This paper examines the different patterns of engagement that Euro American characters conduct with Indigenous people and culture in the two novels by Native American authors Anna Lee Walters (Ghost Singer) and Leslie Marmon Silko (Gardens in the Dunes). It utilizes literary analysis focusing on characterization in the two novels in order to dissect and corroborate the different ways that the primary Euro American characters in the novels perceive and understand Indigenous people and culture and the behavior that results from such perception and understanding. It argues that fruitful engagement by these characters does not transpire because they employ dualistic and dialectic modes of engagement instead of the dialogic one, highlighting the need for settler society living in the colonized world to embrace a dialogic pattern of engagement founded upon equality, respect, and relationality. It demonstrates the success of the dialogic mode of engagement performed by Indigenous characters in the novel as they cope with and have to live amidst pressures and challenges to their cultural and spiritual integrity in the midst of the dominant society. The idea of indigenization is a crucial concept that should encourage the settler communities to find the most viable mode of living on Indigenous lands.
- Settler society, Euro American, Indigenous people, Indigenization, Dialectic, Dialogic, Relationality