Resistance and Continuance through Cultural Connections in Simon Ortiz’s Out There Somewhere

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Winter 2004

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Studies in American Indian Literatures





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Simon J. Ortiz explains that the title of his 2002 collection of poetry, Out There Somewhere, is intended to mean “out there somewhere in everyday experience somewhere in America” (ix). He adds, “But while I have physically been away from my home area, I have never been away in any absolute way” (ix). The poems in Out There Somewhere attest to the cultural connections that Ortiz maintains even though he might be in some location other than the Acoma Pueblo. The resistance one finds in the poems—against mainstream political, social, and economic forces—results in continuance of Ortiz’s Acoma heritage. That natives can still be natives when they are away from their tribal homelands speaks to those who are urban natives, which is over two-thirds of the native population in the United States: those natives who have left the reservation for economic reasons; those native tribes who have no land base; those natives who have no federal recognition as official native tribes; and those natives who for reasons of patrilineal or matrilineal descent have no tribal affiliation. Although they are “out there somewhere,” they continue to be native, as Ortiz so deftly demonstrates. A political thread runs through Ortiz’s earlier poetry collections, and this essay looks at a few of the poems in Out There Somewhere to see how this literature of resistance continues through cultural connections.


American literature--Indian authors; American poetry--Indian authors; Indians of North America; Poetry


Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Indigenous Studies | Literature in English, North America | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority




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