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"Our Muses Are Our Ancestors": Contemporary Indigenous Writers of North America and Greco-Roman Antiquity.

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April 20, 2023

Speaker & Affiliation

Craig Williams,Short-Term Whitney J. Oates Fellow in the Humanities Council and Department of Classics


4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
A71 Louis Simpson and Zoom


Co-sponsored by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative at Princeton



In a little known history, generations of Indigenous writers of North America have engaged in a variety of ways with Greco-Roman antiquity, sometimes to make comparisons with their own ancient and still-living cultures, sometimes in order to talk back to narratives of Native barbarism or savagery, and cumulatively and collectively contributing to Indigenous survivance. My lecture, whose title quotes the words of Mohawk essayist and poet Beth Brant, presents a selection of contemporary Native voices. In a coda, I briefly discuss some Native American students at 18th- and 19th-century Princeton, focusing on their encounters with Greece and Rome in the context of a Euro-American education.