Imagining Choctaw: Self-Imagination and Settler Colonialism
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As Native American tribes work towards self-determination, they must first fully imagine who they are and who they want to become. Self-imagination, the act of conceptualizing ourselves, is requisite for self-determination. One important way in how we imagine ourselves is through the stories we tell of ourselves and others. The act of Native American self-imagination is enacted within the context of U.S. settler colonialism. U.S. setter colonialism is so prevalent in the lives Indigenous people that it must be scrutinized in how it influences Indigenous self-imagination. This dissertation examines the ways three Choctaw writers—LeAnne Howe, Louis Owens, and Don. L. Birchfield—imagine Choctaws and a Choctaw nation and how they respond to settler colonialism through the stories they tell, i.e. their literature. Given the diversity among these three writers, a variety of methods are used including tribalography, Mixedblood discourse, and regionalism.
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