Regeneration through Kinship: Indian "Orphans" Make Home in Works

Linda Hogan, Leslie Silko, Elizabeth Keila
Literary representations of orphanhood immediately activate the question of community through kinship and relation. In simple terms, "orphan" is unthinkable without its opposite-family or kin. The language of orphanhood and family has been central to the study of national American literature, but recently indigenous notions of "kinship" have been proposed as key critical tools for examining Native American literature. In readings of Linda Hogan 's Solar Storms (1995) and Leslie Mannon Sitko 's
more » ... ie Mannon Sitko 's Gardens in the Dunes (1999), I find that attentiveness to kinship focuses inquiry squarely on literary responses to the historical disruption of Native kinship networks , broadly conceived, but also to the state ' .v creation of Indian "orphans" through various fonns of child removal. These works employ the motif of the Indian 0171han 's return to place Native thought and culture in critical relation to Euro-American social , ethical, and environmental practices. While previous scholarship has examined the critiques of Western, colonial cultures in the works of Hogan and Silko, the importance of the orphan figure to these projects has been largely overlooked. The literary orphan, I propose, is a particularly complex site in contempora1y Native fiction for narrative interrogations of the limits and possibilities for community.