Moving in Choctaw time : baseball and the archive in LeAnne Howe’s Miko Kings : An Indian Baseball Story

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2012-05

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Lederman, Emily Ann 1985-

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Abstract

LeAnne Howe’s second novel, Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story (2007), brings together story, theory, performance, and document to create an archive that positions American Indians in the center and foundation of American culture, shifting the meaning of the “All-American Pastime” and reclaiming baseball’s American Indian history and pre-colonial existence. While a student at boarding school, Choctaw time theorist Ezol Day draws a picture of a tree with an eye at its base and six others floating around its seven branches, gazing in multiple directions. She refers to this tree as a part of herself that allows her to see patterns and develop theories of relativity based on Choctaw temporality. I read this image as indicating a particular depth of sight, representative of looking around, beyond, and through colonial archives and histories to form a Choctaw archive, an act that I argue is part of the project of Howe’s text. In this paper, I use the eye tree as a theoretical lens to examine how Choctaw storytelling and temporality can reframe colonial documents so that they tell a different history. Reading through colonial archives demonstrates their instability; in other words, using these documents to see American Indian histories renders clear the narrow construction of colonial narratives. The histories seen through this archive allow a reimagining of the past that impacts the present, as Howe’s novel suggests that engaging with these histories can strengthen a sense of Choctaw identity and nationhood. Miko Kings presents archiving as an active process of creation that has far-reaching implications across time and space.

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