Beyond Blood and Belonging: Alternarratives for a Global Citizenry
In my dissertation, I interrogate the ways blood influences identity construction and how it shifts into a paradigmatic story, known as a blood narrative, that further determines belonging. In five chapters, I argue that the use of a blood narrative undermines sovereignty as well as the creative evolution of nations. I move from an examination of a blood narrative throughout American literature (chapter 1), through a study of legislation and science (chapters 2 and 3). In these latter two chapters, I turn to the Cherokee Nation's expulsion of Freedmen and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians' new membership requirement of DNA testing, which demonstrate influences of a blood narrative upon policy and legislation, and how biotechnology maintains this narrative through DNA and genomics. Finally, I explore novels from Gerald Vizenor (White Earth Anishinaabe) and Thomas King (Cherokee) that offer alternatives to a blood narrative (chapters 4 and 5). I use the term alternarrative here instead of counternarrative to focus on original alternatives, particularly from the alter position of the Native, not on reactionary or countering stories. The alternatives to this blood narrative emerge in both the modern and traditional stories of Native American peoples, providing recourse to understanding identity in ways other than blood. This new sense of belonging is especially important in a world where so many identities are determined by national boundaries, and limited by blood. These alternative narratives provide a new way of moving forward by embracing a survivance for the future, not just reacting to the past.
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