Associate Professor of Anthropology Dr. Heather Howard co-published a chapter in Michigan Salvage: Bonnie Jo Campbell and the American Midwest. “Indigeneity in Once Upon a River” and accompanying teaching activity, “What’s your Indigenous narrative?”
In this chapter, Howard-Bobiwash examines transformations in the tropes of indigeneity in Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Once Upon a River (2011), from novel to the feature film version of the book released in 2019. The role of fiction in the production of knowledge about Indigenous peoples is explored through questions of representational practice, and intersections of race, gender, identity, and landscape. The accompanying teaching activity prompts students to think critically about how portrayals and silenced absences of Indigeneity all around us are and produce social norms with real consequences for Indigenous persons and communities.
Michigan Salvage is the first scholarly collection on celebrated writer Bonnie Jo Campbell, the author of two novels and three short story collections, including National Book Award finalist American Salvage (2009). Her writing captures a diverse and bustling rural America, brimming with complex characters who struggle with addiction, poverty, and land degradation—issues that have become, undeniably, part of the southwestern Michigan landscape that she calls home. The essays in this volume demonstrate many rich ways to approach Campbell’s writing, from historical and cultural overviews to essays examining the class and gender implications of her stories and novels, to teaching essays highlighting how to use her work in the classroom and beyond. Along with each essay, Michigan Salvage also features lesson plans and writing prompts meant to spark discussion and encourage further investigation into these stories and novels.
Howard-Bobiwash, Heather A. (2023). “Indigeneity in Once Upon a River” and accompanying teaching activity, “What’s your Indigenous narrative?” In Michigan Salvage: Bonnie Jo Campbell and the American Midwest, Lisa DuRose, Andy Oler, and Ross Tangedal (eds). Michigan State University Press, pp. 15-32, 192-194.
Read the chapter here: https://msupress.org/9781611864526/michigan-salvage/