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As both the record of and rationale for a settler construct, “Native American literature” has always been uniquely embattled: a body of production marked by particularly divergent opinions about what constitutes “authenticity,” sovereignty, and even literature. As such, its texts announce a culture beset by paradox: simultaneously primordial and postmodern; oral and inscribed; outmoded and novel; quixotic and quotidian. Above all, its texts are a site of political struggle, shifting to meet expectations both external and internal. This Introduction sets out the plural, capricious, and contested character of both Indigenous texts and our habits of evaluating them.
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