What do Natives Want to See Ourselves In?
I really liked that post about what kind of stories different people want to see themselves in. But I was wondering what kind of stories Native Americans want to see of themselves?
Short answer: Everything.
Something that isn’t built on the backs of Noble Savage or Magical Native American. I would love to see more stories where there’s everything about the culture pulled, and it genuinely feels like a specific nation, especially in fantasy.
Like, I get it’s easy to cast us as nature protectors. In a sense, it’s necessary, because “stewardship of the land” is part of being Native. But I get really tired of picking up a story that’s Native coded and all I see is “the land is in danger and these special magic users are the ones to save it.”
All magic ends up being either soul-healing or nature based, and can we have something that doesn’t feel like shamanism or just those tropes? Can’t we have a different conflict? Something maybe based on our own legends?
Also, less racism narratives would be very nice. Very very very nice. They’re important, but it gets exhausting to only read struggle narratives.
I’m a fantasy individual. I love high fantasy. But I’d love to see more Natives everywhere— pre-contact narratives that don’t include a single white person; romances that aren’t “strong man loves you” or overly sexualized; urban Natives reconciling all they left behind and all they can build again; horror novels on our terms, where the monster isn’t just a cannibal wendigo; sci fi where we’re in space (maybe making sure none of our activities invade other planets like white people invaded ours).
But, really, everything Native coded I read falls under the camp of either:
- Horror monster (see: nearly every use of the wendigo by white people in the past century…)
- Special magic users who are just more in tune with nature/souls
- Something about racism/colonialism
I’d really like more.
If you want to see what other mods want, check out the Writing with Colour Wishlist.