The Abstracts — Femspec 2.2, Vol 2, Issue 2, 2001

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EDITORIAL REMARKS:

Native Issue: Editor’s Notes by Batya Weinbaum
Special themed issues occurred as a good idea when the journal began, as a way to create heightened awareness about particular kinds of work in volumes that had a specialty market and longer shelf life value. This first themed issue will raise the interest of the speculative techniques to interrogate gender roles used by Native women from different backgrounds. Special themed issues on the writings of women of particular ethnic minority groups that challenge gender help the reader to a better understanding of their creations. The writing and art in this special issue highlight myths, folklore, magical power, magical realism, and the focus on the interweaving of the real and the surreal, as well as the tribal-real.

Native Issue: Introductory Overview by Candra Cruz
Femspec 2.2's Native Issue has a Southwestern flavor focusing on Leslie Marmon Silko's works as well as Plains poetry by Sarah Littlecrow-Russell. The Southeast influence is represented by Marijo Moore's poetry, Louise Erdrich's work, and Paula Gunn Allen's poetry. Even Mexico is represented in the fiction of Janet McAdams. These works increase the interest not only of the different culture locations, but also of the better understanding of the stereotypes, new images, and theories about these indigenous cultures and the extraordinary women.

CRITICISM:

Technology, Magic, and Resistance in Native American Women's Writing by Márgara Averbach
The special elements of technology, "magic," and resistance are present in the literature of Native Americans, especially Native American women. These elements that Western culture calls "magic" are the features that distinguish Native American text. The authors use cultural hybridity combined with the use of English and their tribe's worldview. A consistent disappearance of the barriers constructed by Western culture also exists. Native American Women's Literature can be associated with two theoretical concepts: the idea of the postmodern rebellion, and the definition of cultural translations as violation or the violence of false equivalents.

The Terror of the Liminal: Silko's Almanac and Klein's Phantasy Paradigm by Sandra Baringer
This essay considers Leslie Silko's Almanac of the Dead as a difficult novel to read, not only for its length, but also for its negative, violence, and terror content. In return, Silko's is compared to Melanie Klein's Phantasy Paradigm. Even though Silko's novel disturbs male critics, it is also made evident in this essay that there are disturbed relationships with maternal objects, especially the maternal Earth. It is also acknowledged that spirits took over Silko's writing process. As Silko's novel is a part of the postmodern genre American Indian folklore and witchcraft, it is concluded that this powerful novel is more frightening than Oedipus Rex.

Narrative Choreography toward a New Cosmogony: The Medicine Way in Linda Hogan's Novel Solar Storms by Roseanne Hoefel
Linda Hogan's novel, Solar Storms, introduces a new different way, the medicine way. This is through the female narrator searching for her real self by using her female elders and relatives with the present supernatural forces. With this, Hogan constructs a pattern using valuable American Indian cultural and oral traditions. Themes were also developed as the seven ways of the medicine woman: the way of the daughter; the way of the householder; the way of the mother; the way of the gatherer and ritualist; the way of the teacher; and the way of the wise woman. Angel's journey is shown as the medicine way path of quality, spirituality, and genuine identity.

Voices from Bear Country: Leslie Silko's Allegories of Creation by Robert Gish
Leslie Silko's Allegories of Creation is written as a recreation of self. The creative process became an exactly literal subject matter. The "Creation" is the subject and the process that are linked to psychology and poetics of literary text and literary act. Silko is the artist and "maker" of romantic archetypes of creation with allusive textures in her writings. Oral and written, Native American myth, Shakespeare, and the Romantics are highlighted as well.

Revisioning Woman in America: A Study of Louise Erdrich's Novel The Antelope Wife by Elaine Kleiner and Angela Vlaicu
Native American women's images contain the powerful qualities of identities intermixed with culture. Novelist Louise Erdrich uses these qualities from her own racial and ethnic mythology with artistic inspiration. This Native American culture commitment frequently uses trickster characters. The Antelope Wife also contains four major parts of the Ojibwa, her cycle mythology and the "Medewiwin" or Grand Medicine society. Erdrich's novel protests and celebrates the course of cultures left in the wake of European invasion while telling the untold stories of contemporary survivors.

Fighting the Windigo: Winona La Duke's Peculiar Postcolonial Posture in Last Standing Woman by Tom Matchie
Winona La Duke's novel, Last Standing Woman, is a reconstruction text dealing with land, the nation, and the rebirth of La Duke's people, the Chippewa or Ojibwa of northern Minnesota. This revisionist text focuses on the roles of women as life-givers or the manifestations of Mother Earth in human form. Three women serve as instrumentalists to regenerate the land at White Earth by taking a stand in the Midwest against land grabbers, lumbermen, and the FBI. This four-part, new, beginning novel moves linearly through time from the late nineteenth century to the present. Although not original in the theme or structure, this novel is a story teller's take of the White Earth. Unique in the stories of social history and oral myth, they also contain much humor and a heart filled with compassion. The symbolic title also uses and highlights real and vital characters. This ironic novel concludes with a gentle tone, mixing music and myth, and depicting life beyond war, a life of constantly fighting for land rights and women's rights.

Bear, Mountain Lion, Deer and Yellow Woman in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony by Delilah Orr
A story about spiritual renewal and ceremonial recovery is Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony. This American Indian novel focuses on Southwestern tribal folk literature and the importance of the roles of the powerful animal spirits of Bear, Mountain Lion and Deer with their guardian, Yellow Woman. They also are shown as essential figures within the life of the main character, Tayo. They help restore his faith himself, his land his ceremony, and play an important part as guides to his physical recovery and restoring his tribal identity. They become also his teachers in order to survive in a world of chaotic change. This critical study of literature uses traditional prose narratives and oral traditions.

POETRY:

Indian Tears by Sara Littlecrow-Russell
A sad recall of an Indian past with Indian tears, with the speculation that tears left from 500 years of weeping were kissed away by a lover who was held in the poet's arms.

Those Indians Sure Are Crafty by Sara Littlecrow-Russell
The fantasy of Kmart (a Native American Barbie) clashes with the reality of the poet who tries to shop there.

FICTION:

Plaza Bocanegra by Janet McAdams
Sitting in the wrong Plaza, Anna thinks of the little Plaza, Plaza Bocanegra or Plaza Chica while writing a letter. She realizes that she has met two men since she came to the town in the mountains. Franklin is a drunken painter who shows her photos, including one of a thick young man always looking for a Buddhist temple, a man called Circe. This young man with a radiant face reminds her of the other man she has met, a mysterious Traveler. Anna closes her eyes to see this Traveler become the man in Franklin's painting, the man with a radiant face who beckons to her.

Manna Raptured by Dawn Karina Pettigrew
Manna leaves Gallup with her baby by the Greyhound for Graceland after a man hits her and injures her eye. In Graceland, Manna listens to conversations while patiently waiting in live to see Graceland. One of the women asks Mann if she is an Indian like Elvis. Manna's reply is that she is Cherokee, just like Elvis was Choctaw. But the woman does not agree. After Mann saw Graceland, she shared her hot dog with a hound dog and met his owner. The rich man left with his dog and gave her a fifty dollar bill. Returning to her motel, the clerk gives Manna a message that her husband is coming to take her home. Fearing her husband, Manna leaves for the wasteland border of the highway and prays to Jesus.

Father Coyote by Stephanie Sellers
Coyote put tricky spells on all women on earth and changed the beginning. Sick of women's lib, he made Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan be born as men. He found out he could not look after all the women, so he gave all the men the power of the trick over the women. He told the men to write a book so that all humans will believe in the trick. They wrote the book in different languages for all cultures to learn the Truth. Human beings then started to build different structures to learn the Truth. Human beings then started to build different structures to house the book. The book contained stories written by men to remind all of the women about their low status on earth. This made Coyote happy. Coyote later woke up 200 years after this event, to go to a wedding and view the power of women that still exists, but also view the bride's willingness to obey. The dream of women scratching visions on the face of Earth Mother made him go to New York City to try his tricks on women again. It is there that he finally received his real rude awakening.

REVIEWS:

Elements of Trickster in Children's Books of Louise Erdrich by Kaila Schwartz
Louise Erdrich, an award-winning author of adult fiction, also writes books for children. Her first two children's books are Grandmother's Pigeon and The Birch Bark House. Since Native American people make everything into a story, they use this as a means to educate the young about the past and their cultural heritage. That is why Erdrich, a member of the Ojibwa community, uses trickster tales in her Native American folklore storytelling. Her trickster tales instruct children on the morality of how to behave. The tales also blend reality with fantasy, as Erdrich does easily because of her rich cherished heritage and talent. These trickster tales about animals or humans really exist between a spirit world and this world of today.

Dream Poet: Marijo Moore by Suzanne Zahrt Murphy
Marijo is a dream poet, but most of all, she is a Cherokee woman with a voice of nature and spirit blending. Since tradition is a link to culture and survival, Marijo Moore writes about traditions through her poetry, books and prose. "Going to Water" is a powerful example of a blessing ritual using a chanting voice. It is even a sacred tradition. Her writings even depend on her dreams for guidance. As she expresses herself about nature, women ancestors and the sacred Earth Mother, she also becomes a communal woman, a mentor to other Indians of North Carolina. Through her power, industriousness and spirituality, her writings discuss contemporary issues. This proves she is a true traditional native woman.

Review of Life is a Fatal Disease by Annis Vilas Pratt
Paula Gunn Allen's structure of poems from the sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties are from 1962-1995. It is of alienation and "enwholement." Allen also defines Native American's alienation in "A Stranger in My Own Life." Alienation turns to thematic in four other poems written in 1983. As her collection moves chronologically, she finds her many identities, images, and ancestral notes rewoven from bitterness and loss into hope and beauty.

ART:

Stink of the Future by Kat Ball
The stink of this artwork by a Native teen woman who sells her works at powwows, is the disappearing trees, nature's artwork.

Art from the Three Sisters Show, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June, 1999 by America Meredith, Kelly Jean Church, Allison Francisco.
The art of America Meredith, Kelly Jean Church, and Allison Francisco reminds us of the myth of the Three Sisters, a story very common to Native people throughout the United States. The first work of art depicts the corn, beans, and squash surrounded by things of modern life. Second is the artwork of the Three Sisters, images of magical or mythic scenes. Among the interesting is the lovely painting of three birds, the symbols of life. The cardinal, the black star bird, and the woodlands bird represent the great diversity of people in this world. Next is an untitled and unfinished sketch that is depicted in the middle figure of the Three Sisters. The last painting of the Three Sisters art is the image of the raven. This image also can be seen within Kelly Church's "Three Sisters."

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