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Old 04-10-2016, 09:31 PM   #12
OLChemist
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Alternative histories are intriguing, though a well plowed field. (As I write this I'm listening to Heather Alexander's songs based on Lion's Blood.)

We certainly have Native authors who write sci-fi and horror. A.A. Carr (Eye Killers) and Stephen G Jones (After the People Lights Have Gone Off) spring to mind. Gerold Visenor (sp) took a turn writing about a post-gasoline future in Darkness in Saint Louis Bearheart. And authors who work in that intersection of the spiritual powers, spirit beings and modern life -- what some of us call the Native life -- but scholars call magical realism often get shoehorned into fantasy. Having grown up hearing warnings about Artiodactyla seductresses who could steal a piece of a man's soul through intimate relations, I was quite startled to discover Erdrich's Antelope Wife won a world fantasy award, being regarded by the dominant culture as fantasy while stores of their own religious tales are not.

The above is my round about way of getting to the twin 800lb gorillas sitting in the room: appropriation and stereotyping. I'm not among those who believe non-Natives cannot write about Natives and do it well. But, sadly they are the exception. It takes extended, deep exposure -- a reverse acculturation. To often "fictionalization" or "alternative history" is used as an excuse for writing cardboard Indians, Na'vis in buckskin or white people in brown-face. Even in fantasy you must be true to elements of some Native culture's ethos, or it isn't Native at all. The article below skims the surface of this problem.

They're Not Ghosts

The other issue, is appropriation. Native cultures are routinely treated like an all you can eat buffet of intellectual property. We've been plundered. We've seen everything from headdresses to sweat lodges, torn from their cultural context and twisted and sold. In short exploited. There is a very fine line. Be warned, saying your story is in a different timeline does not free you from this.

Last edited by OLChemist; 04-12-2016 at 07:39 AM.. Reason: Wow, I needed to proofread that post.
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