When Dream Bear Sings: Native Literatures of the Southern Plains (Native Literatures of the Americas and Indigenous World Literatures) (Hardcover)

When Dream Bear Sings: Native Literatures of the Southern Plains (Native Literatures of the Americas and Indigenous World Literatures) By Gus Palmer, Jr. (Editor) Cover Image

When Dream Bear Sings: Native Literatures of the Southern Plains (Native Literatures of the Americas and Indigenous World Literatures) (Hardcover)

By Gus Palmer, Jr. (Editor)


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Although the canon of nineteenth-century Native American writers represents rich literary expression, it derives generally from a New England perspective. Equally rich and rare poetry, songs, and storytelling were produced farther west by Indians residing on the Southern Plains. When Dream Bear Sings is a multidisciplinary, diversified, multicultural anthology that includes English translations accompanied by analytic and interpretive text outlines by leading scholars of eight major language groups of the Southern Plains: Iroquoian, Uto-Aztecan, Caddoan, Siouan, Algonquian, Kiowa-Tanoan, Athabaskan, and Tonkawa.

These indigenous language families represent Indian nations and tribal groups across the Southern Plains of the United States, many of whom were exiled from their homelands east of the Mississippi River to settlements in Kansas and Oklahoma by the Indian Removal Act of the 1830s. Although indigenous culture groups on the Southern Plains are complex and diverse, their character traits are easily identifiable in the stories of their oral traditions, and some of the most creative and unique expressions of the human experience in the Americas appear in this book. Gus Palmer Jr. brings together a volume that not only updates old narratives but also enhances knowledge of indigenous culture through a modern generation’s familiarity with new, evolving theories and methodologies regarding verbal art performance.
Gus Palmer Jr. (Kiowa) is an associate professor of anthropology and Native American studies at the University of Oklahoma, specializing in linguistic anthropology. He is the author of Telling Stories the Kiowa Way.
Product Details ISBN: 9780803284005
ISBN-10: 0803284004
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publication Date: November 1st, 2018
Pages: 402
Language: English
Series: Native Literatures of the Americas and Indigenous World Literatures
"This book should appeal to the casual reader who would like a closer look at Native American literature from the Southern Plains, to academics interested in the stories and cultures of the Native American nations of the Southern Plains, and to linguists interested in the nuances of translation by native speakers."—Geneva Harline, Western Folklore

"A diverse collection of texts from each linguistic family of the Native American Southern Plains, When Dream Bear Sings evokes a singular editorial freedom, and in juxtaposing texts crafted in different eras, for different purposes, and by authors of diverse sensitivities, interrogates a paradoxical literary tradition—that of the documentation and revitalization of Native American oral traditions—on its evolution, its promises, and its shortcomings."—Thierry Veyria, Journal of Folklore Research

"Those who are interested in Southern Plains culture will want this book for its authentic presentation of Native languages, its broad and deep survey of texts, and the knowledgeable essays that accompany them."—Marcia Haag, Tribal College Journal

“The vital importance of When Dream Bear Sings cannot be expressed strongly enough. The editor offers the reader multiple, reflective levels of understanding the stories and Native ways of thinking about the world around us.”—Blue Clark, professor of law at Oklahoma City University and author of Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock: Treaty Rights and Indian Law at the End of the Nineteenth Century

“To my knowledge, this is the most comprehensive collection of oral literature of the Plains that has ever been produced. I especially appreciate the diversity of tribal perspectives rendered here and the way that the text accounts for the intricacies, including problems and possibilities, of transcription.”—Lindsey Claire Smith, associate professor of English and affiliate of American Indian studies at Oklahoma State University and editor of American Indian Quarterly

“I celebrate the achievement of When Dream Bear Sings, which offers not only rich translations of extremely valuable literary traditions but also a deeper understanding of the cross-cultural translation process itself. This work and the voices that echo from its pages advance humanist aims in science for a scholarship grounded in human dignity.”—Catharine Mason, associate professor of English and linguistic ethnography at the University of Caen Normandy

“In this wonderful collection of Native American stories from the Southern Plains, Gus Palmer and his host of contributors treat the reader to Indigenous language narratives that allow us, as readers, to hear a variety of Native voices while reading well-crafted translations that deliver the power, beauty, and imagination of the originals.”—Paul V. Kroskrity, professor of anthropology and American Indian studies at UCLA