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please note:

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

Magic Weapons – McKegney

from the publisher: “Magic Weapons examines the ways in which Indigenous survivors of residential school mobilize narrative in their struggles for personal and communal empowerment in the shadow of attempted cultural genocide. By treating Indigenous life-writings as carefully crafted aesthetic creations and interrogating their relationship to more overtly politicized historical discourses, Sam McKegney argues that Indigenous life-writings are culturally generative in ways that go beyond disclosure and recompense, re-envisioning what it means to live and write as Indigenous individuals in post-residential school Canada.”

personal: He wants to look at how residential school affected Indig Lit, and how Indig Lit alters our perceptions of Residential schools (7). In one of the chapters, he discusses how Rita Joe deliberately looks at the good, searches for good, and ignores or skims over the bad, and this is a choice he calls affirmitism (107). She sees the good, therefore she remembers the good, and while this is all well and great for her, I did have issue with that and I’m not sure why. The liberal in me is all ‘her experience is her experience, her truth is her truth’ but the factualist in me is ‘well, that’s an altered memory and that’s not her experience so much as it’s wishful thinking.’ But I am nobody to tell her how to remember; I just wish she didn’t put herself in the position where her ‘positive’ experience is pitted as stories where ‘it couldn’t have been all that bad.’


  • “This book takes as its focus the understudies resource of literary engagements with residential school history, composed by residential school survivors, in order to gauge their impact on the future of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in the geographical space of Canada” (7)
  • “I’ve settled on “affirmatism” rather than “affirmativism” in order to avoid unnecessary overlap with “affirmative action”” (107)
  • “Affirmatism is a tool with which to struggle toward empowerment and healing; it is neither the destination nor the ultimate solution. It does not completely annex trauma, but it does provide a strategy for engaging the negative past that gestures toward a more personally and communally healthy future” (133)
  • “Residential school survivor narratives are written from within; redefining what it means to inhabit an Indigenous identity ‘within’ disparate contemporary Indigenous communities. They celebrate through stories the loves and cultures of those who have survived, of those who haven’t, and of those whose words make the survival of others possible” (182)

buy the book: Magic Weapons 

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