Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English (PhD)

Degree Level





Lisa Hinrichsen

Committee Member

Susan Marren

Second Committee Member

Sean Teuton


Language, literature and linguistics, Social sciences, Bell, Betty Louise, Linda Hogan, Leanne Howe, Indegenous studies, Native American women, Southern literature


This dissertation examines literature written by women who identify with Native tribes that originally inhabited, and in some cases continue to inhabit, the southeastern area of what is now known as the United States. The analysis presented in each chapter applies tribally specific methods used for creating knowledge within the particular discourse community being represented through literature. The project also employs the perspectives of Native literary scholars to consider the ways in which the roles and lives of Native women have been influenced by Euro-American values and to analyze the ways in which these female authors engage literature as a source for Social and political voice, as well as a resource from which to empower cultural reimagining.

After an introduction which explains and validates the existence and function of indigenous discourse communities, the remaining chapters examine Chickasaw author Linda Hogan’s Power, Cherokee author Diane Glancy’s Pushing the Bear, Cherokee author Betty Louise Bell’s Faces in the Moon, and Choctaw author LeAnne Howe's Shell Shaker. I argue that these fictional texts identify Social and political issues faced by modern Native women from southeastern tribes and I note how each author suggests the potential for a cultural reimagining through which Native problems can be identified and addressed by Native peoples using Native-centric approaches.