Womack’s Red on Red is a book that contributes to the conversation about the significance of sovereignty by arguing that Native oral tradition and literature are critical aspects of it. He explains how Native people use literature to perpetuate sovereignty both by being the creators of their own images and critically examining those images (14). By being active creators of their own images, Native authors exercise the very definition of self-determination. Womack goes on to describe the importance of language, imagination, and literature in expressing a tribal or national voice. This voice implies belonging, nationhood, and a shared vision for the future. This keeps sovereignty relevant to and internally defined by tribal peoples (14).
Esteva & Prakash’s book, Grassroots Post-Modernism, provided me with an Indigenous perspective on the how the so called wisdom of thinking globally, the universality of human rights, and the myth of the individual can be challenged. These are important points to bring up because they are indicative of how imperialist western thought is disguised as universal knowledge. Esteva & Prakash point out the arrogance embedded in the assumption that one human being has the capacity to think globally and how this assumption seeks to simplify the complex pluriverse that we live in (22). The authors also point out that human rights are based in Western thought and they impose Western values on other cultures. When Esteva & Prakash challenge the myth of the individual they bear in mind the importance of community in Indigenous life. This book got me thinking about how Indigenous epistemologies and methodologies can be used to deconstruct hegemony.
Silko’s memoir, The Turquoise Ledge, is an incredible read that brings her landscape to life. While reading this book I could taste the sand and feel the dry heat of the desert, which is completely indicative of Silko’s amazing talent. What makes this book interesting for me is that it takes the genre of memoir and Indianizes it. Rather than writing about her life in a linear way, Silko weaves poetry, memories, and fictions together thus turning time on its head. She also devotes as much space to describing her non-human relationships as she does her human ones and this gave the book a distinctly Native voice. Silko’s awe of the land is palpable when I read The Turquoise Ledge and more than anything it inspired me to write.