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(S)aged by Culture

Representations of Old Age in American Indian Literature and Culture

Philipp Kneis

Colonization has imposed drastic changes on indigenous societies in North America. This process has reverberated through cultural conceptions and constructions of social roles, particularly affecting the roles of elders and the old. This book charts these changes by analyzing representations of old age in American Indian literature. In comparing traditional stories with contemporary works, the analytical focus lies on establishing what developments can be observed in the conceptualizing of old age as visible in representations of social, political and cultural roles, such as that of the sage. Authors discussed include Sherman Alexie, Chrystos, Louise Erdrich, Janet Campbell Hale, N. Scott Momaday, Simon Ortiz, Leslie Marmon Silko, Lucy Tapahonso, Velma Wallis, and James Welch.

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