By Lisa Garrigues
Callahan, Johnson and Winnemucca used a prevailing literary genre of the time--sentimentality. Though the frank expression of emotion was what moved sentimental literature, how much room did these three writers, as Native women, have to articulate their anger about what was being threatened and destroyed, and how successful were they? Carpenter, an English and Native American studies professor asks this question. She also raises some thought-provoking questions about white Americans’ appropriation of Indian-ness or Indian causes as a way to express their own anger.
By shining the light on the anger that was, with varying degrees of success, expressed by these early American Indian writers, Carpenter helps us look at what part anger plays as an agent of change in the contemporary world, in Native discourse and resistance, and in our daily lives.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.