Category Indigenous Literature

“What’s A Story Like You Doing In A Place Like This?”: Cyberspace and Indigenous Futurism

For many uninformed readers Indigenous Science Fiction (sf) is an oxymoron. It isn’t simply that these readers balk at the thought of an Indigenous person in outer space (although these representations are few and far between in mainstream media); when it comes to intersections of indigeneity and techne, the stumbling block often comes much earlier. […]

“Doughnut holes”: Nalo Hopkinson, Speculative Fiction and the State of Exception

“‘How do you mean, ‘doughnut hole’?’ Ti-Jeanne had asked. ‘That’s what they call it when an inner city collapses and people run into the suburbs” (Brown Girl in the Ring 11). Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring is an award-winning, speculative fiction novel with a plot structured around the Teme-Augama First Nations land claims battle. The founding […]

Traditional Innovation: The Turn to a Decolonial New Media Studies

As a teacher, one of the core issues I run up against with my students in Indigenous literature and Indigenous studies classes is what Thomas King calls “the Dead Indian” (55): the fallacious notion that Indigenous culture is not authentic if it intersects with the present or the future. Unfortunately, the fallacy of the dead […]

“Riding English”: Tradition and Innovation in Louise Bernice Halfe’s Blue Marrow

At the beginning of the long poem Blue Marrow, âcimowinis (the keeper of the stories) imagines and introduces nôhkom Emma, a strong-willed, adventurous, grandmother whom, because of her own light skin, the narrator guesses married a white man. âcimowinis has never met nôhkom Emma, and colonialism has fragmented and buried much of her Indigenous history, but she uses what she knows of her from […]

Narrative Tectonics: A Settler Scholar in Indigenous Studies

My name is David Gaertner and I live and work as a guest on the unceeded, traditional and ancestral territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking Musqueam people. This is a true story of how a white guy started working in Indigenous studies. It’s important to tell your own story, and I value the opportunity. According to the […]

Indigenous Protocol in Cyberspace: Hospitality and Kevin Lee Burton’s God’s Lake Narrows

In 2010 Kevin Lee Burton (Swampy Cree) and Caroline Monnet (Algonquin) unveiled RESERVE(d) to the Winnipeg arts scene. RESERVE(d) welcomed “northern” guests into the homes of the residents of God’s Lake Narrows, a remote, Indigenous community 550km outside of Winnipeg (only accessible by plane or boat and only then during good weather conditions). The installation […]

sehtoskakew: “Aboriginal Principles of Witnessing” in the Canadian TRC

Witnessing and testimony are an essential component of every Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Canadian TRC is no exception. However, these key terms are ideologically loaded and have historically excluded Indigenous knowledge systems (for instance Delgamuukw v. British Columbia). While “Schedule ‘N’” (which contains the Canadian TRC mandate) gestures towards “Aboriginal principles of witnessing,” there […]

“Memories and Songs”: The Work of Mourning in I Knew Two Métis Women

Gregory Scofield’s I Knew Two Métis Women mourns the loss of a mother and an aunt. The title itself, in its use of the past tense, alerts the reader to the book’s function as eulogy. The series of poems that follow re-tell the lives of two people Scofield loved, tracing the moments that make up his […]

“Language, Family, Community, Ceremony”: Decolonizing the Literary Anthology

Compared to the Social Sciences, which contends more directly with human subjects, the humanities do not have a deep relationship with research ethics–as they are developed institutionally. However, in the case of anthology compiling, a practice that has been historically connected to nation-building and citizenship, the ethics of the humanities becomes a much thornier issue, […]

Colonial Kettle Logic: Settler Colonialism as Wish Fulfillment

Nice Claim Bro “It is useless to seek this consistency anywhere except in the colonizer himself” (Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized). As Daniel Justice has pointed out, settlers have opinions about Indigenous peoples. Many of those opinions are ill-informed, hateful, and, grounded in an unwavering certainty about identity, rights & responsibilities, authenticity, and the […]