NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ762205
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0730-3238
"Interpretation Is a Perilous Venture": Petroglyphs, Maps, and DNA
Dyck, Reginald
Studies in American Indian Literatures, v19 n1 p49-65 Spr 2007
Petroglyphs can help students confront the challenges of cross-cultural interpretation, the "perilous venture" the author and his students will face in their Native American Literature course. Cultural artifacts, carved in rock or printed on paper, are a part of particular discursive systems. In this article, the author wants his students to recognize that Indian texts, even contemporary ones, are grounded in systems of meaning quite different from their own (he and almost all his students are non-Native). Interpreting these works is difficult, but the problem is theirs. They must make the effort but should recognize the limits to their understanding. Boundaries between cultures are only partially permeable. As students confront the challenges of interpreting texts from other cultures, they may come to recognize that their own beliefs and assumptions, their ideologies, are also grounded in socially constructed systems of meaning. The lessons gained from looking at petroglyphs can be reinforced and extended by considering other interpretive challenges: a historical map and a newspaper article about DNA tests of two-thousand-year-old Indian remains. Lessons on interpretation will have relevance not only for reading early Indian texts but also for the twentieth-century Native American literature that will follow. (Contains 6 notes.)
University of Nebraska Press. 1111 Lincoln Mall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0630. Tel: 800-755-1105; Fax: 800-526-2617; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio