13. Writing the Indigenous West

  1. Nicolas S. Witschi
  1. Kathleen Washburn

Published Online: 27 MAY 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444396591.ch13

A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West

A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West

How to Cite

Washburn, K. (2011) Writing the Indigenous West, in A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West (ed N. S. Witschi), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444396591.ch13

Editor Information

  1. Western Michigan University, USA

Author Information

  1. University of New Mexico, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 MAY 2011
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405187336

Online ISBN: 9781444396591



  • writing the Indigenous West;
  • Joy Harjo's 2007 poem, “The Path to the Milky Way Leads Through Los Angeles”;
  • Okmulgee and Los Angeles, as disparate as distinct locations - not wholly incompatible, American, global, and galactic significance;
  • Los Angeles, functioning as an iconic western location - in overlapping ways;
  • Okmulgee, signalling indigenous persistence - contested history of a complex region;
  • Joy Harjo's poem, moving between - Los Angeles, Okmulgee, and even the Milky Way;
  • cultural and critical sovereignty - emphasis on indigenous cultural practices;
  • American West, as Indian Country - Philip Deloria's Indians in Unexpected Places;
  • John Rollin Ridge's 1854 - Gold Rush novel The Life and Adventure of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit, parameters of Native American literature;
  • multiplicity of contemporary Native literary forms - reemergence of tribal languages, and “indigenized” English


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Cultural and Critical Sovereignty

  • The American West as Indian Country

  • New Directions in Native Literary Criticism

  • References and Further Reading