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Chief Wor36

Chief Wor36 - ChiefWorks "AcademicSquaw(1980) . .,thepo

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Chief Works In retort to insensitive faculty at Berkeley, "Academic Squaw" (1980) taunts her detractors with a  pejorative self-labeling title. The poet employs the image of battered bone as the springboard to a  native American sense of self. As though glorying in fragility and imperfection, the poet-speaker  depicts her ancestry as a smudged design with "bowl-rim warped / from the beginning." Fleshing out  a human frame with "jumping blood," saliva, and melted eyes, she marvels that so haphazard an  ancestry allows a "random soul" to survive. The patchwork imagery moves to a surprise rhyme  (trained/drained) and a defiant address, "Grandmother, / we've been framed." The sturdy ending  suggests that Rose, like her native foremothers, has no intention of building a life around  victimization. "If I Am Too Brown or Too White for You" (1985), one of Rose's dialogues spoken to an unidentified 
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  • Fall '08
  • staff
  • pejorative self­labeling title., native American sense, mixed blood ancestry, native story keeper, native American tribes.

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