Author Archives: David Gaertner

On Wonderworks and Indigenous World-Building: A Travel Guidebook Assignment for Darcy Little Badger’s Elatsoe

This in-class exercise is based on Darcy Little Badger’s novel Elatsoe and chapter four of Daniel Heath Justice’s Why Indigenous Literatures Matter Indigenous wonderworks are neither strictly “fantasy” nor “realism,” but maybe both at once, or something else entirely, although they generally push against the expectations of rational materialism. They rooted in the specificities of […]

Using DH in Indigenous Studies Classrooms: Six Sample Assignments

In an interview with Liza Yeager, Anishinaabe comedian, writer, and media maker, Ryan McMahon talks about why he thinks podcasting is specifically useful medium for Indigenous storytellers: “I just think the medium is so exciting. It’s relatively inexpensive to produce; it’s a flexible creative medium that allows us to be publishers, you know? At the […]

Recoding Relationality: Indigenous New Media and the Possibility of a Critical Digital Humanities

The below is a transcript of a talk given at the University of Melbourne in December 2018. Melbourne Talk (Slides in PDF) Watch a recording of the talk here I want to begin by acknowledging the Kulin territory that these events are taking place on. It’s my first time on this land and I am […]

“How can I share this?”: Sky Dancer Louise Halfe and the Poetics of the unsayable

“Listen to the bones”      -Louise Halfe, Blue Marrow Sky Dancer Louise Bernice Halfe breathes life into silence. For more than twenty-five years, Halfe, who is Cree, from the Saddle Lake reserve and Treaty Six territory, has used Cree poetics to delicately craft voice out of silence: out of the unheard; out of the ongoing […]

“A soul-deep desolation:” Reconciliation and the Vacuum of Unstoried Existence

Excerpted from The Theatre of Regret: Art, Literature, and the Politics of Reconciliation While it is intimately, and, perhaps, impossibly, entwined with Christian ideology and Western politics, the idea of reconciliation does not belong to the Western theory alone. Indigenous scholars such as Billy-Ray Belcourt, Daniel Heath Justice, Hadley Friedland, Val Napoleon, Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark, […]

Recoding Relations: Episode 1, People Over Tools

Listen to part one of Recoding Relations, a four part podcast series on Indigenous Studies and the Digital Humanities.

Love and Reconciliation Between Being and Non-Being

Belcourt’s inaugural poetry collection, This World is a Wound, which won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize, is a profound and probing explication of (non)existence for queer Indigenous bodies in the violent wake of settler colonialism: “colonialism broke us,” Belcourt writes in this collection, “and we’re still trying to figure out how to love and / […]

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Forgiveness, “a thousand pound word”

Conceived as re-joining, reconciliation is about groups who have been separated by historical injustice finding ways to cooperatively share space, both literal and epistemological. Apology is one aspect of that dialectic, but forgiveness—the discourse of the survivor—has been instrumental in providing theorists with the ground to imagine reconciliation.[i] Recognizing the significant role forgiveness studies have had on larger theories of reconciliation is vital to understanding the larger structure of feeling out of which the TRC model is constructed and maintained. That being said, because it is a topic that has been so thoroughly appropriated into theological and academic discourses, it is also necessary to bear witness to the ways in which surviours are grappling with the concept, particularly in the wake of the TRC.

Theatre of Regret Now Available in Paperback

The Theatre of Regret: Literature, Art, and the Politics of Reconciliation in Canada is now available in paperback via UBC Press. Some of the chapters were developed out of writing that I first shared on this blog. For instance the post “Reconciliation: ‘Like an Echo Turned Inside Out’” is the basis of the book’s conclusion, […]

“How do I play these?” (with your thumbs, asshole)

For me, the process of writing about Indigenous games begins with thinking about the relationship between gaming, code, and settler colonialism, as well as the ways in which I am complicit in what I call digitālis nullius, the erasure of Indigenous presence from technological spaces. As I hope to make evident as I progress through this blog post, code, narratology, and game mechanics are not abstract from larger conversations about settler colonialism and Indigenous sovereignty.