Category Indigenous Literature

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 […]

“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, […]

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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.

Lack as Resistance in Joshua Whitehead’s Full-Metal Indigiqueer

Joshua Whitehead’s inaugural book of poetry, Full-Metal Indigiqueer is a series of poems told through Zoa, a trickster figure rendered through the lens of technology. Whitehead combines the figures of the singularity, virus, and hacker into a narrator that inhabits and deconstructs the Western literary cannon and popular media culture by infiltrating and re-writing the […]

Strategic Plans for the Apocalypse: The Marrow Thieves in the Classroom

Groups of 4-5 Assignment Framework Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves ends with a new beginning. While capitalist-driven climate change is leading to the decimation of settler nation states (and the rapid decline of the settler population), the protagonist, French, is full of hope for the future of Indigenous peoples—particularly now that Isaac, who holds the […]

ENGL 373: Indigenous Speculative Fiction Syllabus

Note: In the early marketing materials for this class I used a creative commons image of Marina Bay Sand and the Gardens by the Bay supertrees in Singapore. Using this image for a course like this erases Singapore’s own colonial history and the oppression of the Indigenous Malays. I have removed the image, but it may […]

Repression, Horror and the Settler Gothic

The horror novel ‘says, in a symbolic way, things we would be afraid to say right out straight… it offers us a chance to exercise… emotions which society demands we keep closely at hand.’ —Stephen King In the British Gothic tradition, what returns from the repressed is that which has been subjugated by Enlightenment sensibility: […]