Transnational or Indigenous?
In recent years a new theoretic argument of transcultural or transnational movement has emerged within academic literature. The transnational argument has the strength of addressing the point that Indian or Indigenous Peoples move between and within multiple cultural settings on an everyday basis.
Most Indian people in the U.S. live in urban areas where the predominant culture is American, although many Indigenous Peoples retain Indian identities and ties to home communities.
In Indian fiction literature there is a discussion about people who write novels and critical academic essays about Indians. The discussion focuses on mixed-blood writers whose experiences are not usually deeply grounded within their own tribal community. The perspectives presented often have much to do with living in two worlds. The transnational theory takes up this point of view as well. And in a generalization extending out from the fictional literature, much of the transnational literature focuses on Indian experiences outside of tribal communities.
Academics who tend to take up the transnational perspective, like the mixed blood novelists, focus on Indian experiences, identities, and community that are not centered on tribal issues and life. Not all Indigenous People’s experiences are grounded in tribal communities, and more people of Indian descent live off-reservation than on reservation. Perhaps three or four times as many persons of Indian descent live in urban areas. Many have not had sustained tribal community experiences for more than one generation. It is important that there are writers, researchers, and policy makers who theorize and engage in the urban experience of Indian people. The transcultural argument is a pathway to extending the ways in which most Indian people confront the contemporary world.
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