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Framed and Referenced

We are framed and referenced by what we know, and by what others know. Remembering creates the story.

Margaret Karteron

on 18 January 2010

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Transcript of Framed and Referenced

Framed and Referenced
The photographs in the Hopi basket have a special relationship to the stories as I remember them.
The photographs are here because they are part of many of the stories and because many of the stories can be traced in the photographs (1)
Leslie Marmon Silko
National Museum of the American Indian
“the structure … transparently (and invisibly) permits the ordered life it contains to exist in the larger world.”
Toni Morrison
Silko is very much aware that language, and the written form of language acts like a fishbowl and is a repository of the dominant culture. In order to express her culture, the stories and dreams of her people as entrusted to her as a storyteller, she has to resist the structure of the language (primarily linear) that tries to change, or better yet, silence her story. Her resistance depends on her mastery of the language of the dominant culture so that she can manipulate it to truly reflect the story of the Laguna Pueblo. As she does this, she provides conversational text that cue the reader / hearer, and implicitly requests them to “listen and trust.”
Carsten notes that a storyteller in the Native American community is a “self that is emergent from the ethos of the community, its people, its history, its landscape. Silko draws on the resources of her Laguna Pueblo community, subtly weaving her self-inscription out of the stories and history of her people” (109). A storyteller thus cannot exist apart from the community. She (or he) exists as an individual only through interdependence with the community. The individual’s talent is significant to the functioning of the community. de Hernandez addresses it further: “The self is defined as a member of the collective through this process of storytelling (45). She defers to Silko’s comments about the self: “ ‘That's how you know you belong, if the stories incorporate you into them ....People tell these stories about you and your family or about others and they begin to create your identity. In a sense, you are told who you are, or you know who you are by the stories that are told about you’” (45). To further make the point of difference between the Euramerican genre of autobiography and the Native American, de Hernandez continues: “You know who you are not by how you tell your own story, a la Westem-style autobiography, but by how others tell your story, and how your story fits into the stories of others-by how you "read" the collective story of the self” (45).
As with any generation
the oral tradition depends upon each person
listening and remembering a portion
and it is together-
all of us remembering what we have heard together-
that creates the whole story
the long story of the people.

I remember only a small part.
But this is what I remember (Silko, 6-7)
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