Although much contemporary American Indian literature examines the relationship between humans and the land, most Native authors do not set their work in the "pristine wilderness" celebrated by
mainstream nature writers. Instead, they focus on settings such as reservations, open-pit mines, and contested borderlands. Drawing on her own teaching experience among Native Americans and on
lessons learned from such recent scenes of confrontation as Chiapas and Black Mesa, Joni Adamson explores why what counts as "nature" is often very different for multicultural writers and activist
groups than it is for mainstream environmentalists.
Adamson challenges complacency throughout her book. . . . a truly innovative study that should be in all academic collections.
Her persuasive and passionate arguments call her readers to awareness and responsibility.
Powerful and immensely readable.
This powerful book is one of the first to examine the intersections between literature and the environment from the perspective of the
oppressions of race, class, gender, and nature, and the first to review American Indian literature from the standpoint of environmental justice and ecocriticism. By examining such texts as Sherman
Alexie's short stories and Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Almanac of the Dead, Adamson contends that these works, in addition to being literary, are examples of ecological criticism that expand
Euro-American concepts of nature and place.
Adamson shows that when we begin exploring the differences that shape diverse cultural and literary representations of nature, we discover the
challenge they present to mainstream American culture, environmentalism, and literature. By comparing the work of Native authors such as Simon Ortiz with that of environmental writers such as Edward
Abbey, she reveals opportunities for more multicultural conceptions of nature and the environment.
More than a work of literary criticism, this is a book about the search to find ways to
understand our cultural and historical differences and similarities in order to arrive at a better agreement of what the human role in nature is and should be. It exposes the blind spots in early
ecocriticism and shows the possibilities for building common ground— a middle place— where writers, scholars, teachers, and environmentalists might come together to work for social and