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In Indigenous Cities Laura M. Furlan demonstrates that stories of the urban experience are essential to an understanding of modern Indigeneity. She situates Native identity among theories of diaspora, cosmopolitanism, and transnationalism by examining urban narratives--such as those written by Sherman Alexie, Janet Campbell Hale, Louise Erdrich, and Susan Power--along with the work of filmmakers and artists. In these stories Native peoples navigate new surroundings, find and reformulate community, and maintain and redefine Indian identity in the postrelocation era. These narratives illuminate the changing relationship between urban Indigenous peoples and their tribal nations and territories and the ways in which new cosmopolitan bonds both reshape and are interpreted by tribal identities. Though the majority of American Indigenous populations do not reside on reservations, these spaces regularly define discussions and literature about Native citizenship and identity. Meanwhile, conversations about the shift to urban settings often focus on elements of dispossession, subjectivity, and assimilation. Furlan takes a critical look at Indigenous fiction from the last three decades to present a new way of looking at urban experiences, one that explains mobility and relocation as a form of resistance. In these stories Indian bodies are not bound by state-imposed borders or confined to Indian Country as it is traditionally conceived. Furlan demonstrates that cities have always been Indian land and Indigenous peoples have always been cosmopolitan and urban.
From the dawn of cinema, images of Indigenous peoples have been dominated by Hollywood stereotypes and often negative depictions from elsewhere around the world. With the advent of digital technologies, however, many Indigenous peoples are working to redress the imbalance in numbers and counter the negativity. The contributors to Reverse Shots offer a unique scholarly perspective on current work in the world of Indigenous film and media. Chapters focus primarily on Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and cover areas as diverse as the use of digital technology in the creation of Aboriginal art, the healing effects of Native humour in First Nations documentaries, and the representation of the pre-colonial in films from Australia, Canada, and Norway.
"Smoke Signals" is a historical milestone in Native American filmmaking. Released in 1998 and based on a short-story collection by Sherman Alexie, it was the first wide-release feature film written, directed, coproduced, and acted by Native Americans. The most popular Native American film of all time, "Smoke Signals" is also an innovative work of cinematic storytelling that demands sustained critical attention in its own right. Embedded in "Smoke Signals"'s universal story of familial loss and renewal are uniquely Indigenous perspectives about political sovereignty, Hollywood's long history of misrepresentation, and the rise of Indigenous cinema across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Joanna Hearne's work foregrounds the voices of the filmmakers and performers--in interviews with Alexie and director Chris Eyre, among others--to explore the film's audiovisual and narrative strategies for speaking to multiple audiences. In particular, Hearne examines the filmmakers' appropriation of mainstream American popular culture forms to tell a Native story. Focusing in turn on the production and reception of the film and issues of performance, authenticity, social justice, and environmental history within the film's text and context, this in-depth introduction and analysis expands our understanding and deepens our enjoyment of a Native cinema landmark.