masks displayed in the Northwest Coast Indian Gallery, "a magic place where the dreams of childhood hold a rendezvous" 15 But for every Lévi-Strauss there are hundreds who are barely touched by the evocative power of the objects exhibited. Even the collectors and exhibitors of these objects were at first not sensitive to the power of the objects for the Indians. Only in recent years have museums removed certain objects from exhibition out of respect for the spiritual beliefs of Native Americans and in some cases have returned objects to the care of their original tribe.

The challenge, therefore, for the NMAI was not to imitate the detached objectification of the Museum of Natural History. Far from embracing the idea of the NMAI, some Native Americans regarded it as problematic, expressing ambivalence about the exhibition of certain ritual objects from their spiritual tradition. Now several years later, it is clear that the process has succeeded, for the NMAI is not an ethnographic museum but one that combines a sense of a living tradition with a respect for the fine arts and crafts of Native Americans.


To listen to Native Americans, one has to understand their history under the United States government. To this end, students do research, first, in the history of U.S. and Indian relations found in the documents assembled by Paul Prucha.16 Each student situates a document in its context and reports on it to the class. Students are also required to report on articles in the New York Times from the nineteenth century to discern the particular slant of newspaper accounts about Native Americans. The novels, the research assignments, the text books, the videos and the research expose the students to Native Americans, their viewpoints on a variety of topics, and their religious rituals and artistic productions. For the students, as for me, a number of things might happen. Native Americans will be considered as individuals rather than stereotypes. The Plains Indians of the movies will no longer be taken to represent all Indians frozen into some period of time. The lumping of all Indians together will be replaced by an awareness of the large variety of Indian nations. Generalities will be seen as such and not mistaken for some ironclad category into which all Indians fall. Present day Indians will not be regarded as somehow inferior to those presented as the romanticized ideal types of the past. Present day Indians will retain their individuality. Like any other racial or ethnic group, contemporary Indians show wide differences of opinion among themselves on a whole range of issues. Older spokespersons like George Eastman17 and Luther Standing Bear18 pleaded that whites understand them and the coherence and validity of their tribal way of life and presented what seem to be overly idealized portraits of native life. More recent Indian writers make no apologies.

Leslie Marmom Silko has written an alarming book full of fear and hope, Almanac of the Dead.19 To Silko, the culmination of the European encounter with the Native American has become a nightmare. Deception, exploitation, unnatural lusts, disorientation, unsavoriness of every kind, the marketing of Indian spirituality are all signs that a tremendous reversal is about to take place. The signs of the times all point to it. A gathering of Native Americans will march northwards for the sake of the world. Literature plays its visionary role superbly here. The sins of the technologically superior have led to the exhaustion of the world's resources. It is not too late for a final warning. The original sin was the encounter of Indians and whites that so brutalized the Indian. This theme is seen fairly early in the relations of Indian and whites. In Life Among the Piutes, Sara Winnemucca tells of the first meeting of Piutes and whites.20 When her grandfather, chief of the Piute nation, was told that a group was seen traveling eastward from California, he asked what they looked like. When he was told that they had hair on their faces and were white, he jumped up and clasped his hands together, and cried aloud, "My white brothers my long-looked for white brothers have come at last!"21 To his regret, when he tries to contact his "white brothers," they rebuff him and refuse any overtures on his part as they pass through Piute territory. He gathers his people to tell them that in the beginning there was a dark boy and a dark girl and a white boy and a white girl. Their quarreling with one another led the parent to say, "Depart from each other, you cruel children--go across the mighty ocean and do not seek each other's lives." The chief explains that the Piutes are the children of the dark girl and boy, and that the party crossing their territory must be the children of the white girl and boy. He wishes to welcome them and heal the old wound.22 The welcoming chiefs attitude is ironic, pathetic, and tragic in view of the white brothers' eventual total domination of his people.


In some sense, however small it may be, American Indians are rediscovering their spiritual heritage which for many had virtually disappeared. Tribal elders who can recall the traditions of the people have become valuable resources in this endeavor. The work of non-Indian ethnologists and anthropologists has preserved Indian traditions. Powwows become the occasion for Indians to exchange and even revive cultural traditions. Religious objects returned by museums to tribes for safekeeping are the occasion for all tribal members to understand their own religious traditions. Non-Indians, so-called "New-Agers," seek spiritual renewal outside the mainstream churches, and ministers of mainstream churches attempt to incorporate Indian forms into their spiritual renewal programs. This revival of Indian religious remembering attempts to go beyond the syncretistic forms found among the Indians of the Southwest and in the Native American Church. There is an attempt, at least intellectually, to validate the forms of worship that the missionaries barely tolerated or wiped out as the work of the demon. Popular religiosity shows that attempting to revive religious forms is not as successful as adapting them to felt needs, both religious and political. Only recently is the domination of the American Indian by the missionaries being critically reviewed. As in all fields, those elevated to hero status rarely can survive scrutiny of their whole lives and remain the untarnished heroes of legend.

Christianity's domination of Native American Religions is given critical assessment by George E. Tinker (Osage/Cherokee) in his Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Cultural Genocide.23 He argues that even the so called friends of the Indian ultimately did them more harm than good. Although he includes Bartolomeo de las Casas in this group, he limits his study to the work of those missionaries in what became the United States. He studies the Puritan John Eliot, the Franciscan Junipero Serra, the Jesuit De Smedt, and the Episcopalian Bishop Whipple, all of whom worked on behalf of the Indian.

Tinker starts his study with a scene from Silko's Ceremony to illustrate the last effect on the Indian of the encounter with the white Europeans, who dominated the native peoples. Tayo has internalized the illusion of white superiority, which has kept Native Americans in a position of dependency, and with which they have often cooperated.

Tinker convincingly argues that the U.S. government as well as the previous colonial powers committed cultural genocide. This has left the American Indian in a permanently dysfunctional [condition], despite the good intentions of friends of the Indians and their defense of Indians against predators. The encounter has been a disaster for the Native American. This is not a secret, of course, but those not Indian may meet it with indifference. America is essentially controlled by those who dispossessed the Native inhabitants and dominated them in every possible way to fulfill their own vision of right and destiny. There is no innocence in the founding of the people. Such knowledge thrusts us into the reality of the present and renders all our dealings suspect. The great ideals of the American people were purchased at the price of Indian cultural genocide. Tinker offers us the end of naiveté.

In November, 1987, on the occasion of the second hundred anniversary year of the United States Constitution, church leaders of the Pacific Northwest issued "A Public Declaration to the Tribal Councils and Traditional Spiritual Leaders of the Indian and Eskimo Peoples of the Pacific Northwest."24 This declaration contained a formal apology for participation in the destruction of traditional Native American spiritual practices. It acknowledged: "In many other circumstances we reflected the rampant racism and prejudice of the dominant culture with which we too willingly identified." 25 Tinker's book painfully particularizes this in the lives of the four missionaries he analyzes. The declaration laments, "[W]e have not come to your aid when you have been victimized by unjust Federal policies and practices."26 Tinker asserts that, had the churches come to the aid of the Native Peoples, it would only have had the adverse effect of making those peoples more dependent upon the white culture as it did in all other cases. Even the most ardent Indian supporters could not help being colonials for the dominant culture. Viewed from the cooperation of the churches in federal policy, the admission that the churches were not always on the side of the Indian during their victimization by unjust Federal policies and practices is full of moral ambiguity and complexity. After all, it was the "Friends of the Indian," who loved them to death. Henry Pratt, who founded the Carlisle Indian School, wanted to "kill the Indian and save the man."27 The churches became agents of the U.S. government when the various denominations contracted to run the government schools for the tribes which allotted to them by the government.28 Native Americans, who have written about their school experiences, not only have the customary stories of classroom and boarding school incidents of humor and cruelty but also stories of the suppression of their language, customs, dress, and grooming.29 It is one thing for immigrants to conform to their new country, and entirely another for indigenous peoples to submit to the conqueror. The designers of manifest destiny could not tolerate other cultures, even those that had welcomed them to these shores.

The remainder of the Northwest clergy apology is a pledge of support to uphold the American Religious Freedom Act, which gives legal rights to Native Peoples to their traditional ceremonies and rituals, sacred sites and public lands for ceremonial purposes, and the use of their religious symbols (feathers, tobacco, sweet grass, bones, etc.) for use in their traditional ceremonies and rituals.30

There is never a right time for such an apology. Of their nature, apologies always come too late because they are powerless to undo the cause for the apology. Yet, such apologies are always in order, especially if they form part of a lamentation that acknowledges the ambiguity and complexity of all human tragedies. Such lament is the enemy of self-righteousness or cheap forgiveness. In the new period of awareness of the injustice done to indigenous peoples, the apology is not the last word but the first word toward healing in what Christopher Vecsey calls "an old viable Creek message: all can be forgiven, all can be consolidated, all can be made pure through ritual effort expressing the images of mythology."31 We apologize through acts of Congress. But the Native way calls for ritual, perhaps the presence of the pipe or the drum, maybe a sweat. Our apologies come too easily on top of calculated promises not kept.


Such lament is necessary for the entire history of U.S.-Indian relations. Paula Gunn Allen's introduction to Spiderwoman's Granddaughters is a manifesto of Indian cultural independence. In the face of the dominant culture's "brutal holocaust," the Indian declares, "We shall endure."32 She begins her introduction with a citation from Eduardo Caleano, "Throughout America, from north to south, the dominant culture acknowledges Indians as objects of study, but denies them as subjects of history. The Indians have folklore, not culture; they practice superstitions not religions; they speak dialects not languages; they make crafts not arts."33 As Allen puts it when she argues against Western literary classifications, "Intellectual apartheid . . . helps create and maintain political apartheid . . . "34

Her contributors, Allen says, write with a consciousness of at least four fundamental facts of life for Native people: that humans exist in community with all living things (all of whom are known to be intelligent, aware, and self-aware); that, in the eyes of Americans, Native people (like other wildlife) are extinct or soon will be; that if, in the public and private mind of America, Indians as a group are invisible in America, then Indian women are non-existent; and that Indians are ever aware they are occupied peoples who have no military power on earth ready to liberate them.35 Allen's introduction is scathing. She reviews the history that has made ''thousands of Native people suffer the ravages of despair brought on by too much shame, too much grief, and too much inexpressible and helpless fury."36 When Gerald Vizenor takes issue with Allen's tendency toward blanket condemnations such as she makes of those Indians who sent their children to the Carlisle Indian School and of those children who had good relations with the teachers of the school, he is actually admonishing her for not listening. He says that she imposes a theory to explain them, that of the so-called Stockholm syndrome, where the victim comes to like the victimizer.37 It is safe to say that with regard to this issue one must be careful not to go to the extremes of one side or the other.


These are the voices of Native Americans. Some of the judgments are harsh, very harsh, and it is not too difficult to imagine other voices arising to refute these Indian voices or to give another reading of the history in what would no doubt be an endless cycle of self-justification which would devalue the experience of Indians and explain away their judgments. One would no longer be able to listen to the Indian voices because the din would prevent hearing. What is worse, listening to self-justifications and explanations dull our moral outrage.

The voices of Native Americans bear listening to. They are generous, angry, sympathetic, informative, conflicting, forbearing, and necessary. Without these voices, a large gap in intellectual comprehension of America would exist. Until one listens to the voices of Native Americans through their representatives, their religious traditions, their arts, their self-presentation, one is unable to make the first step toward peace with the terrible past that we are all too willing to ignore.

For students, a course on Native American Religions makes the invisible Indian visible and allows the students to hear the first victims' names and hear their descendants confront the victimizer. From this, the students may appreciate the dignity of Native Americans who have been stereotyped in both romantic and negative ways. Without creating new stereotypes, the students may appreciate a people in their commonality and their individuality. But, if this is to happen, first one must listen.


1 Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn (New York: Harper and Row, 1968).
2 Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (New York: Penguin Books, 1977).
3 Paula Gunn Allen, ed., Spider Woman's Granddaughters: Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women (New York: Ballantine Books, 1990).
4 Alan R, Velie, ed., The Lightening Within: An Anthology of Contemporary Indian Fiction (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991).
5 Clifford E. Trafzer, ed., Earth Song, Sky Spirit: Short Stories of the Contemporary Native American Experience (New York: Doubleday, Anchor Books, 1993).
6 Paula Gunn Allen, ed., Studies in American Indian Literature (New York: MLAA, 1983).
7 A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff, American Indian Literatures (New York: MLA, 1990).
8 Patricia Riley, ed., Growing Up Native American: An Anthology (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1994).
9 Brian Swann and Arnold Krupat, eds., I Tell You Now: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987).
10 Laura Cortelli, ed., Winged Words: American Indian Writers Speak (Lincoln:University of Nebraska Press, 1992).
11 Brian Swann, ed., Coming to Light: Contemporary Translations of the Native Literatures of North America (New York: Random House, 1994).
12 Linda Hogan, "To Light," cited in Swann, v.
13 Frank Mitchell, Navajo Blessingway Singer; The Autobiography of Frank Mitchell 1881-1967, edited by Charlotte J. Frisbie and David P. McAllester (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1978).
14 Sam D. Gill, Native American Religions: Sources and Interpretations (Belmont, Cal.: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1983). Gill's companion volume is Native American Religions (Belmont, Cal.: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1982).
15 Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Way of the Masks, trans. by Sylvia Modelski (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1988) .
16 Francis Paul Prucha, ed., Documents of United States Indian Policy, second edition, expanded (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990).
17 Charles A. Eastman, Indian Boyhood (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1984, unabridged republication of the work originally published by McClure, Phillips and Co., 1902).
18 Chief Luther Standing Bear, My Indian Boyhood (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, Bison Book, 1988, originally published Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1931). "Dedicated to the boys and girls of America." "Note. I write this book with the hope that the hearts of the white boys and girls who read these pages will be made kinder toward the little Indian boys and girls."
19 Leslie Marmon Silko, Almanac of the Dead (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1991).
20 Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims, Edited by Mrs. Horace Mann, Foreword by Catherine S. Fowler, (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1994, originally published New York: C. Putnam, 1883).
21 Hopkins, 5.
22 Hopkins, 6-7.
23 George E. Tinker, Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Cultural Genocide (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993).
24 In Jack Utter, American Indians: Answers to Today's Questions (Lake Ann, Michigan: National Woodland Publishing Co., 1993), 290-291.
25 Utter, 290.
26 Utter, 290.
27 Utter, 196.
28 See document 85, "Assignment of Indian Agencies to Religious Societies," in Prucha, 141-143.
29 Angie Debo in A History of the Indians of the United States (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970) summarizes it, "[The Children] were taken from their grieving parents and kept for years, punished for speaking their own language, and brainwashed of all traces of Indians. Many died . . .; a few 'entered the mainstream of American life'; most returned suspended in vacancy, separate from both cultures." 288.
30 Utter, 290-291.
31 "Christopher Vecsey, Imagine Ourselves Richly: Mythic Narratives of North American Indians (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991), 232.
32 Allen, "[W]e survive in the face of a brutal holocaust that seeks to wipe us out . . . " 2 and "We shall endure" 25.
33 Allen, 1.
34 Allen, 3.
35 Allen, 9.
36 Allen, 15.
37 Gerald Vizenor, ed., Native American Literature: A Brief Introduction and Anthology (New York: Harper Collins, 1995), 12-13.