IJLLL 2019 Vol.5(3): 176-185 ISSN: 2382-6282
DOI: 10.18178/IJLLL.2019.5.3.223

A Concise Overview of Native American Written Literature: Early Beginnings to 1968

Sidoní López Pérez
Abstract—This essay aims at providing a concise overview of Native American written literature since its early beginnings in the 18th century until the Native American Renaissance in the 1960s. Utilizing a historical perspective, the paper will first make reference to the emergence of Native American authors through the publication of protest literature, autobiographies and ethnohistories, in response to the attempts of white American society to eradicate Native cultures. After this, the essay will also deal with the different historical events that happened in the late 19th century and which gave rise to the publication of novels that were primarily based on the theme of assimilation. In like manner, the paper will also explore the literature written by Native Americans in the first half of the 20th century; first, it will deal with some literary works from 1900 to 1920, including autobiographies that focus on the ethnohistory of tribes, and collections of short stories that reflect Native history, customs and values; then, it will continue to focus on the publication of multiple novels, which are clearly assimilationist, between 1920 and 1940; after this, the paper will be dealing with the period of darkness of Native literature from 1940 to 1960 and with the involvement of Indians in World War II; finally, this essay will conclude by making a brief reference to the literature of the Native American Renaissance in the late 1960s. As will be seen, the question of Indian identity is a major issue in the different literary works by American Indians, which has certainly influenced the development of Native literature along history. Thus, Native American written literature could be considered as a unifying element for the different tribes that allowed Indians to create a common indigenous identity with respect to the supremacy of the white domineering society.

Index Terms—Assimilation, identity, literature, native Americans.

Sidoní López Pérez is with the Department of English, Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), Logroño, 26006 Spain (e-mail: sidoni.lopez@unir.net).

[PDF]

Cite:Sidoní López Pérez, "A Concise Overview of Native American Written Literature: Early Beginnings to 1968," International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 176-185, 2019.

Copyright©2008-2019. International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics. All rights reserved.
E-mail: ijlll@ejournal.net