Changing Is Surviving: Transformation as Resistance in the Ojibwe Stories of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft

  • Sarah Olivier


Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, or Bamewawagezhikaquay, wrote brilliantly fashioned Ojibwe stories. Focusing on four of her contributions to the Muzzeniegun, including a letter to the editor (her husband, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft), the author argues for Schoolcraft’s adherence to Ojibwe aesthetic traditions. This approach is important because three of the stories above were republished by H. R. Schoolcraft (Indian Agent for the Andrew Jackson administration) in his anthropological Algic Researches (1839) and Oneóta (1844). In these works, Schoolcraft’s husband provides an interpretive lens for his wife’s stories that construes change as indicative of the tragedy and victimization associated with the Euro-American myth of the “vanishing Indian.” Read within their original publication and (multi)cultural context, however, Schoolcraft’s stories emphasize an active and dynamic sense of native presence through the use of liminality. As such, her stories express resistance to the categorical distinctions of settler colonialism and embrace liminal transformation as a means of survival.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Olivier
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DenverDenverUSA

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