Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Martha E. Cook, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Rhonda L. Brock-Servais, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Robert "Brett" Hursey, Ph.D.


Leslie Silko and James Welch revitalize their creation deities in Ceremony and Winter in the Blood. According to most Indian creation stories, the role of the grandmother is the most influential in American Indian literature. The grandmother has the extraordinary ability to either create or destroy life, depending upon whether she assumes her traditional role as the transmitter of culture. This thesis reviewed the power of the American Indian Grandmother. Silko’s grandmother character assumes this role, therefore, she is a creator. Conversely, Welch’s grandmother character is a destroyer because she rejects her traditional role. Silko’s grandmother character represents the positive lie force of creation deity, because her ancient wisdom continues the life cycle. Welch’s grandmother character symbolizes the negative aspects of a creation deity, because she is a stagnant deterrent in society. Since the oral tradition is the voice that unites the past, the present, and the future, it is the most vital gift of tradition. This offering is embodied in the grandmother. Therefore, this thesis concludes that the grandmother is the most influential figure in American Indian literature.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.