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The concept and idea of survivance has revolutionized our understanding of the lives, creative impulses, literary practices, and histories of the Native peoples of North America. Engendered and articulated by the Anishinaabe critic and writer Gerald Vizenor, survivance throws into relief the dynamic, inventive, and enduring heart of Native cultures well beyond the colonialist trappings of absence, tragedy, and powerlessness. Vizenor argues that many people in the world are enamored with and obsessed by the concocted images of the Indian—the simulations of indigenous character and cultures as essential victims. Native survivance, on the other hand, is an active sense of presence over historical absence, deracination, and oblivion. The nature of survivance is unmistakable in Native stories, natural reason, active traditions, customs, and narrative resistance and is clearly observable in personal attributes such as humor, spirit, cast of mind, and moral courage in literature.
In this anthology, eighteen scholars discuss the themes and practices of survivance in literature, examining the legacy of Vizenor’s original insights and exploring the manifestations of survivance in a variety of contexts. Contributors interpret and compare the original writings of William Apess, Eric Gansworth, Louis Owens, Carter Revard, Gerald Vizenor, and Velma Wallis, among others.
About the Author
Gerald Vizenor is Distinguished Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Fugitive Poses: Native American Indian Scenes of Absence and Presence and Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance, both published by the University of Nebraska Press.
Contributors include Susan Bernardin, Helmbrecht Breinig, John Gamber, Diane Glancy, Linda Lizut Helstern, Karl Kroeber, Arnold Krupat, A. Robert Lee, Joe Lockard, James Mackay, Deborah Madsen, James Ruppert, Allan J. Ryan, Takayuki Tatsumi, Alan Velie, Gerald Vizenor, Jace Weaver, and Ying-wen Yu.
"This skillfully edited work is invaluable to academic discussions of Vizenor's ideas; it presents insights into his original concept of survivance and examinations of the variety of contexts to which the concept may be applied."—Lisa Close, Great Plains Quarterly
— Lisa Close