To do justice to the subtleties of life on the Seneca Reservation requires more than ethnographic reportage, or abstract analyses of social structures that we find transfixed in the professional journals. It requires these, yes, but also an authentic literary insight. Perhaps a Jean Genet could command the ironic ambiguities that compose the reservation, for the reservation today is a “theatre of the absurd”; within its restricted compass are reflected many of the generic absurdities of our time. If Genet were to write a play called “The Indians” in the style of his “The Blacks,” the reservation would, depending on one’s perspective, suddenly expand, or contract, to the size of the world. And the questions would be “who are the Indians” and “who are the whites,” “who is actor and who is spectator”? What infinitely ambivalent relationship exists among the actors and between them and the audience? What mutually reinforcing projections hold them all locked in dramatic tension? A Genet, a Beckett, an Ionesco, an Adamov, a Brecht would, having experienced contemporary civilization, appreciate at once the contradictions of the human drama that is reservatio...
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