Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds

The African Diaspora in Indian Country

Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds

Book Pages: 392 Illustrations: 7 illus, 1 table Published: October 2006

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, American Studies, Native and Indigenous Studies

Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds explores the critically neglected intersection of Native and African American cultures. This interdisciplinary collection combines historical studies of the complex relations between blacks and Indians in Native communities with considerations and examples of various forms of cultural expression that have emerged from their intertwined histories. The contributors include scholars of African American and Native American studies, English, history, anthropology, law, and performance studies, as well as fiction writers, poets, and a visual artist.

Essays range from a close reading of the 1838 memoirs of a black and Native freewoman to an analysis of how Afro-Native intermarriage has impacted the identities and federal government classifications of certain New England Indian tribes. One contributor explores the aftermath of black slavery in the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, highlighting issues of culture and citizenship. Another scrutinizes the controversy that followed the 1998 selection of a Miss Navajo Nation who had an African American father. A historian examines the status of Afro-Indians in colonial Mexico, and an ethnographer reflects on oral histories gathered from Afro-Choctaws. Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds includes evocative readings of several of Toni Morrison’s novels, interpretations of plays by African American and First Nations playwrights, an original short story by Roberta J. Hill, and an interview with the Creek poet and musician Joy Harjo. The Native American scholar Robert Warrior develops a theoretical model for comparative work through an analysis of black and Native intellectual production. In his afterword, he reflects on the importance of the critical project advanced by this volume.

Contributors. Jennifer D. Brody, Tamara Buffalo, David A. Y. O. Chang, Robert Keith Collins, Roberta J. Hill, Sharon P. Holland, ku'ualoha ho’omnawanui, Deborah E. Kanter, Virginia Kennedy, Barbara Krauthamer, Tiffany M. McKinney, Melinda Micco, Tiya Miles, Celia E. Naylor, Eugene B. Redmond, Wendy S. Walters, Robert Warrior


Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds marks a new crossroads in ethnic history and ethnic studies scholarship: a mode of scholarly interaction between Native and black worlds that refuses to sacrifice the feelings at the heart of their tangled histories.” — Joanna Brooks, Journal of American Ethnic History

Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds is a valuable addition to the literature . . . . [It] is a welcome beginning because of its diversity of perspectives, its presentation of unfamiliar stories, and its clear-eyed willingness to explore a world in which Principal Chief Smith can use one removal to justify another.” — Joshua Piker, Ethnohistory

“Highly recommended.” — G. Ganon, Choice

“Miles and Holland should be lauded for bringing together a body of scholarship that illustrates quite dramatically how this convergence [of Native American and African American studies] has a wide and deep impact upon several disciplines and fields of study.” — Michael A. Elliot, American Literature

“This collection ambitiously pushes the boundaries of the types of sources to consider and the mediums through which to explore indigenous/African interactions in the western hemisphere.” — Fay A. Yarborugh, Western Historical Quarterly

"This book contains a stimulating blend of insider and outsider perspectives. . . . This volume makes an important contribution to the still under-researched area of African Americans' interactions with Native cultures and peoples. It should also suggest important avenues for further research and is highly recommended for students of both African American and Native American history and culture." — Stephen W. Angell, Journal of American History

Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds addresses an extremely important nexus in ethnic studies and cultural studies and demonstrates the indispensable contributions of relational and comparative study.” — George Lipsitz, author of American Studies in a Moment of Danger

“This collection is an important extension of a vital topic—historical and contemporary cultural and political relationships between Indian and African peoples—fully into the realm of African diaspora studies.” — James F. Brooks, editor of Confounding the Color Line: The Indian-Black Experience in North America

“Tiya Miles and Sharon P. Holland have brought together precision history, evocative criticism, and wrenching memoir and fiction to offer a compelling picture of the meeting grounds where black and Indian lives intertwine. So much more than a decentering of whiteness, this collection truly opens up new and exciting terrain.” — Philip J. Deloria, author of Indians in Unexpected Places


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Tiya Miles is Assistant Professor of American Culture, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Native American Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Ties that Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom.

Sharon P. Holland is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Raising the Dead: Readings of Death and (Black) Subjectivity, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword: “Not Recognized by the Tribe” / Sharon P. Holland ix

Preface: Eating out of the Same Pot? / Tiya Miles xv

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction: Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds / Tiya Miles and Sharon Patricia Holland 1

1. A Harbor of Sense: An Interview with Joy Harjo / Eugene B. Redmond 25

2. An/Other Case of New England Underwriting: Negotiating Race and Property in Memoirs of Elleanor Eldridge / Jennifer D. Brody and Sharon P. Holland 31

3. Race and Federal Recognition in Native New England / Tiffany M. McKinney 57

4. Where Will the Nation Be at Home? Race, Nationalisms, and Emigration Movements in the Creek Nation / David A. Y. O. Chang 80

5. In Their “Native Country”: Freedpeople’s Understandings of Culture and Citizenship in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations / Barbara Krauthamer 100

6. “Blood and Money”: The Case of Seminole Freedmen and Seminole Indians in Oklahoma / Melinda Micco 121

7. "Playing Indian"? The Selection of Radmilla Cody as Miss Navajo Nation, 1997–1998 / Celia E. Naylor 145

8. "Their Hair was Curly": Afro-Mexicans in Indian Villages, Central Mexico, 1700–1820 / Deborah E. Kanter 164

9. Lone Wolf and DuBois for a New Century: Intersections of Native American and African American Literatures / Robert Warrior 181

10. Native Americans, African Americans, and the Space That Is America: Indian Presence in the Fiction of Toni Morrison / Virginia Kennedy 196

11. Knowing All of My Names / Tamara Buffalo 218

12. After the Death of the Last: Performance as History in Monique Mojica's Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots / Wendy S. Walter 226

13. Katimih o Sa Chata Kiyou (Why Am I Not Choctaw)? Race in the Lived Experiences of Two Black Choctaw Mixed-Bloods / Robert Keith Collins 260

14. From Ocean to o-Shen: Reggae Rap, and Hip Hop in Hawai'i / Ku'ualoha Ho'omanawanui 273

15. Heartbreak / Roberta J. Hill 309

Afterword / Robert Warrior 321

References 327

Contributors 345

Index 349
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3865-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3812-3
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