American Indian Literature
Native Americans have a rich culture that spans numerous artistic endeavors, including literature. However, Native American literature has yet to make a wide impact on the American consciousness. Despite this, American Indian literature has produced significant works that explore the culture and experiences of Native Americans. While Native Americans produced literature as early as the 19th century, such works received scant attention.
The first major work of American Indian literature was N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn, first published in 1968 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Based largely on Momaday's life at Jemez Pueblo, it tells the story of life inside and outside of the reservation. This novel singlehandedly sparked the Native American Renaissance, a significant increase in Native American literature that followed in the 1970s. There was a new generation of Native Americans coming of age during this decade, many of whom were able to attend college and express their cultural heritage in print. At the same time, historical revisionism looked into the contributions of Native Americans.
Other works that appeared were the following:
- Duane Niatum's Ascending Red Cedar Moon
- Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony
- James Welch's Winter in the Blood
Native American literature continued with a second wave of Renaissance works in the 1980s, including the following works:
- Louise Erdich's Love Medicine
- Paula Gunn Allen's The Woman Who Owned the Shadows