Designed as a corrective to colonial literary histories that have excluded Native voices, this anthology brings together a variety of primary texts produced by the Algonquian peoples of New England during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and very early nineteenth centuries. Included among these written materials and objects are letters, signatures, journals, baskets, pictographs, confessions, wills, and petitions, each of which represents a form of authorship. Together they demonstrate the continuing use of traditional forms of memory and communication and the lively engagement of Native peoples with alphabetic literacy during the colonial period. Each primary text is accompanied by an essay that places it in context and explores its significance. Written by leading scholars in the field, these readings draw on recent trends in literary analysis, history, and anthropology to provide an excellent overview of the field of early Native studies. They are also intended to provoke discussion and open avenues for further exploration by students and other interested readers. Above all, the texts and commentaries gathered in this volume provide an opportunity to see Native American literature as a continuity of expression that reflects choices made long before contact and colonization, rather than as a nineteenth—or even twentieth-century invention.Contributors include Heidi Bohaker, Heather Bouwman, Joanna Brooks, Kristina Bross, Stephanie Fitzgerald, Sandra Gustafson, Laura Arnold Leibman, Kevin McBride, David Murray, Laura Murray, Jean O'Brien, Ann Marie Plane, Philip Round, Jodi Schorb, David Silverman, and Hilary E. Wyss.
"A vivid picture of the complexities, contradictions, and challenges inherent both in early Native literacies and in the scholarly reconstruction of these textual encounters."—New England Quarterly "It will appeal to a wide audience, including those interested in Native American studies, anthropology, religious studies, American colonial history, and the study of complex iconography.. . . . This is a well-written and informative addition to a wide range of interests. . . . I highly recommend this anthology to a wide body of readers. Even the price makes it an attractive choice for an instructor. The chapters provide a variety of perspectives and interpretations of primary American Indian colonial texts that are well grounded and designed to introduce these texts to a wide range of readers, from introductory university classes to anyone who is interested in colonial America or American Indian histories."—American Indian Quarterly "The book presents a series of Native textual objects edited according to scholarly conventions with interpretive essays that explains the artifacts' production and subsequent archival history. Together, the essays in these collections represent some of the best work being done in this field."—Early American Literature