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Title page for ETD etd-06202013-114831

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Pexa, Christopher John
URN etd-06202013-114831
Title Translated Nation: Writing Dakota Kinship and Sovereignty, 1862-1934
Degree PhD
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Colin Dayan Committee Co-Chair
Dana D. Nelson Committee Co-Chair
Daniel H. Usner, Jr. Committee Member
Robert F. Barsky Committee Member
Scott Manning Stevens Committee Member
Vera M. Kutzinski Committee Member
  • Progressive Era
  • Nicholas Black Elk
  • Ella Cara Deloria
  • Nineteenth Century American Literature
  • Literary Criticism
  • Political Theory
  • Native American Studies
  • Charles Alexander Eastman
  • Federal Indian Law
Date of Defense 2013-04-29
Availability unrestricted
This project seeks to understand the complex ways in which Dakota people have responded creatively to the pressures of modernity and colonization to create cultural continuity and ways of belonging across the violent ruptures embodied by the U.S.-Dakota War, its subsequent confinements, and exile. In reading this moment and its textual productions up until passage of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, I move between conventional textual archives (missionary journals and letters, newspapers and pamphlets, legal cases, and literary works by Dakota authors) and an archive of Dakota oral histories. My purpose in doing so is twofold: first, moving between Native and non-Native texts allows the dialogical character of the conflict over Native lands to more fully take shape, and allows a view of contested grounds as emerging from competing, and much different, ethical understandings. Second, by placing Dakota oral tradition alongside the literary depictions surrounding Native dispossession of homelands in the mid-nineteenth century, I assert not only that oral tradition is history, but that it is critical history: oral tradition embodies significant counter-memories, epistemologies, and ontologies which challenge settler state authority. Its embodied and performed narrations of Dakota nations, then, constitute philosophical and indeed, literary, challenges to US national, legal narratives of belonging.
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