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The true picture of the indian---as Jackson viewed it :
b the portrayal of Alessandro as an atypical Native American
h [electronic resource] /
by Carrie Olin.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
ABSTRACT: Helen Hunt Jackson wrote the sentimental novel, Ramona, to call attention to social justice for Native Americans. This thesis presents a reconsideration and reevaluation of the novel, especially that of the Native American voice the novel presents, by recognizing the complexities of Native American literature and culture. Previous criticism of the novel focuses on the portrayal of Hispanics or the "real life" events, such as the shaping of Southern California, the "true" Ramona, or the life of Jackson. Since there is little critical debate of the text itself, this thesis initiates further exploration. An extensive review of the scholarship provides evidence of the problematic Native American voice. Other white authors, most significantly John G. Neihardt, have presented Native American literary texts such as autobiographies. While Ramona is a work of fiction, Jackson takes similar liberties as translators and editors of Native American autobiographies. In addition, Christi anity shapes Jackson's interpretation of Native American life. All of Jackson's characters, both Native American and Hispanic, are influenced by Christianity, and no Native American religion exists within the novel. Despite Jackson's genuine sympathy for Native American rights, she struggles with Native American stereotypes throughout Ramona and creates her own image of the civilized man as noble savage. Jackson can only present a portrait of the Native American as she perceives it because she encountered at least two distinct obstacles that prevented her from writing in an authentic Native American voice. First, at the time that Jackson wrote the novel, the Luiseo tribe, the subject of Jackson's narrative, had been influenced by the role of Europeans in their society for over 300 years, and the tribe had lost at least some sense of its original native identity. Secondly, like other white authors, Jackson attempts to give voice to the Native American with her own white upper class fe male tongue. The Native American voice that Jackson presents is ultimately filtered through her Western lens.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
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Adviser: Sara Deats, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
The True Picture of the IndianAs Jackson Viewed It: The Portrayal of Alessandro as an Atypical Native American by Carrie Olin A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of English College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Sara Deats, Ph.D. Patricia Nickinson, Ph.D. Ruth Banes, Ph.D. Date of Approval: April 14, 2006 Keywords: Ramona, mission, Luiseo, Cahuilla, Temecula Copyright 2006 Carrie Olin
i Table of Contents Abstract....................................................................................................................... ........ii Introduction................................................................................................................... .......1 Review of the Debate about the Authentic Native American Voice...................................4 Review of the Literature Regarding Ramona.................................................................... 20 History of the Relationship of the Tribes of Southern California to European Missions.........................................................................................................................35 Racial Stereotyping of the Native Americans....................................................................39 Jacksons Use of Non-Fiction in Ramona......................................................................... 44 Conclusion.........................................................................................................................49 List of References..............................................................................................................50
ii The True Picture of the IndianAs Jac kson Viewed It: The Portrayal of Alessandro as an Atypical Native American Carrie Frances Olin ABSTRACT Helen Hunt Jackson wrote the sentimental novel, Ramona, to call attention to social justice for Native Americans. This thesis presents a reconsideration and reevaluation of the novel, especially th at of the Native American voice the novel presents, by recognizing the complexities of Native American literature and culture. Previous criticism of the novel focuses on th e portrayal of Hispanics or the real life events, such as the shaping of Southern Calif ornia, the true Ramona, or the life of Jackson. Since there is little criti cal debate of the text itself, this thesis initiates further exploration. An extensive revi ew of the scholarship provide s evidence of the problematic Native American voice. Other white authors, most significantly John G. Neihardt, have presented Native American literary te xts such as autobiographies. While Ramona is a work of fiction, Jackson takes similar liber ties as translators and editors of Native American autobiographies. In addition, Christ ianity shapes Jacksons interpretation of Native American life. All of Jacksons characters, both Native American and Hispanic, are influenced by Christianity, and no Native American religion exists within the novel. Despite Jacksons genuine sympathy for Native American rights, she struggles with Native American stereotypes throughout Ramona and creates her own image of the civilized man as noble savage. Jackson can only present a portrait of the Native American
iii as she perceives it because she encountered at least two distinct obstacles that prevented her from writing in an authentic Native Americ an voice. First, at the time that Jackson wrote the novel, the Luiseo tribe, the subjec t of Jacksons narrative, had been influenced by the role of Europeans in their society for over 300 years, and the tr ibe had lost at least some sense of its original native identit y. Secondly, like other white authors, Jackson attempts to give voice to the Native Ameri can with her own white upper class female tongue. The Native American voice that Jacks on presents is ultimately filtered through her Western lens.
1 Introduction Helen Hunt Jackson wrote the sentimental novel, Ramona, to call attention to social justice for Native Americans. This thesis presents a reconsideration and reevaluation of the novel, especially th at of the Native American voice the novel presents, by recognizing the complexities of Native American literature and culture. Previous criticism of the novel focuses on th e portrayal of Hispanics or the real life events, such as the shaping of Southern Calif ornia, the true Ramona, or the life of Jackson. Since there is little criti cal debate about the text itself, this thesis initiates further exploration. An extensive revi ew of the scholarship provide s evidence of the problematic Native American voice. Other white authors, most significantly John G. Neihardt, have presented Native American literary te xts such as autobiographies. While Ramona is a work of fiction, Jackson takes liberties sim ilar to those of transl ators and editors of Native American autobiographies. In a ddition, Christianity shapes Jacksons interpretation of Native American life. All of Jacksons characters, both Native American and Hispanic, are influenced by Christiani ty, and no Native American religion exists within the novel. Despite J acksons genuine sympathy for Native American rights, she struggles with Native American stereotypes throughout Ramona and creates her own image of the civilized man as noble savage. Therefore, the Native American voice that Jackson presents is ultimately filtered through her Western lens. The extensive debate regarding the au thentic Native American voice includes elements not characteristic of discussions of other genres. The discussion involves
2 questions concerning language dis tinctive to this debate, such as whether the literature is written in English or in a Native tongue or whether an amanuensis, editor, or translator has somehow altered the text. The controversy also includes definitions of Native American identity and what is referred to as the blood quantum. Distinctive questions must be examined in determining whether a piece of literature accurately represents a Native American culture: Who is being describe d? What culture is being explored? From what viewpoint, Native American or otherwise, is the story being to ld? Often, the Native American voice can be defined by what it is not; the Native American voice does not rely on Indian stereotypes, nor does it reflect a people who should be wholly idealized. The authentic Native American voice should represen t a real people, a people with distinct values and genuine concerns, a culture not defined by another, more dominant one, nor a culture that has been entirely resistant to change. The authentic Native American voice represents a living culture and is accepted by those who claim their status within such a community. My thesis will examine the degree to which Helen Hunt Jacksons Ramona is successful in depicting an authentic portra it of the Native American. Valerie Sherer Mathes argues that in the novel Ramona Jackson set out to write a work of fiction that presents a true picture of the Native Ameri can, but then Mathes qualifies her statement with the phrase, as Jackson viewed it (77). Ultimately, according to Mathes, Jackson can only present a portrait of the Native Am erican as she perceives it because she encountered at least two distinct obstacles th at prevented her from writing in an authentic Native American voice. First, at the time th at Jackson wrote the novel, the Luiseo tribe, the subject of Jacksons narrativ e, had been influenced by the role of Europeans in their
3 society for over 300 years, and the tribe had lost at least some sense of its original native identity. Although societies and communities are continuously subject to change, the Luiseo tribe, although made up of Native Ameri cans, was so overly influenced by the Mexican society that they essentially becam e the lowest group in a Spanish-Mexican caste system, rather than a Native American entity. Secondly, like other white authors, Jackson attempts to give voice to the Nativ e American with her own white upper class female tongue. Despite her intense concern for Native American rights, Jackson is writing from the vantage point of a white fema le, not of a Native American, and in her attempt to present the hero Alessandro as an admirable Indian, Jackson inadvertently establishes the dichotomy of the noble savage ve rsus the wild Injun. In this thesis I will expand the work of Mathes, seeking to demons trate that despite J acksons strong ties to the Native American movement, in the novel Ramona, she cannot give her hero a truly authentic Native American voice because she does not have the means to do so. Jacksons attempt to write in a Nativ e American voice raises a plethora of questions regarding the debate of the authentic Native American voice, which is far reaching and encompasses discussions not only of authorship but also of heritage. Even today, Native Americans must contemplate whethe r it is better to unite and lose tribal differences or retain particular tribal distinctions and risk disappearance altogether. No agreement exists, and this problem further complicates the question of Native American identity. Ultimately, it is the Native American s who determine what pieces of literature should be considered truly authentic; however, th is certainly does not thwart the efforts of non-Native Americans to create their own id ea of the true Native American voice.
4 Review of the Debate about the Authentic Native American Voice The question of authenticity in depicti ng the true Native American is a broad topic that includes aspects of lineage as well as language; howe ver, the central concern is the possibility of members of a dominant culture assuming the voice of a minority culture. Multiple facets of this discussion ex ist, including the following: Can an authentic Native American voice be translated into English? Can an authentic Native American voice be written in English? Can an authenti c Native American voice be written down at all, and, if so, who can represen t an authentic Native American? In American Indian Fiction (1978), Charles Larson determines the authenticity of the Native writers work by examining an au thors lineage and use of language. Larson argues that to write authentic Native American fiction, one must have a sense of the concept of Indian identity, a nd his qualifications for including an author in his study are that the author was established as a genuine Native American and that the author wrote the novel without the aid of a collaborato r or an amanuensis. For Larson, a prime distinction for determining Indianness appear s to be identification with and acceptance by ones fellow tribesmen (6). To determine whether an author was accepted by a particular tribe, Larson looked for the writers name on the tribal rolls. However, Larson was quick to state that the de gree of Indian blood suggested by the tribal rolls did not account for ones ability to write as a true Indian. Being a full-blooded Native American does not correlate with ones ab ility to write with an authentic Native American voice. Larson also suggests that works can be assumed to be authentically
5 Native American if they are included in Na tive American anthologies or edited by Native Americans. In addition, Larson illustrates reas ons why an author would choose to write in English: Many of these [Na tive American] languages have no orthography, and that, of course, has curtailed the possibility of producing literary works in those languages despite their rich oral tradition (9). By writi ng in the tribal tongue, the author eliminates readers who are non-Indians and also Nativ e people who speak a different tribal language. In Indian Autobiography: Origins, Type, and Function (1 985), Arnold Krupat presents the origins of the I ndian autobiography as it coinci des with the development of the autobiography in early American history; however, Krupat notes that Indian autobiographies are groups of texts explicitly presented by the white who wrote them down and published them as historical or ethnographic documents (28). Thus no Indian autobiography conforms to the common defi nition of autobiography, and Krupat argues that the Indian autobiography is a contradict ion in terms: Indian autobiographies are collaborative efforts, jointly produced by some white who translates, transcribes, compiles, edits, interprets, polishes, and ultim ately determines the form of the text in writing, and by an Indian who is its subject and whose life becomes the content of the autobiography whose title may bear his name (30). In his discussion, Krupat juxtaposes eastern autobiographers, such as Henry Adams and Henry Thoreau, with western autobiographers, who were considered more Indian-like, such as Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, and Kit Carson, who could ne ither read nor write; however, he often compares the Indian autobiography with ot her autobiographies of the time without commenting on the full differences in editi ng and producing the texts. For example,
6 Krupat insists that the western autobiographies and the Indian autobi ographies are similar due to the fact that the subjects are both cl ose to nature and une ducated according to Western standards; however, Krupat fails to adequately note that the editors and the western autobiographers are of the same culture and language. For Krupat, white domination came not only with the power of the sword but of the pen as well. (34). Therefore, despite the biographers attempts to keep the spirit of the Native American alive, those who were preserving the spir it were allied with its destroyers. In The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Fe minine in American Indian Traditions (1986) Paula Gunn Allen states that Na tive Americans and their traditions are multitudinous; therefore, the themes of their novels are also numerous. Allen argues that even though most contemporary novels use west ern narrative plotting, th ey are ritualistic in approach, structure, theme, symbol, a nd significance. Allen finds these novels most properly termed American Indian novels be cause they rely on native rather than nonIndian forms, themes, and symbols and so are not colonial or exploitative. Rather, they carry on the oral tradition at many levels, furthering and nourishing it and being furthered and nourished by it (79). The protagonists in Native American novels are bicultural and deal with the effects of colonization and a se nse of loss of self; how ever, each participates in a ritual tradition that provides shape and significance to their liv es: The structure of tribal narratives, at least in their native language forms, is quite unlike that of western fiction; it is not tied to any particular time lin e, main character, or event. It is tied to a particular point of viewthat of the tribes trad itionand to a specifi c ideathat of the ritual tradition and accompanying perspective th at inform the narrative. Ritual provides coherence and significance to traditional narrative as it does to traditional life (79).
7 Allen suggests that literatureincluding cer emony, myth, tale, and songis the primary mode of ritual tradition: T he tribal rituals necessarily include a verbal element, and contemporary novelists draw from that verbal aspect in their wo rk (80). Conversely, Allen insists that Western fiction is ba sed on non-sacred aesthetic and intellectual precepts, including the three unities, and that it is structured to create the illusion of change over time due to conflict and crisis. In Mother Earth (1987) Sam Gill proposes that everything we know about Native Americans has been viewed through the wh ite mans filter; therefore, no one can authentically speak with a Native American voice, including Native Americans. Gill uses the concept of Mother Earth as an example, arguing that while the concept of Mother Earth is typically attributed to na tive peoples, this attribution is frequently adduced as a somewhat racist example of how Native Americans are more in touch with the land than the Europeans. While this may have been true, he posits, the concept only crystallizes the otherness of the Europeans. Gill asserts that even Native Americans oral traditions are informed by contact and conf lict with white culture and thus there is no such thing as an authentic Na tive American voice. In addition, at the time of Columbus, there were over 500 distinct trib es in North America, each wi th distinct language, rituals, food, art, and social structures. Some of these tribes were as different from each other as they were from the white man. In a subsequent book, Storytracking (1998), Gill suggests that it is possible to say something meaningful about native culture s once the concept of authenticity is discarded. Anthony Mattina tackles the charges ma de by Dennis Tedlock and Dell Hymes that the traditional prose para graph is inadequate for the wr itings of Native Americans in
8 North American Indian Mythography: Editi ng Texts for the Printed Page (1987). While listening to tapes of Zuni performances, Te dlock determined that there were various silences that recurred th roughout a performance. Mattina argues that Tedlocks translations of these oral st ories appear more as a musical score, and because oral narrative is not the equivalent to written prose (the latter bei ng an invention that postdates literacy), Tedlock felt th at records of oral narrative should not be printed as written prose (131). However, Mattina counters that not all Native American narratives are composed in verse any more than all English literature is composed in verse. Instead, Mattina focuses on how Indians speak Eng lish and how the form and function of language is intertwined. Brian Swanns A Note on Translation and Remarks on Collaboration (1987) focuses on a key concern in Native American lit eraturethe art of tran slation. In an ideal world, Swann asserts that the best transl ations are made by tr anslators thoroughly at home in both of the languages being worked on, and that literary expression is best translated by translators who are themselv es writers (247). While Swann hopes that current translations will occur in this manne r, he does not fail to recognize that older translations of Native American texts need to be reviewed. Swann calls for more qualified translators to reevaluate the old tex ts, and until that happens, their value will retain a hint of the dubious (248). Swann ha s two reasons for reev aluating older texts. First, Swann sees a constant necessity for the retranslation of works (248). Secondly, Swann observes that the unconscious forces a nd cultural osmosis that have shaped those translations must be sorted accordingly.
9 Joseph Bruchac begins his article, Four Directions: Some Thoughts on Teaching Native American Literature (1991), noting the comparisons between Native American literature and African literature: More accu rately, it is how speaking about African literature would be if we were living in an Africa which had lost 90% of its population in the last 500 years and was being run as a sing le united continent by European colonials (4). Bruchac states that an incredibly vast body of work is encountered when approaching the totality of Native Amer ican literature, which derives from over 400 different languages and cultures that are thousands of years old. While his article focuses on tips for teaching Native American literature, par ticularly the breadth and diversity of the genre, he also offers one of the most unique analyses of Native American translation: Imagine what it would be lik e if Shakespeare's plays had be en written in Lakota and we only knew his work in English through a single translation of Othello done by an 18th century puritanical and racist Baptist missionary with a tin ear who transcribed the play from a verbal recounting of it by a slightly senile octogenarian who never liked the theatre that much (7). While Bruchacs att itude toward the issue of translation is humorous, it is also a striking remi nder of the hazards of translation. In Forked Tongues: Speech, Writing and Representation in North American Indian Texts (1991), David Murray demonstrates the ways in which translation has obscured and effaced texts that claim to repr esent or describe Native Americans and the underlying issues of cultural and ideologica l assumptions of this effacement. Murray claims this effacement enables the produc tion of two absolute ly opposed mythical moments of encounter, which reappear implic itly in the presentation of Indians; the meeting with untouched and unknowable othern ess, beyond the reach of language; and
10 the rapport of unproblematic translatability, and of tran sparency of language (2). Through an examination of these mythical moments and assumptions about language and nature, Murray seeks to define a discourse of Indianness that is available to both Native Americans and non-Native Americans. Murray suggests that the Native Americans could either adapt to the demands of the dominant group or cease to exist in cultural translations. Murray argues that Indian attempts at speaki ng English are either ignored or patronized. One important reason for this, as well as th e ideological ones I have outlined, would be the absence of an appropriate form in which to represent such speech until the development of literary conventions in which to express the vernacular, which were not available even to express English di alects (7). Native Americans could either speak like the educated white men or they could not speak at all. Simon Ortiz argues in The Historical Matrix Towards a National Indian Literature: Cultural Authenticity in Nationalism (1993) that Native Americans posses the creative ability to gather in many forms of the socio-po litical colonizing force which beset them and to make these forms meaningf ul in their own terms (65). Ortiz inverts the typical formula in which Native Americans have assumed European traditions and suggests that religious rituals brought to the southwes t in the sixteenth century have lost their Spanishness and are now Indian. Ortiz argues that Native American literature has developed through a similar process and mu st embrace Euro-American colonization or else repress it: And this kind of repression is always a poison and detriment to creative growth and expression (66). Ortiz observes that the most authentic Native American voice is found in five centuries of the oral tradition, insisting that it is through this oral tradition that the Native community has mainta ined its integrity. Ortiz notes that some
11 critics may argue that Native Americans have succumbed to a different linguistic system, thereby forgetting their native selves. Howeve r, Ortiz suggests that it is possible for a native people to retain and ma intain their lives through the use of any language: The indigenous peoples of the Americas have take n the languages of the co lonialists and used them for their own purposes (66). For Ortiz there is no question of authenticity; rather it is the way that Indian pe ople have creatively responded to forced colonization (66). In This Voluminous Unwritten Book of Ours: Early Native American Writers and the Oral Tradition (1996), William Clemen ts suggests that written art derives from and builds on the long-standing tradition of verbal art in Native American communities: Scholars have often noted that the American Indian writers whose work has generated that renaissance represent the co ntinuation of tribal traditions of verbal art and participate in expressive cultures rooted in spiritual and intellectual contexts of their own local communities (122). Instead of emphasizing parallels with Euro-American literature, Clements examines how the writing by Nativ e Americans of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries relates to oral traditi on. Clements does not dismiss claims by critics such as Krupat that Native American written literature generally drew on European and Euro-American literary models; however, Clem ents remarks that the oral tradition also influences Native American writers: In writ ing autobiography and history, early Native American writers were bound to rely on Eu roamerican models. Although oral narratives such as coup tales might provide indigenous pr ecedents for such writing, the extension of a plotted narrative that covers a significant portion of a life or the co llation of material from diverse sources into a su stained historical narrative had no real forerunners in Native American literary heritages (130). Cl ements notes that Native American authors
12 recognized the ability to manipulate language and continue their or al traditions in a written form. Native Americans who used Eu ro-American forms and themes to develop their verbal and written art did not abandon their indigenous oral heritage by doing so. Paula Gunn Allens Off the Reservation: Reflections on Boundary-Busting, Border-Crossing Loose Canons (1998) approaches a major issue for the modern Native Americanhow to retain Indianness while participating in a global society. Allen remarks that the Native American community is a braiding of cultures and includes various tribes and races. Due to the conglomer ation of societies, Allen finds it impossible to write within a purely Western genre: As Native Americans of the Five Hundred Nations never have fit the de scriptions other Americans imposed and impose, neither does our thought fit the categorie s that have been devised to organize Western intellectual enterprise (6). Allen suggests that from a Western perspective, the works appear to be mixed in content and form and combine my th, history, literary studies, philosophy, and personal narrative. Allen argues that neither Native American t hought nor practice has been totally reconstructed into western modes. She posits that the ways in which Native Americans are viewed from the perspective of Western American cultures needs to be corrected so that Native Americans can be disc ussed with as little distortion as possible. Roberta Hill, a Native American, presents a personal account of authenticity in writing in her book, Immersed in Words (1998). Hill begins the discussion of Indianness in her illustration of a court judgment that s ought to distinguish between historic and non-historic tribes: Although th e distinction was first cha llenged and later invalidated, it illustrates the ironic twists of Indian la w. Some solicitors planned to define as sovereign only those indigenous nations who have remained on their traditional lands and
13 kept their languages after five hundred year s of genocide and et hnocide (77). Hill suggests that the process of assimilation and acculturation as well as the federal definition of Indian blood has made it difficult to form an identity as a Native American person, and the legal definition creates smaller and sm aller pockets of indigenous people (81). Hill notes that some children born of interracial or intertribal couples are unable to claim their heritage because of government policies. In addition, Hill addresses the use of language and her apparent love-hate relationship with writing in English. As a child, Hill simply loved what words showed her and how she wa s able to use words to express herself. However, as an adult, Hill finds problems with expressing Native Americans ways in English and invites the use of Native Am erican language along with English. In I Remain Alive: The Sioux Literary Renaissance (2000), Ruth Heflin asserts that both Native American and Euro-American cultures influenced the works of five Sioux authors, Charles Eastman, Luther Standi ng Bear, Gertrude Bonnin, Ella Deloria, and Black Elk: All five writers maintained aspects of their Sioux identities, and all five writers used traditional Sioux literary tec hniques, blended, of course, with EuroAmerican considerations of cr aft and tradition, in th eir writings (7). Heflin suggests that some scholars of American Indian literatu re, such as David Murray and Arnold Krupat, fall into a pattern of pan-Indi anism and therefore view literature as though all Indians were receptive to all forms of Indian writi ng, while all non-Indian readers are a nuisance Indian writers must accommodate (9). Heflin also insists that some scholars overemphasize the role of amanuenses. Heflin s uggests that no text is printed without the supervision of an editor; howev er, she fails to mention the cultural differences between an editor of a dominant culture working with a writer of a minority culture. The five
14 authors whom Heflin examines sought out non-Indian audiences, particularly EuroAmerican children, in an attempt to influence future relations. In addition, Heflin blasts critics who ignore the role of oral narratives in Native Amer ican literature: Even though English literary scholars still study Old E nglish poetry and its oral tradition as a significant part of the English literary tradition, Native American literature rarely receives the same consideration. In fact, many lit erary scholars fail to acknowledge Native American influences on the American literary tradition (31). For Heflin, Native American literature should hold an equal place with Western-base d literature; however, her argument at times fails to recognize the unique problems encountered in the writing and translating of Native American texts. Sidner Larson suggests in Captured in the Middle: Tradition and Experience in Contemporary Native American Writing (2000) that the authenticity debate is still firmly grounded in blood quantum, wherein an indi vidual must usually prove one-quarter Indian blood and the higher the percentage of Indian blood the more authentic the individual is considered to be (41). This debate of Native American authenticity has branched into Native American writing, creatin g a third problem: Who should be able to judge such authenticity? Larson anchors his de bate in his own survey of the question of authenticity, starting with Vine Delorias analys is of the problems of Indian leadership in Custer Died for Your Sins (1969). Larson notes that fo r Deloria, discussions of authenticity are fueled by Indian cultural motifs. In addition, Larson discusses Daniel F. Littlefields article, American Indians, American Scholars, and the American Literary Canon (1992) and Arnold Krupats article, Sch olarship and Native American Studies: A Response to Daniel Littlefield Jr. (1993) in which th ey point out the ways academe has
15 been self-serving in its treatment of the i ssues and categorize underlying rhetorical strategies such as the double bind, essentialization, and cultu ral ownership (43). Larson suggests that neither author resolves the de bate because they both continue to operate within the closed circuit of the debate without providing a means of moving forward (43). Larson observes that levels of authenti city will vary from tr ibe to tribe: The obvious reason is that the traditi onal world of the plains tribes is simply not available to the same degree as the traditional world of the Pueblos, which is thriving (45). Larson argues that these types of disc ussions within the authenticity debate are more relevant than others focusing on personality. In Writing Indians: Literacy, Christi anity, and Native Community in Early America (2000), Hilary Wyss traces the historic al development of Native Americans literacy in a Euro-American format and how Native peoples expressed themselves in a colonial culture. (A similar examination can be found in Bernd Peyers The Tutord Mind: Indian Missionary Writ ers in Antebellum America ). Wyss suggests that in the attempt to find an authentic Native voice, critics have ignore d those who wrote and thought from a Native perspective that include d a sense of their colonial position (3). Wyss argues that in this search for the real Indian, valuable resources have been overlooked, including the Massachusetts Bible ma rginalia, resulting in a silence in Native American literature until the nineteenth century. Although cri tics consider William Apesss 1829 published narrative, A Son of the Forest the first significant Native autobiography, Wyss asserts that Native Ameri can writing exists that precedes Apess by almost 150 years in the form of letters, j ournal entries, and religious confessions. Although the authors use the langua ge and structures of the colonialists, their Native
16 identities are not eliminated. In fact, the authors come to a distinct understanding of what Nativeness means in a colonial order (4). Literacy provided a means for Native Americans to acknowledge their participat ion in the larger colonial world. Wyss maintains that narratives written by Native conv erts are bicultural texts, and her work is less about identifying authentically Native texts and more about pointing out the cultural influences that define and are in turn redefined by Christian I ndians in particular (5). In addition, she posits that there can be no written records of authentic Native American communities because the act of writing and th e possibility of recording the authenticity of nonliterate peoples ultimately contradict each other (10). By learning to read and write, these Christian Indians could particip ate in the Euro-American world; however, this identification with the colonialists provide s reason for scholars to reject these Native Americans as inauthentic. In Usurping Native American Voices (2001), Larry Zimmerman makes a compelling argument about how the history of Native Americans is construed in current times through archaeology. His argument echoes similar complaints that the history of the Native Americans was written or transl ated by whites; however, in Zimmermans case, the other author is science. Zimmerman remarks that one reason for archaeologys lack of effectiv e response to Native concerns is that archaeology has not been ready epistemologically to understand a nd address what might be called the Native American voice (169). This voice provides the authority from which archaeologists speak and write about the past , and many archaeologists cla im that they speak for the people of the past and are the only ones tr uly capable of doing so (169). For Native Americans, the idea that discovery is the only way to know the past is absurd, and
17 conceptually and pragmatically, the past live s in the present (172). The mechanism for knowing the past is through oral tradition, whic h recounts the mythic and makes the past and the present the same. A fundamental co mplaint of Native Americans is that the scientific voice is dry, depers onalizing, and fails to provide real meaning about the lives of the people: When archaeologists state that the past is gone, ex tinct, or lost, unless archaeology is done, they send a strong message that Native American people themselves are extinct (175). To count eract this, Zimmerman s uggests that ethnocritical archaeology, in which archaeologists and i ndigenous people share construction of the past, may be more beneficial. Like Krupa t, Zimmerman argues that the true Native American voice is overwhelmed by the dominant group, which for Zimmerman is the scientists and for Krupat the whites. Unfort unately, Zimmerman skims over the idea that Native American history is told through an oral tradition, and he almost completely bypasses this important point. Robert Dale Parker states that his book The Invention of Native American Literature (2003) proposes an interpretive histor y in the ways that Native American writers have drawn on Indian and literary traditions to invent the genre of Native American literature. Parker claims to use th e word invention to suggest an air of the provisional, of ongoing process and construction, as opposed to a natural, inevitable effusion of Indian identity (5). Parker a ddresses the many ways that form influences literary texts, arguing that abstract descriptions of formsuch as symmetrical, asymmetrical, linear, circular, lyrical, and narrativehave no cultural specificity: In the same way, a literary form, such as the novel, the autobiography, free indirect discourse, parallelism, repetition, and so on, doesnt inev itably carry a cultural meaning or context
18 (9). Parker asserts that any form connected to Indian writing may also appear in the writing of people of other cultures, and seeks to refute the argument of Paula Gunn Allen in the Sacred Hoop in which she suggests that novels such as Silkos Ceremony are cyclical rather than linear, f itting with an Indian sense of non-linear time. For Parker, Allens argument implies, perhaps without m eaning to, that to write with an authentic Native American voice, certain criteria must be followed, such as non-linearity, and that without the prescribed forms, writing cannot be considered Native American, even if written by a Native American. Although Sherman Alexies essay, When the Story Stolen is Your Own (2006), focuses on blatant plagiarism from another au thor, his article also poses the question of whether non-Native Americans can write with an authentic Native American voice. Alexie discovered a piece by Nasdijj, who cl aimed to be Native American but was later discovered to be a white writer named Timo thy Barrus. Although Nasdijj stole various aspects of Alexies autobiography, sans specifi c tribal members, clans, ceremonies, and locations, Alexies real con cern was that the author had cynically co-opted as a literary style the very real suffering endured by generatio ns of very real Indians because of very real injustices caused by very real American aggression that destr oyed very real tribes (1). Although Nasdijj was not the first to do it, Alexie calls for an apology to the Native American community for usurping its voice. The question of authenticity in a Native American voice exists on many levels. In this survey alone, the authors discuss topics of authenticity in heritage, form, language, and translation. Charles Larson points out th at many Native American authors and those attempting to write from a Native American point of view are doing so because of the
19 desire to record an event or historical perspective before th is point of view is forgotten. Although Native American identity cannot exis t without contact and exchange between Native American and non-Native American cu ltures, the concept of Indianness is changing. For if the most authentic Native American novels were those written by fullblooded Native Americans still living on reserva tions, authors such as Leslie Silko, Scott Momaday, and DArcy McNickle would effectively be eliminated from the canon.
20 Review of the Literature Regarding Ramona The critical discussion of Ramona is negligible at best, with few arguments focusing on the text of the novel it self. Instead, conversations about Ramona often include topics such as the t ourism boom in Southern Calif ornia based on the popularity of the book and translations and interpretations by Cuban nationalist Jose Mart. Overall, the scope of criticism remains inadequate; however this leaves room for numerous critical debates. George Wharton James Through Ramonas Country (1913) and Carlyle Channing Davis and William A. Aldersons The True Story of Ramona: Its Facts Fictions, Inspiration and Purpose (1914) set about a similar task of determining the facts of Jacksons Ramona. All three authors are intent on unc overing the facts that are woven into Jacksons book and the lives of her fict itious hero and heroine. While all three authors are aware that Ramona is by and large a work of fic tion, they argue that many of the isolated facts of the roma nce had their absolute origin in the life history of this unfortunate people (James xvi). The two books center on real people, on whom the authors believe Ramonas characters and events are base d, as well as the life of the Indians in the area, includi ng evictions, villages, and bask et weaving, and also Helen Hunt Jacksons visits to the area. Both books include pictures of Jackson and the Indians upon whom the story is allegedly based. In a more recent but similar book, Ramona Memories: Tourism and the Shaping of Southern California (2005), Dydia DeLyser explores the lives of the people presented
21 in the James and Davis books, such as a Cahuilla Indian named Ramona Lubo, whose similarities with Ramona in the novel include such events as witnessing her husbands brutal murder. However, DeLysers book focuses less on the hi storical accuracy of the novel and instead centers on how the obsession w ith finding the real Ramona has led to a tourism boom in Southern California. DeLy ser notes that Jacksons novel changed how Southern California is remembered. Many plac es affiliated themselves with the novel by either naming themselves for the novels ch aracters or by claiming that they were actually described in the text, therefore making them authentic Ramona locales: What emerged most prominently was not a call to aid the Indians, but rather a vast series of books, brochures, and magazine and newspaper ar ticles serving as guides, and fueling the proliferation of Ramona-identified sites across the regi on (xi). DeLysers book examines the practices of tourists at thes e landmarks, the development of Ramona-related attractions, and the impact of the social memory of Southern California. John Byers discusses the sim ilarities between Jacksons Report of the Conditions and Needs of the Mission Indians of Californ ia, made by Special Agents Helen Jackson and Abbot Kinney to the Commi ssioner of Indian Affairs and her novel Ramona in The Indian Matter of Helen H unt Jacksons Ramona: From Fact to Fiction (1975). Byers notes that Jacksons report on the Indians of Southern Califor nia has an unusual quality in that it is well-written and that it is not merely the findings of a person intent on accumulating facts (332). He claims that the Mission Indian report was the seed for Ramona and that Jackson had written the repo rt only six months prior to writing the novel. In his discussion, Byers, like many other Ramona scholars, focuses on the factual or real-life aspects of the novel, such as the similarities of the towns of San Pasquale and
22 Temecula in both the report and the novel: I t is much as if Alessandro and Ramona had lived in or near all the villages that the au thor visited during her investigation and had been the principal protagonists in all the st ories that she heard. By placing the suffering on an individual basis, however, Mrs. Jackson has succeeded in making the action more intense and more condemnatory (345). Despite the realistic aspects of the novel, Byers notes that Jackson did not hesi tate to take liberties with facts if it added to the overall effect of the novel: She followed the fact s of various incidents, but she had no compunction about shuffling those facts abou t a bit to obtain the desired picture. Considering the fact that Mrs. Jackson was a woman with a battle to fight, it is to her credit, then, that the story is essentially an accurate account of the Indian in his dealings with the government (345). While the title of Valerie Sherer Math es article, Ramona, Its Successes and Failures (1990), suggests an analysis of Jacksons nove l, Mathes does little more than present a historical overv iew of the period surroundi ng Jacksons writing of Ramona. Mathes begins her essay by describing Jackson s desire to help the American Indian by writing a novel, one that pres ented the true picture of th e Indian (77). In her brief analysis of the novel, Mathes notes that Ramona failed to be as influential as Uncle Toms Cabin partially because the time and i ssues were different. Uncle Tom represented four million slaves in fifteen southern states, while the Indi an population at most was in the low hundreds of thousands. In addition, the vast majority of westerners living near Indian communities were not sympathetic and th ey wanted Indian land. Mathes finds that Ramonas impact has been stronger in the fiel d of literature, as a love story, than in the Indian reform arena, as a condemnation of avaricious white settlers (82). Mathes notes
23 that Jackson lamented that many people missed the Indian side of the story, and she identifies the novels fatal flaw as Alessandr os portrayal not as a typical Indian but rather as a Christian with a position almost as high as a high-caste Mexicanwith his Indianism ignored (84). Mathes offers a s cant view of initial reviews of the novel, which is perhaps the most intriguing and valuable aspect of the article. For the most part, Mathes tends to ignore the novel and focus more on the general events such as Jacksons letter writing, health, and legislation in Washington. Michele Moylan focuses on the material representations of Ramona in Materiality as Performance: The Forming of Helen Hunt Jacksons Ramona (1996). Moylan begins her discussion with an explan ation of how materia lity functions as a causal agent in interpretation (223). Certain il lustrations compel a reader to interpret the text one way, while another set of illustrati ons may encourage the reader to interpret it another. Moylan also posits that a texts illustrations may represent meaning for a particular group and act as a response to the text. While these approaches to materiality appear contradictory, Moylan seeks a median in which textual materiality can act as an expression of interpretive performance. In the case of Ramona Moylan argues that Helen Hunt Jackson insisted on contracti ng the the physical form of her novel Ramona in such a way as to encourage readers towards her own interpretation (225). Because of the books popularity, it has had an enduring relationship between form and interpretation, such as the movies and plays based on th e novel. Moylan offers the following six possible interpretations of the novels a nd the ways in which the novel has been manifested as reader response and material te xts: 1) readers respond to the novel as social criticism, with the publishers supplementing the original story with sociological and
24 geographical verification so that readers feel that they are read ing a true portrayal; 2) readers come to a conclu sion opposite to that intended by Jackson and find the book romanticized or dangerous or perhaps inte rpret the novel as sugge sting that Indians should be civilized from the savages that they were; 3) readers choose to respond to Ramona as Spanish rather than Indian, effec tively eliminating the Indian quality in her character; 4) readers focus on the love a ffair between Alessandro and Ramona; 5) the book increases California tourism; and 6) the book engenders interest in multiculturalism. Moylan examines the material aspects of the book, such as book covers, illustrations, plays, movies, and the Ramona pageants and how these various interpretations of the novel affected these productions. In White Slaves and the Arrogant Me stiza: Reconfiguring Whiteness in the Squatter and the Don and Ramona (1998), Da vid Luis-Brown compares two political novels, Jacksons Ramona and Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burtons The Squatter and the Don written in 1885. Both novels narrate conflicts over land, class, position, and racial status in California during the 1870s. Luis-Brown states that romantic racialism, or the use of sentimentalism as protofeminist moral critique, provides fe male authors with a vocabulary to yoke their protofeminism to th e more legitimized traditions of racial reform (814). According to Luis-Brown, the novels affirm and rework dominant discourses in relation to their allegorical structures and fu se romance and history through melodrama. In addition, Luis-Brown argues th at an attempt should be made to understand the mixed-race, or mestizo, American future that Ramona embodies: Ramona undermines whiteness by proposing cross-raci al alliances through the ambiguous figure of the blue-eyed Ramona, the daughter of an Anglo and an Indian, who, as Jose Mart
25 suggests, chooses a politicized Indian identity, and through Ramonas successive marriages to Alessandro, an Indian, and Felipe, a Californio (823). Luis-Brown further suggests that the novel undermines racial di scourses because Jackson has her readers identify with racially ambiguous charac ters. Although, the marriage of Felipe and Ramona creates a multiracial family, their decision to move to Mexico expresses disgust with the U.S. and their willingness to consider alternative models of racially egalitarian rule (829). Susan Gillman offers two articles on Cuban nationalist Jose Mart and his influences, Harriet Beecher Stowe and He len Hunt Jackson, in Ramona in Our America (1998) and its follow-up, The S quatter, The Don, and The Grandissimes in Our America (2002). Gillman argues that Mar t combined the two authors into a StoweJackson figure: For Mart, however, the point of pairing Stowe with Jackson is less to rank the relative merits of the two reformis t writers than to bring together the two oppressed groups for which they speak ( Ramona 91). The figure of Marts StoweJackson was an interethnic, international figure who was capable of speaking to the limits as well as the possibilities of the multiple racial and national aspirations of Latin America and the Caribbean ( Ramona 92). Marts figure of St owe-Jackson insists on thinking of the Negro Question and the Indian Question as one question: Looking toward the Southwest as well as the Atla ntic seaboard, Marts Stowe also locates a possible intersection between tw o important fields of geogra phical and cultu ral analysis, the Black Atlantic and the Spanish Borderlands, both of which seek to disrupt the provincial focus and nationalist imperative of traditional American historical and literary studies (The Squatter 142). Gillman in turn discusses the fantasy heritages of the
26 South and Southwest and how these regions we re marketed as locations for history and for travel. In Ramona and Postnationalist American Studies: On 'Our America' and Mexican Borderlands (2003), Robert Irwi n focuses on the Hispanic element of Ramona by presenting a contrasting argument to that of Jos Mart, who proposes the idea that Helen Hunt Jackson had written the nuestra novella and sugg ests the notion of Nuestra Amrica as a strategy of Latin American resistance to mounting U.S. imperialism in the Western Hemisphere. Irwin examines Ramona from a specifically historical context of the nor thwestern Mexican borderlands to rebut Marts arguments and establish the importance of Mexican borde rlands in forming a postnational vision of race and intercultural re lations in the Americas (540). Irwin suggests that the common reductive view is that Mexico assimilate d its indigenous populat ion, while the U.S. racial purists chose to annihilate theirs (550). Unlike Debra Rosenthal, Irwin does not view Ramonas mixed heritage as an allegory of racial identity in the novel. Ramona is the girl who abandons her priv ileged culture and personifi es the rejection of racist Mexican criollo culture (551). Irwin finds that Marts error is in assuming that Latin Americas treatment of the Indian problem was essentially different from that of the United States. While intermarriage, religious conversion, cultural s yncretism, and cultural assimilation were characteristic of centra l Mexican society, attitudes in Mexicos northwestern borderlands were, in fact, not much different from those in the U.S. Southwest (558). In clos ing, Irwin suggests that th e renewed interest in Ramona, including Televisas 2000 production of Ramona as a telenovela may allow the novel to finally become the nuestra novella.
27 In I Think Our Romance is Spoiled, or Crossing Genres: California History in Helen Hunt Jacksons Ramona and Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burtons The Squatter and the Don (1999), Anne Goldman suggests that both of the works raciali ze the marriage plot of a California pastoral: The st ruggles of the suitors are not purely stylized versions of romance as much as they are representatives of an overtly historical struggle to (re)define borders, of Californio efforts to maintain their livelihood and their land amidst increasing pressure from encroaching Anglo settlers (6 7). Goldman asserts th at the novels suggest a turning towards history, rather than away from it: Jacksons book writes a version of recent history that backdates current ev ents, anticipating the demise of the Californios and the mission Indians and foreclosing upon any recommendation for change (68). Jackson seeks to have readers not only rec ognize conquest for what it is, but also to empathize with those people who have been humiliated on their own turf. Like Chimene Keitner, Goldman brings up the issue of law and justice: Ramona demonstrates the facility with which the law becomes an abstr action; in Jacksons cr itique of Gilded Age mercantilism, legality is a trope that simulta neously decries and justifies the inexorable advance of civilization (74). Diana Price Herndls Miscegen(r)ation or Mestiza Discourse?: Feminist and Racial Politics in Ramona and Iola Leroy (1999) argues that the mixed-race title characters must choose the race to which they will belong. The neologism in her title is meant to call attention not only to the mixi ng of race in these novels but also to the mixing of genres. Herndl posits that J ackson and Frances Harper, author of Iola Leroy believed their texts were read for their cu ltural validity. However, Herndl questions whether making the heroines similar to their northern white audiences effaces the causes
28 that the authors are working towards, and she su ggests this could lead to enslaving racial identities or, on the other side, possibly ope ning a dialogue between women of color and white women. Herndl also suggests that the authenticity of the characters voices as women of color is doubtful because both heroin es are raised in the culture that they choose in the end. Herndl feels that Ramona is always playi ng Indian when she is with Alessandro. In addition, Herndl suggests the choice of genre in some ways determines the choice of race itself, by forcing the writer to accede to certain idea s of realism and to shape certain of her desires and ambitions for her fiction (266). He rndl also discusses the ending options available to Jackson for th e novel. She concludes that if Ramona were to survive on her own, Jackson would be implyi ng that Indian policies were sufficient. If Ramona were to die, readers might not want to partake in the misery. Jacksons choice to save Ramona by having her move to Mexico may amount to evadi ng her real political question, but it also avoids a necessarily poli tically helpless ending (271). However, by having Ramona pass as a Mexica n woman rather than resist the white settlers, Jackson negates the racial identity th at she has been trying to va lidate throughout the novel. In conclusion, Herndl finds that it may be the inauthenticity of th e texts that testify to their true authenticity. Martin Padgets Travel Writing, Sentim ental Romance, and Indian Rights Advocacy: The Politics of Helen Hunt J ackson's Ramona (2000) presents an interdisciplinary critique of Ramona and Jackson's Indian righ ts support that establishes the context in which the novel was written a nd foregrounds the role that literature can play as an agent of social change. Padget argues that Ramona is able to dramatize complex issues of race, ethnicity, gender, class, citizenship, and nationhood without
29 reconciling them. First, Padget examines how Jackson set about writing her novel as the Uncle Toms Cabin for the Indian. Second, Padget discusses Ramona in detail and attempts to clarify how the novel carrie d within its own pages the possibility for readings that largely ignored its Indian reform initiative (836). And finally, Padget attempts to investigate the legacy of the novel immediatel y following Jacksons death by discussing Constance Goddard DuBois' re port to the Women's National Indian Association on the progress of missionary efforts among southern California Indians and by examining George Wharton James's Through Ramona's Country, which endeavored to authenticate the real life events on which Ramona was based (836). Padget argues that Ramona acts as a form of imperialist nosta lgia, where members of a colonizing society can come to mourn the passing of th e formerly autonomous culture their society has defeated and incorporated. The title of Georgiana Stricklands ar ticle, In Praise of Ramona: Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jacksons Indian No vel (2000), insinuates that Dickinson had a role in the production of the novel; however in actuality, Strickland simply concludes that Dickinson at some point read Ramona. Her evidence is a letter to Jackson dated March 1885 in which Dickinson declares Pity me . I have finished Ramona. Would that like Shakespeare, it were just published! Strickland then move s to a discussion of Ramona in order to translate Dick insons response. Like other critics, Strickland focuses on Jacksons role as an Indian commissioner in the development of the novel, arguing that Jackson idealized her central character s. Strickland finds Ramona too saccharine, although she has a tough core that is tested often, and Alessandro too genteel and too similar to a high-caste Spanish-Mexican. Stri ckland also discusses the popular culture
30 phenomenon of Ramona including a five-hour dramatiz ation, a hit song, and an outdoor pageant in Hemet, California that launched the careers of Raquel Welch and Victory Jory. In conclusion, Strickland points out that neither Jackson nor Dick inson lived to read the evaluations of later cri tics, both dying within two years of the books publication. Strickland notes that there is no evidence suggesting that Dickinson appreciated Jacksons message about Indian rights and reform policies. In her discussion of Native Americans por trayed in white-aut hored fiction, Race Mixture and the Representation of Indians in the U. S. and the Andes: Cumand, Aves sin nido, The Last of the Mohicans, and Ramona (2002) Debra Rosenthal applies the Andean genres of indianismo which is concerned with the romantic portrayal of passive, uncivilized Natives in an exotic, erotically charged natural setting and often aligned with nineteenth-century romanticism, and indigenismo, which is associated with twentieth-century realism and can be characterized as a social progressive movement that exposes white and mestizo exploitation of Indian s and advocates their eventual liberation (123). Scholars of U.S. literature do not have such categories, and Rosenthal argues that these models challenge the conception of U.S. literary heritage. Rosenthal suggests that in both North and S outh America, writings about Indians engage the theme of miscegenation to serve nationalist aims, and the portray al of Indian-white sexual relations can determine a novels them atic and political concerns. Rosenthal presents several novels in which incest, not racism, prevents Indians and whites from uniting in marriage, effectively removing the romantic relationship and replacing it with familial ties. In the case of Ramona, Rosenthal argues that the heroine is able to detect race, which accounts for her attraction to the Indian Alessandro (129). Rosenthal
31 suggests that Ramona has much in common with the indigenista movement and that Jackson uses womens bodies and interracial sex as powerful narratological devices (133). All of the nineteenthcentury novels that Rosentha l examines share the common theme of the inevitable disappearance of the Indians. Chimene Keitners The Challenge of Building an Intercommunal Rule of Law in Helen Hunt Jacksons Ramona (2003), explores the problems of inter-communal rule of law in Ramona and whether any differences could have produced a more cooperative outcome. Keitner identifies three f acets of philosophy of law within the text. First, Keitner notes a strong element of natura l law thinking, which enables Jackson to construct an ideal of justice based on her c onception of all individua ls as members of a common humanity (53). Secondly, Keitner suggests that Jackson presents a critique of misunderstanding that is most often rooted in ignorance. And thirdly, Keitner sites a deeper critique of incommensurabilitythe f undamental incompatibility of perspectives and valuesas the greatest threat to the long-term possibility of an inter-communal rule of law (53). Keitner argues that expressi on, regulation, facilitation, and validation fail to operate across the vari ous communities in Ramona; instead, the creation of an intercommunal rule of law is impeded by delin eation and separation. In addition, white American and Native American values and id eas about appropriate behavior are not the same (57). The white settlers may have believ ed that they were living under the law; however, the Mexicans and Native American s did not share the sentiment. In his examination of the characters, Keitner finds that Felipes vocabulary is full of stereotypes, despite his enlightenment towa rds Native Americans, and that Aunt Ri suggests ignorance as the sole reason for misunderstandings about the Native American
32 community. Judge Wells is a primary figure in the discussion of law, but Keitner insists that the judge is either unwilling or una ble to contest the divergence between a discriminatory positive law and an egalitar ian ideal of natural justice (67). In summation, Keitner feels that law may exist in a society that is unable to punish all guilty individuals; however, the soci ety does not have justice. In his The Warp of Whiteness: Domestic ity and Empire in Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona (2004), John Gonzalez identifies Aunt Ris multihued rag carpet as representing a post-Reconstr uction U.S. that makes no distinctions based on color. Gonzales argues that through the metaphor of the rag carpet, Jackson presents the view that the incorporation of all citizens, actual or potential, re gardless of race, appears as the necessary task and happy result of wh ite women's housework (437). According to Gonzales, Jackson transforms this seemingly apolitical domestic object into a powerful actor in the masculine sphere of governance. Through moral pe rsuasion, readers of Ramona join Aunt Ri in repudiating widespre ad discourses of Indian inhumanity and instead acknowledge Indians as fellow huma n beings in a less ci vilized but tractable state (446). Similarly, acting as a sort of a missionary of civilization in every Indian village she inhabits, the semicivilized Ra mona influences not only Indian women but also Indian men, particularly her husband ( 450). However, even those Indians ready to become individual property owners like Alessa ndro might never fully retain the lessons of racial tutelage since Alessandro's madness re presents a reversion to a state of savagery, in which only tribal relations are recognized. By representi ng the domestic influence of white women as essential to the colo nial project of civilizing Indians, Ramona and other
33 Indian reform novels facilitate white women' s direct involvement in the management of the U.S. empire. In The Erotics of Racialization: Gender and Sexuality in the Making of California (2004), Yolanda Venegas discusses the symbolic use of women to describe colonization projects in ways that justify the violence of conquest in Californias popular culture in the nineteenth century while focusing on what she believes to be the movements most influential novel, Ramona. Venegas argues that the racial order that was to emerge in the late nineteenth century was grounded in a gendered and sexually charged idea of Manifest Destiny that was redeveloped through romanticizing Californias Spanish heritage. Venegas pos its that Jackson, among other East Coast intellectuals and Euro-American writers, pa rticipates in creating a myth of Spanish heritage by celebrating the missions and pastor al days of California. The myth allows Euro-Americans to not only conceal the state s violent origins but also to assert white supremacy and justify the racialization pro cesses that placed those who were conquered at the bottom. Venegas points out that Ramona was meant to raise consciousness about the destruction of Native communities but instead became propaganda for the states fantasy heritage: For example, although the nov el narrates the fate of Native California resulting from Euro-American settlement through the series of tragedies endured by Ramona and Alessandro, it also silences th e devastation of Nativ e communities during the mission period by presenting a romantici zed version of colonization in which benevolent Franciscan friars brought enlight enment to welcoming Natives (72). In addition, the Native characters are presented as either savage or civilized. Ramona is essentially Hispanicized, and he r civilized ways are placed above those of the indigenous
34 women, reasserting a racial hierarchy that places Spanish Californians above Mexicans and Natives and naturalizing any effects of the Manifest Destiny. Criticism of Ramona is concerned with discussions of real-life events, whether it is a true Ramona, the shaping of Southern California, or the life of Jackson herself, rather than any critical debate of the text. While essays and articles do exist regarding the text, this is an area that i nvites much more exploration.
35 History of the Relationship of the Tribes of Southern California to European Missions In Ramona, Jackson portrays seve ral tribes living in Southern California, including Alessandros tribe, the Luiseo, that had complex relationships with the European missions. By the time that Helen Hunt Jackson encountered the remnants of the Luiseo in the late 1800s, the tribe had already altered much of its Native American identity through the tribes ex tensive contact with the Eu ropeans. Raymond C. White codifies the tribes interaction with the Eur opeans within a successi on of nine periods. In the first period, Precontact, the Luiseo trib e has had absolutely no contact with anyone outside the Native American population. The second period, Early Contact, spans the time from Cabrillos voyage of 1542 until 1769. From this point, the Luiseos contact with the Europeans largely centers around th e establishment of the missions. The third period, the Initial Mission, occurs between 1769 and 1776; the fourth period, the Early Mission, from 1776 to 1798; the fifth period, the Intermediate Mission, from 1798 to 1825; the sixth period, the Late Mission, fr om 1825 to 1834; the seventh period, the Postsecularization of the Missions, from 1834 to 1846; the eighth period, the Early Anglo-American period, from 1846 to 1876; and, finally, the ninth period, Reservation period, from 1876 to the present (qtd. in Gill 89). Whites divisions demonstrate that Jacksons experience with the Native Ameri cans of San Luis Rey would have already been filtered through almost 350 years of inte nse involvement with the Europeans. After
36 such an extensive history of relationships, the Luiseo no doubt absorbed many European qualities while losing some of their own. The relationship between the Native Am ericans and the missionaries was not altogether peaceful, despite th e cohesive relationship that Jackson presents between the Luiseo and the missions of Ramona Sam Gill notes that from 1776 until the time the missions were secularized, missionaries made a concerted effort to destroy or to greatly alter Luiseo culture (89). Several important changes occurred in the lifestyle of the Luiseo. The hunting-gathering economy of the tribe was replaced by herding and agriculture, and the tribal order disintegra ted as native generals were appointed to supervise the tribes relationship to th e mission (Gill 89). These changes resonate throughout Ramona, particularly in the following intr oduction of Alessandros father and his tribe: Most strenuously Pablo had striven to obey Father Peyri s directions. He had set his people the example of constant industr y, working steadily in his fields and caring well for his herds (Jackson 52). This passage in dicates that the chief of the tribe, Pablo, is commanded by Father Peyri, and that the tribes industry focuses largely around herding and farming. Indeed, Alessandros trib e is so well known fo r their herding that Seora Moreno will have no one but the Indi ans shear her sheep, although, as Juan Canito observes, all the other ranches in the valley employed Mexicans (Jackson 2). However, although the tribes way of life had changed from hunting and gathering to one of farming and herding, the most dynamic cha nge that occurred with in the tribe involved the role of Christianity in the Native Am ericans lives. While folktales and myths continued to resonate throughout the Luiseo tribe, Christia nity ultimately dominated their modes of spirituality.
37 For hundreds of years, the Native Americans of Southern California experienced an intense pressure to accept Christianity. Gi ll comments that the Luiseo are one of a number of tribes in southwestern California collectively designated in this century as Mission Indians because of their associat ion with Spanish missions that devoted themselves to their Christianization (88). In fact, the term Luiseo derived from the tribes close association with the mission fr om San Luis Rey (Gill 88). As early as 1822, few if any of the Luiseo people would have remembered a time in which there had not been a dominating mission presence or an intense pressure to accept Christianity; however, by this point, the Luiseo had b een in contact with the Europeans for approximately 300 years (Gill 90). Evidence of the association between the Luiseo and the missions is il lustrated throughout Ramona. Pablo, Alessandros father and chief of the tribe, strives in all ways to follow the guida nce of Father Peyri, and the tribe, under the guidance of Father Peyri, has one of the finest bands in San Luis Rey: The music in the little chapel of the Temecula Indians was a surprise to all who heard it (Jackson 50). Jackson presents multiple situations in wh ich the Luiseo are practicing Christians, particularly when Alessandros tribe init ially arrives at the Moreno plantation and Alessandra is described as kneel ing on the stones outside the chapel door, mechanically repeating the prayers with the rest (Jackson 54). Although the Indians do not appear familiar with all aspects of Christianity, a discussion of Catholicism, rather than Native American spiritually, dominates the novel. This Christian influence shapes the ways in which Jackson describes her Native Ameri can characters, particularly Alessandro. George Wharton James also argues that the Native Americans of California proceeded through three periods of cont act with the Europeans. In his book, Through
38 Ramonas Country published in 1913, James establishe s the following three periods for the contact of the Cahuilla tribe with the Europeans: I, prior to the coming of the Franciscan padres, II, while under their in fluence and teaching, and III, after the demoralization of the Mission system by secularization (178). While James model is much simpler than that presented by White, he establishes the th ree main periods of before, during, and after contact. James points out that the Native Americans of Ramona are living after the time of secularization, whic h is apparent in Jacksons work as her characters continuously note the breakdown of the mission system, as in the following statement: Chief Pablo, after the breaking up of the Mission, had settled at Temecula, with a small band of his Indians, and endeavor ed so far as was in his power, to keep up the old religious services (Jackson 50). Chief Pablo attempts to maintain the teachings of the missions, despite their breakdown. Perh aps lacking Gills 1987 hindsight, James asserts that the Mission Indians, although la rgely Catholic, retained some features of their heathendom, and especia lly of their ancient dances and aboriginal superstitions (178). James suggests that the Cahuilla trib e has maintained thei r native traditions, despite their intense contact with the Europeans; however, as mentioned above, there is little if any evidence of the Native American tribes of Southern California praying to native gods in Ramona.
39 Racial Stereotyping of the Native Americans Perhaps the most notable difference betw een the arguments of Gill and White and that of James is that James presents the common stereotype of the Native American as either the noble savage or the wild India n, although it could be argued that James is perhaps echoing Jackson in his Through Ramonas Country, for despite her intense effort to create the true portrait of the Nativ e American, Jackson certainly conforms to stereotyping. James describes the Mission Indi ans as a peaceable, i ndustrious and home loving people, though, occasionally, when whiskey is introduced upon their reservations, or they come to the towns and obtain it, th ey give trouble, as do drunken whites (179). Similarly, in her description of the tribe, Jackson depicts Ales sandros tribe as the peaceable rustics who are close to nature, as she states: So long as the wheat-fields came up well, and there was no drought, and the hor ses and sheep had good pasture, in plenty, on the hills, the Temecula people could be merry, go day by day to their easy work, play games at sunset, and sleep sound all night (J ackson 53). Both James and Jackson portray idyllic descriptions of Native American life. The members of the tribe are close to nature, peaceful, and playful, at least until the whiskey is introduced. Like James, Jackson also comments on the drinking problems of the Native American populat ion; however, she attempts to project the responsibility onto th e whites: There were sometimes a thousand Indians at this fte, and disorderly whites took advantage of the occasion to sell whiskey and encourage all sorts of license and distur bance (Jackson 68). Perhaps one of James most tinted visions of the Cahuilla Indian s occurs in the following passage: when
40 goodness is combined with the simplicity and childlikeness of the uncorrupted Indian, then there is a combination that is as delight ful as it is rare (190). James depicts the ideal Native American as simple, childlike, and unc orrupted. However, this description leaves little room for any type of flaw. The Native Amer ican is cast as eith er the noble savage or the wild Injun, and Jackson becomes even more encased in thes e stereotypes as she attempts to establish Alessandro as the exemplary Native American. Perhaps because the Native American subjects of Jacksons novel had been influenced by Europeans for several hundred years and also because Jackson was attempting to express a Native American attitu de with a distinctly white voice, Jackson struggles with the stereotyping of Native Americans throughout Ramona, and this struggle is nowhere more apparent than in her portrayal of her Native American hero Alessandro. Jacksons portrayal of Alessandro as the ideal I ndian inadvertently repeats the dichotomy of the noble savage versus the lazy or wild Indian. Several factors contribute to Alessandro s ideal image; however, many of these elements tend to remove Alessandro from his Indian heritage, rather than reinforce it. Perhaps one of Alessandros most distinguish ing features is his association with the Church. As noted earlier, White and Gill r ecord the influences of the mission on the Luiseo tribe, and Alessandro is an Indian subject living after th e great reign of the missions. Mathes argues that Alessandro is not po rtrayed as a typical Indian and that he is not stereotyped; instead he is presented as a Christian with a position almost as high as a high-caste Mexicanhis Indianism was ignored (84). Alessandro is initially introduced to the reader at the moment when he sees Ramona as she frantically tries to clean the stained altar cloth at the br ook during sunset. Though the rays of the sunset play around
41 Ramonas hair like a halo, Alessandro halts, as wild creatures of the forest halt at a sound (Jackson 47). While the novel establishes a dichotomy between the angelic Ramona and the savage Alessa ndro, Alessandros first words are Christ! What shall I do! (Jackson 47). Alessandro does not pray to Kivish, Atakvish, Toopash, or Tai-maiya-wurt; rather, Alessandro im mediately solicits the assistan ce of a Christian figure, demonstrating that Alessandro cannot escape the European missions influence that has affected his tribe over th e last several hundred years. In ad dition to soliciting Christ in his first statement, Alessandro knows the hymns of the San Luis Rey mission. As Jackson observes, he has inherited his fathers love and talent for music, and knew all of the old Mission music by heart (Jackson 50), and Alessandros singing voice first alerts Ramona to his presence: At th e first notes of this rich ne w voice, Ramonas voice ceased in surpriseAlessandro saw her, and sang no more (Jackson 50). However, Alessandro is not only an excellent singer of Christian hym ns, but he is also known for his ability to play the violin. Jacksons choice of the viol in for Alessandro appears to be an unusual one. Although the violin was certainly played throughout Spai n, other instruments, such as the guitar or drums, may seem more appr opriate to a Mexican society than a violin, which connotes images of orchestral symphoni es or mountain fiddling rather than the southern coast of California. Perhaps Jacksons choice of instru ment was intended to suggest a higher culture, that of Mozart and Beethoven, thereby again elevating Alessandros achievements above those of his tribal counterparts. However, despite his artistic successes, Alessandro, as depicted by Jackson, is not a civilized man. If he were civilized, he would have inst antly recognized his feelings for Ramona, and would have been capable of weighing, analyzing, and refl ecting on his sensations at leisure (Jackson
42 54). However, Jackson states th at Alessandro is not a civilized man, and he had to bring to bear on his present situation only simple primitive, uneducated instincts and impulses (54). Ironically, Father Gaspara, who marri es Ramona and Alessandro, notes that Alessandro speaks as a gentleman speak s to a lady (Jackson 235). Alessandros association with the church, his knowledge of the arts, and the language that he uses with Ramona all seem to indicate that he is ind eed a civilized man; however, Jackson attempts to classify Alessandro as the savage, albe it a noble one. The combin ation of a civilized man who is also a noble savage breaks from stereotypes of Native Americans; however, Jackson does not appear to commit to this new image she has created wholeheartedly, and she continuously states that Alessandro is nothing more than the ideal version of the noble savage. As noted above, by presenting Alessandro as the ideal Native American, Jackson inadvertently establishes a dichotomy between th e noble savage versus the lazy or wild or uneducated Indian. Aside from Chief Pablo, no other Native American in Ramona is comparable to the hero Alessandro. Within the few pages that introduce the Luiseo tribe, Jackson immediately establishes the di fferences between Alessandro and his fellow tribe members: No wonder Alessandro seemed to the more ignorant and thoughtless young men and women of his villag e, a cold and distant lad. He was made old before his time. He was carrying in his heart burd ens which they knew nothing (Jackson 53). While Alessandro is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulde rs, his fellow tribe members are ignorant and thoughtless and t hey knew nothing. However, Jackson not only establishes Alessandro as a foil to his entire tribe but also to indi vidual characters as well. As representatives of the Luiseo tribe, Jackson presents four characters in addition
43 to Alessandro: Chief Pablo, Fernando, Jose, a nd Antonio. The first of these, Chief Pablo, serves at the discretion of the missions, atte mpting to maintain the chapels and keep his tribe involved in the church. Like Alessandro, he is also a Christia n, almost a high-caste Mexican. The second, Fernando, is the member of the tribe who takes Alessandros place as captain once Alessandro decides to stay with the Morenos; his chie f duty as leader of the sheep-shearers is to see that the shearers were not gambling away all their money at cards, but he preferred to roll himself up in his blanket and sleep till dawn the next morning (Jackson 69). Within this single pa ssage, Jackson unintentionally depicts the other members of the Luiseo tribe as lazy, because Fernando would rather sleep than do his duty, and gamblers, because, without the wa tchful eye of a leader, the other Indians are certain to gamble away all of their money. As for Jose and Antonio, their only defining feature is their perpetual feud of rivalryin ma tter of the fleetness of their respective ponies (Jackson 72), and Alessandr o easily manipulates the two by bolstering their egos about their horses. Jose is also established as a foil to Alessandro in their reactions to the destruction of their village in Temecula. Their reactions, although similar in their sense of madness, are also radical ly different. When the sheriff comes to Temecula, Jose went crazy in one minute, and fell on the ground all froth at his mouth (Jackson 180), whereas Alessandro slowly goes mad. He has the strength and will to survive for many years, and, despite his madness, it is ultimately a bullet from a white mans gun that ends Alessandros life. While other dichotomies exist between Ramona and Alessandro and the other tribes that they encounter, the differences presented between Alessandro and his own tribe conform most closely to stereotypes about Native Americans.
44 Jacksons Use of Non-Fiction in Ramona While James and even Jacksons descri ptions of the Indians of Southern California paint a rather idyllic picture, th ey represent one of the major problems in writing in the Native American voice: the fact that a white author filters the concept of the Native American identity through a distinctly European or Western lens. Essentially, it is the whites who will define what is auth entically Indian (Mary Brave Bird qtd. in Kaye 153). Nowhere can this concept be better examined than in the autobiographies of Native Americans. It is difficult to consider an autobiography of a Native American in the 1800s as a legitimate autobiography base d on the production of the text. The Native Americans did not have the ability to write their stories in Engl ish; therefore their narratives would have had to be translated, interpreted, and transcribed by an editor, who was most likely white. Arnold Krupat posits th at Native American autobiographies are groups of texts explicitly presented by the white who wr ote them down and published them as historical or ethnographic document s (28); therefore, no Native American text could conform to the definition of autobiography in the strictest sense, since The Indian himself did not paint things as they really we re; the Indian could not write. His part was to poseand disappear (Krupat 38). The Nativ e American was a subject to be written about, and while the storyteller offered guida nce, the editor ultimately decided what would be included in the final product. While multiple Native American autobiographies exist, several have received more attention and debate than others. In Black Elk Speaks Black Elk, through the
45 assistance of John Neihardt, pres ents a story that is part autobiography, part tribal history, and part spiritual revelation. Although Black Elk could have ea sily written his story in Lakota, he was probably also aware of the widespread impact of written stories in English (Heflin 4). The tale was communicated by Black El k through an interpreter and then transcribed by John Neihardt. The si mplicity of the language may be partly attributed to the fact that Black Elks son was the interp reter. Ruth Heflin proposes several reasons why Black Elk chose his son Be n to be the interpreter, suggesting that because of ongoing government prohibition of religious practices, Ben may not have been allowed to succeed Black Elk and Black Elk may have realized that an opportunity had arisen for him to pass on his knowledge, a lmost surreptitiously, to his son (Heflin 9). Moreover, although Neihardt is not a character in Black Elks stories, there is considerable debate as to how much editing and revising was done: Although many critics acknowledge Black Elks communal effort s in telling his stories to Neihardt, most dismiss Neihardts initial pursuit and final gathering of Black Elks stories as only those of a Westerner trying to pin down, for his own purposes, an individuals life story (Heflin 5). However, by the time Neihardt tr anscribed the text, Black Elks words were already twice removed from the speaker. In addition, it is significant to note that the Lakota believed that anything transformed from the oral tradition into writing was a falsification into Western consciousness (Linden 80). Western influence was not only established through Neihardts tr anscription, but also, as with the Luiseo tribe, through the influence of the Christian culture: Bl ack Elks literary efforts grew out of a Christian, mostly Roman Catholic, milieu, where the use of Christian metaphor, code, and symbol was frequently employed (Wise 29). By the time that Black Elk Speaks was
46 completed, his narrative would have proceeded through a wide array of Western filters, from translation, interpretati on, and transcription, to the editing and revision, and even through Western concepts of religion. The publication of Black Elk Speaks illustrates the problems with transcribing a Native American voice with a distinctly Western pen. While Helen Hunt Jacksons Ramona is fiction, the actual stories that inspired Jacksons novel have surfaced and can be found in such books as Through Ramonas Country and The True Story of Ramona While it can be argued that Jackson was writing fiction and could not possibly be held to the standards of a transcriber of a Native American autobiography, I suggest that Jack son employed some of the same techniques in describing the Native American through a Western lens and that Jackson took liberties similar to those of the editors and transc ribers of Native American autobiographies. Jackson seeks to give voice to Native Americans, in particular Alessandro, and her endeavor follows the procedures used by Neihardt to give voice to Black Elk. While Jacksons story derives its insp iration from various sources, the death of Alessandro can be directly linked to the murd er of a Cahuilla Indian in 1877. As Davis observes, There was no Ramona, and there was no Alessandro, in the relation in which they are portrayed by Mrs. Jackson. And yet ther e was a strong suggestion of both the incidents and the persons in events transpiring at the time. It is an historical fact that in October, 1877, Juan Diego, a Cahuilla Indian, was s hot and killed by Sam Temple for alleged horse stealing, in the Cahuilla Range (Davis 40). Jackson prov ides two versions of this tale. The first version appears in Jacksons A Century of Dishonor: An incident which occurred on the bounda ries of the Cahuilla Reservation a few weeks before our arrival there is of impor tance as an illustration of the need of
47 some legal protection for the Indians in Southern California. A Cahuilla Indian named Juan Diego had built for himself a house and cultivated a small patch of ground on a high mountain ledge a few miles nor th of the village. Here he lived along with his wife and baby. He had been for some years what the Indians called a locoed Indian, being at times crazy; never dangerous, but ye t certainly insane for longer or shorter periodsJuan Diego had been off to find work at sheepshearing. He came home at night ridi ng a strange horseA white man named Temple, the owner of the horse which Juan had ridden home, rode up, and on seeing Juan poured out a volley of oaths, leveled his gun, and shot him dead. The woman, with her baby on her back, ran to the Cahuilla village and told what had happened (483). While her presentati on of the story in A Century of Dishonor sympathizes with the Indians and with their need for government al protection, one may question how well the tale authentically portrays the Native American s. Jackson at least attempts to remain true to reality in A Century of Dishonor, and portions of the tale ar e relayed as direct quotes, as when His wife exclaimed, Why, whose horse is that? Juan looked at the horse, and replied confusedly, Where is my horse th en? (483). Despite th is apparent direct transcription of the events from Juan Diegos wife, the same questions of translation, interpretation, and editing mu st be examined as they were in the Native American autobiography. However, by including the tale in Ramona, Jackson further removes the story from the authentic voice of the two Cahuilla Indians: In a moment more Ramona followed,only a moment, hardly a moment; but when she reached the thres hold, it was to hear a gun-shot, to see Alessandro fall
48 to the ground, to see, in the same second, a ruffianly man leap from his horse, and standing over Alessandros body, fire his pistol agai n, once, twice, into the forehead, cheek. Then with a volley of oaths, each word of which seemed to Ramonas reeling sense to fill the air with a sound like thunder, he untied the black horse from the post where Ramona had fastened him, and leaping into his saddle again, galloped away, he shook his fist at Ramona, who was kneeling on the ground, striving to lift Alessandros head, and to stanch the blood flowing from the ghastly wounds (316). While both murderers issue a vol ley of oaths, the version of the narrative presented in Ramona does not contain the more realistic aspects found in A Century of Dishonor, such as the Native American dialogue. Instead, Ja ckson romanticizes the moment, describing how, for Ramona, the volley of oaths fills the air with a sound like thunder. Jackson further focuses on Ramonas grief and her effo rts to stop the ghastly bleeding, while in A Century of Dishonor, Jackson does not even mention the grief of the wife. Examining these two passages, and even the versions presented in The True Story of Ramona, causes us to question which ve rsion of the incident presen ts a more authentic Native American voice. I would argue th at the version of the tale in A Century of Dishonor offers a more accurate reflection of the Na tive American story, not only because Jackson includes dialogue but also because she ex cludes romantic embellishments. Although Jackson was attempting to communicate a part icular point through Ra monas grief, the romantic additions cause Jackson to lose sight of her original goal, which was to depict a genuine portrait of the Native American.
49 Conclusion Helen Hunt Jackson wanted to create a true picture of the Native American; however, it appears that all of the characters that she create d were formed not only by the immediate perception of Jackson but also by several hundred years of European influence on the Native Americans of Southern Californi a. While it may not be possible for Helen Hunt Jackson to write with an authentic Native American voice or to portray an authentic Native American character, her vision of Native American rights cannot be ignored. Jackson simply lacks the tools to depict a convincing picture of the Native American, and she, like many other writers, falls victim to common stereotypes. Black Elk hoped that the outsider to Lakota culture could grasp the significance of th e Great Vision through the medium of text (Wise 241), and while the Native American voice may always be distorted by a white lens, Jacksons genui ne concern for the rights of the Native Americans is apparent. Once the concept of au thenticity is discarded, Jackson, and others like her, may be able to say somethi ng meaningful about native cultures.
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