Back to the Blanket: Recovered Rhetorics and Literacies in American Indian Studies (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series) by Kimberly G. Wieser

For thousands of years, American Indian cultures have recorded their truths in the narratives and metaphors of oral tradition. Stories, languages, and artifacts, such as glyphs and drawings, all carry Indigenous knowledge, directly contributing to American Indian rhetorical structures that have proven resistant—and sometimes antithetical—to Western academic discourse. It is this tradition that Kimberly G. Wieser seeks to restore in Back to the Blanket, as she explores the rich possibilities that Native notions of relatedness offer for understanding American Indian knowledge, arguments, and perspectives. 

Back to the Blanket analyzes a wide array of American Indian rhetorical traditions, then applies them in close readings of writings, speeches, and other forms of communication by historical and present-day figures. Wieser turns this pathbreaking approach to modes of thinking found in the oratory of eighteenth-century Mohegan and Presbyterian cleric Samson Occom, visual communication in Laguna Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead, patterns of honesty and manipulation in the speeches of former president George W. Bush, and rhetorics and relationships in the communication of Indigenous leaders such as Ada-gal’kala, Tsi’yugûnsi’ni, and Inoli. 

Exploring the multimodal rhetorics—oral, written, material, visual, embodied, kinesthetic—that create meaning in historical discourse, Wieser argues for the rediscovery and practice of traditional Native modes of communication—a modern-day “going back to the blanket,” or returning to Native practices. Her work shows how these communication, negotiation, debate, and decision making. 

Back to the Blanket: Recovered Rhetorics and Literacies in American Indian Studies
American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series

Remembering Auntie Out Loud

by Terra Trevor 

Great Auntie Josephine sits in her wheelchair. At eighty her hair is still mostly black, but she is too despondent to do more than sigh. Names and questions won’t stick in her mind. 

I still have Auntie Lydia. Wrinkled, shrunken, ten years older than her sister Jo, dark black eyes gone yellow, but with a memory bank of a mind. Without pausing she tells me stories, a web of words, the same ones I remember from childhood. 

After we fill up on pies and cakes, cameras are brought out. But I don't have any pictures of my dad's side of the family. The film was overexposed the day we all lined up according to our generation. 

For the first photograph the great aunts and uncles are grouped together. These are my grandpa’s siblings, and the line doesn’t hold a white face. 

The next group is my dad, my Auntie Joan and all of their cousins—the first half-blood generation in our family. It gives eyes of blue, hazel, wavy or straight brown hair. 

My brother, sister, and I stand with the largest group of mixed-blood Cherokee, Seneca cousins. We are not full bloods or even half, and yet we’re not white and never will be. And soon enough we will become the elders. 

© Terra Trevor. All rights reserved. 

First published in Yukhika-latuhse - (She tells us stories) published by Oneida Nation Arts Program 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Terra Trevor is the author of a diverse body of work and a contributor to 10 books, including The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal (University of Oklahoma Press) Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices On Child Custody and Education (The University of Arizona Press). She is the author of Pushing up the Sky, a memoir widely anthologized and a contributing editor at River, Blood, And Corn Literary Journal. Her work and portrait is featured in Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits (University of New Mexico Press). Her work also has appeared in News From Native California, Yellow Medicine Review and in numerous other books, magazines, anthologies, literary journals and online. 
www.terratrevorauthor.com

Cesar Love Poetry

Black Molasses 
by Cesar Love

Light cannot pass through me
I swallow every spark
I put out each candle I smother the streetlamp
I douse the lighthouse

The moon, the sun, and the day
Down they go in my distillery
Everything bright milled by my night
There I make them black like me
There I make them pure like me

When I am ready, I make the world sweet
Give me flour, I make gingerbread
Give me water, I become rum
Give me an audience, I become music

I am black molasses
I go the speed that I choose
They say I move slow, but really I move free
In this sugar, you meet freedom
In this, sugar, you become four-alarm cool
The bongo of minutes, the gong of the hours,
Simple flickers on the still of your soul

"Black Molasses" was previously published in Birthright by Cesar Love
© Cesar Love. All rights reserved.

Cheekbones 

The handsome Native
His cheekbones are not chiseled
He is not made of granite
He is not made of marble

The handsome Native
His cheekbones are flesh and bone
They have felt hurricanes
They have met tornadoes

The handsome Native
His face fathoms all weather
He has withstood hatred
He has withstood other small winds

© Cesar Love. All rights reserved.

Cesar Love is a Latino poet influenced by the Asian masters. A resident of San Francisco's Mission District, he is also an editor of the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. His latest book is titled Birthright. His previous book While Bees Sleep was published by CC. Marimbo Press. cesarlovepoetry.yolasite.com

River, Blood, And Corn: A Community of Voices

River, Blood, And Corn: A Community of Voices
"We have stories / as old as the great seas / breaking through the chest / flying out the mouth, / noisy tongues that once were silenced, /all the oceans we contain / coming to light." —Linda Hogan

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