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Narrative discriminations in Central California’s indigenous narrative traditions

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Abstract

This chapter explores salvage era representations of Yokuts and Western Mono Narratives in an attempt to understand the logic in use of anthropologists and linguists who tended to characterize these narratives in a disparaging manner. I explore two possible explanations for what at first blush appears to be an unusually ethnocentric failure to appreciate difference and an exercise in producing an aesthetic relativism that does not explain or understand narrative difference but merely notes its existence. The first is essentially a historical explanation and the second invokes Jane Hill’s notion of covert racism. In order to assess the value of these different and perhaps competing explanations, I introduce the results of my own ethnopoetic and ethnographic work on Western Mono.

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