Reconsidering Mark Twain Among The Indians with Herman Fillmore & Drew Lopenzina

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The American Vandal Podcast returns for its fifth season, a three-episode arc centered around the 2019 book by Kerry Driscoll, Mark Twain Among The Indians & Other Indigenous Peoples (University of California Press).

This is our first series hosted and co-produced by somebody other than Center For Mark Twain Studies resident scholar and American Vandal executive producer, Matt Seybold. Not to worry, Seybold will continue to be a fixture of both the hosting and production team. But, going forward, he hopes to feature a range of exciting voices in Twain Studies, broadly conceived.

In this case, that exciting voice emanates from Mika Turim-Nygren. A 2021 Quarry Farm Fellow, a Park Church lecturer, presenter at the upcoming quadrennial conference, and participant in our inaugural emerging scholars workshop, Turim-Nygren is doing original research on indigeneity and cultural appropriation in 19th-century U.S. literature, making her an ideal reader and interlocutor for Driscoll’s field-shaping book.

In the concluding episode, Turim-Nygren speaks with a scholar from Native Studies and a representative of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada about their responses to Driscoll’s book and to issues of Native representation in Twain’s work.

Herman Fillmore is Culture & Language Resources Director of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada & California. He is a graduate of the Wašiw Wagayay Maŋal immersion school, as well as holding a degree in Native American Studies from University of New Mexico. He leads outreach efforts in the Lake Tahoe area, especially aimed at resurfacing the cultural and linguistic markers of Woshoe and other peoples for whom the region is an ancestral homeland.

Drew Lopenzina is Professor of Early American & Native American literature at Old Dominion University. His work has appeared in the journals American Literature, American Quarterly, Native American & Indigenous Stuides, and others. His first book Red Ink: Native Americans Picking up the Pen in the Colonial Period (SUNY Press, 2012) offers a vital rethinking of indigenous engagements with literacy in America’s colonial milieu, suggesting just how much of what we think we know about colonial literature is based on misunderstanding Native contributions. His second book, Through an Indian’s Looking-Glass (U. Mass, 2017) is a cultural biography of the nineteenth-century Pequot activist, minister, & author, William Apess.

Mika Turim-Nygren is a graduate of University of Illinois – Chicago with a Ph.D. in English who currenty runs an Academic Editing Services consultancy. In the Fall, she will become a Master Instructor at Howard University. She was a Quarry Farm Fellow in 2021 and is the author of “Twain’s Modernism: The Death of Speech in Huckleberry Finn as the Birth of a New Aesthetic” (J19, Spring 2020).

Music for The American Vandal Podcast is provided by Steve Webb, Caretaker of Quarry Farm.

Episode Bibliography (in order of appearance)

Kerry Driscoll, Mark Twain among the Indians and Other Indigenous Peoples (University of California Press, 2018)

Drew Lopenzina, “Mark Twain Among the Indians and Other Indigenous Peoples [Review],” American Literary Realism 52, no. 2 (2020): 184–187

Mark Twain, Roughing It (American Publishing Company, 1872)

Drew Lopenzina, The Routledge Introduction to Native American Literature (Routledge, 2020)

Mark Twain, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians (unpublished)

Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)

Orion Clemens, “The Reformed Savage” (1892) (rprtd. in Driscoll, Mark Twain among the Indians, 158-159)

Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad (Charles L. Webster & Co, 1894)

Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, Detective (Harper, 1896)

Robert Montgomery Bird, Nick of the Woods (Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1837)

James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans (H.C. Carey & I. Lea, 1826)

William Apess, On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, a Pequot (University of Massachusetts Press, 1992)

Drew Lopenzina, Through an Indian’s Looking Glass: A Cultural Biography of William Apess, Pequot (University of Massachusetts Press, 2017)

Sarah Winnemucca, Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1883)

Zitkala-Ša (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin), Old Indian Legends (Ginn & Company, 1901)Zitkala-Ša (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin), American Indian Stories (Hayworth Publishing House, 1921)

Mark Twain, Autobiography of Mark Twain (University of California Press, 2010)

Mark Twain (ed. Albert Bigelow Paine), The Letters of Mark Twain, Complete

Mark Twain, Following the Equator (American Publishing Company, 1897)

Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad (American Publishing Company, 1869)

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of The United States (Beacon, 2014)

Vine Deloria Jr., Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto (University of Oklahoma Press, 1988)