Shopping Cart Link


Wesleyan University Press







Sign up for our newsletter







Bookmark and Share
Cart
Cart link
Paperback add to cart


For Educators
View cart
Add exam ebook
Cover image

The Heirs of Columbus
Gerald Vizenor




Wesleyan
1991 • 198 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Fiction & Literature / Native American Studies

$17.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6249-4
$13.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7389-6

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.



"A mythopoeic space-age chronicle . . . a modern Indian epilogue to the Columbus myth as incredible as any traditional stories. If you must read a book on Columbus . . . this is the one." —Los Angeles Times Book Review

A novel which turns cultural aggression on its head as the Native American heirs of Christopher Columbus, himself descended from early Mayan explorers, create a fantastic tribal nation.

"If you must read a book on Columbus," declared the Los Angeles Times in its review of The Heirs of Columbus, "this is the one." Gerald Vizenor's novel reclaims the story of Chrisopher Columbus on behalf of Native Americans by declaring the explorer himself to be a descendent of early Mayans and follows the adventures of his modern-day, mixedblood heirs as they create a fantastic tribal nation.

The genetic heirs of Christopher Columbus meet annually at the Stone Tavern at the headwaters of the Mississippi to remember their "stories in the blood" and plan their tribal nation. They are inspired by the late-night talk radio discourses of Stone Columbus, a trickster healer who became rich as the captain of the sovereign bingo barge Santa Maria Casino, anchored in the international waters of the Lake of the Woods. The heirs' plan to reclaim their heritage enrages the government and inspires the tribal nations in a comic tale of mythic proportions.

Vizenor is a mixedblood Chippewa who writes fiction in the trickster mode of Native American tradition, using humor to challenge received ideas and subvert the status quo. In The Heirs of Columbus he "reveals not only how Indians have staved off the tidal wave of assimilation," noted the San Francisco Chronicle, "but also how, through humor and persistence, they sometimes reverse the direction of cultural appropriation and, in the process, transform the alien values imposed on them."

"Vizenor understands the wilder, irrational, half-mad parts of the Discoverer's soul as few people ever have," noted Kirkpatrick Sale in the Nation; "Columbus is appropriated here in an entirely new way, made to be an Indian in service to his Indian descendents." And the Voice Literary Supplement said "Even more rousing than Vizenor's deconstruction of Columbus, though, is his alternative vision of an American identity."

Reviews / Endorsements

“Vizenor understands the wilder, irrational, half-mad parts of the Discoverer’s soul as few people ever have…Columbus is appropriated here in an entirely new way, made to be an Indian in service to his Indian descendents.”Kirkpatrick Sale, Nation

“Vizenor is unquestionably one of the most radical American literary voices on the subject of racial identity and an ironist extraordinaire as a witness to the aftermath of Manifest Destiny.”Voice Literary Supplement

“Vizenor combines ancient American storytelling with space-age literary techniques. I don’t know of anyone else who is doing this.”Ishmael Reed



GERALD VIZENOR teaches Native American Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Hotline Healers: An Almost Browne Novel, Landfill Medition: Crossblood Stories, Dead Voices: Natural Agonies in the New World, Interior Landscapes, The Trickster of Liberty, and numerous other books. Shadow Distance: A Gerald Vizenor Reader (1994) offers an overview of his work. Griever: An American Money King in China, his second novel, won the Fiction Collective Prize and the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award.



Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:28:28 -0500