From Federal Indian Law to Indigenous Rights: Legal Discourse and the Contemporary Native American Novel on the Indian Removal

Autor(en): Meyer, Sabine N.
Stichwörter: Cherokee literature; federal Indian law; Indian Removal; indigenous literature; indigenous rights; international law; law and literature; Literature; Native American historical novel; Trail of Tears
Erscheinungsdatum: 2017
Volumen: 29
Ausgabe: 2
Startseite: 269
Seitenende: 290
My contrapuntal readings of the indigenous rights debates that took place in the United Nations in the 1990s and two Native American historical novels on the Indian Removal published in the United States around the same time reveal that Native American literary production has been deeply inflected by the law. Robert Conley's Mountain Windsong: A Novel of the Trail of Tears (1992) needs to be read as a critique of the idea that Native American rights can be secured from within the United States' legal order. Through the jarring juxtaposition of historical legal documents and a romantic plot, the novel deconstructs the idea of domestic law as an agent of change and introduces the language of human rights as an alternative normative framework for Native resistance. Diane Glancy's Pushing the Bear: A Novel of the Trail of Tears (1996) engages with a question that figured prominently in the debates about indigenous rights, namely whether these rights can be realized within the context of a human rights regime that puts the individual center stage. On closer scrutiny, the novel opens up an alternative way of thinking about the relationship between individual and group rights. It thereby contributes to closing the theoretical gap between individual and group rights, which stymied indigenous rights debates considerably.
ISSN: 1535685X
DOI: 10.1080/1535685X.2016.1246902

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