Psychedelic Literature, Spectrum of Poetic Fire, and Black Magnolias Literary Journal proudly present our special issue on "The Crossroads of Africaness and Indianess in the Landscape of the Americas"
For its winter 2010 -2011 issue, Black Magnolias Literary Journal will be publishing a special issue on “The Crossroads of Africaness and Indianess in the Landscape of the Americas.” Black Magnolias Literary Journal is a quarterly that uses poetry, fiction, and prose to examine and celebrate the social, political, and aesthetic accomplishments of African and African American peoples with an emphasis on Afro-Mississippians and Afro-Southerners.
This special issue will use literature to explore inter-cultural and inter-regional issues around the idea of “indianess,” with an emphasis on the intersecting of African and Native American culture as it is explored in poetry, fiction, and literary criticism. Dr. Chezia Thompson Cager is serving as the guest editor of this special issue, and the issue will feature some of the most important names in African American and Native American literature, including Ishmael Reed, Sherman Alexie, Kimberly Roppollo, Margaret Noori, Debra J. Hunter, Rudolph Lewis, Paula Gunn Allen, Jerry Ward, Gerald Vizenor, Simon Ortiz, Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of Port of Spain Trinidad & Tobago - Anson Gonzalez, Carter Revard, Brandy Nalani McDougall, Baba Jamal Koram, Andrew Jolivette, Margara Averbach, Lawrence W. Young, Jr., Gladys Caine Coggswell, Lorna Williams, with a special visual art section featuring the Cherokee quilts of Lucinda Jones with a narrative by Reginald Martin, and a special review of a Baltimore American Indian Center Exhibit.
This special issue acknowledges the historical inaccuracy of the linguistic English designation of Indian, as the people Columbus found trying to navigate to the East. What he found in the Caribbean were the fierce Carib people and other indigenous people with their own names. What first Spanish and then English settlers later “discovered” were indigenous people in this hemisphere, constituting what we call in English the New World but for which indigenous people had their own names in their own languages. This special issue seeks to show that as the first Americans, Indians were the original inhabitants of the New World with evolved confederacies, a high culture, and written laws: and that their adoption/inclusion of Africans who came here before the Atlantic Slave Trade and after, constitute the first real egalitarian governed societies in the New World. A renown Native American Studies scholar says, “the origin of the term ‘Indian’ for indigenous people in this hemisphere is up to debate and frankly George Carlin’s riff on it - ‘una gente en dios being collided into Indios’ - is a good a guess as any.”
Additionally, our goal is to use this issue of Black Magnolias Literary Journal to broaden the defining discussion of the nature of “indianess” and how we identify it in ways other than, in Gerald Vizenor’s words, the “racist arithmetic” that marks the English (or Spanish) accountability for both recording who was and who can be an Indian, as well as defining the cultural parameters of Indian behavior. Furthermore, this issue will provide a particular emphasis to the work and unsung voices of Black Indians while exploring, analyzing, and celebrating the parallel themes and subject matter of African American and Native American literature. This special issue is meant to be a re-discovery of the language of “indianess” - so that literary works in indigenous languages and translated into English will be published together. Therefore, our goal has been to engage literary work that, in Paula Gunn Allen’s words, helps the reader to “understand how the construction of racial [ethnic] identity is a matter of cultural assumptions based on a number of traditional beliefs: whatever they happen to be - however they happen to work to define “indianess.”