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Native American History and Culture

Native America Literature

  • Native American literature, also called Indian literature or American Indian literature, begins with the traditional oral and written literatures of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
  • Traditional Native American literature includes ancient hieroglyphic and pictographic writings and an extensive set of folktales, myths, and oral histories.
  • The written Native American literary tradition, including European literary genres such as poetry and fiction, began in the early eighteenth century as Native Americans began to publish historical and cultural accounts of their peoples during the nineteenth century.
  • From the 1960s onward, the production of many new Native American literary texts created an era of awakening that created a new voice and a new place for Native American writers in the American imagination. This era is called the Native American Renaissance by literary critics.

Source: Britannica

EN492 Native American Literature

For a detailed library guide about conducting research on Native American Literature, please visit the EN492 Native American Literature guide.

Joy Harjo | 2019-2020 United State Poet Laureate

Meet Joy Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation and the first Native American Poet Laureate for the United States.


Web Resources

Early Native American Literature

Native American literature written in the 18th and 19th century is considered a literature of transition between the oral tradition which flourished before Europeans arrived on the continent and the beginning of the 1960’s when the Native American Renaissance began.

Native American Writers

Native American Renaissance, a controversial term, is frequently used to describe the explosion of literature created after the 1960's by Native American writers of fiction. Momaday's House Made of Dawn, which won the Pulitzer Prize in1969, has been given the credit for inspiring the new generation of writers.