American Indian and Indigenous Rhetorics: A Digital Annotated Bibliography

This partially annotated bibliography of resources on American Indian and Indigenous rhetorics is a work in progress. New entries and annotations for existing entries are accepted for review by the editor on an ongoing basis via the entry submission form and annotation submission form. Author bios are available here.

The items on listed on this bibliography are inclusive of those written by American Indian, Indigenous, and non-Native scholars. Some of these sources focus on the use of Euro-American rhetorics by Indigenous rhetors. Increasingly, over the years, the discipline has given preference to Indigenous perspectives and writing that examines Native American and/or Indigenous rhetorics that arise out of the cultures themselves.

The space that nurtured the proliferation of scholarship on American Indian and Indigenous rhetorics in the past twenty-five years is the American Indian Caucus of the College Conference on Composition and Communication/National Conference of Teachers of English (CCCC/NCTE). This caucus was founded by Malea Powell and Scott Lyons in 1997 as the Caucus for American Indian Scholars and Scholarship. Despite the shortening of the name, the group has always been and intends to be inclusive of American Indian, Indigenous, and non-Native scholars who do work in American Indian and Indigenous Rhetorics. From its inception to around twenty years later, Malea Powell, Resa Crane Bizzaro, and Joyce Rain Anderson served as co-chairs. Today, Andrea Riley-Mukavetz, Lisa King, and Kimberly Wieser–editor of this bibliography–serve as co-chairs of this organization. Work by caucus members is highlighted in the bibliography below in red.

Some of these sources fall under the further category of Indigenous cultural rhetorics, a set of practices in the field grounded in Indigenous concepts of relationality. Cultural Rhetorics values the ability of story to constellate multiple knowledge sources and to be inclusive of Indigenous knowledge and/or other culturally-specific knowledges, not simply academic, whitestream knowledge. It emphasizes the positionality of the speaker within a network of relationships/constellations who draws on knowledge from those networks in producing new discourse. More information on cultural rhetorics is available in Our Story Begins Here: Constellating Cultural Rhetorics, collaboratively written by Malea Powell, Daisy Levy, Andrea Riley-Mukavetz, Marilee Brooks-Gillies, Maria Novotny and Jennifer Fisch-Ferguson of the Cultural Rhetorics Lab, a joint effort by scholars from four academic institutions. Additional information is available on the FAQ page for Constellations: A Cultural Rhetorics Publishing Space, the journal that came out of the Cultural Rhetorics Consortium, where much rich work across the rhetorics of diverse cultures is published, grounded in this methodology and praxis. Constellations was founded by Powell along with fellow Michigan State professor Alexandra Hidalgo. Hidalgo continues to serves as Editor-in-Chief.

A brief history on the background of American Indian and Indigenous rhetorical studies written by Dr. Wieser is upcoming, planned as a chapter in a book on American Indian rhetorics co-edited by Wieser with Powell, Riley-Mukavetz, and King.


Abbott, Don Paul. Rhetoric in the New World: Rhetorical Theory and Practice in Colonial Spanish America. U of South Carolina P, 1996. 

Black, Jason Edward. American Indians and the Rhetoric of Removal and Allotment. U of Mississippi P, 2015. 

Brooks, Lisa. The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast (Indigenous Americas). Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2008. 

Cooper, Thomas. A Time Before Deception: Truth in Communications, Culture, and Ethics: Native Worldviews, Traditional Expression, Sacred Ecology. Clearlight, 1998.  

Katanski, Amelia V. Learning to Write “Indian”: The Boarding School Experience and American Indian Literature. U of Oklahoma P, 2005. 

Kennedy, George A. Comparative Rhetoric: An Historical and Cross-Cultural Introduction. Oxford UP, 1998. 

King, Lisa. Legible Sovereignties: Rhetoric, Representation, and Native American Museums. Oregon State UP, 2016.

King, Lisa, Rose Gubele, and Joyce Rain Anderson, eds. Survivance, Sovereignty, and Story: Teaching American Indian Rhetorics. Boulder: U of Colorado P, 2015.

Chapter 1: “Sovereignty, Rhetorical Sovereignty, and Representation: Keywords for Teaching Indigenous Texts by Lisa King.

In a chapter for Survivance, Sovereignty, and Story, Lisa King brings attention to the notion that popular representations of American Indians and indigenous peoples are rhetorical constructions that reflect historically unbalanced power relationships. Drawing from Scott Lyons’ rhetorical sovereignty, she provides pedagogical strategies for approaching the topic of representation. The chapter is separated into four sections. In her section on sovereignty, she explains that understandings of sovereignty depend on historical and cultural contexts. For indigenous peoples, notions of nationhood and sovereignty require recognition of peoplehood and the inherent rights of indigenous peoples rooted in political, economic, social, and cultural structures. In the section on representation, King describes how dominant Euro-American ideological structures resulted in marginalizing representations of Native and indigenous image. However, King references Gerald Vizenor’s notion of survivance (24) to argue that Native resistance and continuance of stories demonstrates an ability to revise and replace inaccurate representation with indigenous rhetorical constructions. The third section on rhetorical sovereignty asserts that sovereignty over language and rhetorics of representation allows Native and indigenous communities to determine communicative needs and image creation. Her final section provides a possible assignment for composition classrooms where students examine advertisements with Native and indigenous imagery to understand how the rhetorical representations in the advertisements came about (30). The goal is to understand the dynamic processes involved in the production of Native and indigenous image. Calling for a grounding in the key concepts of American Indian and indigenous rhetorics, the aim is to decrease misrepresentations of indigenous image and texts. By doing so, students and instructors in composition and rhetoric classrooms gain the opportunity to understand how indigenous rhetorics function in relationship to inaccurate representation (19).

Haeyoung Lee

Chapter 3: “Decolonial Skillshares: Indigenous Rhetorics as Radical Practice by Qwo-Li Driskill.

Decolonization as learned through embodied practices is the core of what Qwo-Li Driskill terms decolonial skillshares. Driskill presents that to counter the destruction of cultural memory, indigenous people in the US and Canada are asserting the importance of practicing indigenous traditions, languages, and processes of learning/knowing. Furthermore, the text proposes that language-immersion and cultural practices such as basket weaving serve as methods of what Robert Warrior (1995) calls “intellectual sovereignty” and what Scott Richard Lyons (2000) calls “rhetorical sovereignty.” Hir logic of decolonial skillshares draws from Malea Powell (2012) and recenters indigenous rhetorics on “linguistic, embodied, and material practices” (58).. To ground the discussion, Driskill references a personal experience where hir proposal for a skillshare workshop for indigenous two-spirit and trans people was met with resistance and hesitance by organizers for The Trans Mission Festival (61-62). The exclusion of the workshop demonstrates the presence of racialized anxieties towards decolonial and Native practices. However, Driskill reaffirms that decolonial skillshares create space for Native people to teach and learn embodied and material practices that can then be a tactic for decolonization, rhetorical sovereignty, and resisting racialized assumptions. Focusing on indigenous languages, wampum rhetorics, and weaving baskets in the classroom, Driskill asserts that such practices can help reroot scholarly and pedagogical practices in ways that are more attuned to Native and indigenous contexts. For example, weaving baskets allows one to engage decolonial embodied practices where knowledge is gained through correspondence with materials and repetitive practice (73). In short, Driskill calls attention to decolonial skillsharing as a necessary pedagogical endeavor.

Haeyoung Lee

Chapter 7: “Making Native Space for Graduate Students: A Story of Indigenous Rhetorical Practice by Andrea Riley-Mukavetz and Malea D. Powell

Andrea Riley-Mukavetz and Malea D. Powell present a series of stories in which they describe the use of indigenous rhetorical practices to develop a course with indigenous pedagogical strategies. They expose the challenge of balancing indigenous rhetorical practices with the demands of the academy. Describing the American Indian Rhetorics seminar they co-taught, they make clear that it is not safe to assume that students have experience in navigating Native and indigenous rhetorics. Drawing from Lisa Brooks’ concepts on Native spaces (Brooks 2008), they seek to weave stories about various indigenous rhetorical practices and theoretical/methodological frames alongside their own rhetorical situations. They identify responsibilities from maintaining “right” relations to places and cultural actions as the ambiguous boundaries of indigenous rhetorical practices (140-141). Providing stories of their academic backgrounds, they introduce how indigenous practices shape their understanding of what it means to teach and to take a teaching. The aim is to encourage students to reflect as a way to unpack and decolonize their own layers of belief regarding indigenous rhetorics. They suggest that building connections to indigenous rhetorical practices helps one gain an understanding of how stories function methodologically and theoretically (140). Focusing on a poetry reading and a student’s struggles with separating from non-indigenous rhetorical practices among other experiences, the authors reveal the urgency of practicing Native rhetorics. As students learn to engage with indigenous rhetorical practices, the possibility for addressing discomfort regarding new ways of understanding become possible. The authors reaffirm that storytelling and other indigenous rhetorical practices facilitate relations to indigenous rhetorics that expose how the university system often functions to colonize indigenous peoples.

Haeyoung Lee

Chapter 8: “Remapping Settler Colonial Territories: Bringing Local Native Knowledge into the Classroom by Joyce Rain Anderson.

Joyce Rain Anderson begins her text with a story regarding a trip to the community gardens leased to Bridgewater State University. She describes how tending a Three Sisters Garden, allows for practices that result in relationships to place, culture, and ancestors (160-161). From her story, Anderson launches into a discussion of how connections to place and story are integral for understanding how to teach indigenous rhetorics. Addressing colonially influenced rhetorics that perpetuate the erasure and absence of Native communities, she emphasizes the need to counter such inaccurate depictions with pedagogical practices that affirm continued Native presence. Calling for the integration of Native and local knowledge in the classroom, she centers on the potential to create distance between education and adherence to western, colonialist contexts. Drawing from Lisa Brooks’ The Common Pot, Anderson argues for weaving or incorporating local Native knowledge into courseworks (162-163). At the same time, Anderson makes visible the tensions between Native peoples and institutions. Bringing attention to the need for greater administrative cooperation and Native participation in leading university events, Anderson presents meaningful, reciprocal relationships with Native communities require the building of a reputation. She reveals doing so supports opportunities for introducing class exercises that compare colonial and local, Native rhetorical constructions. Anderson’s examples include remapping exercises to learn historical and contemporary Native conceptualizations of place and gardening to engage Native embodied and material processes of learning. Through such practices, Anderson underlines the potential for regrounding teachers within indigenous pedagogical practices. Here, Anderson presents a path to building and understanding relationships that reaffirm Native presence and survivance.

Haeyoung Lee

Chapter 10: “Toward a Decolonial Digital and Visual American Indian Rhetorics Pedagogy by Angela Haas

Angela Haas critiques the perpetuation of colonial rhetorical assemblage that situates American Indian and indigenous peoples outside of contemporary society. Concentrating on the colonial rhetorical reproduction of Native and indigenous image as being incompatible with technology, Haas works to emphasize decolonial pedagogies that redress misconceptions concerning how American Indians interface with digital and visual rhetorics (190). Referencing decolonial theorist Walter Mignolo (188) , her text examines how historical colonial relationships continue to inform contemporary Western education. In response, Haas describes how decolonial pedagogies interrogate relationships between rhetorics of Indianness and rhetorics of technology in ways that support Native digital and visual rhetorical sovereignty. To bridge decolonial theory and practice, she introduces the importance of studying how colonization has historically shaped relationships between digital media and visual culture in relation to indigenous peoples. She suggests students interrogate digital and visual representations of Indianness found in Western films and artwork that reflect colonial rhetorical tropes. However, Haas introduces the need for going beyond critique and calls for students to practice decolonial strategies outside of the classroom. Redressing ahistorical and fetishized images of Indianness in museums serves as one example. Through practice, Haas asserts that students can then reflect on their own cultural literacy as it pertains to American Indian rhetorics and thus explore how Native communities engage with technology, digital space, and visual rhetorics. The result is potential for reciprocal and respectful dialogue within and between Native and non-Native communities. In short, the text aims to facilitate increased recognition of American Indian rights to digital and visual rhetorical sovereignty.

Haeyoung Lee

Lyons, Scott. X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent. U of Minnesota P, 2010.

Murray, David. Forked Tongues: Speech, Writing, and Representation in North American Indian Texts. Indiana UP, 1991.

In this book, David Murray sets out to discuss the problematic nature of translation—both from a cultural and linguistic viewpoint. Murray contends that the translation of what is “Indian” culminates into a chasm between interpreter and subject resulting in the transformation of simple differences into “otherness.” Murray examines multiple representations, or interpretations, of American Indians in order to call attention to the discourses through which each representation functions within. In doing this, Murray highlights the overlapping and often contradicting nature of these discourses to show the instability of this type of othering interaction between cultures. Murray questions these preexisting cultural investigations through a lens of Foucauldian and Said cultural theory and framework. Murray’s chapters transition from an initial analysis of the ideological investments within translation to a linguistic approach toward American Indian languages. From a linguistic view, Murray moves into the presentation of Indian speeches in a textual format, which outlines the standard opposition to American Indians, as result of the civilized vs. savage dichotomy. The final two chapters focus on American Indians as rhetoricians who write and speak for a purpose rather than exist to be a passive subject. In these final chapters, Murray attempts to bring attention to the power of language that runs two-fold throughout the book and throughout his thesis: the power of the language and rhetorical strategies used by American Indians and the power of the language and rhetorical strategies that is used to describe and represent American Indians.  

Annie Bridgers 

Peyer, Bernd. “The Thinking Indian”: Native American Writers, 1850s- 1920s. Peter Lang, 2007. 

—. The Tutor’d Mind: Indian Missionary-Writers in Antebellum America. U of Massachusetts P, 1997. 

Rasmussen, Birgit Brander. Queequeg’s Coffin: Indigenous Literacies and Early American Literature. Duke UP, 2012. 

In Queequeg’s Coffin, Birgit Brander Rasmussen challengesWestern, alphabet-centric conceptions of writing through a discussion of alternative forms of Indigenous communication. Through her analysis of writing-centric colonial conflict, Haudenosaunee wampum, Andean quipu, Polynesian tattooing, and symbolism in Moby-Dick, Rasmussen persuasively critiques colonialism-inspired disregard for non-alphabetic writing systems, redresses misconceptions about Native communication and knowledge, and emphasizes the legitimacy of all forms of Native writing in the fields of literary scholarship.

Brenna O’Hara

Chapter 1: Writing and Colonial Conflict

In Chapter 1: Writing and Colonial Conflict, Rasmussen presents the “literate universe of documents, contracts, and public signs” of the pre-colonial Americas, surveying types of writing and breaking down colonialism-enabled fallacies of a writing-bereft hemisphere (17). Rasmussen debunks views of alphabet writing as “a requisite hallmark of reason and civilization,” invoking the widespread burning and banning of many cultures’ rich writing heritage and discussing the significance of pictography as an early form of American literature. Overall, this chapter facilitates an Indigenous perspective of the pre-colonial presence of writing in the Americas, and documents the role of colonialism in the war on Indigenous writing culture.

Brenna O’Hara

Chapter 2: Negotiating Peace, Negotiating Literacies: The Undetermined Encounter and Early American Literature

In Chapter 2: Negotiating Peace, Negotiating Literacies: The Undetermined Encounter and Early American Literature, Rasmussen establishes the role of Haudenosaunee wampum in contractual peacemaking practices by describing a real-life council between Haudenosaunee representative Kiotseaeton and French settlers in which wampum was used to facilitate a dialogue of peace. A presentation of the textual capabilities of wampum and discussion of wampum’s successes and shortcomings in cross-cultural communication further enable Rasmussen’s argument for recognition of wampum as form of writing and as the embodiment of intertextual and intercultural relations.

Brenna O’Hara

Chapter 3: Writing in the Conflict Zone: Don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s El primer nueva crónica y buen gobierno

In Chapter 3: Writing in the Conflict Zone: Don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s El primer nueva crónica y buen gobierno, Rasmussen casts Guaman Poma’s titular chronicle as an opportunity to analyze intertextual interactions between the dominant Spanish alphabet and oppressed Andean string-and-knot quipu language conventions. Poma’s work, she argues, both asserts the validity of quipu as a form of writing and demonstrates aspects unique to quipu through dualist attributes and the decimal logic of the table of contents. Rasmussen’s conclusion contextualizes the Crónica as both a failure of communication and a demonstration of cultural commensurability, serving as a reminder that “the legibility of a given writing system is intimately tied to the fate of the culture of which it is a part” (91).

Brenna O’Hara

Chapter 4: Indigenous Literacies, Moby-Dick, and the Promise of Queequeg’s Coffin

In Chapter 4: Indigenous Literacies, Moby-Dick, and the Promise of Queequeg’s Coffin, Rasmussen investigates occurrences of “undecipherable markings”, pictographs, and Polynesian tattoos in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Rasmussen uses these instances in a dialogue with the contexts of Polynesian writing culture and Melville’s other works to argue that the “interlinkage of different textual traditions” demonstrated by the Ishmael’s mutuality with and salvation by the tattooed character Queequeg and with Queequeg’s similarly marked coffin “represent(s) Melville’s search for alternatives to the fatal embrace of colonialism” (137). Rasmussen concludes with a reiteration of the importance of the study of non-alphabetic Indigenous literatures and a reminder that, “even when such writing is undeciphered or no longer extant, it remains important, its transformative potential intact” (138).

Ultimately, Queequeg’s Coffin refutes Eurocentric and colonialist perspectives through an exploration of the history of non-alphabetic forms of Indigenous communication, asserts the status of such forms as methods of writing, and emphasizes the necessity of the inclusion of such rhetorics in literary studies.

Brenna O’Hara

Riley-Mukavetz, Andrea, with Geri Roossien, You Better Go See Geri: An Odawa Elder’s Life of Recovery and Resilience. Oregon State University Press, 2021.

Scheutz, Janice. Episodes in the Rhetoric of Government-Indian Relations. Praeger, 2002.

Dramatistic Analysis and the Puget Sound War, 1854-1858

In this chapter, Schuetz uses a Burkean dramatistic framework to examine the Puget Sound War (1854-1858). Schuetz focuses on the Nisqually narrative of Chief Leschi’s resistance and death as a “representative anecdote” that “sums up a prototype of a rhetorical situation” (2). As such, Schuetz claims the story captures the key features of common situations which occurred throughout the Indian Wars (2-3). 

Schuetz applies the specific components of the dramatistic framework to the Puget Sound War, including scene (3), plot (5), protagonists and antagonists (6), action (7), and denouement or resolution (8). One of the more telling moments of this section of the analysis is the breakdown of protagonist and antagonist: “Protagonists refer to the leading actors in a government-Indian relations drama…military generals, governors, peace commissioners, and congressional leaders. Antagonists were the forces who opposed or competed with the protagonists…outspoken chiefs who refused to submit to government control” (6). This assignment of protagonist/antagonist occurs without any marked reflexivity but seems to be justified by the legibility/circulation of government voices which had “the advantage of written language” whereas Indians “made their positions clear through their nonverbal resistance and through the voices of their allies” (7).  

Scheutz’s then shifts to “dramatistic movement theory” which evokes different stages: “inception, crisis, consummation, redress, and redemption” (9). At this point Schuetz also brings in the concept of the scapegoat, arguing the government’s prosecution and subsequent killing of Chief Laschi functioned rhetorically as a “ritualistic cleansing” of the social order itself (13). Chief Laschi articulated his own defense using “strategies of image restoration” that were somewhat successful as evidenced by popular media channels picking up and circulating his defense (18-19). Ultimately, the defense failed and Chief Laschi’s death marked a dramatistic temporary resolution (22) that was engendered by legal and political maneuvering and the exercise of social control. 

Kristen Wheaton

Rhetorical Genres and the Sioux Uprising, 1862

Leaning on Bahktin’s approach to genre, which acknowledges genre’s dependence on social dialogic, Schuetz argues particular genres circulated according to both colonial and Sioux expectations and needs throughout the Sioux Uprising (1862) (26-27). As genre legibility depends on coherence to socio-cultural norms, Schuetz historicizes the traditions and social behaviors of the Santee Sioux before moving to discuss the various genres. 

First, treaties are analyzed (28-32). She argues treaty ceremonies were performative, where form was considered more important that content (30) as “the festival-like atmosphere of the treaty signing concealed some of the duplicitous goals of both the government and the Indians”, goals that were almost always at odds with one another (29). Accordingly, treaties contain conflicting rhetorical strategies: “promises and threats” (30) encoded through legal form and style. 

Another genre –one Schuetz labels as “incomplete” (32) – is the eyewitness account. In this genre, isolated “fragments” are bound together in order to make sense of an event. These fragments are marked by the rhetor’s judgement (37). Because eyewitness accounts are necessarily impacted by point of view, style and tone can be employed to reinforce particular needs and/or themes as made clear in her analysis of Mrs. L. Eastlick’s account of torture during the war (35). Such accounts derive authority by demonstrating shared community values as shown in Big Eagle and other Sioux leaders’ public discourse (35-36).  

Schuetz also analyzes “legal proceedings” (38-48). Proceedings were limited by the instability of the court system at the time. The Mankato trials were especially problematic, pushing against the boundaries of the genre, as the Sioux defendants were denied basic legal protections (such as legal counsel or other basic measures typically in-place) (39-40). The genres ultimately bent more to the goals of the government. As a result of these trials, 38 Sioux were executed and those spared from execution still experienced extreme consequences. 

Kristen Wheaton

Political Spectacles and the Sand Creek Massacre, 1864-1865

In this chapter, Schuetz claims that the investigations and hearings that occurred after the Sand Creek Massacre (1864-1865) functioned as “political spectacle calling into question military practices and demanding reform of the nation’s Indian policy” (49). 

Naming of the event as a “massacre” was a significant rhetorical strategy as the popular media circulated “massacre” throughout public discourse, setting up the situation according to a theme that determined how interlocuters approached their own speech acts. Rather than “establish undisputed facts…they rationalized divergent eyewitness accounts, presented polarized claims based on diverse ideological interests and set the agenda for the values they wanted the public to consider in interpreting the events” (53). Such speech acts, delivered through the theme of a massacre, operated polemically in the political spectacle. Setting the stage for the argumentative discourses were treaties, which “addressed problems by identifying who the virtuous parties were and by delineating which Indians would be rewarded and punished” and “specified power relationships” (60).  

Schuetz then discusses the rhetorical features of Sand Creek Massacre congressional hearings (61-71). Schuetz argues that these hearings demonstrate the reconstruction of truth claims according to political agenda or need (62-63). For example, leaders of the commission asked leading questions that intentionally evoked repetition of the most triggering terms in the testimonies according to the massacre theme (64-65). Additionally, Col. Chivington’s own testimony was marked by repeated defense shifting wherein the blame was continually shifted elsewhere (67-69). Yet, Chivington continued to function as the villain of the spectacle, and he was found culpable by both the hearing and the broader public of the deaths of “friendly” Indians. Schuetz argues that the nature of the public political spectacle articulates the Sand Creek Massacre as one of the key moments in Settler/Indian conflict. 

Kristen Wheaton

Colonial Discourse and the Navajo Internment, 1846-1868

In this chapter, Schuetz analyzes colonial discourses propagated by Navajo subjects and government agents between 1846 and 1859. She focuses on expeditions and treaties as sites of colonial discourse, as well as the rhetorical strategies used in discussions about slavery and Indian internment within that discourse.

Schuetz argues that “expedition reports exemplify strategies of surveillance” wherein the observer adopts a stance of control and privileged perception (77). Surveillance was compounded by a discourse of ridicule, which attempts to “[persuade] subjects of the inferiority of their values, believes and actions” (78). Ultimately, expedition reports were designed to justify the colonial project. Treaties, on the other hand “tried to make this conquest legal and to mute the Navajos” (79). Schuetz claims that through the language of colonial power, these treaties encapsulated a “lopsided discourse” by muting Navajo language practices (84). This muting instigated articulations of resistance, including raids and depredations, leading to the Navajo wars (84). 

In response, the government turned to strategies of debasement by labeling the Navajo as a “savage” people which supported further military efforts of government and settler acts of colonization (86-87). Schuetz claims the evidence of the practice of slavery was used to further debase the Navajo through propaganda (88). At the same time, however, positive experiences of those captured as slaves were used to “to show slavery served a legitimate economic and political purpose for the government” (89), a doubled discourse which allowed for the enslavement of Indian people in New Mexico despite on-going Navajo rhetorical efforts to end settler-lead slave raids. The government, represented in this section by General James Carleton, again turned to propaganda of debasement to publicly justify the resulting internment of the Navajo, also known as The Long Walk (93-97).

Kristen Wheaton

Sherzer, Joel and Anthony C. Woodbury. Native American Discourse: Poetics and Rhetoric. Cambridge, 1987. 

Stromberg, Ernest, ed. American Indian Rhetorics of Survivance: Word Magic, Word Medicine. U of Pittsburgh P, 2006. 

Wieser, Kimberly. Back to the Blanket: Recovered Rhetorics and Lived Literacies in American Indian Studies. U of Oklahoma P., 2017. 

For thousands of years, American Indian cultures have recorded their truths in the narratives and metaphors of oral tradition. Stories, languages, and artifacts, such as glyphs and drawings, all carry Indigenous knowledge, directly contributing to American Indian rhetorical structures that have proven resistant—and sometimes antithetical—to Western academic discourse. It is this tradition that Kimberly G. Wieser seeks to restore in Back to the Blanket, as she explores the rich possibilities that Native notions of relatedness offer for understanding American Indian knowledge, arguments, and perspectives. 

Back to the Blanket analyzes a wide array of American Indian rhetorical traditions, then applies them in close readings of writings, speeches, and other forms of communication by historical and present-day figures. Wieser turns this pathbreaking approach to modes of thinking found in the oratory of eighteenth-century Mohegan and Presbyterian cleric Samson Occom, visual communication in Laguna Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead, patterns of honesty and manipulation in the speeches of former president George W. Bush, and rhetorics and relationships in the communication of Indigenous leaders such as Ada-gal’kala, Tsi’yugûnsi’ni, and Inoli. 

Exploring the multimodal rhetorics—oral, written, material, visual, embodied, kinesthetic—that create meaning in historical discourse, Wieser argues for the rediscovery and practice of traditional Native modes of communication—a modern-day “going back to the blanket,” or returning to Native practices. Her work shows how these Indigenous insights might be applied in models of education for Native American students, in Native American communities more broadly, and in transcultural communication, negotiation, debate, and decision making. 

Kimberly Wieser

Warrior, Robert. The People and the Word: Reading Native Nonfiction. U of Minnesota P, 2005.

“Momaday in the Movement Years: Rereading ‘The Man Made of Words.’”

“Momaday in the Movement Years: Rereading ‘The Man Made of Words.’”

This chapter from Warrior’s monograph The People and the Word deals specifically with Momaday’s contribution to the intellectual backdrop of the Red Power movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s, specifically in terms of the publication of House Made of Dawn. It also explains the essay’s context within Momaday’s participation in the Convocation of American Indian Scholars in 1970, which was held at Princeton University. It is here where Momaday gave the lecture that would become “The Man Made of Words” essay. First, Warrior’s chapter writes of House Made of Dawn in terms of other major—and varied—Native American accomplishments in the twentieth century that include the Taos Pueblo’s regaining of the Blue Lake sacred site; the tribal Code Talkers of World War II; the takeover of Wounded Knee; the gold medal of Billy Mills; the winning of the Oscar by Buffy Sainte-Marie; and the success of Robbie Robertson of The Band. Although the stated focus of the essay is supposed to be “The Man Made of Words,” there is also a great deal of analysis spent on House Made of Dawn, especially in that it “gave Native literature a leg up on gaining literary respectability” (149). He also traces Momaday’s literary growth from the early 1960’s writing of “The Morality of Indian Hating” to the publication of the essay collection The Man Made of Words. Where some scholars, according to Warrior, have criticized Momaday for not taking a more active stance in protests such as those held by the American Indian Movement, Warrior states that “In most of his writing, Momaday steers clear of being overtly didactic and prescriptive” with Momaday’s work being that “literature and morality being tightly woven together is subtle” (160). Furthermore, Warrior brings up the notion of Momaday’s family background as having a strong knowledge of federal Indian policy through his parents’ working in the BIA educational system (161), which plays a major role as a shadowed antagonist not only within House Made of Dawn but also within “The Man Made of Words.” The example that Warrior gives about an unknown antagonist is through Momaday’s story of the Arrowmaker killing an unknown adversary due to the enemy having no knowledge of the Kiowa language (see The Way to Rainy Mountain 46-47). Not only is the story about a literal arrow maker, but it also serves as a metaphor for someone who creates literature in that they are “sharing a vital, moral positionality” (170). Ultimately, for Warrior, “The Man Made of Words” essay “is a reminder of who Native have been, a reflection of who Natives have become, and a rallying cry for who Natives can be” (178).

Brian Daffron

Wyss, Hillary. English Letters and Indian Literacies: Reading, Writing, and New England Missionary Schools, 1750-1830. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2012. 


Cobos, Casie. Embodied Storying, A Methodology For Chican@ Rhetorics: (Re)Making Stories, (Un)Mapping The Lines, And Re-Membering Bodies. Diss. Texas A & M, 2012. 

Cole, Daniel. Indian Questions: Native American Writing in Response to Removal. Diss. Fordham University, 2007.


In this dissertation, Daniel Cole performs an archaeological study of how EuroAmerican settlers, through myriad discursive strategies, including the production of a substantive amount of literary, juridical, and medical texts, attempted to construct a fixed notion of the Indian subject as atavistic, as an existential threat to the settler enterprise. However, unlike many non-native scholars, Cole’s project does not posit that Native Americans were passive victims of colonization, a powerless people without a voice. Rather, following in the footsteps of Native scholars Robert Warrior, Jace Weaver, and Craig Womack, Cole contends that Indians engaged in a form of literary nationalism, which not only challenged white representations of indigeneity, but also functioned as a strategy of survivance . Cole situates his analysis in the 1830’s, a historical moment marked by the rise of Indian captivity narratives and a paradigmatic shift in Indian-EuroAmerican relations, from assimilation to removal, evinced by the Cherokee Removal Act at the beginning of the decade. 

In the first chapter, “Indian Converts: White Indians, Hybrids, and the Rhetoric of Removal,” Cole, using Bhaba’s theory of liminality, close reads the captivity narratives of John Dunn Hunter, Mary Jemison, and John Tanner, whites who Cole argues were indigenized by their captivity experiences, whose mere existence undermined all essential categories of whiteness. However, these captivity narratives were sites of contestation between the confessant and the editor of the text. For example, Mary Jemison’s narrative, at the hands of her editor, was heavily retracted for ideological purposes that were felicitous for American nationalism. In chapter two, “Indians In-Law: Elias Boudinot’s “Address to Whites,” William Apess’ A Son of the Forrest and the Problem of Intermarriage in the Early Republic,” focuses on the colonies’ fear of miscegenation and transculturation, and how popular literature reinforced whiteness with the production of plots and themes in which marriage crises between EuroAmerican-Native American dyads are ultimately resolved by the collapse of the engagement, which Cole notes typically involves the invocation of the noble-savage, who tragically recognizes and accepts that their intermarriage is unnatural, such as in the case of Catharine Sedgwick’s classic Hope Leslie (66-7). Moreover, he presents the lives and writings of Boudinot and Apess, Indian writers who resisted colonization, as concrete examples of Native American literary nationalism. In chapter three, “Indian Remains: Desecration, Dissection, and Dispossession in Life of Black Hawk, Robert Montgomery Bird’s Nick of the Woods, and Samuel G. Morton’s Crania America,” Cole connects literary artifacts, such as Nick of the Woods, with the exhumation and trafficking of Indian skeletons and the pseudoscientific theory of polygenesis, the theory that Native Americans racial origins are from a separate genesis than that of the white race. Bird, a prominent Philadelphia physician, who authored arguably one of the most racist anti-Indian novels of the period, was in regular correspondence with the ethnologist Samuel G. Morton while he authored Crania America, a study that claimed the veracity of polygenesis theory through the comparison of Indian skulls to whites. In the final chapter, “Joe Polis’s Guidance of Thoreau in “Allegash and East Branch,” Cole problematizes the relationship of the author to the text, insisting that the text ought to be considered a co-authored text between Thoreau and Joe Polis, his Abenaki guide through the woodland rivers of Maine. For Polis is in fact the navigator of the voyage, he controls what Thoreau sees, in essence what he writes. 

Through these lines of inquiry, Cole’s dissertation helps to demystify some of the facile assumptions about the power dynamics between EuroAmericans and Native Americans, assumptions that have all too often elided or ignored the discursive practices of Natives, thus restoring Native American agency by foregrounding their writings as acts of survivance. 

Derek Bartholomew

Driskill, Qwo-Li. Yelesalehe Hiwayona Dikanohogida Naiwodusv/ God Taught Me This Song, It Is Beautiful: Cherokee Performance Rhetorics as Decolonization, Healing, and Continuance. Diss. Michigan State U, 2008. 

Enriquez-Loya, Ayde. Crossing Borders and Building Alliances: Border Discourse within Literatures and Rhetorics of Color. Diss. Texas A & M, 2012. 

Ayde Enriquez-Loya situates her dissertation as an effort to explore the connections and spaces between the disciplines of rhetoric and composition and “literatures of color” (Enriquez-Loya iii). While centering the dissertation within Indigenous and Chicana feminist work in Chapter I, she strives to define rhetorical boundaries and the gaps left by those boundaries; she urges recognition of potential alliances over the “borders” between disciplines in order to “rhetorical[ly create] and [enact] stories that defy the colonial gaze and allow us to build communities between texts, bodies, histories, and epistemologies” (27). Putting this boundary crossing into practice in the second chapter, Enriquez-Loya argues that Wendy Rose “utilizes Trickster rhetoric” by privileging “Indigenous women’s stories and center[ing] the discussion on reclamation of Indigenous women’s bodies, lands, and stories” (65). In the third chapter, she places Leslie Marmon Silko’s “rhetorical storytelling” structure from “Geronimo’s Story” in conversation with Henry David Thoreau’s autobiographical account in “The Allegash and East Branch.” This juxtaposition allows Enriquez-Loya to demonstrate connections of survivance. She argues that the “enactment of survivance… takes place when we can find ways for stories to transcend time, space, and bodies,” and continue beyond their original delivery (79). Further building on the concept of disciplinary bourderlands, she expands on the concept of “third space” in Chapter IV: “There is a third space that is created between the convergence and divergence of the text and a translation/imposed/suggestive reading of a text” (109). Through her analysis of Tino Villanueva’s poetry and the English translation of said poetry, Enri1quez-Loya highlights the usefulness of the third space in academic recognition of one’s own positionality through interpretation. In the closing chapter, she asserts that her framework of interdisciplinary alliances provides a guideline in the necessary work of decolonizing pedagogy.

Tatiana Rosillo

Haas, Angela. A Rhetoric of Alliance: What American Indians Can Tell Us about Digital and Visual Rhetoric. Diss. Michigan State. 2008.


In Angela Haas’s dissertation A Rhetoric of Alliance: What American Indians Can Tell Us About Digital and Visual Rhetoric she explores digital and visual (“dig/viz”) rhetorical sovereignty employed by American Indians, and argues “that the academy should value alternative forms of discourse, as doing so will encourage further alternative (thus, new and different) forms of intellectual production and a broader range of expression in academic work” (7). In her argument, Haas sets up what she refers to as a rhetoric of alliance between American Indian and Western rhetorics. Haas is responding to Powell’s call to “make visible the fact that some of us read and listen from a different space, and to suggest that, as a discipline, it is time we all learn to hear that difference” (Powell qtd. by Haas 34). Haas states, “American Indian rhetorics of alliance offer us some models for doing so [listening and hearing difference]” (34). Listening and hearing difference employed through rhetorics of alliance is a decolonial methodology which can and, as Haas argues, should be used to “resist the over-reliance on and reproduction of dominant Western domains of thought and knowledge-power structures in rhetoric, computers, and writing and technical communication inquiry” (ii). In looking at representations of identity and literacy and challenging colonial forces still at play in the academy, Haas’s dissertation is an essential piece of scholarship dedicated not only to “interrogating the relationships between colonialism, representation, resistance, sovereignty, literacy, technology, and identity” but also offering decolonial methodologies in nuanced, complex, yet accessible writing. 

Jordan Woodward

Jackson, Rachel C.  Red State Reclaimed: The Transrhetorical Recovery of Resistance in Oklahoma.  Diss.  University of Oklahoma, 2016.

In her dissertation, Red State Reclaimed: The Transrhetorical Recovery of Resistance in Oklahoma, Rachel Jackson argues that the rhetorics of location, specifically of Oklahoma, is critical to understanding how “local activists rhetorics cross cultural boundaries and yield cooperative alliances between distinct cultural groups” (xiii). She does this by developing a “transrhetorical analysis” to reveal how rhetorics move across many categories, such as the “historical, spatial, temporal, cultural, local, regional, national, global, as well as across disciplines”(xiii), particularly as it relates to how these activist writings and activities/histories impact student writing and the instruction of writing in Oklahoma.
Jackson starts off her dissertation by giving the reader a strong sense of place near Billings, Oklahoma and wants the reader to know that she intends on investigating how the “cultural and political histories…collide and collude in this place” and how this collision/collusion has affected how Oklahomans engage in their “rhetorical practices” (2), especially how it relates to resistance to racism and activism. She uses specific communities in Oklahoma and their ways of practicing and engaging with rhetoric to connect to the idea of using local rhetorics in the instruction of writing, overall (5). Throughout the dissertation, Jackson locates her activist rhetorical argument in specific racial/cultural communities in Oklahoma, such as the Cherokee, the Kiowa, the African-Native, as well as African-American. For example, in the section titled “Cherokee Cultural Literacy and Oklahoma as an Activist Site,” Jackson interviews local activist Charles Foster, who believes that keeping the Cherokee language and culture alive is an act of resistance in and of itself (152). Jackson shows that the values of “local literacy”—basically knowing where you are in the context of geography, culture, and history—and cultural resistance, such as the Cherokee resistance and culture, are part of her transrhetorical recovery of local rhetorics (152).

Aaron Whitestar

Lyons, Scott. Rhetorical Sovereignty: American Indian Writing as Self-Determination. Diss. Miami U, 2000. 

Powell, Malea. “I Write These Words with Blood and Bone: Two Nineteenth Century American Indian Intellectuals and a Rhetoric of Survivance. Diss. Miami U, 1998. 

Ríos, Gabriela Raquel. In Ixtli In Yollotl/ A (Wise) Face, A (Wise) Heart: (Re)Claiming Embodied Rhetorical Traditions of Anahuac and Tawantinsuyu. Diss. Texas A & M, 2012.

Chicanx scholar Gabriela Ríos opens her dissertation focusing on relationships and reclamation; she centers the focus on her relationships “with people, with knowledge, and with things… [and] between various actors that come together to create knowledge in Indigenous epistemologies” (Ríos 2). Throughout the dissertation, Ríos builds a decolonial, Indigenous centered model of theory and pedagogy. Using this model in addition to the “Nahua concept of in ixtli in yollotl (a wise face/a wise heart) and embodied rhetorics,” she offers an alternative path to both Western rhetorical study and pedagogy which focuses on reciprocal relationships (iii). The first chapter of the dissertation expands upon her connection of relationiality to rhetoric and writing studies by way of “biocultural diversity (BCD), a concept that links language, culture, and biodiversity as interrelated parts of one whole complex system” (7). This focus on relationiality shifts the study of writing to practice rather than analysis. She further asserts that a decolonial shift requires respect for knowledge from outside of the academy and “including older and contemporary relationships to technologies like codices and khipu” within writing and rhetorical discourse (27). In the second chapter, Ríos explores relationality as the basis for “Native science,” which focuses on the relationships between “language, culture, and nature as one that is connected to and emerging from the body as an episteme” (30). The third chapter explores the complication of bringing digital technologies into this relationship. Here she focuses on digital coding and khipu knotting as a challenge to what is commonly regarded as “language artefacts” in Western thought (77). After establishing the Indigenous history of tattoos within Central America, Ríos further pushes the boundaries of traditional language artefacts by making space for the embodied rhetoric possible with images in the fourth chapter. By connecting tattoos to codices, she advocates for a decolonial lens to be applied in their examination; she stresses the importance of acknowledging “the performatic, embodied, and fluid aspects of images as they were/are used by Indigenous peoples of Mexico” rather than confining them to the stagnation implied by the word “text” (82). In her conclusion, Ríos explores the difficulty in enacting Indigenous, decolonial pedagogy with her own examples, but ultimately circles back to the necessity of employing relationiality in this endeavor.

Tatiana Rosillo

Riley-Mukavetz, Andrea. Theory Begins with a Story, Too: Listening to the Lived Experiences of American Indian Women. Diss. Michigan State University, 2012.

Roppolo (Wieser), Kimberly. Collating Divergent Discourses: Positing the Critic as Culture-Broker in Reading Native American Texts. Diss. Baylor University, 2002.

Articles and Book Chapters 

Ballenger, Bruce. “Methods of Memory: On Native American Storytelling.” College English 59 (1997): 789-800.

Ballanger close reads Native American poets and authors, Joy Harjo, Paula Gunn Allen, Sherman Alexie, M. Scott Momaday, among others to demonstrate the use of storytelling as medicine, collective memory, and survivance. In particular, Ballanger is interested in the ways in which narrative can be used to conflate the past and the present and thus create a rhetorical space for recalling the past in order to construct a different future (790). What’s more, Ballanger contends that contemporary Native American stories are haunted not only with the presence of orality, with the sense of telling a story for a particular occasion or event in a given place and time, but also that these stories transmit a collective tribal history, by blurring the legendary, the historical, and the personal (793).  For Ballanger, storytelling as remembering “for many native storytellers is an effort to see what they know connects them to others, not how it sets them apart” (796).  Interestingly, he explores a dominant motif in Native American literatures, one that William Bevis calls the “homing plot,” narratives in which typically a male-protagonist returns home and attempts to place himself within his tribal community and reconnect to the past and the land (797-8). This motif, Ballanger reasons, is dominant because one of the greatest acts of violence perpetuated by settler-colonialism is not only its consolidation and misuse of public lands but also how it erases the cultural history of native peoples, one that is deeply embedded in geography as memory. Therefore, through use of narrative, the act of retelling, native peoples, according to Ballanger, can preserve their cultural sovereignty. 

Derek Bartholomew

Bartlett, Catalina, Casie Cobos, Marcos Del Hierro, Victor Del Hierro, Qwo-Li Driskill, Ayde Enriquez-Loya, Stephanie Wheeler. “The Calmécac Collective, or, How to Survive the Academic Industrial Complex through Radical Indigenous Practices.” El Mundo Zurdo 3: Selected Works from the Meetings of The Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa. Eds. Sonia Saldívar-Hull, Larissa Mercado-López, Antonia Castañeda. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 2013.

Bizzaro, Resa Crane. “Shooting Our Last Arrow: Developing a Rhetoric of Identity for Unenrolled American Indians.” College English 67.1 (2004): 61-74. Special Issue: Rhetorics From/Of Color.

In “Shooting Our Last Arrow: Developing a Rhetoric of Identity for Unenrolled American Indians”, Resa Crane Bizzaro (Cherokee, Meherrin) proposes an approach to the development of a mixed-blood identity rhetoric and uses this approach to ground an argument for the revision of tribal enrollment systems’ definitions of such identities. By tracing the evolution of Native identity rhetoric through population statistics, federal records, the works of Gerald Vizenor, and her own family’s experiences, Bizzaro presents the layered nature of cultural oppression, crediting both federal and Native government actions for contributing to the ever-lowering enrollment numbers of Native populations. An unenrolled mixed-blood herself, Bizzaro articulates her frustration with “the rhetorical dilemma of non-card-carrying Natives”, drawing upon personal struggles to outline the cultural and political necessity of mixed-blood acknowledgement and identity rhetoric (62). Bizzaro proposes a structured approach to the development of a mixed-blood rhetoric, starting with a “strong tolerance for, and acceptance of…ambiguities and contradictions” inherent to such a rhetoric (62). Her approach includes an appeal to Native Nations to “examine and review the hegemonic practices surrounding enrollment”, a request for the unenrolled to resist imposed identities by ethically constructing and accepting their own, an assertion that the unenrolled should be allowed to openly maintain and pass on cultural practices, and, finally, a plea for the revision of enrollment systems (62). Bizzaro claims that the resulting communities would allow for “greater political and cultural power” and that they “might fully establish a Native American rhetoric that takes into account issues of identity and acknowledgement, resistance, and offering support for continued survivance” (66, 73).

Brenna O’Hara

Bizzell, Patricia. “The 4th of July and the 22nd of December: The Function of Cultural Archives in Persuasion, as Shown by Frederick Douglass and William Apess.” College Composition and Communication 48.1 (1997): 44-60.

Using the speeches of both Frederick Douglas and William Apess, Patricia Bizzell illustrates how she sees trans-topical cultural knowledge – a knowledge of other cultures that extends beyond what the intended audience may presume is needed – as a rhetorical discourse capable of establishing a common ground from which a call to action can then be presented. Bizzell situates the rhetorical strategies of Douglas and Apess within the context of the composition classroom, where currently Bizzell feels an assessment of the quality of writing, rather than the quality of knowledge, is promoted as the primary pedagogical directive. By suggesting that cultural knowledge should not be overlooked in student writing and should in fact be a rhetorical practice that is encouraged, Bizzell forwards that a composition student equipped with these rhetorical strategies will be able to effectively employ a rhetoric that critiques the dominant culture and invites audiences to see multiple perspectives. Though Bizzell brings attention to how trans-topical cultural knowledge can be used and has been used as an effective and even necessary rhetorical practice in the speeches of Douglas and Apess, her proposition for how rhetoric of cultural knowledge can function pedagogically extends beyond its written and oral employment. For Bizzell, the idea of what constitutes a text should be expanded to include cultural artifacts that often serve as an expression of cultural values. In addition to using artifacts to bridge gaps in communication, she suggests that students should also use contact zones to orient their projects. Bizzell suggests that when students situate their projects within a knowledge space that emphasizes the importance of historical context(s), their composing practices can then also grant access to an audience that finds themselves unable to include themselves in the student’s culture. 

Jessica Nichols

Black, Jason Edward. “A Clash of Native Space and Institutional Place in a Local Choctaw-Upper Creek Memory Site–Decolonizing Critiques and Scholar-Activist Interventions.” American Indian Culture & Research Journal 36:3 (2012): 1-22.


Jason Edward Black’s article A Clash of Native Space and Institutional Place in a Local Choctaw-Upper Creek Memory Site: Decolonizing Critiques and Scholar Activist Interventions investigates the fundamental tension between capitalist colonial institutions and Native memory maintained within “land” and “place.” Black locates these conflicts in the specific battle for the historic preservation of land in Northport, Alabama, where a battle between the Choctaw Nation and Upper Creek Nation took place in 1785. First, Black establishes a historiographical sketch of U.S.-Native relations that he then applies to the specific circumstances of his own activist work in the preservation of land in Northport. Drawing heavily on canonical Postcolonial scholars and critical terminology, Black presents his reader with a specific call to action against colonial institutional forces, specifically located in historical preservation of Native lands and memories. While the postcolonial lens that Black utilizes in much of his scholarship could be readily replaced with the more Indigenous methodological framework that requires Black to locate his activism in specific Native spaces, the call for specific “Decolonial Disruptions” offers Cultural Studies scholars a roadmap to advocacy and activism within their communities of study. 

Matt Kliewer

---. “Authoritarian Fatherhood: Jackson’s Early Lectures to America’s Red Children.” Journal of Family History 30:3 (2005): 247-264.


This article develops the theory of authoritarian fatherhood as a framework for discussing American Federal Indian Policy during the Jacksonian administration. Black first explains three themes within the umbrella of fatherhood through the lens of psychology, postmodernism, and feminist theory; Fatherly demagoguery, the father as punisher, father as veritable guidance counselors. Black then moves into a discussion of each of these themes are they manifest in Andrew Jackson’s ‘lectures’ or policy interactions with the Native American tribes, both as Indian Agent, and as President of the United States. By pointing to each of these examples of fatherhood themes within Jackson’s interactions with Tribes, Black argues for a specific paternalistic rhetoric used purposefully by Jackson, to perpetuate the ward to guardian relationship that paints Tribal governments as inferior to the United States government. Black concludes with a three point implication for the appearance of Jacksonian authoritarian fatherhood rhetoric both during the Jackson administration and in the present day. His rhetorical analysis of the use of authoritarian fatherhood becomes a tool for breaking down colonizing patriarchy, which continues to affect Native and other minority communities today. 

---. “Indigenizing the Rhetoric and Public Address Classroom: Memory as a Native American Discursive Tactic.” Communication Teacher 27.1 (2013): 21-28.

Based in a course, “The Rhetoric of Native America,” Black strives to bring in Native rhetoric to the composition classroom through a lesson plan on memory. With the activity, an instructor takes the class through three steps: (1) the concept of memory is discussed first; (2) brief details of Simon Pokagon’s, a member of the Pottawotamie, discourse in Red Man’s Greeting (1893) and its context are explored; and (3) students are asked to convene in small groups and analyze the ways that memory functions in Pokagon’s speech. First Black outlines memory as a rhetorical tactic, situating it within the rhetorical tradition of Native American rhetors as well as the traditional mainstream of rhetorical analysis. After thoroughly exploring the rhetorical situation Pokagon’s discourse resided in and the rhetorical moves Pokagon makes by reorienting the collective memory of the audience, the instructor then allows the students to work in groups with guided questions regarding textual analysis, contextual analysis, and practical rhetorical application of the piece. Black addresses the potential drawbacks to an open-ended activity such as this, particularly regarding the specter of racial stereotyping. He then expresses the opportunity to explore the rhetorical roots of such stereotypes in order to dispel them. He also expands on the adaptability of this lesson plan and discussion template to explore how memory was employed in other native discourses, both contemporary and historical. Black states that ultimately this activity is meant to highlight Native American rhetoric in the communications and rhetorical studies classrooms.

Tatiana Rosillo

---. “Kicking Bear, ‘Address at the Council Meeting of the Hunkpapa Sioux, Great Sioux Reservation.’” Voices of Democracy Journal 3 (2008): 34-49.


In his article “Kicking Bear, ‘Address at the Council Meeting of the Hunkpapa Sioux Great Sioux Reservation,’” Jason Edward Black analyzes Kicking Bear’s rhetorical strategy for reviving the Ghost Dance, and shows how Kicking Bear led the Ghost Dance Movement in an effort to stop white settlers from encroaching on Native lands. Black argues that Kicking Bear appropriated the U.S. government’s concept of Manifest Destiny to convince the Hunkpapa Sioux of the Ghost Dance’s value. While the U.S. used Manifest Destiny to convince white setters that God had chosen them as superior beings to inhabit the United States, Kicking Bear used a nonlinear oration of the past, present, and future to argue that the Sioux were actually the chosen people to inhabit the land. Black claims, “Kicking Bear built identification with his audience by enlisting them as veritable evangelists; they, as the chosen, were to spread news of the ghosts” (41); Kicking Bear argued that only by performing the Ghost Dance would Native nations be able to satisfy the Great Spirit and see the promise land rid of “the white man” (41). Black highlights the legacy of Kicking Bear by stating that government eventually banned the Ghost Dance because government leaders feared the Dance’s power to unite Native tribes. Black claims that the legacy continues to live on, as the Ghost Dance was revived by AIM in the 1960s and 70s as a way to once again unite tribes against the tyranny of the “United States, Canada, and other colonialist governments of Central and South America” (44). 

Taylor Beth Ellis

---. “The Mascotting of Native America: Construction, Commodity, and Assimilation.” American Indian Quarterly 26:4 (2002): 605-622.

Jason Edward Black’s article “The “Mascotting” of Native America” discussed the use of the Native and Native tribe names in collegiate athletics. The author pushes for using the Native as a symbol and not a mascot. He explains that there have been protests from groups like the American Indian Movement, the Conference on the Elimination of Racist Mascots, and some smaller groups, on the use of the Native image as a mascot. Black’s article focused on Florida State University and the University of Illinois. He used these universities because their mascots stand for actual tribes and because universities want identification and immersion with their members, which is why professional sports teams were not picked to use as an example. Black explains that college students become part of the name, while fans of sports teams can not become a member. For example, he says that when students set foot on the Florida State campus they become Seminole and when they leave, they stay a Seminole. Black goes on to state that the scariest of all stereotypes and prejudices happen when the public doesn’t recognise the problem of when groups are being stereotyped and used. He says that using a Native or tribe as a mascot bolsters white power and weakens indigenous power, but that because it is seen in popular culture so much, some people do not recognize the problem. Black says that by mascotting the US Indian, it removes the Native from their cultural heritage. He points out that the Native is an invisible minority for most Americans and is a victim of stereotyping. Black also points out that universities have turned Indian images and culture into a commercial used to sell objects and make a profit for themselves, but also states that Indian mascots are mostly good; that they must be a noble Indian, not the stereotypical savage Indian represented in the past. Black then claims that the Native image being sold is a new way to oppress the Indian.

Stephanie Salyer

---. “Memories of the Alabama Creek War, 1813-1814: U.S. Governmental and Native Rhetorical Identities at the Horseshoe Bend National Military Park.” American Indian Quarterly 33:2 (2009): 59-108.


In “Memories of the Alabama Creek War, 1813-1814: U.S. Governmental Native Identities at the Horseshoe Bend National Military Park,” Jason Edward Black asserts that although museums are largely viewed as sites of historical truth, they are often full of rhetoric that seeks to support (or perhaps justify) all violent acts of war that through valorizing the acts which anyone not belonging to the winning nation would likely deem reprehensible (206). Through an analysis of the Horseshoe Bend National Military Park (HBNMP), which commemorates the Creek War of 1813-14, Black shows how the park’s texts attempt to valorize the U.S. troops and the lower Creeks who fought against the Red Sticks. His analysis seeks to show that the museum’s texts portray the U.S. troops and their Creek allies as daring and brave men who deserve the utmost honor and respect. Black then claims that some HBNMP texts that can be found online or obtained at the museum (but are not “fixed [to] museum panels”) provide a Native perspective of the war. These texts, which offer a rhetoric of resistance and survivance, attempt to correct the inaccurate claim that the Red Sticks were “aggressors,” and instead paint them as “defenders of their homelands” (215, 219). After this analysis, Black contends that museums are rich intersections of cultures, and that they can be examined to illuminate new accounts that correct the inaccurate cultural narratives created and circulated by proponents of the U.S. expansion. 

Taylor Beth Ellis

---. “Native Resistive Rhetoric and the Decolonization of American Indian Removal Discourse.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 95:1 (2009): 66-88. 


Jason Edward Black’s article “Native Resistive Rhetoric and the Decolonization of American Indian Removal Discourse”discusses and analyzes how Native American tribes, specifically the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole, responded to policies of removal, specifically the strategies of both speaking within and subverting dominant white nationalist discourses that fueled removal. While Black claims, potentially problematically, that these efforts represent the decolonization of these larger hegemonic discourses, the essay offers both historical and prescriptive rhetorical ruptural strategies. Written primarily for an audience outside the field of Native Studies, Black spends much of the beginning of the article deconstructing colonial stereotypes of the silent or violent Native and contextualizing Indian Removal. Later, Black expertly utilizes primary historical documents to display Native use of ideologies of Republicanism, Territorialism, Paternalism and Divine Authority to resist removal. By displaying how tribes employed the irony and contradictory nature of US policy regarding American Indians, Black adds his voice to such scholars as Malea Powell and Gerald Vizenor, though neither appear in his bibliography. 

Matt Kliewer

---. “Plenary Rhetoric in Indian Country: The Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock Case and the Codification of a Weakened Native America.” Advances in the History of Rhetoric 11 (2011): 59-80.


Jason Edward Black works to bring attention to how the plenary power used to codify and assimilate specifically the Kiowa, but also the Comanche and Apache Tribal Nations, in the Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock case shaped the commodification and “othering” of all American Indian Tribal Nations. “Indian agent David Jerome visited the Kiowa Nation in September 1892 to get Lone Wolf and other Kiowa leaders to sign an allotment agreement; per Medicine Lodge protocol he needed three-fourths of the male electorate to consent” (Black 65). Despite both Jerome’s promise that the Kiowa would have food and clothing, as well as the threat that if they did not give up their land, their children would die, three-fourths of the male electorate did not consent to the allotment agreement. Jerome was persistent and eventually obtained fraudulent signatures to get what he needed. In response, Lone Wolf took his case to the Supreme Court, who ignored the fraudulent document obtained by Jerome. The issue became not whether or not the document was fraudulent and in violation of the Medicine Lodge Treaty, but rather, if Congress had been granted, by the U.S. government, the ultimate plenary power to abrogate treaties. Ultimately, the answer was ‘yes.’ Because the American Indians acted in ‘childlike’ ways (e.g. were incapable of ‘developing’ land they occupied), the U.S. government claimed that it had to take on a paternalistic role until American Indian Tribal Nations were assimilated and acted “civilized” and “moral” which Black states were “Evidently, [characteristics] equated with Americanism and Christianity” (69). Once assimilated and granted citizenship, Black forwards that American Indians were still not granted land rights, and the commodification of American Indians instead progressed as the U.S. government reduced them to producers of the United States’ material wealth.

Jessica Nichols

---. “Remembrances of Removal: Native Resistance to Allotment and the Unmasking of Paternal Benevolence.” Southern Communication Journal 72:2 (2007): 1-18.

In his article “Remembrances of Removal: Native Resistance to Allotment and the Unmasking of Paternal Benevolence,” Jason Edward Black argues that the Native Americans of 1887 relied on their collective and cultural memories of the 1830 Indian Removal Act in order to resist the 1887 Dawes Act and that it was this remembrance that allowed them to disprove the “paternal benevolence” of the government and it’s intentionality of the Dawes Act (186). Black first locates his argument within the historical context of what the Dawes Act was as well as how the act was written, which focused on the Act’s advantages towards Native Americans instead of on the benefits for the United States. This gives the appearance of the “paternal benevolence” that Black speaks of (186). Black connects this particular brand of benevolence to the rhetoric from the 1830s when the government passed the Indian Removal Act, so that Natives will be safe from encroaching settlers and locates the connection of both the Removal Act and the Dawes Act within the frame of the United States’ expansionist ideologies (a la Manifest Destiny) under the guise of benevolent paternalism (186).
After contextualizing and connecting the Dawes Act and the Indian Removal Act to the government’s paternalistic and expansionist ideologies, Black delves into his argument on how Natives resisted using their collective memories of past experiences with the government’s paternal acts and how it negatively impacted them and positively impacted the government. To do so, Black differentiates between history (a supposed objective look at the past) and collective memory, which is the “ongoing, active past that contributes to present and future public cultures” (192) and moves toward how Natives during this era used this collective memory to try to combat the government’s action by calling attention to the events of what happened when the government attempted to be paternal and benevolent before, during, and after the Removal Act. To do so, Black specifically draws on speeches and other material from contemporaneous Native figures such as Sarah Winnemucca, Gibson Jack, and Young Joseph.
Black does admit that while the resistance by collective memory did not do much in the way of stopping the Dawes Act (191), it did help to redefine and reposition Native identity in regards to non-Native identity. He ends with the possibility that this redefining and repositioning could be seen even today since the Dawes Act is “rarely remembered as a successful, positive and benevolent policy” (200) and that it could all be due to Native resistance by collective memory.

Aaron Whitestar

---. “Re/Performing and Re/Claiming Native America: Image Events in the Thanksgiving Day of Mourning Protest.” Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing and Culture 6:2 (2009).


In his article “Re/Performing and Re/Claiming Native America: Image Events in the Thanksgiving Day of Mourning Protest,” Jason Edward Black examines the ways in which Native American protests speak to both Native and non-Native audiences. Black demonstrates how colonial forces have misappropriated elements of Native American culture, and misrepresented Native identities through movies, mascots, and holiday celebrations. Black then argues that Native protests seek to correct these misrepresentations through culturally accurate performances. Black examines the United American Indians of New England’s (UAINE) annual Thanksgiving Day protest at Plymouth Rock to demonstrate how the protest performances can contain both internal and external rhetoric. During the protest, UAINE takes over Plymouth Rock and covers it in dirt “to symbolize the spiritual burial of European America”. Black argues that this demonstration speaks to Native audiences by bringing them together for a common cause while also correcting non-Native misconceptions of Thanksgiving as a joyous holiday where Native people were treated fairly. Black shows how the UIANE’s tradition of allowing elders to speak about indigenous life during the Day of Mourning protest speaks to Native children by showing them the importance of their culture. Black further contends that this public demonstration allows non-Native audiences to also be educated about indigenous cultures. Black asserts that continued protests can confront Native stereotypes while also reminding Native Americans to be proud of their identities. 

Taylor Beth Ellis 

—. “Rhetorical Circulation, Native Authenticity, and Neocolonial Decay: The Case of Chief Seattle’s Controversial Elegy.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 15:4 (2012): 635-646. 

---. “Sacagawea as Commodity, Currency, and Cipher: A Cultural-Feminist Reading of the U.S. Mint’s Gold Dollar.” International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics 1:2 (2005): 226-230.


Jason Edward Black’s article Sacagawea as Commodity, Currency, and Cipher: Consequences of the US Mint’s Gold Dollar for American Indian Women provides readers with an important and intelligent critical and contextual reading of Sacagawea’s minting onto the US dollar coin. A notable historian, Black views this latest portrayal of Sacagawea as an example of “[a]ppropriation of a lived context, provided in this instance by gender and ethnicity, is exploited for material gain (227). In this brief article, Black borrows from Goldman et al. the lens of commodity feminism and attempts to indigenize this concept through a reading of Sacagawea’s image on the US dollar coin. While the addition of Sacagawea to the new dollar received much criticism at the time from a variety of different sources, Black locates this conversation in a scholarly discourse, arguing that the use of Sacagawea to promote US nationalism further commodifies and colonizes the image and history of Native Americans. By choosing Sacagawea as the face of the new monetary coin, she is removed from her real historical “lived context” and transformed into something the “government controls, handles, collects, and assigns value” (227). Concluding that this process of supposedly honoring Sacagawea continues the same type of colonial erasure and espousal of hegemonic historical narratives meant to bolster American Exceptionalism, Black claims that the coin is a cipher “through which America commemorates its own liberty” (229). While Indigenous feminist voices would provide for an interesting and more fully realized reading (after all, the title of this article claims they are the ones who are to experience the consequences of this image) of the dollar coin, Black’s attempted Indigenization of Commodity Feminism stands as a strong critical endeavor. 

Matt Kliewer

---. “Symbolic Suicide as Mortification and Transformation: The Conciliatory (Yet) Resistant Surrender of Maka-tai-mesh-ekia-kiak.” Kenneth Burke Journal 2:1 (2005).

In his article, “Symbolic Suicide as Mortification and Transformation: The Conciliatory (Yet) Resistant Surrender of Maka-tai-mesh-ekia-kiak,” Jason Edward Black argues that Maka-tai-mesh-ekia-kiak, or Chief Black Hawk, commits suicide symbolically by surrendering, not as the popular western narrative asserts, but as resistance. Utilizing the Burkean rhetorical method and “conceptions of cultural hybridity,” Black explores the ways in which this resistance is revealed through Black Hawk’s “surrender rhetoric” (“Symbolic Suicide…”).
Through this analysis, Black shows that Black Hawk, through his surrender, falls on his proverbial sword to shift blame from the Sauks to himself, thereby completing “Burke’s order-guilt-purification cycle” so that the new order of the “American hierarchy and Sauk sovereignty” would be restored (“Symbolic Suicide…”). Black asserts, through rhetorically listening to Black Hawk’s words, that Black Hawk engages in a form of hybrid culture and cultural transformation, as first the Sauk Chief and then as an American dependent, to shift the western narrative to show the conditions in which the Black Hawk War came to be and offered a critique of western ways and narratives.
Black furthers his assertion, by pointing out Black Hawk’s rhetoric in his surrender, that even though Black Hawk surrendered and though the Sauk were physically defeated, they have not suffered a spiritual defeat in that they will not submit “passively to the United States” by exhorting the courageousness and righteousness of the Sauk warriors (“Symbolic Suicide…”).
Black calls for more work to be done on the subject of cultural hybridity and the transformation, as shown in Black Hawk’s move from Chief to American dependent, and its place, even as surrender, as a challenge and resistance to the mainstream, invoking W.E.B. Dubois’ “double consciousness” to subvert the non-Native narratives of eradication (qtd. in “Symbolic Suicide…”).

Aaron Whitestar

Blanche, Jerry D. “Ignoring It Won’t Make It Go Away.” Journal of American Indian Education 12.1 (1972): 1-4.


Jerry D. Blanche, in “Ignoring It Won’t Make It Go Away,” calls for major restructuring of the way schools teach history. Blanche illuminates the often ignored or corrupted way that Native Americans are discussed in both high schools and colleges. He establishes two facts: “(1) American Indians have been misrepresented or ignored in history books and courses. (2) Ample material is available to rescind this discriminatory and pseudo-intellectual practice”(2). Blanche argues that not only is American Indian history ignored in classrooms, but rhetoricians all too often dismiss Native voices and study as well. The process of misrepresenting and ignoring Native voices and history in the teachings of school curriculums has allowed for a distorted and misrepresented “history of American life, culture and tradition” that perpetuates stereotypes of American Indians (3). Blanche insists upon the importance and extreme relevance of Native American voices to be added to discussions/teachings of American history and departments of rhetoric. Blanche calls upon these fields to begin restructuring and practicing nondiscrimination instead of just “hypothetically preaching it” (3). 

Allison Nepomnick

Cobb, Amanda J. “Powerful Medicine: The Rhetoric of Comanche Activist LaDonna Harris.” Studies in American Indian Literatures 18.4 (2006): 63- 87.


This article is an analysis of the contemporary rhetorical presence of LaDonna Harris. Amanda Cobb opens with a brief acknowledgment of the various scholarly work that has been conduct on early 19th and twentieth century American Indian Rhetoric, and call for more contemporary rhetorical studies to be conducted in the academy. The first section of this article offers background of Comanche Native American sovereignty activist LaDonna Harris. Cobb, emphasizes Harris’s behind the scenes nature of activism and explains why that is equally important leadership role as other more public names in Native leadership like Wilma Mankiller, or Russel Means. Cobb moves into a discussion of Harris’ tenure at Washington D.C. , arguing for Harris’ vital rhetorical work in re-shaping the connotation of academic terminology such as “self-determination” and “sovereignty”, to be more inclusive to Native people’s needs.Section two of this articles explores further emphasizes LaDonna Harris’ connection to her Comanche culture, and how the cultural connection influenced and her rhetorical work as a political activist. The third and fourth sections of this article offer a rhetorical analysis of Harris’ involvement with the non-profit organization American Indian Opportunities (AIO) and the four main categories of publications that came out of this organization under Harris’ leadership. Cobb offers an in-depth rhetorical analysis of these publications, continuously connects the analyzed material to Harris’ culturally influenced leadership style.

Davina Caddell

Cole, Daniel. “Writing Removal and Resistance: Native American Rhetoric in the Composition Classroom.” College Composition and Communication 63.1 (2011): 122-44.

In his article, Daniel Cole analyzes his “design and implementation of a composition course focused on the Native American rhetorical device of survivance at work in debates on Indian removal and U.S.-Indian relations in general,” noting that “the course improved writing and thinking skills” and “the study of Native American rhetorical strategies renders the Western rhetorical tradition not only as a framework for inquiry but as an object of analysis and critique itself” (122). His goal of the course was to have his students “engage critically with that ideology and examine the ideas with which a great many of them had been taught to identify” (Cole 123). Cole begins by outlining the methodology behind his course before diving into the course design and the assigned readings. He chose texts that dealt with the Cherokee removal policy and “the wider ‘Indian Question’ as a whole” (128). Cole goes on to recount class discussions, noting that students seemed hesitant to differing perspectives (131). Cole describes pushing his students to make connections with the stories they were reading and discussing in class, and he notes that students were sympathetic to and connected to Apess (133-134). He concludes his article by looking at student writing and how it improved over the course of the semester. Cole is careful to address the counterargument of using Western analysis on Native texts, citing that these texts were “addressed to a largely white audience,” which shows that “Native rhetors often were compelled to generate ‘oppositional discourse,’” which is “writing that advances indigenous concerns by engaging the dominant culture’s language, idiom, and rhetoric” (135-136). The author illustrates the students’ engagement with the texts by highlighting several examples of student writing, using his last example of Kathleen as a way to show the growth of critical thinking and writing skills that this course allows for. Cole concludes that a “more complete engagement with Native and indigenous rhetorics not only holds out opportunities to make students better writers, but it also carries the potential to make us better teachers and scholars in our field of composition and rhetoric” (142).

Elisabeth Murphy

Elder, Cristyn L., Alexandra Hidalgo, and Laurie A. Pinkert. “American Indian Caucus: ‘We Wanted to Have an Open and Welcoming Space’–An Interview with Malea Powell.” Listening to Our Elders: Working and Writing for Change. Blackmon, Samantha, Crisitina Kirklighter, and Steve Parks. Syracuse: New City Community Press, 2011.

Elliot, Michael. “‘This Indian Bait’: Samson Occom and the Voice of Liminality.” Early American Literature 29.3 (1994): 233-253. 

Elrod, Eileen Razzari. “‘I Did Not Make Myself So . . .’: Samson Occom and American Religious Autobiography.’” Christian Encounters with the Other. Ed. John C. Hawley. New York: New York UP, 1998. 135-149.


Eileen Razzari Elrod’s essay “‘I Did Not Make Myself So . . .’: Samson Occom and American Religious Autobiography” examines the “rhetorical map of the muddied notion of self” in Occom’s “A Short Narrative of My Life” (137). Elrod’s essay begins by focusing on religious autobiographies as a genre, and places Occom’s narrative in conversation with Jonathan Edward’s religious autobiography in order to examine the rhetorical strategies of both authors. Edward’s piece focuses on his “internal condition” and is ultimately a celebration of God while Occom’s focuses on the external, material conditions. Her essay demonstrates how this external focus exposes the racism of his fellow missionaries. Elrod claims that while Edward’s autobiography places God as an active agent, Occom’s places his fellow missionaries as the agents. She contends that his final claim “I did not make myself so” emphasizes the overt racism of the other missionaries in order to show that “God may have ordained his racial identity, but the missionaries have ordained his impoverished circumstances” (146). 

Taylor Beth Ellis

Gibson, Danna. “The Community of the Eastern Cherokee: Enacting Community via Discourse.” American Communication Journal 2.1 (2000). Web.

Haas, Angela M. “Wampum as Hyptertext: An American Indian Intellectual Tradition of Multimedia Theory and Practice.” Studies in American Indian Literatures (SAIL) 19.4 (2007): 77-100. Print.

 —. “Race, Rhetoric, and Technology: A Case Study of Decolonial Technical Communication Theory, Methodology, and Pedagogy.” Journal of Business & Technical Communication. 26.3 (2012): 277-310. Web. 

Howes, Franny. “Imagining a Multiplicity of Visual Rhetorical Traditions: Comics Lessons From Rhetoric Histories.” ImageText: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies. 5.3 (2010).

Howes explores the connection between comic studies and visual rhetorical studies of Indigenous texts. Beginning with an overview of the often “Eurocentric” history of rhetorical and comics studies, Howe then moves on to propose a decolonial approach to studying comics. She asserts that “indigenous histories of rhetoric, of meaning-making practices, of history, and of writing” can provide insight into the opportunities of comics in the modern era. By examining imagetext from different historical origins, Howes offers a visual rhetorical theory as “a tool to investigate ways people are bonded in representing themselves and others in a visual way.” Through this theory, Howe investigates commonalities in disparate visual storytelling traditions and seeks to find connections between multiple visual media forms. After establishing the performed nature of Mexica reading through mnemonic codexes, she identifies echoes of that same referential tradition in Guillermo Gomez-Peña’s Codex Espangliensis and one of her own comics based off of indigenous rhetorical traditions. In her comic “Nonsense Comix 6: Oh shit, I’m in grad school…” she set out to create a mnemonic for rhetorical theory she learned in that particular context, a rhetoric class. By utilizing “laconic images and terse phrases”, she attempted to create a text that would trigger memories about rhetorical theory (Howe). She concludes by pushing for a decolonial approach to the study of comics and other forms of visual rhetoric to be seriously considered.

Tatiana Rosillo

Jackson, Rachel C. and Phil Bratta.  “Decolonial Directions: Rivers, Relationships, and Realities of Community Engagement on Indigenous Lands.” Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics. Special Issue: Curation. Ed. Ames Hawkins and Maria T. Novotny. 4:1 (May 2020).    

[Jackson, Rachel C. “Decolonizing Community Writing with Community Listening: Story, Transrhetorical  and Indigenous Cultural Literacy Activism.”  Community Literacy Journal.  Special Issue: Community Resistance, Listening.  Ed. Jenn Fishman and Lauren Rosenberg.  13:1 (Dec. 2018).  37 – 54.”]

This article places Kiowa elder Dorothy Whitehorse Delaune at the center of an argument for decolonizing rhetorical listening and literacy through a community-based approach that requires active listening and building upon a collective body of Kiowa knowledge through traditional storytelling. It builds upon collaborative storytelling concepts established by Gus Palmer, Jr., in his work Telling Stories the Kiowa Way, where those who listen to Kiowa stories are expected to be active listeners and occasional respondents. Jackson expands upon this concept, using the model of Indigenous resistance to settler-colonialism, through Delaune and the connections made with her father, Charley Whitehorse; her Kiowa grandfather (father’s uncle) Tseñt’aide (Whitehorse II); and the Kiowa leader Setañgya (Sitting Bear). One of the ways this is done is through Charley Whitehorse’s use of the Setañgya Song; the application of the Ohomah Lodge Resistance Song; and stories about Native American Church meetings in which the ceremonial tipi had to be taken down before dawn in order to avoid harassment from Anadarko agency officials (see Meadows’s Kiowa Military Societies for lyrics and context to Setañgya’s Song and the Ohomah Lodge Resistance Song). Thus, the stories are an extension of Kiowa epistemology into contemporary times. Furthermore, Jackson and Delaune’s article goes into a description of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s Kiowa Clemente course as a way to disseminate knowledge of Kiowa language and practice, especially when the Kiowa students of the class made the decision to not use works from the Western literary canon as part of the curriculum and instead focus on what is Kiowa. 

Brian Daffron


—-. “Decolonizing Place and Race: Racial Resentments, Local Histories, and Transrhetorical  Analysis.”  Rhetoric Review.  Special Issue: Racial Resentments.  Ed. Kathleen Welch and Meta Carstarphen.  36:4 (Oct. 2017).  292 – 301.

Dr. Rachel C. Jackson’s (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) article, “Decolonizing Place and Race: Racial Resentments, Local Histories, and Transrhetorical Analysis,” addresses the national issue of white racism as well as racial resentments that have come into existence as a direct result. She extends “transrhetorical analysis” from Krista Ratcliffe’s concept of rhetorical listening, a concept intended to facilitate cross-cultural communication via discussion of local examples. Jackson particularly focuses upon the 2015 viral video of former Oklahoma University chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity in which a fraternity chant extols lynching as preferable to integration of the fraternity.
This article focuses upon place and the relationship place has to racist rhetoric and antiracist tactics. Using transrhetorical analysis, Jackson examines the ways in which “rhetorics change across location—with rhetors adapting, co-opting, or otherwise modifying concepts, terms, and tactics as they move in and out of rhetorically connected contexts shaped by historical experiences” (293). Jackson posits that a national focus upon white racism blurs the local histories that offer nuance to how different locations and peoples experience the colonial discourse. The master narrative that accompanies settler colonialism is intended to disrupt and erase local experiences, situating distinctly different experiences with racism under one umbrella. Using the example of the town-hall meeting held at Oklahoma University just three days after the viral video surfaced, Jackson highlights the reality of myriad experiences in one specific locale and their different experiences with white racism.
Jackson claims that a focus upon local locations as “discrete rhetorical locations within broader national frames” will disrupt the misunderstanding of local experience as mundane or normal. This disruption “enacts the decolonial imperative by returning the scholarly conversation about race to the Indigenous landscapes and settler colonial contexts within which white racism occurs” (297). She concludes the article by positing that a piece of resolving racial resentments requires a focus upon race and racism that takes into account the regional complexities and the “disrupt[tion of] notions of ownership imparted by settler colonialism” (300).
Jackson calls for us to give attention to our own home spaces by examining them in both local and national perspectives of how to deconstruct white racial erasure of the local identity and experience. By observing consistencies and differences among multiple locations, local histories and experiences can be shared and used to rewrite the master narrative of settler colonialism.

Jacob Witt

—-.  “Locating Oklahoma: Critical Regionalism and Transrhetorical Analysis in the Composition Classroom.”  College Composition and Communication.  Special Issue: Locations of Writing. 66:2 (Dec. 2014).  301 – 326

—-. “The People Who Live Here: Localizing Rhetorical Texts in Gl/Oklahoma Classrooms.”  Working  English in Rhetoric and Composition: Global-local Contexts, Commitments, Consequences.  Eds. Bruce Horner and Karen Kopelson.  Southern Illinois UP.  July 2014.  90 – 102.

—-. “Resisting Relocation: Placing Leadership on Indigenous Land.”  College English.  Special Issue: Leadership. Ed. Tom Miller and Joddy Murray.  79:5 (May 2017).  495 – 511.

In her article, “Resisting Relocation: Placing Leadership on Decolonized Indigenous Landscapes,” Dr. Rachel C. Jackson (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) focuses upon the importance of story, place, and leadership amongst multiple Native American communities both within and outside of academia. She specifically discusses her and her family’s history with place as well as Kiowa relationships with story, information she learned through relationships with Kiowa community members and leaders.
Throughout this article, Jackson also takes aim at the inherent settler colonial practices of travelling to new locations for “enrichment” as an academic, thereby serving as a reinforcement of colonial practices that sever the connection to cultural place and tradition. Jackson states that, “sustaining local engagements is vital if we are to do what we can to advance the project of decolonizing higher education” (506). However, she follows this assertion by noting that some scholars have been able to participate in this travelling while still maintaining collaborative relationships with community. While this has been possible for some, Jackson reiterates the importance of being able to remain in place for the Indigenous scholar to both grow as a person and academic as well as being able to advance decolonization.
The brunt of Jackson’s article is focused upon the connection decolonization has to place and story. Jackson asserts that, “story is an Indigenous rhetorical practice that deepens collaboration by inviting others to engage in the process of relating one’s individual experience to the collective, including those who have come before” (498). This article operates as a collaboration of stories, brought to the reader to engage with and in by Jackson’s gathering of multiple voices from multiple tribal perspectives: Ellen Cushman (Cherokee), Dr. Gus Palmer (Kiowa), Malea Powell (Indiana Miami, Eastern Shawnee, and Euroamerican ancestry), Jackson herself, as well as others.
Jackson posits that “stories provide interpretive frames that teach, persuade, and build the collective, but only to the extent to which we listen to them and compose them collaboratively” (499). The connection to the places where these stories originate and are intricately connected to is in direct confrontation to what Jackson describes as “master narratives” of settler colonial methods that “deaden the landscape” wherever they are implemented in order to remove the Indigenous peoples already there (503-4).

Jacob Witt

—-. “The Story of a Song: Transrhetorical Resistance, Decolonization, and Kiowa Rhetoric.”   Special Issue: Decolonizing Rhetorics.  Ed. Ellen Cushman and Heather Brooke Adams.  Rhetoric Review 38:1 (Feb. 2019).  4 – 7. 

—-. “YEE P’AY GYAH MAW TAME AIM: The Kiowa Clemente Course in the Humanities and Two Perspectives on Poverty.” Journal of Educational Controversy. Woodring College of Education. Western Washington University. 4:1 (Winter 2009).

In her article, “YEE P’AY GYAH MAW TAME AIM: The Kiowa Clemente Course in the Humanities and Two Perspectives on Poverty,” Dr. Rachel Jackson (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) advocates for the necessity of multi-perspective approaches in the teaching of humanities and supplements her argument using her own Kiowa Clemente Course classroom’s discussion of poverty rhetoric. Using the Caddo ceremonial Turkey Dance as a scaffold, Jackson asserts the importance of the consideration of multiple perspectives and rhetorics in the cultivation of holistic understanding. Her classroom exercises include an examination of the Native perspectives foregone in Oklahoma’s centennial celebrations and a reading of William Carlos Williams’ “Pastoral” and Toni Cade Bambara’s “The Lesson” in the context of the Census Bureau’s poverty statistics for Caddo County. Jackson uses her students’ feedback to strengthen her argument, offering their contrast of capitalistic (Western) and cooperative communitarian (Native) viewpoints of poverty to exemplify her methodology. Drawing from the work of Kiowa Elder Alecia Keahbone Gonzales and Kiowa scholar Jay Goombi, Jackson emphasizes the importance of teaching multiple worldviews by correlating a multi-perspective understanding with student and community empowerment. All three scholars assert that is only by Western dominance that Kiowas face not just economic poverty but also KAW ON, or the Kiowa concept of being culturally and spiritually poor. The three are also in agreement in arguing that the solution for these struggles can be found by ennobling the Kiowas of Caddo County with knowledge of “both their own ways and the ways of the West” and “respect for their perspectives and…a broader, more accurate version of democracy” (Jackson, 6). Ultimately, Jackson’s article calls for a more holistic understanding of underrepresented Native perspectives and champions the incorporation of multiple cultural perspectives in the classroom as a means to enact beneficial personal and community change.

Brenna O’Hara

Justice, Daniel Heath. “Rhetorical Removals.” Studies in American Indian Literatures, vol. 17, no. 4, University of Nebraska Press, 2005, pp. 144-52,

King, Lisa. “Speaking Sovereignty and Communicating Change: Rhetorical Sovereignty and the Inaugural Exhibits at the NMAI.” American Indian Quarterly 35.1 (2011): 75-103.

King explores the definition and function of rhetorical sovereignty—in relation to cultural sovereignty—as she examines the development and curation of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). In her exploration, King addresses the framework of sovereignty, how NMAI can and should address non-Native audiences, the history of museums and Indigenous peoples, and NAGPRA, among other issues. By exploring these issues, King is able to put into perspectives the challenges museums and Native communities face in the creation and implementation of exhibits. King specifically explores three exhibits at the NMAI—Our Peoples: Giving Voice to Our Histories, Our Universes: Traditional Knowledge Shapes our World, and Our Lives: Contemporary Life and Identities—in her attempt to explain the significance and utilization of rhetorical sovereignty. By establishing that “rhetorical sovereignty recognizes that sovereignty is also an act of communication, and communication requires addressing communicative goals, selected means of communication, and the anticipated audiences” (77), King is able to tie rhetorical sovereignty, cultural sovereignty, and the purpose of NMAI together to demonstrate the significance of NMAI and how it impacts Native communities through the creation, implementation, and foundation of these three exhibits and how these exhibits are interpreted by Native and non-Native audiences. Understanding the definition and function of rhetorical and cultural sovereignty allows readers, Native and non-Native, to grasp the importance of how and why museums create exhibits that provide information on the past, present, and future of Native peoples. 

Kelli Alvarez 

---. “Rhetorical Sovereignty and Rhetorical Alliance in the Writing Classroom: Using American Indian Texts.” Pedagogy 12.2 (2012): 203-33. Print.


King opens her article addressing some of the issues professors often face—how do we engage non-Native students without alienating Native students and how do we engage Native students without neglecting non-Native student understandings when teaching Native texts. The real question King posits is why we should teach Native texts in the first place. Throughout the article, King draws on the concepts of rhetorical sovereignty and rhetorical alliance to approach and answer the questions she posits. King begins with an exploration of the exigency of multiculturalism, race, and pedagogy claiming that “there is no neutral story, but instead many stories weighted with the implications of their time and place, the influences of the individual speaker-writer and listener-reader, and the way that race and culture are constructed and inscribed by all” (211). She then goes on to discuss the survival, Survivance, and realities of Native peoples before exploring the conceptualization of self-reflective work in a multicultural setting. After addressing these issues, King begins to explore alternative classroom models and how rhetorical sovereignty and rhetorical alliance can be implemented. She argues that framing Native texts in a way that acknowledges their contributions and efforts will assist in exploring and understanding rhetorical sovereignty and lead to an inclusive classroom that will not alienate, neglect, or elide Native students or non-Native students. What King hopes we take away from her article is that there is more than one way to include and approach Native texts in a classroom, and while she provides models for inclusion, “teaching rhetorical sovereignty and rhetorical alliance together helps to reveal how Native survival and resistance can work through texts” (229). 

Kelli Alvarez 

Larson, Sidner. “Rhetoric and American Indians.” Wicazo Sa Review, vol. 17, no. 2, University of Minnesota Press, 2002, pp. 7-20,

Legg, Emily. “Daughters of the Seminaries: Re-Landscaping History through the Composition Courses at the Cherokee Female Seminary.” College Composition and Communication 66:1 (2014): 67-90. 

In Emily Legg’s article “Daughters of the Seminaries: Re-Landscaping History through the Composition Courses at the Cherokee Female Seminary,” Legg explained her family’s connection to Native American seminaries. Covering the history of how many tribes were removed from their original homes, Legg tells how she was doing a family search in a museum and that her great-grandmother was a student in a seminary. She discusses the Cherokee Female Seminary, which she said is tied to the political history of the Cherokee Nation. She then covers the history of the seminaries starting with the Trail of Tears and the relocation of the Cherokee Nation into Indian Territory, explaining that during the mid-1800s the Cherokee Nation established the Cherokee National Female and Male Seminaries. There were several things that caused the seminaries to suffer, such as when the Oklahoma government took over in the early twentieth century, both seminaries experienced fires, and had treaties enacted by the federal government. She explains that these seminaries were central locations of education and writing, and points out the importance of historical locations to writings. Legg says that there is a limited focus because the accessibility of archives are in the northeastern schools and claims that this leaves the origin story as male-centric and excludes minorities and women. She also points out that female and male seminaries were teaching the same courses, resulting in a gender balance. Legg proposes to make a revision and make it a history that listens to stories which are overlooked, more specifically telling the stories of women and minorities and show that their disciplinary landscapes are not void of cultural influences. Legg says that even though there were two seminaries established, their curriculum and pedagogies were the same, showing balanced gender roles. She points out that grammar classes were used as a way to help non-English speakers take command of the language, because of the pressures to assimilate and the oppression of the Cherokee language and that the female seminary focused on composition. Finally, Legg says that local knowledge is the stories of a place and the histories that make those stories and that it can be used with archival work.

Stephanie Salyer

—. “‘I’m Surprised That This Hasn’t Happened Before’: An Indigenous Examination of UXD Failure During the Hawai’i Missile False Alarm.” With Adam Strantz. Equipping Technical Communicators for Social Justice Work: Topics, Theories, and Methodologies. Eds. Rebecca Walton & Godwin Agboka. (Forthcoming, 2021).

---. “Storytelling as Balancing Practice in the Study of Posthuman Praxis.” With Patricia Sullivan. Posthuman Praxis in Technical Communication. Eds. Kristen Moore and Dan Richards. Routledge, 2018. 23-45.

In this chapter, Emily Legg and Patricia Sullivan argue that “indigenous views of posthuman praxis blend well with the habits of posthuman praxis that need to be developed and deployed by technical communication” (24). The authors begin by looking at the current methodologies concerning stories and storytelling. More often than not, stories are used as examples, if they are used at all, rather than seen “as integral to knowledge making” and used accordingly (Legg and Sullivan 28). Legg and Sullivan claim that “[s]torytelling acts in indigenous cultures as a central knowledge-making practice: the story, participants, environment, time, and place all participate as active agents in the creation of ways of knowing, understanding, and relating” (29). Storytelling is not seen as a passive practice, but rather an act of networking “relationships and responsibilities to fully realize literal ecologies that structure a worldview distinct from the Eurocentric view” (Legg and Sullivan 29). Legg and Sullivan focus on the specific practices of the Cherokee Nation in their examples of storytelling methods in indigenous cultures. In the Cherokee Nation, the sgadug, or “community sustained through traditional practices,” the “story takes precedence over the tellers and listeners” (Legg and Sullivan 30). Legg and Sullivan explain that this is because stories “aren’t mere static tools” but rather are “living forces” (31). The Cherokee word for storytelling is gagoga, meaning “lying,” because some of the elements in a story may not be verifiable (Legg and Sullivan 31). This “reflexive practice” is “building a network of agents and knowledge-making practices” (Legg and Sullivan 31). Legg and Sullivan spend the rest of the chapter analyzing the theoretical framework of indigenous storytelling, once again using the Cherokee Nation’s use of storytelling as examples. The characteristics of the framework include: time-based, since Cherokee stories are “time dependent;” medium-sensitive, since language is adjusted based on audience and source; ecological, since “[s]tories not only teach us how to interact with the world around us, but explain how we are drawn together and depend on these relationships;” survivance, “the negotiation between survival and resistance,” since “cultural teachings and practices are encoded into stories that act as vessels between ancestors and contemporary experiences; relational, since “stories act as the thread to ancestors, places, and times between the lived experiences of the community as the stories are told again and again;” ethical deception, since “language slippage can be characterized in storytelling as lying” and changing between print and oral sources “delivers different stories grounded in differing information;” and networked knowledge, since telling stories helps keeps the community strong and that “knowledge exists in a network state,” which is the “power of the story” (Legg and Sullivan 33-39). Legg and Sullivan conclude that “storytelling is the realization of the indigenous ontological view of ‘all our relations’ that embodies the careful balancing act within posthuman praxis” (40).

Elisabeth Murphy

Louie, Debbie. “Indian Rhetoric vs. Western Civilization Rhetoric.” Wicazo Sa Review, vol. 6, no. 2, University of Minnesota Press, 1990, pp. 47-56,

Lyons, Scott. “The Incorporation of the Indian Body: Peyotism and the Pan-Indian Public, 1911-1923.” Rhetoric, the Polis, and the Global Village. Eds. C. Jan Swearingen and Dave Pruett. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1999. 147-53.


Scott Lyons, in “The Incorporation of the Indian Body: Peyotism and the Pan-Indian Public, 1911-1923,” first focuses on how the SAI (Society of American Indians) constructed the pan-Indian, racialized body in response to White, European domination (147). Lyons also points out that though the SAI was often identified as having an assimilationist agenda, they were still, themselves, exercising political agency and working to grant political agency to Native peoples. They were “mastering the master’s tools” (148). The SAI achieved this goal in part by employing the rhetoric used to strip Indian nations of their independence in the Treaty Making Act of 1871. They recognized that the public would be more likely to pay attention to “race” as opposed to “culture,” and so, they formed a public based on biology (150). It is after his discussion of the SAI and their goals that Lyons then moves on to discuss how peyotism, a pan-Indian religious movement that uses the hallucinogenic cactus, peyote, as a sacrament (151), like the SAI, also works to grant political agency and foster a pan-Indian identity. Lyons emphasizes that unlike the SAI, peyotism has survived White domination and has produced an accommodating Indian public that has gone on to encourage the formation of movements that have brought culture into full view (153). 

Jessica Nichols 

---. “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What Do American Indians Want from Writing?” College Composition and Communication 52.3 (2000): 447-67. Print.


In “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What do American Indians Want from Writing,” Scott Richard Lyons begins by discussing the suffering of Native American children at the hands of boarding schools. These experiences have led to a horrible misshapen relationship between Native Americans and writing. Lyons argues that at this point, the “highest hope for literacy” rests upon a vision of rhetorical sovereignty (449). This he defines as an “inherent right and ability of peoples to determine their own communicative needs and desires” and to “decide for themselves the goals, modes, styles and languages of public discourse” (449-50). This reclaiming and assertion of rhetorical sovereignty calls on writing teachers and curriculums to rethink how and what to teach as the written word. Lyons details the United State’s long relationship with the practice of rhetorical imperialism that allowed the country’s long-standing position of political paternalism over American Indian nations (452). Lyons argues that, “rhetorical sovereignty requires above all the presences of an Indian voice, speaking or writing in an ongoing context of colonization and setting at least some of the terms of debate” (462). To help orient this idea, Lyons points to scholarly work that exercises this mode of rhetorical sovereignty and calls for the study and teaching of American Indian Rhetoric in the classroom. 

Allison Nepomnick

---. “The Fine Art of Fencing: Nationalism, Hybridity, and the Search for a Native American Writing Pedagogy.” Journal of American Communication 29.1-2 (2009): 77-105.

Scott Lyons (Leech Lake Ojibwe; descended from the Mississippi Ojibwe of Leech Lake and the Mdewakanton Dakota of Lower Sioux) opens his article “The Fine Art of Fencing: Nationalism, Hybridity, and the Search for a Native American Writing Pedagogy,” by situating the reader with two of his earlier writings, “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What Do American Indians Want from Writing?” and “There’s No Translation for It: The Rhetorical Sovereignty of Indigenous Languages” so that they may have at least a brief understanding of the current article’s history. After situating his reader with some of his work already done, Lyons then tells the reader of his home on the Leech Lake Reservation in what is now known as Minnesota.
Although working towards intertribal goals, Lyons situates this particular article specifically regarding the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe peoples. Within this article, Lyons argues the position English has in the teaching of Native American pedagogy. Recognizing that English is the language of the settler colonial imperialist, Lyons also furthers the previous claims of Craig Womack and Jace Weaver that English is open to Indigenization and that “English is Native language” (97). In this argument for English as a Native language, Lyons does not purport that English is the only language that should be taught in relation to Indigenous pedagogy. Rather, in examining the mission statement of the Leech Lake Tribal College, Lyons posits that in order to “equip the students for further education” as mandated by the LLTC as well as “the degrees they receive…be[ing] ‘fully transferable’” requires a teaching of Standard English, not hybridization, in order to equip the students for success outside of the language of Ojibwemowin.
Lyons does recognize that hybridization of English and Native languages is a useful and positive tool of the arts themselves, and encourages that practice to continue and grow. However, in direct relation to pedagogy, he argues that Standard English is a Native language, and therefore must be taught as Standard English for the successes of the student. Lyons points out that by teaching Standard English, it in no way posits the position of English being a “superior” language. Instead, the reasoning for the teaching of Standard English in the Native pedagogical context equates to accessibility in the global scheme.

Jacob Witt

—. “There’s No Translation for It: The Rhetorical Sovereignty of Indigenous Languages.” Cross-Language Relations in Composition. Ed. Bruce Horner, Min-Zhan Lu, and Paul Kei. Matsuda. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2010. 127-41. 

Miles, John D. “The Postindian Rhetoric of Gerald Vizenor.” College Composition And Communication 63.1 (2011): 35-53.


John D. Miles’ article, “The Postindian Rhetoric of Gerald Vizenor” takes a vital step in both expanding Indigenous voices within the academy and privileging Indigenous theory within the college Composition classrooms. Taking Gerald Vizenor’s theories of survivance, postindian, manifest manners, and transmotion, Miles takes a comparative rhetorical framework and subverts the canon through a Vizenorian methodology. While Powell and Stromberg have brought Vizenor prominently into the fields of rhetoric and composition, the introduction of a new Vizenorian term to the field offers the most notable and lasting impactful critical move made by Miles. Transmotion, as defined by Vizenor, “situates sovereignty outside Western ideas of boundaries and land and within the motion of creative acts of Native people” (43). Writing and representation to fill the empty signifier of “indian” (empty in terms of Vizenor’s conception of “indian”) becomes fundamentally important rhetorically and pedagogically. Miles views Vizenor’s transmotion as “a way agency can emerge in the invention and performance” (44), viewing the invention process in the composition classroom as a tool to further this agency within scholarly institutions. 

Matt Kliewer

Moulder, M. Amanda. “Cherokee Practice, Missionary Intentions: Literacy Learning among Early Nineteenth-Century Cherokee Women.” College Composition And Communication 63.1 (2011): 75-97.


In this article, Amanda M. Moulder, argues a counter-narrative to the popular scholarly narrative of Boarding schools as tools of colonial erasure and genocide. Moulder examines the writings of Cherokee women who attended boarding schools founded and funded by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. She contends that Cherokee women used the tool of English literacy acquired while attending ABCFM schools as a means to protect their traditional roles as social and political leaders. Moulder first offers a brief literature review to build her theoretical framework of Indigenization of literacy acquisition including the rhetorical theories of scholars such as Devon Mihesuah, Scott Richard Lyons, Malea Powell, and Theda Perdue, to name only a few. She also offers some context of Cherokee culture and history before moving into a literary analysis of the play Catharine Brown, the Converted Cherokee: A Missionary Drama, Founded on Fact (1819), writtenby an anonymous, presumed Cherokee, female author. The Memoir of Catherine Brown: A Christian Indian of the Cherokee Nation (1825) was published after her death by Rufus Anderson as well as the letters of Catharine Brown to the Taylor sisters. Moulder contends that these pieces of Cherokee rhetoric by Cherokee women of the early 1800’s carry with them as much rhetorical and sovereign influence as their male counterparts and are evidence of resistance to patriarchal pedagogy via literacy, rather than the abandonment of traditional matrilocal roles. 

Murphy, Marjorie N. “Silence, the Word, and Indian Rhetoric.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 21, no. 5, National Council of Teachers of English, 1970, pp. 356-63,

Nelson, Dana D. “‘I Speak Like a Fool But I am Constrained’: Samson Occom’s Short Narrative and Economies of the Racial Self.” Early Native American Writing: New Critical Essays. Ed. Helen Jaskoski. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996: 42-65. 

---. “Reading the Written Selves of Colonial America: Franklin, Occom, Equiano, and Palou/Serra.” Resources for American Literary Study 19. 2 (1993): 246-259.


In “Reading the Written Selves of Colonial America: Franklin, Occom, Equiano, and Palou/Serra” Dana D. Nelson critiques David Larson’s claim in the Instructor’s Guide for the Heath Anthology of Literature that “[Benjamin] Franklin’s creation of an American national identity is perhaps the most important theme that needs to be emphasized” by educators teaching from the Anthology (246). Nelson asserts that in order to reconstruct the literary canon, teachers should emphasize how the self is constructed in opposition to the other. Nelson claims that educators should have students read Franklin, Occom, Equiano, and Palou/Serra together, and emphasize the fact that they were contemporaries writing during the same period, in order to provide students with a more clear understanding of colonialism. Nelson believes this reading will help create a “more dialogic version of early colonial U.S. literature and culture” (248). Nelson analyzes the writings of the men to point out how they utilized writing to both establish their identities for audiences and offer a social critique of American national ideology. Nelson says that both Occom and Equiano used their Christianity to show “their adoption of the norms of European civilization” because they believed that they had to do so in order to be heard. Nelson also claims that Palou used his biography of Serra’s conversion to Christianity assert his own authority as a missionary. Nelson concludes her argument by claiming that reading the four men together disrupts the idea that there was a singular American national identity during the Revolutionary era, and instead allows a space for marginalized voices. 

Taylor Beth Ellis

Osborn, Lynn R. “Traditional Requisites of Indian Communication: Rhetoric, Repetition, Silence.” Journal of American Indian Education, vol. 12, no. 2, University of Minnesota Press, 1973, pp. 15-21,

Powell, Malea. “Blood and Scholarship: One Mixed-Blood’s Dilemma.” Race, Rhetoric, and Composition. Ed. Keith Gilyard. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann-Boynton/Cook, 1999. 1-16.


Forwarding that mixed-blood scholarship has been included but strategically categorized within the academy, Malea Powell tells a survivance story by first positioning herself as a Native American rhetorician with the opportunity to subvert the imperializing structure of the academy through the use of trickster discourse. Powell suggests that the imperial discourse often used by and within the academy can be identified through the recognition of the scholar’s need to “civilize unruly topics” (4). It is this need that prompts scholars to believe that by demonstrating admiration for Native American culture, coupled with their position as respected within the academy, they are no longer influenced by those imperial American narratives that envision marginalized rhetoric as a conquerable frontier (5). Powell invokes the work of Krupat to further support the idea that the disregard for the marginalized narratives of mixed-blood peoples is in fact proof that they have subversive potential within scholarship, and more specifically, within rhetoric and composition studies. Powell offers the example of forming alliances with other mixed-blood scholars at a CCCC convention and collectively delivering a paper when asked to present at the conference in “panel” format as one way of subverting the structure of the academy (10). It is not the inclusion of “marginal” groups that make a discipline inclusive, and the passive inclusion of these groups should not be enough. According to Powell, it is the mixed-blood scholar’s ability to occupy and subvert these spaces that more effectively brings recognition to, and reimaginings of, the imperial structure mixed-bloods are asked to exist and participate within. 

Jessica Nichols 

---. “Down By the River, or How Susan LaFlesche Can Teach Us About Alliance as a Practice of Survivance.” College English 67.1 (September) 2004. 38-60.


This article analyzes the rhetorical strategies of historical Omaha icon, Susan La Flesche Picotte, by rhetorics Scholar Malea D. Powell, who uses a Indigenous storytelling methodology to frame her argument. Powell argues that the specific messages found within the writings of Susan La Flesche Picotte, convey a unique alliance rhetoric, in which Picotte established her identity as an Indian in alliance with western culture rather than in suppression or submission to western culture. Powell points to various pieces of writing by Picotte, from letters to her family, to petitions to the federal government and emphasizes Picotte’s language of friendship and alliance as a purposeful tactic of survival. Rather than become fully assimilated and allow the dominant American culture to erase and replace her own Indigenous culture, Powell posits an argument that through Picotte’s rhetoric, a balanced alliance can be formed. Powell connects Picotte’s rhetoric to contemporary Indigenous scenarios and offers the alliance rhetorical strategy as a possible solution to contemporary Native issues as it was a solution to Native issues during Picotte’s time period. 

 —. “Extending the Hand of Empire: American Indians and the Indian Reform Movement, a beginning.” American Ethnic Rhetorics. Ed. Keith Gilyard. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook-Heinemann, 2004. 37-45. 

---. “Growing Our Discipline: An Interview with Malea Powell.” Interview by Andréa D. Davis. Composition Forum 23 (Spring 2011). Web.


In an interview with Malea Powell, Andréa Davis asks questions about the growing interdisciplinary nature of writing in the college composition classroom. In the early sections of the interview, Malea Powell describes her scholarship and the material or “making” processes of Native Rhetorics, which “constellate” around “the body, place and culture” (Powell). Powell cites her work in this scholarship as an influencing factor on her term as the director of Michigan State University’s Rhetoric and Writing Program. This has led to Powell’s emphasis on creating a writing program that insists on orientation to both place and community to produce scholars that have “real relationships” with the academic and human aspects of study and “acknowledge the real needs of humans” (Powell). To achieve this orientation, Powell creates a complexity of interdisciplinary studies in the writing program. Powell cites her frustration with the exclusion that many women and minorities face at conferences like the CCCCs that seemed to not make space for scholars that worked in interdisciplinary or non traditionally established “academic” ways. She worked to create a space at the CCCCs that welcomed the work of interdisciplinary scholarship. This inclusiveness in both pedagogy and scholarship has met resistance by the community of the CCCCs, but Powell continues to argue that it is a necessary development of the continuing field of writing studies. 

Allison Nepomnick

—. “Imagining a New Indian: Listening to the Rhetoric of Survivance in Charles Eastman’s From the Deep Woods to Civilization.” Paradoxa 15(2001): 211-26.

---. “Listening to Ghosts: An Alternative (Non)argument.” ALT DIS: Alternatives to Academic Discourse. Eds. Helen Fox & Christopher Schroeder. Portsmith, NH: Boynton/Cook- Heinemann, 2002. 11-22.


This is a story of remembering the ancestors and reinventing an academic world that honors their contributions to our lives, that recognizes their ghosts that live in the collective hallways of academe. Powell addresses several ideas, which at first may seem to be disconnected, and brings them together to tell a story of what it is like to pursue a scholarly idea without separating personal background or communal identity because it is not possible to do so. From bodily inscriptions to colonialism to understanding what it means to be Indian, Powell addresses the traps and tropes of the academy and combines them with the struggles we face as individuals, as beings apart and within the academy, and offers a different way of approaching all of these concepts, all of the issues that we face as scholars and individuals, so that our journey is more complete, more comprehensive, and we are not left broken or split in two. Remembering the ghosts of our ancestors, listening to what they have to tell us, and finding a way to include their voices in our work is a way to honor their contributions to our past, present, and future and develop a new, holistic approach to learning and teaching, to understanding the academy and having the academy understand us. 

Kelli Alvarez 

---. “Princess Sarah, the Civilized Indian: The Rhetoric of Cultural Literacies in Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins’ Life Among the Piutes.” Rhetorical “Woman”: Fragmented Traces, Roles, Representations. Eds. Lillian Bridwell-Bowles & Hildy Miller. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2005. 63-80.


Inspired and disheartened by the lack of scholarship representing the rhetorical history of American Indians, Malea Powell in “Princess Sarah, the Civilized Indian: The Rhetoric of Cultural Literacies in Sarah Winnemmucca Hopkins’s Life among the Piutes,” serves as a contribution to the long ignored “scholarly conversation about American Indians and American Indian women” (64). Powell asserts that Winnemmucca’s autobiography, Life among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims, is a “rhetorical performance” in which Winnemucca represents herself as a “Civilized Indian” or “Indian Princess” to appeal to a late nineteenth century non-Native audience. Powell’s analysis of this autobiography shows that Winnemmucca sophisticatedly and deliberately creates a public/textual “self” to appeal to her non-Native audience to inspire reformation policies. This rhetorical move is what Powell argues as a “necessary tool for many American Indian intellectuals whose participation in American scholarly discourses is always predicated on notions of ‘America’ that erase living Indian peoples from the landscape” and replace them with a multitude of stereotypes (65). Through Powell’s discussion of Winnemmucca’s autobiography, she illuminates the distinct rhetorical moves that the writer makes to strategically advocate for the reformation of American Indian policies through events and storytelling that plays upon non-Native expectations and stereotypes while also forwarding a project of “resistance and negotiation” to the subjugation of American Indians (78).

Allison Nepomnick 

---. “Rhetorics of Survivance: How American Indians Use Writing.” College Composition and Communication 53.3 (2002): 396-434. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.


Stories are significant, not just to Native cultures, but to the understanding of the world around us and to the development of our identities. Powell addresses stories, cultural and historical, in the beginning of her essay and how Native stories are often overlooked because the stories of the colonizer are so prevalent and there is a “general lack of understanding about the diversity of American Indian cultures and histories on this continent” (397). Powell goes on to discuss the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized and how this relationship impacts non-Native understandings about Native issues as well as why Native stories are so significant and much needed. She begins by explaining survivance and how this concept of survival and resistance began, shapes Native writing today, and why it is imperative to our (Native and non-Native) understanding and interpretation of Native issues and Native rhetorics today. While her primary examples are the writings of Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins and Charles Alexander Eastman, she relates their writing to the development and understanding of policies that have been enacted throughout the years as well as addressing the art and necessity of storytelling and all storytelling encompasses. Powell ends her essay asking what teachers and scholars can and should do with Native stories, suggesting that we “begin to reimagine ourselves, our pedagogies, our scholarship, our discipline in relation to a long and sordid history of American imperialism” (428). 

Kelli Alvarez 

---. “Rhetorics of Survivance: Recovery Work for American Indian Writing.” CCCC Conversation On Diversity. June 26, 2008. (

“Rhetorics of Survivance: Recovery Work for American Indian Writing.” CCCC Conversation On Diversity. June 26, 2008. (
In her blog post, “Rhetorics of Survivance: Recovery Work for American Indian Writing,” scholar Malea Powell (Indiana Miami, Eastern Shawnee) responds to the question “How do you address the topic of ‘diversity’ in your scholarship, teaching, and service?” with a discussion of her personal approach. Powell asserts that, for her, diversity is not a “topic,” but an ever-present component of academic and extracurricular life. Powell shares her motivation to “change the way that knowledge by, about, and for American Indians is produced, distributed, taught, and received”, and discusses her methods as being in the context of achieving that goal. Powell’s ideology includes mentorship, conducting academic work with the mindset of community benefit, graduate student recruitment and support, making academia a safe and productive space for all students, and participating in the American Indian studies community at a variety of local and national levels. Powell describes her ongoing archival project, Rhetorical Powwows: American Indians Writing/Making Survivance, in the context of a dual focus: a critical understanding of colonial, Western conceptions of “the Indian,” and the “rhetorically sophisticated ways in which Native writer, intellectuals, activists, and artists have responded”. Powell shares a personal classroom model centered around critical engagement with rhetorical readings of Native intellectuals and reimaginings of Indigeneity as rhetorics of survivance, expressing hope that, by emphasizing to her students that “history and culture matter”, traditional notions of rhetorical history can be radically challenged, and that students can better comprehend both the meaning and sociocultural impact of textual rhetoric. In conclusion, Powell asserts that “strategies for diverse students work for all students”, eschews concepts of meritocracy, and reiterates that there is no “trick” for “adding diversity in any part of our lives as scholars and teachers” because “honoring diversity is a way of life”.

Brenna O’Hara

---. “Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins: Her Wrongs and Claims.” American Indian Rhetorics of Survivance: Word Magic, Word Medicine. Ed. Ernest Stromberg. Pittsburg: U of Pittsburgh P, July 2006. 89-127.

In this chapter, Malea D. Powell reviews Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins’s life and work, analyzing the rhetoric nuances and choices she makes, identifying Winnemucca as an important figure in the history of rhetoric (88). Powell articulates that Winnemucca’s choices in her speeches as well as her dress were deliberate, rhetorical choices. Winnemucca used the concept of “manifest manners,” which are “strategies whereby certain beliefs about Indians are manufactured and made real,” to her advantage (71). This is one of the reasons she would be in full regalia when she gave her speeches; she played into this idea in order to get her audience’s attention and to give herself credibility to her white audience. While her dress signifies her as “other,” her speeches often showed commonality with her audience, especially since she was speaking in front of primarily women, and “white men” were described in a way that fit their domestic ideology (Powell 81). Winnemucca used the common discourse and language that was accepted in those circles in order to advocate for her own people. Powell cites a specific incident with Winnemucca’s reputation and her defense of it, showing the rhetorical finesse of reaching her female audience. She concludes that because of the subordinate position Winnemucca (and others like her) were put in, she was able to adapt and learn the language of the dominant majority (87). Winnemucca used all the resources at her disposal so that she could advocate on the behalf of her people.

Elisabeth Murphy

---. “The X-Blood Files: Whose Story, Whose Indian?” Native Authenticity: Transnational Perspectives on Native American Literary Studies. Ed. Deborah L. Madsen. SUNY P, 2010. 87-101.

Written by Malea Powell, “The X-Blood Files: Whose Story, Whose Indian?” discusses what makes someone a Native. The author tells of her background and discusses her background as a mixed, unenrolled descendant of the Miami Indian Nation. She tells of the history of the Miami people when they first encountered the Europeans and the results of that encounter. Powell says that when the Europeans encountered them, hundreds of years ago, they were already a hybrid, married to their own practices. She then explains there are concerns among Native scholars and scholarship of claims to Indianness. The article discusses the absence of real Indian peoples in the dominant cultural narratives and talks about writings that discuss the idealized and noble Indian. Powell says that she chooses to see the relationships to people, places, the past, and the future, and to map meanings from those relationships. The author discusses, a scholar that attacked other Native scholars, calling them urban mixed-bloods and how they were removed from the culture through urbanization, academics, and intermarriage. However, Powell explains how others are excluded according to this belief and how some Natives are being excluded by other Natives. She claims that over half of Indians do not live on reservations and some tribes, like the Indiana and Oklahoma Miami, are non-reservation and mixed-bloods. Powell explains that Natives have worked their way into educational settings so that they can rewrite history and redefine and recreate themselves, instead of keeping the Euro-American history and definition. She states that Natives can’t afford to ignore the potential allies in educational institutions, no matter their heritage or backgrounds and says that we should not focus on blood quantum, that Natives have a lot to learn from each other, and their survival depends on each other’s survival. Powell says that Natives shouldn’t leave the university system, because their presence is necessary to counterpoint history that has been written.

Stephanie Salyer

---. With Daisy Levy, Andrea Riley-Mukavetz, Marilee Brooks-Gillies, Maria Novotny, and Jennifer Fisch-Ferguson. “Our Story Begins Here: Constellating Cultural Rhetorics.” Enculturation 18 (25 Oct. 2014). Web.

This article begins with Powell setting the stage for the story she and her colleagues are about to tell. In this opening description, Powell describes the still-snowy Lake Michigan setting in early April and how she prepares the house she and her colleagues are renting for the weekend. She describes preparing the house for her friends, burning sage, preparing a meal, and the renewal of established relationships as her colleagues arrive for their stay. While this might seem as excessive and unnecessary, it is important to remember that stories and the renewal and preparations that Powell describes are critical to Native spaces and existence. It is what grounds Native writers to their work, reminding them why they are completing the work at hand, while renewing relationships and enjoying camaraderie and a spiritual and personal connection to friends, colleagues, and fellow Native scholars. The article shifts into a discussion on how the article was created before the storytelling begins. The first point this group addresses is that their Cultural Rhetorics Theory lab is a “research collective with participants from four academic institutions” (3) before defining what this Cultural Rhetorics Theory Lab entails and their purpose. The brief remainder of the article is a performance of the group’s “definition of the practice of cultural rhetorics” (4). 

Kelli Alvarez 

---. With D. Anthony Tyeeme Clark. “Resisting Exile in the ‘Land of the Free’: Indigenous Groundwork at Colonial Intersections,” American Indian Quarterly, 32.1 (Winter 2008). 1-15.


Malea Powell, with Anthony Tyeeme Clark, focuses on how land can inform scholarship and scholarship, land in the same ways Indigenous peoples have shaped and been shaped by land. In “Resisting Exile in the ‘Land of the Free’: Indigenous Groundwork at Colonial Intersections,” emphasis is placed on the ways land has already begun to be decolonized through work produced within the academy and specific attention is also paid to how geographers can reflect on colonization “…in order to reimagine and reorder the broader field in a context of social justice (3). Powell and Clark also seem to work toward how the field of borders, present within current imaginings of the world and constructed and produced by colonization can be reimagined through academically produced mediums such as reclaiming-landscape art. It is within landscape art that places and their meanings can be made and remade as well as negotiated and made into decolonial sites of resistance (8). To Powell and Clark, this process of reimagining that takes place within the academy seems cyclical in the sense that Indigenous epistemologies inform place and space making and place and space influence Indigenous epistemologies. Ironically, it is on the same land that informs and influences these epistemologies that academic institutions have been built. Therefore, these institutions are being informed by Indigenous epistemologies. It is this relationship between the academy and Indigeneity and “homescapes” that Powell and Clark hope to bring to the forefront of land-based scholarship (4). 

Jessica Nichols 

Riley-Mukavetz, Andrea. “Developing a relational scholarly practice: snakes, dreams, and grandmothers” College Composition and Communication 71. 4 (2020): 545-565. (Reprinted in Best of the Journals in Rhetoric and Composition 2021, eds. Kristi Gidharry, Charles N. Lesh, Jess Pauszek. Forthcoming 2022.)

—. “Females, the Strong Ones: Listening to the Lived Experiences to American Indian Women.” Studies
in American Indian Literature
30. 1 (2018): 1-23.

—. “Course Design on Decolonial Theory and Methodology.” Composition Studies 46.1 (2018).

—. “On Working From or With Anger, Or How I Learned to Listen to My Relatives and Practice All Our
Relations.” Special Issue on Cultural Rhetorics for enculturation: a journal of rhetoric, writing, and culture. April 2016.

—.“ Towards a Cultural Rhetorics Methodology: Making Research Matter with a Group of Multi-
Generational, Urban, Native Women.” Eds: Rebecca Watson and Barry Thatcher. Journal of Rhetoric, Professional Communication, and Globalization 5. 1 (2014).

—. “Baskets, birchbark scrolls, and maps of land: Indigenous making practices as oral historiography.”
Eds: Nancy Van Styvendale, J.D. McDougall, Robert Henry, and Robert Innes. The Arts of Indigenous Health and Well-Being. University of Manitoba Press, 2021.

—. “Listening to Stories: Practicing Cultural Rhetorics.” Ed: Margaret Price. Pedagogy Blog,
constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space May 2018.

—, with Brandon M. Erby, Kimberly Wieser, and moderated by Ana Milena Ribero. “Community,
Voice, Identity: The Principles of Cultural Rhetorics Pedagogies.” constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space 4 (2021).

—, with Cindy Tekobbe, “If you don’t want us there, you don’t get us: A Statement on Indigenous
Visibility and Reconciliation.” Eds Ersula Ore, Christina Cedillo, Kimberly Wieser. NCTE/CCCC Cross-Caucus Present Tense Special Issue. Diversity is not an End Game: BIPOC Futures in the Academy 9.2. (2021).

Ríos, Gabriela Raquel. “‘We’ll Get There With Music.’ Sonic Literacies, Rhetorics of Alliance, and Decolonial Healing in Harjo’s Winding Through the Milky Way.Indigenous Pop: Native American Music from Jazz to Hip Hop. Eds. Kimberly Lee, Jeff Berglund, and Janice Johnson. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2016.


In “We’ll Get There With Music: Sonic Literacies, Rhetorics of Alliance, and Decolonial Healing in Joy Harjo’s Winding Through the Milky Way,” Gabriela Raquel Rios asserts that “making music can function as a decolonial practice” (108). In particular, Joy Harjo’s music serves as a rhetorical act of survivance by “reasserting and recreating identity and culture through song” (110). The presence of diverse and distinct sounds in Harjo’s music have led to the labeling of her album as “World” music, effectively “othering” her sound through typical colonial practices that cause distinct harm to Native cultural identities. Rios’ study of Harjo’s music serves to deconstruct that othering, and instead, highlight the effective rhetorical moves that are being made to assert intertribal alliances and promote decolonial healing. The rhetorics of alliance have enabled American Indians to “survive and resist colonization,” and Rios argues that Harjo’s uses of both an intertribal approach and a tradition of song-making in the creation of her music, allows for her to not only assert her tribal identity but to ally herself with other Native communities through “intertribal epistemological attitudes toward sound and voice” (111-112). Through the process of rememory and sound, Rios claims that Harjo’s music allows for the travelling and journeying through important shared stories to promote communal healing. Harjo’s music “creates a space, an active site for the making of something,” and this something is the act of resistance, recovery and the imagining of alternate possibilities (114-117). Rios asserts that this space of the rhetorics of alliance allows for decolonial healing through the communal process of rememory. 

Allison Nepomnick

Romney, Abraham. “Indian Ability (auilidad de Indio) and Rhetoric’s Civilizing Narrative: Guaman Poma’s Contact with the Rhetorical Tradition.” College Composition And Communication 63.1 (2011): 12-34. 

Teuton, Christopher B. “Indigenous Textuality Studies and Cherokee Traditionalism: Notes Toward a Gagoga Rhetoric.” Textual Cultures 6.2 (2011): 133-41. 

Velikova, Roumiana. “Will Rogers’s Indian Humor.” Studies in American Indian Literatures, vol. 19, no. 2, University of Nebraska Press, 2007, pp. 83–103,

Villanueva, Victor. On Rhetoric and Precedents of Racism.” CCC. 50.4 (1999): 645-661.

Watanabe, Sundy. “Intercultural Collaboration: Respect, Relationship, Responsibility, and Reciprocity.”Sojourning in Disciplinary Cultures: A Case Study of Teaching Writing in Engineering. Ed. Mathison M. Logan: University Press of Colorado, 2019. 154-174. 

—. “Socioacupuncture Pedagogy: Troubling Containment and Erasure in a Multimodal Composition Classroom.” Survivance, Sovereignty, and Story: Teaching American Indian Rhetorics. Eds. Lisa King, Rose Gubele, and Joyce Rain Anderson. Boulder, Colorado: University Press of Colorado, 2015. 35-56 .

—. “Critical Storying: Power Through Survivance and Rhetorical Sovereignty.” Crafting Critical Stories: Toward Pedagogies and Methodologies of Collaboration, Inclusion & Voice. Eds. J. F. Carmona & K. V. Luschen. New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2014. 153-170. 

In her article, Sundy Watanabe reviews the problematic use of the PRAXIS I exam as a requirement of entering a teaching program, focusing on how this effects Indigenous individuals. She argues that “requiring students pass PRAXIS I examinations before or upon entering teacher education programs is at best difficult and at worst a culturally and linguistically hegemonic practice that blocks American Indians’ access to teacher education programs” (Watanabe 119). The requirement of the PRAXIS I exam is a result of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act in an effort to recruit highly qualified teachers (Watanabe 122). Because of the cultural assumptions the standardized test makes, students of color are disproportionally unprepared to take the test and are put at a disadvantage when compared to white, upper-middle class/upper class students (Watanabe 123). Programs like the Teacher Training program for American Indians (TTAI) “prepares American Indians/Alaska Natives to become educators in their home communities” and offer “PRAXIS I intervention preparation workshop[s]” (Watanabe 124, 126). Watanabe claims that “[w]hen the speaker entering academic discourse is Native, and therefore racially hyper-recognized, discursive examinations become and unwarranted hyper-corrective site” (128). She uses an example of an American Indian student’s essay being hyper-analyzed for grammatical errors, even when none were present; the structure of the sentences, while not traditional, standardized English practices, were grammatical and undeserving of the added scrutiny (Watanabe 128). Watanabe concludes that “[u]nder the guise of proffered inclusion and increased capital, PRAXIS I examinations can work to exclude specific populations by withdrawing the possibility of active student participation in elite programs, acquisition of degree certification, jobs within the field, and ultimately, economic stability” (132).

Elisabeth Murphy

Webster, Anthony K. “Sam Kenio’s Coyote Stories: Poetics and Rhetoric in Some Chiricahua Apache Narratives.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 23.1 (1999): 137-163. 

Wieser-Weryackwe, Kimberly.* “American Indian and Indigenous Rhetorics—An Annotated Bibliography.” Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics 5.2 (Fall 2021).  

—. “An Incipient Study of the Indian Half of the Dialogic: Native Rhetoric and Occom’s Use of Indirect Discourse.” Stealing/Steeling the Spirit: American Indian Identities & Smoke Screens/Smoke Signals: Looking Through Two Worlds: Proceedings of the Third and Fourth Native American Symposiums. Eds. Lucretia Scoufos, Mark Spencer, and Chad Litton. Durant: Southeastern Oklahoma State UP, 2003-2004: 41-47. 

“Aunt Ruby’s Little Sister Dances.” Unpapered. Eds. Diane Glancy and Linda Rodriguez. Forthcoming from University of Nebraska P.

—, with Brandon Erby and Andrea Riley-Mukavetz. Ana Milena Ribero, ed. “Community, Voice, Identity: The Principles of Cultural Rhetorics Pedagogies.” constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space 4 (2021).

—. “Samson Occom as Writing Instructor: The Search for an Intertribal Rhetoric.” Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective. Janice Accose, et al. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008. 303-324.

—.  “‘Takissaawoo’: Indigenous Practices of Visiting as Pedagogical Praxis” Decolonial Possibilities: Indigenously-Rooted Practices in Rhetoric and Writing. Eds. Andrea Riley Mukavetz, Resa Crane Bizzaro, and Lisa King. Forthcoming from CCCC Studies in Writing and Rhetoric Series. Southern Illinois UP. 

—. “Towards a Tribal-Centered Reading of Native Literature: Using Indigenous Rhetoric(s) Instead of Literary Analysis.” Paradoxa 15 (2001): 263-74. 

—. “Vision, Voice, and Intertribal Metanarrative: The Amerindian Visual-Rhetorical Tradition and Leslie Silko’s Almanac of the Dead.American Indian Quarterly 31.4 (2007): 534-558.

---.  “‘Who is Cherokee?’: Federal Recognition, Culture, and Rhetorical Sovereignty.” A Listening Wind: Native Literature from the Southeast. Ed. Marcia Haag. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P., 2016. 251-61.

Who is Cherokee, and what claims to Cherokee identity are recognized and “legitimate?” These two questions have, for years, been at the heart of intertribal discourses regarding identity both inside and outside of the Cherokee Nation. While she reminds us that she is not enrolled Cherokee, Wieser insightfully diagnoses the identity politics within the three recognized Cherokee nations as indicative of larger questions of identity and recognition associated with all Indigenous entities. In the tradition of Geary Hobson, Wieser does not attempt to draw lines of inclusion and exclusion, but offers a compassionate and contextual “Cherokeeness” to be conferred by established members of the Cherokee Nations. Her emphasis on storytelling, Cherokee epistemologies and a continuous tradition of ceremonial mentorship form the basis of what Wieser defines as “rhetorical sovereignty in action” (255). Previewing her more extensive work, Wieser distinguishes three separate genres of Cherokee storytelling that maintain this rhetorical sovereignty in Haag’s volume: Galgogv’i, “Ulvsgedi and Kanoheda. Most importantly, Wieser leaves the answers to her question “Who is Cherokee?” open to the contextual and familial situation within which that rhetorical question must be asked. Wieser’s is a methodology that refuses to draw stringent borders, instead offering that agency to tribal cultural curators—an exercise in compassion criticism (Taken from Craig Womack’s definition of “compassionate criticism” in American Indian Literary Nationalism). 

Matt Kliewer

Co-editor, with Ersula Ore and Christina Cedillo. NCTE/CCCC Cross-Caucus Present Tense Special Issue. Diversity is not an End Game: BIPOC Futures in the Academy 9.2. (2021).

Co-editor, with Ersula Ore. “Symposium:  Diversity is not Justice—Working Toward Radical Transformation and Racial Equity in the Discipline,” College Composition and Communication 74.2 (2021).

Co-editor, with Ersula Ore and Christina Cedillo. NCTE/CCCC Cross-Caucus Composition Studies Special Issue. Diversity is not Equity: BIPOC Scholars Speak to Systemic Racism in the Academy and Field 49.2 (2021).

Co-editor, with Ersula Ore and Christina Cedillo. “Diversity is not Enough: Mentorship and Community-Building as Antiracist Praxis.” Rhetoric Review 49.3 (2021).

Editor and Moderator. “Constellating Stories and Counterstories: Cultural Rhetorics Scholarship Principles.”constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space 4 (2021).

Co-editor, with Sonia Arellano. “Storytelling and Relationality: Faculty Experiences During the Texas Winter Storm.” constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space 4 (2021).

Wilkinson, Elizabeth. “Gertrude Bonnin’s Rhetorical Strategies of Silence.” Studies in American Indian Literatures, vol. 25, no. 3, University of Nebraska Press, 2013, pp. 33–56,

Wolfe, Eric A. “Mourning, Melancholia, and Rhetorical Sovereignty in William Apess’s Eulogy on King Philip.” Studies in American Indian Literatures, vol. 20, no. 4, University of Nebraska Press, 2008, pp. 1–23,


Driskill, Qwo-Li. “Beyond Greco-Roman Rhetorics: Breaking Precedent, Revising Stories Home.” 18 March 2018.  

Legg, Emily. “Selu’s Body: Toward an Indigenous Understanding of Bodies, Community, and Knowledge.” 9 October 2015.

Uploaded on YouTube by Timothy Legg in 2012 and titled “Cherokee Language—Cherokee Behaviors,” this 3 minute and 10 second video is an audio recording of the Cherokee language, provided with sayings, advice, and cultural behaviors. The language is spoken by an unknown man, while the video provides subtitles in Cherokee and English. The video provides twenty different sentences spoken in Cherokee. The twenty spoken sentences, with sayings, advice, and cultural behaviors are as follows: 1) “When an elder is in the room, they are allowed to talk first,” 2) “You offer your chair to an elder,” 3) “You bring water to an elder,” 4) “When adults are talking you leave them alone to talk,” 5) “You do not interrupt the older people that are talking,” 6) “When an adult talks, you listen,” 7) “When you enter a room, you shake everyone’s hand,” 8) “You share with others that have less than you,” 9) “You help others when you can,” 10) “You speak Cherokee to anyone that speaks Cherokee,” 11) “You use your language as often as you can,” 12) “You help your family and friends speak the language with you,” 13) “You are responsible for the younger ones,” 14) “You don’t talk bad about elders,” 15) “You do not talk bad about people when younger people are in the room,” 16) “You put your family, community, and culture first,” 17) “When people visit, you feed them,” 18) “You greet all Cherokees like they are brothers/sisters,” 19) “Your Cherokee culture will be continued where-ever you are at,” and 20)“You treat all with respect in all situations.”

Stephanie Salyer

Riley-Mukavetz, Andrea. “Episode 93 on cultural and Indigenous rhetorics.” Pedagogue, by Shane Wood. December 2021.

*Some of Kimberly Wieser-Weryackwe’s early publications are under her former last names of Roppolo or Musia