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Abstract

In his article "Collaborative Authorship and Indigenous Literatures" Albert Braz discusses the duality of the writer. As suggested by Roland Barthes in his "The Death of the Author," the distinction between writer and author — the first being the historical person behind the text and the second a figure in the text — the duality of the author remains a paradigm of contemporary critical analysis. Braz argues that this new emphasis is not germane when it comes to Indigenous literatures, a field in which one often cannot determine who are the material producers of texts and/or their writers. Braz postulates that one of the defining characteristics of Indigenous literatures is their high incidence of writer indeterminacy. From the Popol Vuh through Cogewea to I, Rigoberta Menchú, canonical Indigenous texts are the result of collaboration, usually (but not always) involving both Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals. Since by definition Indigenous texts are supposed to be the work of Indigenous people, writer indeterminacy forces us to reconsider what really constitutes Indigenous literature.

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