“We are alive,” Chelsea D. Burk

Native Joy for real, CD album art
Native Joy for real, CD album art
Joy Harjo reads from her collection of poems, How We Became Human and performs selections from her CD, Native Joy For Real.
Live From Prairie Lights, July 9, 2004.

Chelsea D. Burk’s 2014 essay in the Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies looks at Leslie Marmon Silko’s influence on poet Jo Harjo. In particular she examines the ways in which Harjo’s character Noni Daylight extends ideas introduced by Marmon Silko’s character Yellow Woman. As Burk writes:


The Yellow Woman both commends female sexual autonomy and emphasizes the necessity for women to conscientiously navigate language. With each appearance, the Yellow Woman lends a new perspective to narratives that women of native descent face in the wake of second wave feminism[…]

Burk walks us through the complicated and uneven terrain of identity and gender in these works of the Native American Renaissance, and advances an argument about the shared strength of multiple voices across first and second wave feminism.

Burk, Chelsea D. ““We are alive”: (Mis)Reading Joy Harjo’s Noni Daylight as a Yellow Woman.”  Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies 16 (2014): 82-100.