“Fitzgerald offers a concentrated scrutiny that should attract a broad readership. No one should doubt her powerful intellectual weight and resourcefulness…Essential.”
Dispossession and removal are major subjects in understanding the relationship of American Indians to their ancestral lands. This book is the first treatment of these complex topics to focus on women writers. The author’s emphasis on environmental issues makes her book as important to ecocritics as to students of literary criticism, women’s studies, and Native American studies.
While accounts of Native dispossession such as the Cherokee Removal of 1838-1839 are familiar to many, incremental dispossession caused by thawing permafrost in the Arctic or soil erosion in coastal areas, for example, is virtually ignored. This book asks how these forms of dispossession, both sudden and gradual, are experienced by Native people. How does gender shape these experiences? What roles do literary and community texts and social media play in the memory, politics, and lived experience of those dispossessed? What happens after dispossession? Native Women and Land offers possible answers to these questions and raises other important questions. What would happen to the study of literature and the environment if Native American literature were moved from the extreme periphery where it now resides to the center? How would readings of Native-focused ecocriticism and environmental literature change if Native people were moved from being part of the landscape to leading the discussions?
Timely, thoroughly researched, and profoundly interdisciplinary, Fitzgerald’s book is sure to find a wide readership in the academy and beyond.
Stephanie J. Fitzgerald is an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas. She is the coeditor of Keepers of the Morning Star: An Anthology of Native Women’s Theater.
University of New Mexico Press, 2015