American Indian Women Writers of the Southwest
English 464.001/564.001

Course Description

The southwestern United States is the home of many talented Native women writers.  While names like Silko have become well known, other writers have not received the same attention.  This course is meant to introduce students to a wider range of American Indian women writers from the southwest.  We will survey the various genres of literature written by Native American women. We will contextualize American Indian culture, the oral literary traditions, and its influence on written traditions to the various roles and status of women within their societies.  In addition, we will also give some attention to how Native women are depicted in popular culture. Texts include some poetry, novels and criticism.  This course is not intended as a theory course; it is designed as a study of the literature and the written art of Native women from the southwest.  Collaborative work and oral presentations are expected throughout the semester. 


Required Texts
Nora Naranjo-Morse  Mud Woman
Ofelia Zepeda Ocean Power
Esther Belin    From the Belly of My Beauty
Leslie Marmon Silko   Ceremony
Anita Endrezze Throwing Fire at the Sun, Water at the Moon
Laura Tohe No Parole Today
Evelina Zuni Lucero Night Sky, Morning Star
Luci Tapahonso    Blue Horses Rush In
Anna Lee Walters Ghost Singer
Graduate students:  Paula Gunn Allen, Sacred Hoop


Week One  

Tuesday 8/24


Assign graduate student presenters for 8/26

Thursday 8/26


Bonita Lawrence, "Gender, Race, and the Regulation of Native Identity in Canada and the United States: An Overview"

Paula Gunn Allen from Sacred Hoop
"When Women Throw Down Bundles: Strong Women Make Strong Nations,"
"Where I Come from Is Like This,"
"Angry Women Are Building: Issues & Struggles Facing American Indian Women Today" Paula Gunn Allen, "A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Press"

Donna Langston, "American Indian Women's Activism in the 1960s and 1970s"

Week Two

Tuesday 8/31


Andrea Smith, "Not an Indian Tradition: The Sexual Colonization of Native Peoples"
Pauline Turner Strong, "'Indian Blood': Reflections on the Reckoning and Refiguring of Native North American Identity"
Paula Gunn Allen
from Sacred Hoop
"The Sacred Hoop: A Contemporary Perspective,"
"How the West Was Really Won,"
"Who Is Your Mother? Red Roots of White Feminism"

Thursday 9/2


Nora Naranjo-Morse, Mud Woman: Poems from the Clay, “The Heart of the Vein”

Tessie Naranjo, "Pottery Making in A Changing World"
Fedora Giordano, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Pueblo Woman” from I Stand in the Center of the Good

Week Three

Tuesday 9/7


Naranjo-Morse, Mud Woman

Nancy Marie Mithlo, “Nora Naranjo-Morse: Gia’s Song,” from Reservation X

Laura Jane Moore, "Elle Meets the President: Weaving Navajo Culture and Commerce in the Southwestern Tourist Industry"

Jennifer Gray Reddish, "Pocahontas: As A Girl, She Saved the Life of Captain John Smith.......She Continues to Shape the Nation's Image of American Indians"

Thursday 9/9


Ofelia Zepeda, Ocean Power, "Conversation with Zepeda"
John Beck
, "Without Form and Void: The American Desert as Trope and Terrain"

Week Four

Tuesday 9/14


Zepeda, Ocean Power and "Written Statement"

Thursday 9/16


Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony

Paula Gunn Allen from Sacred Hoop
"The Ceremonial Motion of Indian Time: Long Ago, So Far"

Week Five

Tuesday 9/21


Research Day

Thursday 9/23


Research Day

Week Six

Tuesday 9/28


Silko, Ceremony
Paula Gunn Allen from Sacred Hoop
"Kochinnenako in Academe: Three Approaches to Interpreting a Keres Indian Tale"

Thursday 9/30


Silko, Ceremony
Paula Gunn Allen from
Sacred Hoop
“The Feminine Landscape of Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony

Week Seven

Tuesday 10/5


Silko, Ceremony
Lori Burlingame
, "Empowerment through 'Retroactive Prophecy'......."

Thursday 10/7


Esther Belin, From the Belly of My Beauty
Paula Gunn Allen
from Sacred Hoop
"A Stranger in My Own Life: Alienation in American Indian Poetry and Prose"  "Answering the Deer: Genocide and Continuance in the Poetry of American Indian Women"

Week Eight

Tuesday 10/12


Belin, From the Belly of My Beauty
Ines Hernandez-Avila, "Relocations upon Relocations: Home, Language, and Native American Women's Writings"

Thursday 10/14


Fall Break--no class

Week Nine
Tuesday 10/19   Present research to class from 9/21 and 9/23
Annotated bibliographies due
Thursday 10/21   Laura Tohe, No Parole Today
Laura Tohe, "There is No Word for Feminism in Navajo"
Week Ten
Tuesday 10/26   Anita Endrezze, Throwing Fire at the Sun, Water at the Moon
Kirstin C. Erickson
, "'They Will Come from the Other Side of the Sea': Prophecy, Ethnogenesis, and Agency in Yaqui Narrative"
Thursday 10/28   Endrezze, Throwing Fire at the Sun, Water at the Moon
Week Eleven
Tuesday 11/2   Endrezze, Throwing Fire at the Sun, Water at the Moon
Thursday 11/4   Evelina Zuni Lucero, Night Sky, Morning Star
Tessie Naranjo, "Thoughts on Migration"
Week Twelve
Tuesday 11/9   Lucero, Night Sky, Morning Star
Leslie Marmon Silko, "Interior and Exterior Landscapes"
Rina Swentzell (& Tito Naranjo), "Healing Spaces in the Tewa Pueblo World"
Thursday 11/11   Lucero, Night Sky, Morning Star, Undergraduate reading summary
Week Thirteen
Tuesday 11/16   Lucero, Night Sky, Morning Star
Thursday 11/18   Luci Tapahonso, Blue Horses Rush In
"Tapahonso Interview with Larry Evers"
Jennifer Denetdale, "Representing Changing Woman: A Review Essay on Navajo Women"
Week Fourteen
Tuesday 11/23   Tapahonso, Blue Horses Rush In, "A Tribute to Our Mother, Our Home"
Rebecca Tsosie
, “Changing Women: The Crosscurrents of American Indian Feminine Identity”
Thursday 11/25   Harvest Celebration--no class
Week Fifteen
Tuesday 11/30   Anna Lee Walters, Ghost Singer
Rhoda Carroll, "The Values and Vision of a Collective Past: An Interview with Anna Lee Walters"
Dorothy J. Graber, "Anna Lee Walters's Ghost Singer Links Native Diasporas in Time and Space"
Thursday 12/2   Walters, Ghost Singer
Melissa J. Fiesta, "Solving Mysteries of Culture and Self: Anita and Naspah in Anna Lee Walters's Ghost Singer"
Week Sixteen
Tuesday 12/7    paper presentations
Thursday 12/9    paper presentations; final research paper due