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this is a mixture of my lazy academic reviews and personal moments as a mama going through academia, and it is all my own opinion, and has absolutely no affiliation with anybody else

writings & ramblings

Taking Back Our Spirits – Episkenew

from the publisher: Taking Back Our Spirits traces the link between Canadian public policies, the injuries they have inflicted on Indigenous people, and Indigenous literature’s ability to heal individuals and communities. Episkenew examines contemporary autobiography, fiction, and drama to reveal how these texts respond to and critique public policy, and how literature functions as “medicine” to help cure the colonial contagion.”

personal: The idea that we each tell our own ‘myth’ or story is like, yasssss, but I guess we need that spelled out? I o like the idea that our stories are in direct contract or opposition or adjacent to the stories that settlers tell themselves, and it plays into this idea of two separate beams or trees of knowledge. Or the idea that Indigenous literature is the tree, and settler myths are random leaves, branching off from our collective. I don’t know. Stories heal, knowing our stories heal, knowing that stories differ due to experience is good, understanding hat our identities and cultures afford us separate experiences and truths, these are things that are basic knowledge but one could say that this book is not written for an Indigenous audience, so much as it’s about educating a non-Indigenous audience about the structures and history of Indigenous literatures.

Side note: I’m tired.


  • “personal myths are the narratives “that each of us naturally constructs to bring together the different parts of ourselves and our lives into a purposeful and convincing whole” All of us must, then, by necessity, craft our own personal myths to enable us to interpret and understand our lives” (69)
  • “One of the many functions of Indigenous people’s autobiography is to respond to the settler’s authorized collective myth. By drawing attention to the sickness inherent in colonialism, Indigenous life writing challenges the settler’s delusions and prompts them to rethink their collective myth” (70)
  • “indigenous literature, then, seeks to do more than heal individual readers – it also seeks to repair the damage that colonialism has inflicted on Indigenous communities by inspiring readers to seek social justice through social change” (75)
  • “Indigenous autobiography is often subject to criticism by other Indigenous people who have lived through the same events but perceive them differently” (108)
  • “Although each of us has our own truth, which is part of the greater truth of reconciliation, those truths are consistently shifting as our experiences and our contexts change” (108)
  • “while stories, dance, and song were considered beautiful in their own right, they served educational, spiritual, and healing functions. This multiple functionality has not been lost in contemporary Indigenous literatures” (192)

buy the book: Taking Back Our Spirits 

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