CIRCA:Oral Stories, Literacy and Digitization

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Oral-literary binary

Scott Richard Lyons, “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What do American Indians Want From Writing?”:

  • George Kennedy's Comparative Rhetoric:An Historical and Cross-Cultural Introduction holds the view(stereotype dating back from 19th century) that Indians are essentially oral creatures that exist in an imagined savage past. "Finding in early human language a connecting link between the rhetoric of animals and that of oral (but not literate0 humans...Kennedy has...a quiet assumption that Indians are something less than human, if something more than animals"(459-60)--rhetorical imperialism

Introduction to "Talking on the page: editing aboriginal oral texts.": The varying perspectives among different First Nations thinkers:

  • "Some of us are involved in preservation, well meaning, but preservation. It is as if we had even lost the will to let things go, whether it be rituals, ceremonies, songs, or language,' writes Hopi filmmaker Victor Masayesva, Jr., noting the loss of sovereignty when non-community members record and `express our Selves' (94). Isn't it better, he asks, if the community determines what is important itself?"
  • "We appreciate the fear of desecration, but we believe that the risks of sharing information are less dangerous than the risk that it may be otherwise be lost forever,' write Tlingit Nora Dauenhauer and her partner Richard Dauenhauer, worrying about the `death of language,' the `linguistic and cultural suicide' produced by blocked access to recorded stories (32-33). `Doing it ourselves,' within the community, (however desirable a goal) results often, they argue, in nothing being done."
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