Weaving connections between indigenous modes of oral storytelling, visual depiction, and contemporary American Indian literature, "Deep Waters" demonstrates the continuing relationship between traditional and contemporary Native American systems of creative representation and signification. Christopher B. Teuton begins with a study of Mesoamerican writings, Dine sand paintings, and Haudenosaunee wampum belts. He proposes a theory of how and why indigenous oral and graphic means of recording thought are interdependent, their functions and purposes determined by social, political, and cultural contexts. The center of this book examines four key works of contemporary American Indian literature by N. Scott Momaday, Gerald Vizenor, Ray A. Young Bear, and Robert J. Conley. Through a textually grounded exploration of what Teuton calls the oral impulse, the graphic impulse, and the critical impulse, we see how and why various types of contemporary Native literary production are interrelated and draw upon long-standing indigenous methods of creative representation. Teuton breaks down the disabling binary of orality and literacy, offering readers a cogent, historically informed theory of indigenous textuality that allows for deeper readings of Native American cultural and literary expression.
"Articulating a much-needed change in the way scholars approach Native American literatures, Teuton's thought-provoking study redefines one's sense of the relationship between tradition and modernity and poses significant questions for further research and work in the field."-C.L. Sheffield, Choice -- C.L. Sheffield * Choice *
"Christopher Teuton's study of four American Indian writers . . . offers a useful model for theorizing the interdependence of oral and written traditions within Indigenous communities."-Lindsey Claire Smith, Great Plains Quarterly -- Lindsey Claire Smith * Great Plains Quarterly *