Speaking upon the History of Extinction, Re-building the Nation:A Study of Contemporary Native American Poetry Abstract Eun-Gwi Chung (Inha Univ.) For a very long time, Native American literature has been neglected in the field of American literary criticism. With the Native American Renaissance in the 1970s, however, the voices of Native Americans began to gain a substantial form of articulation in the literary field. This essay, focusing on two contemporary Native American poets, Joy Harjo and Sherman Alexie, revisits their history of extinction and illuminates how these poets re-imagine their poetic space in contemporary American culture in and out of the relationships to their tribal memories. Belonging to the generation who should and could inscribe the sad history of their people in English, the enemy`s language, not in their tribal languages, these two poets question and explore the primary ground of being a poet as an American Indian. Inviting readers to consider the generative power of poetic language and re-addressing the problems of disorientation, poetry of Harjo and Alexie shows the combinations of descriptive and critical perspectives of contemporary Native Americans and provides the important cultural link between language and history. In that sense, their poetic voices make us rethink the notion of America in its process of nation-rebuilding, its not-yet-attained task of multi-cultural ideal. It is in their writings that we witness America`s literary and cultural boundary is challenged, complicated, and more expanded. Creatively responding to forced colonization, they are ceaselessly reinventing literary rules and seeking out new forms of telling stories that matter.