Discussion Guide

  1. In what way does Vizenor’s act of coining new terms (such as “survivance,” “terminal creeds,” etc.) aid in the reinforcement or re-creation of Indianness in a postmodern world? Could this be considered an act of upsetting the social order through trickster discourse?
  2. How do the theoretical concepts Vizenor uses in Manifest Manners apply in his fictional works, namely Heirs of Columbus and the short film, Harold of Orange? Are they used effectively?
  3. Vizenor is skilled at writing haiku and Anishinabe dreamsongs in English. Both of these media require a writer to be skilled at conveying a lot of meaning with few words. The writer also has to capture and express a moment in time so that readers are given a visual. What, if any, similarities do you find between Vizenor’s haiku and dreamsong style and his prose?
  4. Where in Heirs of Columbus do you find a discussion of important political issues for Native people? 20 years later, how many of these issues are still current?
  5. If Harold of Orange were to be remade in 2011, what would Harold and the others be doing in order to secure financial development for their tribe? How would the “Indians” on the baseball team be expected to behave? How would the “whites” be expected to behave? Is NAGPRA still an issue?
  6. How can the theoretical concepts Vizenor describes in Manifest Manners be applied to real-life situations? Could a concept like “survivance,” if applied to real life, come to affect social change? Why or why not?

May 11, 2011