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Rhetorical sovereignty; Ojibwe; Publication; Native American; American literature -- Indian authors -- History and criticism; Ojibwa Indians -- Ethnic identity; Oral tradition -- North America;
Publications concerning or involving Native Americans have typically been written from a Non-Native viewpoint, but in recent years a large increase in Native American publication and scholarship has allowed a Native American outlook to finally be understood and respected in academic discourse. This research analyzes the cultural, social, and political impacts of two highly-respected Ojibwe cultural and educational publications, The Mishomis Book by Edward Benton-Banai, and Anton Treuer’s Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales and Oral Histories. The analysis has primarily viewed the texts through the lens of Scott Richard Lyons’ original concept of “Rhetorical Sovereignty,” which he defines in “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What Do American Indians Want From Writing?” as, “the inherent right and ability of peoples to determine their own communicative needs… to decide for themselves the goals, modes, styles, and languages of public discourse” (449). Through this understanding of contemporary Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Chippewa, Odawa/Ottawa, and Bodewatomi/Potawatomi) writing, the importance of cultural and linguistic revitalization is key in understanding the reasoning behind and necessity of such publications. Other respected Native American scholarly works, such as “Wampum as Hypertext” written by Angela Haas, “Blood and Scholarship: One Mixed-Blood’s Story” by Malea Powell, and American Indians: Stereotypes and Realities by Devon A. Mihesuah, “Let My People Know: American Indian Journalism” by James E. Murphy and Sharon M. Murphy, as well as X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent by Scott Richard Lyons further relate the necessity of the cultural education to Natives and Non-Natives alike. This research has sought to understand how the oral tradition has influenced modern generations of Anishinaabe, and will continue to do so with the continuity and preservation of these traditional stories. SRCEE Presentation. McNair Scholar Project. Faculty Advisor: Rose Rae Gubele, Department of English Language and Literature.