Mediating Indianness


Mediating Indianness investigates a wide range of media—including print, film, theater, ritual dance, music, recorded interviews, photography, and treaty rhetoric—that have been used in exploitative, informative, educative, sustaining, protesting, or entertaining ways to negotiate Native American identities and images.

The selection of the term Indianness is deliberate. It points to the intricate construction of ethnicity as filtered through media, despite frequent assertions of “authenticity.” From William “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s claim, extravagantly advertised on both sides of the Atlantic, that he was staging “true-to-life” scenes from Indian life in his Wild West shows to contemporary Native hip-hop artist Quese IMC’s announcement that his songs tell his people’s “own history” and draw on their “true” culture, media of all types has served to promote disparate agendas claiming legitimacy.

As it pulls apart stereotypes and assumptions about Indigenous identity and culture and strips away old concepts and ways of seeing and doing history, this vibrant collection points towards a dynamic future that recognizes Indigenous identities in a complex intersection of cultural influences.


“Mediating Indianness offers a cornucopia of voices proclaiming that Native American identity is alive, expressive, and still under construction…. Standing behind the volume, visible here and there in shadowy form, sometimes stepping out into the light is the archetypal figure of the writer and activist Gerald Vizenor.”

Paul Spickard, author of Almost All Aliens and Multiple Identities

About the Author

Other contributors: Kimberly Blaeser, Ellen Cushman, Nicholle Dragone, Sonja Georgi, Jane Haladay, Gordon Henry, Chris LaLonde, A. Robert Lee, Evelina Zuni Lucero, Ludmila Martanovschi, Sally McBeth, Molly McGlennen, Jesse Peters, Christine Plicht, John Purdy, Kerstin Schmidt, Billy J. Stratton, Gerald Vizenor, Cathy C. Waegner

Table of Contents


Preface: Transatlantic Refractions

Part 1 Transethnicity / Transculturality / and Protest in Historical Contexts
Part 2 (Trans)Media Literacy, Youth Cultures
Part 3 Performance, Gender, and Cultural Capital
Part 4 Crow Commons