Native Americans Picking Up the Pen in the Colonial Period
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Reexamines the writings of early indigenous authors in the northeastern United States.
The Native peoples of colonial New England were quick to grasp the practical functions of Western literacy. Their written literary output was composed to suit their own needs and expressed views often in resistance to the agendas of the European colonists they were confronted with. Red Ink is an engaging retelling of American colonial history, one that draws on documents that have received scant critical and scholarly attention to offer an important new interpretation grounded in indigenous contexts and perspectives. Author Drew Lopenzina reexamines a literature that has been compulsively "corrected" and overinscribed with the norms and expectations of the dominant culture, while simultaneously invoking the often violent tensions of "contact" and the processes of unwitnessing by which Native histories and accomplishments were effectively erased from the colonial record. In a compelling narrative arc, Lopenzina enables the reader to travel through a history that, however familiar, has never been fully appreciated or understood from a Native-centered perspective.
Drew Lopenzina is Assistant Professor of American Literature at Sam Houston State University.