Native American Literature

Home/ Native American Literature
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Discipline CoreSOL2EN3304

Semester and Year Offered: II Semester

Course Coordinator: Dr. Amit Singh

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives/Description:

This course focuses on the voices of the first natives of America which were suppressed, neglected and marginalized for centuries by the American mainstream. The famous ‘American dream’ is founded on a history of removal and denial of rights suffered by the original inhabitants of the continent. The course attempts to make the students think about issues which have been raised by the Native American writers in the twentieth century and relating those issues with similar instances of denial arising in our own times and surroundings. It relies on the value of empathizing with experiences, understanding encounters, recognizing struggles, and appreciating resilience of the Native peoples. Through readings and class discussions, various claims and counter-claims in terms of identity, belonging, memory, wisdom and knowledge would be explored so as to create a sense of solidarity between resistance and resilience across cultures, communities, and national boundaries.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules: The present course will be transacted through the following modules. Selections for each module will be made from the indicative list mentioned below.

  • Module 1: Introduction- Native American Word and Worldview
  • Module 2: History, Identity & Survival
  • Module 3: Memoir/ Biography/ Tales/ Autobiography
  • Module 4: Poetry
  • Module 5: Short Story
  • Module 6: Fiction
  • Module 7: Drama
  • Module 8: Cinema
  • Module 9: Conclusion

Assessment Details with weights:

S. No


Date/period in which Assessment will take place



Class Assignment

End of May/ Early June



Mid Semester Exam

As per AUD Calendar




End of June



Question Bank

Mid July



Term Paper

Third Week of July


Reading List: Readings for this course will be selected from the following indicative list:

Section 1:


Native American World and Worldview

McMichael, George. “Christopher Columbus”.  Concise Anthology of

        American Literature. 4th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall College     

        Div., 1997. Print.


“How the World Began”. McMichael 46-53.


“How the World Was Made”. McMichael 54-55.


“Origins”. Native American Storytelling: A Reader of Myths and

Legends. Ed. Karl Kroeber. Malden, USA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. Print.


Foley, John Miles. “Foreward”. Native American Oral Traditions:

Collaborations and Interpretations. Eds. Larry Evers and Barre Toelken. Logan: Utah University Press, 2001. Vii-xvi. Print.


Mather, Elsie P. and Phyllis Morrow. “There are No Words to the

Story”. Larry Evers and Barre Toelken. 200-242.


“The New England Primer”. McMichael 52-59.


Section 2: History, Identity & Survival


Columbus, Christopher. “Columbus’s Letter Describing his First

Voyage to America”. McMichael 13-20.


---. “From the Diario of Christopher Columbus’s First Voyage to

America”. McMichael 21-22.


McMichael, George. “The Literature of Colonial America”. McMichael



Smith, John. “From the General History of Virginia”. McMichael 13-



Jefferson, Thomas. “The Declaration of Independence as Adopted by

        Congress”. McMIchael 211-213.


---. “From Notes on State of Virginia”. McMichael 213-217.


Zinn, Howard. “Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress”. A

People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2003. 1-22. Print.


Dunsmore, Roger. “Columbus Day Revisited”. Earth’s Mind. New

       Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 1997. 193-214. Print.


Weeks, Philip. Ed. “They Made Us Many Promises: The American Indian Experience 1524 to the Present. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, 2002. Print.


Perdue, Theda. “The Trail of Tears: Removal of the Southern Indians in

the Jeffersonian- Jacksonian Era”. Weeks 67-84.


Dunlay, Thomas W. “Ambiguity and Misunderstanding: The Struggle

between the U.S. Army and the Indians for the Great Plain”. Weeks 105-122.


Berthrong, Donald F. “The Bitter Years: Western Indian Reservation

      Life”. Weeks 125-144.


Barstow, Rose Mary (Shingobe). “Who was Really the Savage?”. The

Ethnic American Woman: Problems, Protests, Lifestyle. Ed. Edith Blicksilver. Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1978. 291. Print.


Section 3: Memoir/ Biography/ Tales/ Autobiography

Riley, Patricia. Ed. Growing up Native American: An Anthology. New

York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1993. Print.


Hopkins, Sara Winnemucca. “From Life Among the Piutes: Their

Wrongs and Claims”. Riley 73-85.


Johnston, Basil. “A Day in the Life of Spanish”. Riley 167-188.


Momaday, N. Scott. “From The Names: A Memoir”. Riley 215-235.


Neihardt, John G. and Black Elk. “From Black Elk Speaks”. Riley 97-106.


Ortiz, Simon. “The Language We Know”. Riley 29-38. Print.


Silko, Leslie Marmon. “Uncle Tony’s Goat”. Riley 299-305. Print.


Section 4: Poetry

Green, Rayna. Ed. That’s What She Said: Contemporary Poetry and

     Fiction by Native-American Women. Indiana: Indiana University 

     Press, 1984. Print.


Allen, Paula Gunn. “Grandmother”. Green 27.


---. “Womanwork”. Green 29.


Bruchac, Joseph. Ed. Songs from This Earth on Turtle’s Back:

Contemporary American Indian Poetry. New York: The Greenfield Review Press, 1983. Print.


Brant, Beth. “Native Origin”. Bruchac 33.


---. “Ride the Turtle’s Back”. Bruchac 32.


Hobson, Geary. Ed. The Remembered Earth: An Anthology of

Contemporary Native American Literature. New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 1980. Print.


Bruchac, Joseph. “Birdfoot’s Grampa”. Hobson 34.


---. “The Geyser”. Hobson 35.


---. “The Remedies”. Hobson 34.


---. “Three Poems for the Indian Steelworkers in a Bar where I Used to

Drink”. Hobson 35-36.


Lerner, Andrea. Dancing on the Rim of the World: An Anthology of

Contemporary Northwest Native American Writing. Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 1990. Print.


Chrystos. “Dear Mr. President”. Lerner 35.


---. “I Have Not Signed a Treaty with the United States Government”. 

Lerner 33.


---. “In the Grief River”. Lerner 37-38.


---. “First of February, New Snow”. Lerner 42.


Cloud, Peter Blue. “Dogwood Blossoms”. Bruchac 25-26.


---. “To-ta Ti-om (for an aunt)”. Bruchac 26.


Endrezze, Anita.  “Blue Horses: West Winds”. Bruchac 68.


---. “October Morning Walk”. Lerner 68.


---.  “Song Maker”. Bruchac 69.


---. “The Dieter’s Daughter”. Lerner 65-66.


---. “The Light that Passes”. Lerner 67-68.


---. “The Map-Maker’s Daughter”. Lerner 69.


Niatum, Duame. Ed. Harper’s Anthology of 20th Century Native

American Poetry. New York: Harper Collins Publishers Inc., 1988. Print.


Erdrich, Louise. “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways”. Niatum



George, Phil. “An-Himh Hi-Hi (White Winter)”. Lerner 79.


---. “Northwest Natives: Where Have All Our People Gone?”. Lerner



Dodge, Robert K. and Joseph B. McCollough. Eds. New and Old Voices

of Wah’kon-tah: Contemporary Native American Poetry. New York: International Publishers, 1985. 69. Print.


Hale, Janet Campbell. “Tribal Cemetery”. Dodge and McCollough 52-



---.  “Where Have All The Indians Gone?”. Bruchac. 90.


Blicksilver, Edith. Ed. TheEthnic American Woman: Problems,

Protests, Lifestyle. Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1978. 285. Print. 


Harjo, Joy. “Remember”. Green 137-138.


 ---. “The Last Song”. Blicksilver 285.


---. “The Woman Hanging from the 13th Floor Window”. Green 149-



---. “What Music”. Green 148-149.


Hogan, Linda. “The Truth Is”. Niatum 207-208.


Lopez, Alonzo. “The Lavender Kitten”. Dodge and McCollough 69.


---. “Direction”. Dodge and McCollough 68.


Momaday, N. Scott. “The Colors of Night”. Bruchac 158.


---. The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee”. Niatum 89.


NorthSun, Nila. “The Ways/ The Way It Is Nine poems”. Blicksilver 109-114.


Oliver. Louis (Little Coon). “The Sharpbreasted Snake” (Hokpe

Fuske)”. Bruchac 183.


---. “Wagon Full of Thunder”. Bruchac 182.


Ortiz, Simon J. “A New Story”. Bruchac 187-189.


---. “My Father’s Song”. Bruchac 187.


Rose, Wendy. “I Expected My Skin and My Blood to Ripen”. Dodge

and McCollough 102-103.


---. “The well-intentioned question”. Green 195.


---. “Walking on the prayerstick”. Green 194.


Salisbury, Ralph. “Among the Savages”. Bruchac 222.


---. “This is My Death-Dream”. Bruchac 221.


Smith, R. T. “Red Anger”. Bruchac 32.


---. “The Long Joke”. Bruchac 33.


TallMountain, Mary. “There is No Word for Goodbye”. Bruchac 238.


---. “Ts’eekkaayah”. Bruchac 238-239.


Vizenor, Gerald. “White Earth Reservation 1980”. Bruchac 262-263.


Section 5: Short Story

Hogan, Linda. “New Shoes”. Green. 178-190.


Allen, Paula Gunn. Ed. Spider Woman’s Granddaughters:  Traditional

Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women. New York: Random House, Inc., 1989. Print.


Howe, LeAnne. “An American in New York”. Allen 245-255.


Popkes, Opal Lee. “Zuma Chowt’s Cave”. Allen 18-30.


Silko, Leslie Marmon. “Lullaby”. Blicksilver 54-60.


Sears, Vicki L. “Grace”. Allen 168-187.


Walters, Anna Lee. “The Warriors”. Allen 111-124.

Section 6: Fiction

Momaday, N. Scott. House Made of Dawn. New York: Harper Collins

Publishers, 2010. Print.

Section 7: Drama

Green, Paul. The Lost Colony. North Carolina: University of North

Carolina Press, 1937. Print.

Section 8: Cinema

The Last of the Mohicans. Dir. Michael Mann. Perf. Daniel Day-Lewis,

Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Jodhi May. Warner Bros., 1992. DVD.

Section 9: Conclusion- Parallel Legacies

Comparative focus on India, Canada, Australia, and such other countries.