Reading Indigeneity

The Ethics of Interpretation and Representation

Authored by: Clare Bradford

Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Print publication date:  October  2010
Online publication date:  April  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415965057
eBook ISBN: 9780203843543
Adobe ISBN: 9781136913570

10.4324/9780203843543.ch23

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Abstract

The transmission of indigenous stories is a fraught enterprise. In contrast to Western practices of the free circulation of ideas, many indigenous cultures view their stories as sacred, and have strict rules about who may tell certain tales, and in what settings and with whom they may be shared. Indigenous storytellers and novelists who want to tell contemporary stories also face the minefields of a history of (mis)representations of their cultures’ values and practices. Australian literary scholar Clare Bradford picks her way carefully through this minefield, identifying its perils and proposing a self-reflexive practice that enables scholars to approach these works with sensitivity; Abenaki children’s author Joseph Bruchac adds his own impressions and frustrations as an author to Clare’s frank assessment of the possibilities of criticism, cross-talk, and mutual understanding in the field.

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