Chapter 13. “Indians” Constructed and Speaking

  1. Paul Lauter president
  1. Scott Richard Lyons

Published Online: 16 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch13

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

How to Cite

Richard Lyons, S. (2010) “Indians” Constructed and Speaking, in A Companion to American Literature and Culture (ed P. Lauter), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch13

Editor Information

  1. Trinity College (Hartford), UK

Author Information

  1. Syracuse University, New York, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 26 MAR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631208921

Online ISBN: 9781444320626



  • “Indians” constructed and speaking;
  • literary and cultural traditions, formed in social contexts that are political to the root;
  • Native literature no less “Indian” - than any other indigenous cultural tradition, recognizable oral traditions of myth and ceremony;
  • development of cultural tradition known as American Indian literature in nineteenth and early twentieth centuries;
  • colonialism coming to Native America in stages - three hundred year period of cross-cultural engagement “discovery,” conquest and treaty making;
  • treaties, lending a sense of propriety and legitimacy to colonialism;
  • General Allotment Act (Dawes Act) of 1887 - “Allotment,” creation of private property on tribal lands;
  • Indian colonization policies, ideas and images of Indianness - that were neither accurate nor favorable to Natives;
  • Indians speaking for themselves;
  • Society of American Indians (SAI), of first generation of Indians raised under assimilation policies


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • History and Policy

  • Image and Idea

  • Indians Speaking for Themselves

  • References and Further Reading