a poet photographer

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

An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English – Moses & Goldie

online thoughts: “This landmark book is a collection of poetry, letters, songs, fiction, essays and drama from Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) and Emily Pauline Johnson of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to contemporary artists such as Tomson Highway, Harold Cardinal, Duke Redbird, Basil Johnston, Buffy St. Marie, Maria Campbell, James Tyman and Beatrice Culleton. Many others not as well known such as Jordan Wheeler, Simon Arnaviapik, Anthony Apakark Thrasher and Margo Kane make major contributions to this collection. As Basil Johnston notes, aboriginal people have, for the most part, not been understood because their languages, culture, and beliefs have been ignored. Only their material artefacts are presented in Canadian schools and academic studies, leaving scholars devoid of any understanding of how aboriginal people think and what they believe in. The languages and culture of aboriginal peoples have usually been downgraded or simply ignored. This book will do much to rectify the situation.”

personal: I have a 1992 draft, so there have been many reprints of this collection, which is still being used today. It’s a great start – a nice mix of women and men authors, as well as a section of Inuit songs/stories as well as “Southern Orature” which they classify as stories that tell the important stories of the past, I’m paraphrasing. They also organized the remaining authors by the year they were born, as opposed to the tribe or gender they identified with. I think this may be to showcase the movement of IndigLit as people go through the decades – what’s been shown, what forms – from oral stories, to poetry, to fiction, to plays, to ‘red’ english, to songs. It’s almost all here, and it’s refreshing to see.


  • “We were concerned as we discussed an appropriate introduction for this book, not to conceal the differences between our perspectives as a Native writer and a white academic” (xii)
  • “I know Native legends but I really have a feeling that it’s not my right to go traipsing around, telling other people’s stories” (Moses, xiii)
  • “And even to use the term ‘orature’, which unlike ‘oral literature’ or ‘oral poetry’ does not denote the oral as inferior to the formally written” (Goldie, xviii)
  • “But in Native traditions of storytelling, if you make the story it belongs to you. Stories can also be given away or traded for” (Moses, xx)
  • “I will walk with leg muscles strong as the sinews on the shin of a little caribou calf” – Magic Words/Aua (3)
  • “Oh it’s all in the past you can say / But it’s still going on till today” (Buffy, 159)


buy the book: An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

mood always

+available for workshops in writing + photography
+available for public speaking (I'm funny, trust me)
-but not available for MC-ing bc I'm not that funny


e: tenille.campbell@gmail.com