Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writings of North America

Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writings of North America

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Overview

"A collection of important, eloquent, and often mesmerizing writings by American Indian Women. . . . A profoundly moving statement of resilience and renewal."—San Francisco Chronicle


This long-awaited anthology celebrates the experience of Native American women and is at once an important contribution to our literature and an historical document. It is the most comprehensive anthology of its kind to collect poetry, fiction, prayer, and memoir from Native American women. Over eighty writers are represented from nearly fifty nations, including such nationally known writers as Louise Erdrich, Linda Hogan, Leslie Marmon Silko, Lee Maracle, Janet Campbell Hale, and Luci Tapahonso; others — Wilma Mankiller, Winona LaDuke, and Bea Medicine — who are known primarily for their contributions to tribal communities; and some who are published here for the first time in this landmark volume.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393318289
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/17/1998
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 534,536
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Gloria Bird lives in Nespelem, Washington.

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee Creek Nation and was named United States Poet Laureate in 2019. The author of eight books of poetry and a memoir, Crazy Brave, her many honors include the Jackson Poetry Prize, the Ruth Lilly Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.

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Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writings of North America 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
TyRamos More than 1 year ago
“Reinventing the Enemy’s Language” is not your typical book. It consists of many of short stories and poems, informing people of the harsh conditions that Native people go through, mainly women. Many of these stories are about the rape and abuse that the women endure; it’s not just one tribe but all. One of the poems in the book that really stood out to me is “You See This Body” by Marcie Rendon. The poem consists of a woman asking a man for confirmation on her body parts and states how women go through trial and error with the world. This book is highly recommended for anyone blinded by the lies America is built on.
Casey Surma More than 1 year ago
“Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writings of North America,” by Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird is for sure a must read. Native people have been an oppressed group of people in the United States ever since the late 1400’s. Their people have been through a lot and one form of survivance of their culture is to listen to the stories they tell. This book created by Harjo and Bird does a great job of creating a great collection of many different works of literature from many different female members of different Native Tribes. Some stories are heartwarming, some are an act of resistance, a few are about trauma, but the most important thing about this book is that it gives Native women a chance to tell their stories and it is beautiful. One of the readings that stood out to me as the reader was the housing poem by Dian Million. This was a medium length poem that flowed very nicely when you are reading it, but more importantly than that is that this is an important story of rhetorical sovereignty. The poem is all about a native family that lives together containing cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and many others in a single-family apartment. This is quite common for many Native families because their idea of a family is different from the ideals than that of most North American families. The twist in this comes when Million writes that the landlord who rents the property is taking the family to court because there is too many people living in a single-family home, when the native people thought that was what they were. That poem really stuck with me, and I am sure you will find many different literary works in this anthology that will stick with you as a reader as well. As you read this the book also contains a wealth of information on many of the authors of the stories. The little introduction to the author is truly unique because it gives you the opportunity to read all about the authors tribe, and a little bit about their experiences in life. It is interesting because you will sometimes be able to draw comparisons between the authors and the characters and content of their stories. I truly recommend that you read this collection of works, I promise you will not be disappointed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I may be a little biased as I was assigned to read parts of the book for class and have to write a review on it as an assignment and I am not a huge fan of poetry anyway. However, it did provide an often unheard point of view as all the short stories and poems are written by Native American Women. Many tales deal with rape and abuse all too commonly suffered by women and children and their stories of 'survivance' or survival by resistance. Through survivance, these women aim to pass on their stories of laughter, suffering, and heritage to the next generations of their children and grandchildren along with millions of outsiders from all different kinds of backgrounds. One the few poems that I really remember was titled, “99 Thing to do Before You Die” and provides a bucket list of things attainable for nearly everyone, even those that are not financially privileged. The list compiles humor, books worth reading, recipes worthy of mastering, and ideals worth defending into a collection that sounds like a blast and makes for an entertaining read. While this has been far from my favorite book of the semester, I have no doubt that there are many people out there that would absolutely adore this book and its messege.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I may be a little biased as I was assigned to read parts of the book for class and have to write a review on it as an assignment and I am not a huge fan of poetry anyway. However, it did provide an often unheard point of view as all the short stories and poems are written by Native American Women. Many tales deal with rape and abuse all too commonly suffered by women and children and their stories of 'survivance' or survival by resistance. Through survivance, these women aim to pass on their stories of laughter, suffering, and heritage to the next generations of their children and grandchildren along with millions of outsiders from all different kinds of backgrounds. One the few poems that I really remember was titled, “99 Thing to do Before You Die” and provides a bucket list of things attainable for nearly everyone, even those that are not financially privileged. The list compiles humor, books worth reading, recipes worthy of mastering, and ideals worth defending into a collection that sounds like a blast and makes for an entertaining read. While this has been far from my favorite book of the semester, I have no doubt that there are many people out there that would absolutely adore this book and its messege.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I may be a little biased as I was assigned to read parts of the book for class and have to write a review on it as an assignment and I am not a huge fan of poetry anyway. However, it did provide an often unheard point of view as all the short stories and poems are written by Native American Women. Many tales deal with rape and abuse all too commonly suffered by women and children and their stories of 'survivance' or survival by resistance. Through survivance, these women aim to pass on their stories of laughter, suffering, and heritage to the next generations of their children and grandchildren along with millions of outsiders from all different kinds of backgrounds. One the few poems that I really remember was titled, “99 Thing to do Before You Die” and provides a bucket list of things attainable for nearly everyone, even those that are not financially privileged. The list compiles humor, books worth reading, recipes worthy of mastering, and ideals worth defending into a collection that sounds like a blast and makes for an entertaining read. While this has been far from my favorite book of the semester, I have no doubt that there are many people out there that would absolutely adore this book and its messege.
georgeck More than 1 year ago
Not many novels are written by Native women, but Reinventing the Enemy’s Language really shows you how powerfully Native women can write. What Harjo and Bird have done with the writings submitted to them is definitely a literary masterpiece, and a must-have book across all boards. This anthology teaches the reader to engage critically with each section, to look for places they see themselves in the text, and challenges you to put yourself in an audience not many of us are used to imagining ourselves, as a Native American. It is important to approach this piece of literature as a rhetorical ally, that is, to read past the influence of Euro-Americans and truly analyze the text as someone who desires to allow these sovereign Native women to write and communicate as such. The intense, sometimes troubling imagery used in the essays, memoirs, and poems will leave the reader ravenous and hungry for more, even though there are plenty within the novel. The writing and publishing of his book is just one of the ways Indigenous groups, specifically Indigenous women, are participating in their fight to be recognized as something more. They are choosing to reinvent, so to speak, the image of the “Pocahontas” image that so many believe is the epitome of Natives in North America. By writing and speaking out against the postcolonial forcing of our culture upon them, the women in Reinventing the Enemy’s Language are actively engaging in a revolution. A revolution that demands our ears to listen and our minds to learn. The women in this book are not allowing us, as Euro-Americans and minorities to remain bystanders in a society that wishes for these people to stay silent. These voices are powerful and will change the way you think not only about the rhetorical sovereignty they desperately want, and those who came before us, but also about how the audience will have a chance to reinvent the identity we’ve created for these beautiful, sovereign people. If you are deeply interested in women’s rights and Native American culture, this book is a must read, being full of essays, memoirs, and poems that are fantastically written by authors that should most certainly be more popular and recognized.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We were assigned this book for my Native American Literature class at UNL. This is a collection of writings by Native American Women, who have survived the racism and abuse that comes with living in a country that isn’t necessarily always friendly towards this ethnicity group. The book, from Native American women, speaks to how important their role is as mothers, leaders, and writers. It is full of a variety of poems and short stories that are the work of these authors that aim at giving a glimpse into the on-going tragedies that are constantly raiding Native American Womens’ lives, but it does have several stories and poems that hit on a lighter note, such as Nila North sun’s pow, “99things to do before you die”. This was my favorite part of the book that I read. She writes a poem in the form of a list that lays out the endeavors she aims to do before she dies. She also pokes fun at cosmopolitan for coming up with things that only rich people can do. Her list is very relatable to the average citizen and I liked what she had to say. She does a nice job of getting down to the core of people. Something that this book really shows it that they are people, like us. Not just something to discuss. They are people with different problems than you or me, but they aren’t a vague myth with a bunch of magic powers, they are real people. I liked the style of the authors in several passages that conveyed the simple things in life that a lot of people Indian or not can relate to. While there are several sad stories in the pages that we wish would have a happy ending, this isn’t a realistic expectation to have because in reality Native Americans never really get happy endings, because of the oppression that they face, so that is something to keep in mind while flipping through these pages. If anything else, I hope that the depressing passages encourage you to do something about the way things currently are. The title “Reinventing the Enemy’s Language”, came from concept of wanting to turn the process of colonization around and that their literature will be viewed as a process of decolonization. The authors of this book don’t want sympathy for the way things are, but they do want to be recognized for who they are, and understanding this will help you appreciate the writings in this book.