Crossing Over

Works by Contemporary American Indian Writers

Developed by Pat Onion, Colby College

  • Fools Crow by James Welch
  • Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
  • Tracks by Louise Erdrich
  • There, There by Tommy Orange
  • The Sharpest Sight by Louis Owens
  • Song of Rita Joe: Autobiography of a Mi’Kmaq Poet by Rita Joe and Lynn Henry

In these works, American Indian writers blend western writing techniques with oral tradition to mediate between two cultures. Libraries can select 5 titles.

All of us have the experience of mediating between worlds: between the soccer field and the classroom, the office and the mountain trail, the neighborhood and the internet. In making these daily crossings, we often take what we learn from one world and carry that knowledge with us as we move into another. In this way we participate in a process which shadows the much more complex and demanding process of mediating between cultures. Every time an American Indian writer picks up a pen, or opens a computer, he or she is performing an act of cultural mediation. Every time an American Indian writer writes in English, she or he is mediating cultures. Modern and contemporary American Indian literature has deep roots in an oral tradition designed to teach and to entertain, and from those roots come literary works of enduring instruction and delight.