Looking for Native American philosophy in a native voice.
August 19, 2018 10:30 PM   Subscribe

Looking for casual or academic Native American philosophy in a native voice. I'd like native authors or interviews with natives as opposed to academic books about Native American thought or overviews.

I've read Black Elk Speaks and Lame Deer Seeker of Visions and enjoyed them both but found that black elk was very manicured to appear profound where lame deer was more authentic and raw. I am looking for the most authentic texts, possible, regardless of time period and up to the modern day dealing with Native American philosophy. I am also open to similar texts about Native American history and life.
posted by Gargantuantoe to Religion & Philosophy (11 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Read the memoir Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo. . it is a Native American life, history, philosophy, poetry by one of the most important (native or otherwise) American poets alive now. Yes raw and authentic and also crafted and beautiful.
posted by nantucket at 10:49 PM on August 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


This is not Native American, but rather Māori. But if you have an interest in works by Indigenous authors regardless of location, this may be something you'd like. It's actually a more academic text about the nature of research rather than one specific to philosophy. But it examines the Indigenous perspective towards research which is vastly different from the Western, colonizing perspective. Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith.
posted by acidnova at 10:57 PM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


As a direct answer, every book of Leslie Marmon Silko’s. But in all honesty, if your idea of “authentic” indigenous and Native voices and perspectives is “raw,” and being “manicured” takes away from their authencity for you, you have some major prejudices to unpack.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 1:46 AM on August 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


I enjoyed reading Steve Wall's books: Shadowcatchers: A Journey in Search of the Teachings of Native American Healers , Wisdom's Daughters: Conversations with Women Elders of Native America, and Wisdomkeepers: Meetings With Native American Spiritual Elders
posted by shw at 3:46 AM on August 20, 2018


... being “manicured” takes away from their authencity for you,

Let's be fair to OP. They were talking about Black Elk Speaks being manicured, which it was, by the white author, John G. Neihardt. I think the OP is trying to say they want a Native voice telling Native experience, including the trauma of history.
posted by nantucket at 6:03 AM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants [link]. The author is a Potawatomi botanist/ecologist. Most of the book is about the Native philosophy around human relationships with the natural world. She also writes about her own personal journey and connecting with her people and language.

As for rawness, I cried throughout most of it -- not from sadness but more from profoundness.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:10 AM on August 20, 2018


As nantucket mentioned, I was just referring to Black Elk when I was talking about texts being manicured, but I do regret the wording all the same. I only meant to say that Lame Deer seemed to be a much more direct account, and I am looking for the most direct accounts possible. Regardless thank you all for the suggestions!

I am absolutely open to indigenous perspectives from around the world, and the Māori are especially interesting to me, thank you!
posted by Gargantuantoe at 8:49 AM on August 20, 2018


Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask by Anton Treuer is easy to read and touches on common philisophies, where it is possible to generalize.
posted by lakeroon at 8:52 AM on August 20, 2018


Strongly seconding Leslie Marmon Silko. I would also recommend the memoirs of Ernestine Hayes; Blonde Indian is the first, and won an award. I've some acquaintance with Tlingit culture, and she's giving a big dose of it in her books (and she writes very well).
posted by gudrun at 5:54 PM on August 20, 2018


I'd like native authors or interviews with natives as opposed to academic books about Native American thought or overviews.

Note that these are not mutually exclusive categories, it's common (well, where I live anyhow, so maybe not as common as I think) for Native American Studies departments to be populated largely by Native professors.
posted by yohko at 10:30 PM on August 20, 2018


Joseph Marshall III's books on Lakota philosophy are great — I'd recommend the audiobook of The Lakota Way, which he reads himself.
posted by culfinglin at 4:41 PM on August 27, 2018


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