Graduation Date

Fall 2021

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in English, emphasis in Applied English Studies

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Michael Eldridge

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Lisa Tremain

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Kerri Malloy

Third Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Subject Categories



In this project, I argue for an Indigenous theory of myth in order to reconsider popular and academic paradigms about myth and its function. My goal is to articulate how Indigenous understandings might revise these paradigms by emphasizing myth as a means to foster ethical relationships of health and balance within ourselves and in the world. Inspired by the Indigenous writers Leslie Marmon Silko, Thomas King, and Gerald Vizenor, I outline how these authors think, write, and talk about the concept of myth. I explain prevailing academic paradigms, including the term’s long history of associations with old-fashioned, “primitive,” superstitious stories and thought, along with how “myth” has been used to exert and maintain power and dominance over supposedly “non-rational” cultures. My project seeks to address the lack of representations of Indigenous theoretical perspectives in academic works on myth. Ultimately, I argue, myth is best conceived as a visionary, creative storytelling potential that informs all cultural values; potential to be steered away from hegemonic social thought and, instead, towards balanced, ethical relationships.

Citation Style