NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ767441
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
Storytelling: The Heart of American Indian Scholarship
Washburn, Frances
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v30 n4 p109-119 2006
Recently some writers and scholars have complained that the academy, particularly American Indian Studies (AIS) programs, gives too much attention to American Indian literature while ignoring scholarly works that focus on the pressing needs of American Indian communities in the areas of economic development, social justice, and sovereignty, among others. For example, in the preface to "Indigenizing the Academy: Transforming Scholarship and Empowering Communities", Devon Abbott Mihesuah and Angela Cavender Wilson write: "Awards are seemingly presented to...poets and novelists....Not enough is being written about tribal needs and concerns, but an inordinate amount of attention is focused on fiction." Almost every person teaching in AIS programs probably would agree that attention needs to be focused on tribal needs and concerns. In this article, as a professor of American Indian literature, the author respectfully disagrees with Mihesuah and Wilson's assertion that too much attention is focused on fiction. It seems that quite the opposite is true. The author examines the situation to test the validity of the claim that too much attention is given to American Indian literature to the detriment of writing that emphasizes tribal needs and concerns through three different lenses: (1) coursework offerings in AIS programs and departments and course concentrations chosen by students in AIS programs; (2) the representation of literature and writing about literature versus scholarly writing in the main peer-reviewed journals that publish American Indian articles; and (3) awards given for literature and nonfiction scholarly writing. The author talks about the traditional value of storytelling and discusses American Indian literature as a subversive act. (Contains 23 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A