American Indian Literatures

American Indian Literatures

 

oral and written poetry and prose of the Indians of America. Epic legends about the fate and fortunes of tribes existed among the Indians long before the discovery of America by the Europeans; some of these legends, such as the Walam Olum of the Delawares, the chronicles of the Dakota and Kiowa, and the hymns of the Ojibwa, as well as myths, tales, work songs, and proverbs, were preserved in pictographic form. Indian literatures attained their greatest development in Central America and the Andes—regions in which slave-holding societies originated. With the formation of class relations, the glorification of rulers and the aristocracy and the celebration of military victories and of the omnipotence of the gods became the main themes; literary canons were developed. Religious and magical beliefs permeated many literary works, such as hymns to the gods of the Aztecs, Maya and Incas, and verse accounts of myths, prayers, and prophecies.

The formation of class society gave impetus to the development of secular literature and changed the ideological trend of the old literary genres—for example, the epic (the Popul Vuh of the Quiche). The chronicles of the Maya, Aztec, and Chichimec set forth in rhythmic prose the history of various city-states. Subsequent chroniclers (Tezozómoc, Ixtlilxochitl, Chimalpain, and Garcilaso de la Vega), who wrote in the Latin alphabet after the conquest of America, made extensive use of these chronicles, thus ensuring their preservation. Dramatic works that were mythological and historical in content and closely associated with dances were very popular. Of the dramas, only the Rabinal Achí of the Maya and the Ollanta of the Incas have survived. A greater number of poetic texts have been preserved: war songs, poems about spring, poetry about the brevity of life and the fickleness of fate, and love lyrics. Modern American Indian folk literature is represented by dramatic ballets (primarily on themes of the Spanish conquest and Christian legends), fairy tales, and lyric poetry. The influence of American Indian literatures may be seen in the work of some modern North American, Mexican, Guatemalan (M. A. Asturias), and Peruvian writers.

REFERENCES

Popol’-Vukh.Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
Zubritskii, Iu. A. “Apu-Ol’iantai.” In the collection Kul’tura indeitsev.Moscow, 1963.
Kinzhalov, R. V. Kul’tura drevnikh maiia.Leningrad, 1971.

R. V. KINZHALOV

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References in periodicals archive ?
The Columbia Guide to American Indian Literatures of the United States since 1945.
The editors acknowledgments also shed some light on her decision-making process: DeLaney Hoffman writes that "15 years ago, I began the American Indian Literatures and Cultures area" at the American Culture Association's conference, "and many of the authors in these pages were loyal followers and dear friends from those days" (i:ix).
Allen reflects from the vantage point of his intellectual commitment to American Indian literatures, cultures, and scholarship.
She has offered courses in American Indian Literatures, Native American Women, American Indian Fiction and Community, American Indians in Children's Literature, and American Indians and film, and published numerous articles about Ella Deloria.
In this major collection, Hoffman (English, Athens Technical College, Georgia; founder, American Indian Literatures and Cultures area, American Culture Association) spearheads multi-disciplinary contributors in highlighting American Indian peoples and their diverse cultures and countering pop culture stereotypes--e.
Studies in American Indian Literatures: The Journal of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures 9.
And while the relative dearth of work done on Indigenous women's theatre in North America makes the fact that Huhndorf devotes only a single chapter to this subject slightly frustrating, she has written a superb entry on "American Indian Drama and the Politics of Performance" in The Columbia Guide to American Indian Literatures of the United States Since 1945 (2006), which has already begun to redress this critical neglect.
Her scholarly work has appeared in SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures and in Lucayos: Journal of the School of English Studies at College of the Bahamas.
For more on the queer characters in Erdrich, see Julie Barak, "Blurs, Blends, Berdaches: Gender Mixing in the Novels of Louise Erdrich," Studies in American Indian Literatures 8, no.
Newsletter, and Studies in American Indian Literatures.
Postmodern Discourse on Native American Indian Literatures (Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1989).

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