Edited By Casey Ryan Kelly and Jason Edward Black
As survivors of genocide, mnemonicide, colonization, and forced assimilation, American Indians face a unique set of rhetorical exigencies in US public culture. Decolonizing Native American Rhetoric brings together critical essays on the cultural and political rhetoric of American indigenous communities, including essays on the politics of public memory, culture and identity controversies, stereotypes and caricatures, mascotting, cinematic representations, and resistance movements and environmental justice.
This volume brings together recognized scholars and emerging voices in a series of critical projects that question the intersections of civic identity, including how American indigenous rhetoric is complicated by or made more dynamic when refracted through the lens of gender, race, class, and national identity. The authors assembled in this project employ a variety of rhetorical methods, theories, and texts committed to the larger academic movement toward the decolonization of Western scholarship. This project illustrates the invaluable contributions of American Indian voices and perspectives to the study of rhetoric and political communication.
Foreword: The Questions of Decolonization (Mary E. Stuckey)
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The Questions of Decolonization
MARY E. STUCKEY
“American Public Address” has long been an important part of the curriculum in rhetorical studies. Curiously, however, very little of that tradition’s course is generally dedicated to indigenous rhetoric. There are good reasons for this—authenticating such speeches can be difficult; it is hard to place indigenous rhetors in the context of hegemonic Western discourse; there are over 500 distinct nations and a multiplicity of cultures, making generalization problematic; and, of course, not many rhetoricians are adequately trained in or even aware of the broad patterns of indigenous public speech and both written and performative discourse. In short, including indigenous voices in ways that do not render them mere tokens or exceptions is both challenging and risky. Trying to include indigenous voices in ways that appropriately contextualize them and avoid reproducing the worst elements of colonialism is not a task for the faint of heart. This is what makes this volume so important.
These essays—by some of the most thoughtful scholars in the field, both indigenous and Euro-American—range across the North American continent, consider various historical and contemporary moments, focus on important political and cultural controversies, and, most significantly, emphasize resistance and survivance.1 The individual chapters are accessible, they contextualize their subject matter in helpful ways, and they point to ways that indigenous rhetoric is foundational to North American political history and experience rather than...
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