Native American Indian Scenes of Absence and Presence
“Gerald Vizenor demonstrates once more how and why he is at the absolute forefront of American writers and critical thinkers. The essays offered here gather past, present, and future into brilliantly disturbing ways of understanding how we articulate our selves and our worlds as Native Americans, postindians, indigenous peoples, human beings. Simply put, Fugitive Poses underscores the ever more evident fact that Anishinaabe writer Gerald Vizenor has no equal in American critical writing.”—Louis Owens.
“A puzzle and a provocation, a burr under the seat of the imagination, Fugitive Poses is challenging new work from an American Daedalus very much alive.”—Arnold Krupat.
“Fugitive Poses is suffused with wide-ranging intellectual energy. It journeys in revelatory ways into social and literary history. . . . Vizenor has written a number of excellent books. This is one of his very best.” —Brian Swann.
Native peoples today are best known to others, and often to themselves, through their fugitive poses: textual and graphic depictions preserved by scholarship, consumed by the dominant culture, and steeped in a modernist aesthetic of romantic victimry, tragedy, and nostalgia. Because such representations do not easily convey the immediacy and distinctiveness of Native cultures, they effectively celebrate the absence rather than the presence of the Native. The fugitive poses captured in photographs, portraits, translations, official documents, New Age stories, blood-quantum counts, captivity narratives, and museum objects simulate Native peoples rather than reveal them.
Native sovereignty, Gerald Vizenor contends, is not possessed but expressed. It emerges not from practicing vengeful and exclusionary policies and politics, or by simple recourse to territoriality, but by turning to Native transmotion, the forces and processes of creativity and imagination lying at the heart of Native world-views and actions. Overturning long-held scholarly and popular assumptions, Vizenor offers a vigorous examination of tragic cultures and victimry.
Gerald Vizenor is a professor of Native American literature at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the American Book Award winner Griever: An American Monkey King in China.
320 pp — ©1998