It has been roughly 40 years since the place for Native American literature was established in the literary canon. Many point to N. Scott Momaday winning the Pulitzer in 1969 for the novel “House Made of Dawn” as a landmark in recognition and the following decades saw the publication of new critically acclaimed works by others including Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, and Leslie Marmon Silko.
Does this mean Native American literature has only been around since the 1960’s? The obvious answer is of course not. Examples of actual writing by Native American authors can be found which date back to the 1600’s and when the concept of literature is expanded beyond the written word we find a rich tradition of stories which were transmitted orally from generation to generation long before European contact. There is, as you might imagine, a growing mass of articles, books and websites devoted to this vast topic and the humble intention of this guide is to get you headed in the right direction as you begin your research.
To search for items owned by the Bruce T. Halle Library dealing with Native American Literature, you can search the library catalog in a variety of ways. You can always do keyword searches but using the subject search option, when you know the correct terminology, is a much more focused approach.
You can access the online library catalog at http://portal.emich.edu/ (or in the box above).
Here are some general subject searches that might be useful. To search two or more terms/phrases, you must use the advanced search.
Subject- Indians in Literature
Subject- American Literature combined with the subject Indian Authors is also a good search that yields over 100 results.
Also, when you are looking for items on a particular author search the author, last name first, as a subject. For example, searching Erdrich, Louise as a subject in our online catalog will take you to a list of about 20 items.
Remember- because not all terms are recognized as official subjects by our catalog it might make sense to run keyword searches or searches that combine known subject headings and keywords if you're not sure.