How the West(ern) Was Won: Race and Survivance in Contemporary Native North American Literature

In this project, I examine texts created by three contemporary Native North American writers, Cherokee author Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water, Kickapoo artist Arigon Starr’s Super Indian: Volume One and Volume Two, and Blackfeet novelist Stephen Graham Jones’s The Last Final Girl. My examination of these texts identifies the ways in which the novels and graphic narratives dismantle racial assumptions produced by a white dominated ethnic hierarchy, critique racist practices, and demonstrate survivance by using the dominant culture’s discourse subversively. I argue that, in this process, these artists are also dismantling colonialist hierarchies themselves and redefining white racial identity as an “othered” ethnicity among many others.