Amerindian Memory and Native Resistance in Francophone Caribbean Literature Open Access

Serrato, Erika (2017)

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"Amerindian Memory and Native Resistance in Francophone Caribbean Literature" uncovers the ways in which questions of indigeneity have shaped Francophone Caribbean literature. I argue that thinkers, writers, and creators explore indigeneity through works of fiction, youth literature, ethnographic texts, petroglyphs, and sculptures. Amerindian figures, whether appearing in historical accounts or in contemporary renditions, convey a message of resistance against oppressive groups and project their memory onto the ensuing generations who will write their story. Jean Métellus' Anacaona (1986) and Edwidge Danticat's Anacaona, Golden Flower (2005) illustrate the authors' interest in fostering the memory of Haiti's first great icon. Recreating the region's fractured history unavoidably and necessarily blurs the Amerindian past with that of those who endured the Middle Passage and were then forced to call the islands home. I trace the ways in which Caribbean communities have defined self and other and argue that literary, political, and aesthetic movements such as Indigénisme, Antillanité, and Créolité aid in the cultivation of nativity. I analyze Jacques Roumain's Gouverneurs de la rosée (1944) along with his Contribution à l'étude de l'éthnobotanique précolombienne des Grandes Antilles (1942), Patrick Chamoiseau's Solibo magnifique (1988) and Raphaël Confiant's Ravines du devant-jour (1993) with their Éloge de la Créolité (1989) as well as Édouard Glissant's Discours antillais (1981) and Maryse Condé's Traversée de la mangrove (1989). Traces of the Caribbean's pre-conquest and colonial periods play a decisive role in the memory of the community's past. I examine the tenuous nature of Guadeloupe's petroglyphs and physical remains in slave cemeteries, and their mediation via museums and official observations. The commemoration of clandestine events further problematizes my discussion of spatial memory, which also includes the "Cap 110 Mémoire et Fraternité" memorial in Martinique and M. NourbeSe Philip's Zong! (2008). This dissertation posits indigeneity as the driving force behind literary and cultural productions in Francophone Guadeloupe, Haiti, and Martinique.

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