Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Oppression, Theft and Exploitation: The Resurgence and Reclaiming of Native American Spirituality Through the Adaptation and Representation of Visions in Literature and Art

Chown, Emily Caitlin (2023) Oppression, Theft and Exploitation: The Resurgence and Reclaiming of Native American Spirituality Through the Adaptation and Representation of Visions in Literature and Art. Master of Arts by Research (MARes) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101862) (KAR id:101862)


Over the last 160 years there has been a movement of resurgence and reclaiming of Indigenous spirituality in Native American literature and art. The 1860's mark the beginnings of the movement, with Black Elk's account of these years, in his as told to story, leading up to his great vision. The adaptation from Black Elk's oral biographical narrative into written literature signifies a transformation within Indigenous storytelling towards utilising western literature. This transformation continues into the present with authors such as Cherie Dimaline, who continue to adapt storytelling with new genres and literary tropes, whilst still maintaining traditional aesthetics of Native spirituality. This thesis explores how the publication of literature has influenced perceptions of Native American culture and spirituality among the American public and how Indigenous literature and art published in the twentieth and twenty-first century has worked to reclaim representations of Native culture, spirituality and history. Native Americans have faced a pattern of misrepresentation, oppression and appropriation of their spirituality and culture as a consequence of continued colonial structures. A loss of Native language, displacement, widespread appropriation and misrepresentation by non-Natives has contributed to the need to adapt storytelling into western forms of literature in order to reclaim representations. Visions and dreams have been significant in the reclaiming of Native spirituality and are correspondingly a reoccurring feature in Native American literature and art. The representation of visions has been reclaimed by Native American Nations from non-Native twisted representations, constructed by white anthropologists, media and pretendians. Visions influence protest against colonial structures, as they signifying the importance of tradition and community in order for cultural survival and inspire change by providing glimpses of decolonised spaces. Native Americans authors and artist have adapted traditional forms of storytelling through utilising western writing techniques, genres, markets and materials to reach a mainstream audience in order to accurately represent their spirituality and preserve it for future generations.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Arts by Research (MARes))
Thesis advisor: Stirrup, David
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101862
Uncontrolled keywords: Native American Visions Representation Resurgence Indigenous literature
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2023 08:43 UTC
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2023 07:55 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Chown, Emily Caitlin.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.