The OF Blog: Just finished reading a fascinating article in the current issue of Kenyon Review

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just finished reading a fascinating article in the current issue of Kenyon Review

Beth H. Piatote's "Our (Someone Else's) Father:  Articulation, Dysarticulation, and Indigenous Literary Traditions" was perhaps the best non-fiction entry in a very strong field of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction submitted by Indigenous/Native American writers for the all-Indigenous Winter 2010 issue of The Kenyon Review.  Despite not finding any suitable stories for consideration for BAF4, I found myself just reading each and every piece in large part because of just how totally my own part-Cherokee heritage has been obliterated due to two centuries of cultural and political denials and stigmatization.

Of particular interest was how Piatote discussed the dynamics involved in the Nez Perce translation of the Pater Noster, given below:

Numin Pist kem in ues eis nuespa
Taz He imene wanikt paraquaneitag uag Pahatauyaitag
Taz He imin Miogatoit painag
Taz He imene nekt patuignaitag kino uetespa
kam kus Einuespa ituigneitanig.
Taksain hipt neozenim nuna
kapsisuit nas usunanim
kag kus nun nuaunaisig kakimem inaskapsisuiyutenig
ka wet met nez nikukum kapsisuitg
metu kapsieuitkinig nez nakettem.
Nunag kus.

In particular, her treatment of how there is a clash between the inclusiveness of "our" and the abstract expression of "father" perhaps serves as an apt metaphor for the dynamics involved between those indigenous peoples (and the mestizos and others who have more than one cultural grounding) and the dominant Anglo-American culture surrounding them.  Makes me wish I were still in school and could have the opportunity to learn more about Native American cultures.  Then again, I'm going to be getting that chance quite shortly, since the residential treatment center where I work recently entered into an agreement to house several teenage males from several of the nations.  Something to look forward to, I suppose.

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