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Absent from this definition, and what makes it as it stands an inappropriate definition of"theory" as applied to Native literary studies, is a reference tothe social existence and cultural obligations of theory. A fifth characteristic would perhaps read:"Theory arises out of the dialectical relationshipamong artists, arts, critics, and Native communities." In the above definition, the subject andobject of theory is itself. In Native theory the subject isNative experience, the object, Native community.
While a number of critics of Native literature have beenbuilding a critical mass of concepts and terms that articulate a relationship between what westudy and Native communities, there has been surprisingly little research into the ways in whichliterature actually functions in Native communities. Inmy mind one of the most pressing needs in our field is knowledge of the reading practices ofNative communities. To my knowledge, research on thereading practices of a particular Native community has never been published. Given that so muchhas been written about the intricate relationshipsbetween Native oral traditions, worldviews, and writings, it strikes me as very odd that Nativecommunities, the folks from which Native knowledgeoriginates and to which Native writing is directed, should be omitted from this epistemologicaland aesthetic paradigm. American Indian literarycriticism, it would seem, either takes for granted that Native readers read Native literature orassumes that it really does not matter if there is an actualconnection between Native readers and writers.
So, in the summer of 2004, I began a study of CherokeeNation readers. I first contacted Chad Smith, the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation,who in turn put me in touch with Dr. Richard Allen, our policy analyst. Allen is the person in the Cherokee Nation government in charge ofanswering inquiries and monitoring research regarding Cherokee culture. As you can imagine, thisis not an easy job. One of his duties is to monitor theliterally hundreds of groups who claim to be Cherokee and are attempting to attain U.S. federalrecognition as Native nations.
The first question Allen asked me was,"Do we have anyCherokee fiction writers?" I mentioned a few writers, and he asked me if they were tribalcitizens, which I did not know. From his point of view, only tribal citizens of the Eastern Band ofCherokee Indians, the Cherokee Nation ofOklahoma, or the United Keetoowah Band should be recognized as Cherokee writers. Iunderstood Allen's position regarding identity and tribalcitizenship, but my purpose was to derive data on what self-identifying Cherokees are reading.
I shared with Allen my nine survey questions:

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Miranda: Help Me, this has happened to many of us. Write a polite letter stating what occurred during the meeting. Try to state just the facts in chronological order. Do not let emotion dominate the letter tone. In a week or two (or maybe at the start of the new yr) ask them to schedule an IEP meeting. Once the meeting is scheduled & you know who will attend, inform them that you will be audio recording all IEP meetings. 10 days before the mtg. provide the district with your agenda to be added to theirs. Before the start of the meeting, inform everyone that you will be audio recording & that you are happy to provide them a copy of the audio recording or they can record the meeting as well. If you can find an advocate to accompany you, do so. This person serves as someone who can speak calmly to your child’s needs as well as a witness..

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