Literary Land Claims

Literary Land Claims

The "Indian Land Question" From Pontiac's War to Attawapiskat

Book - 2015
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Univ of Toronto Pr

Indigenous people have long been represented as roaming “savages” without land title and without literature.Literary Land Claims analyzes works by writers who resist these dominant notions and posits that literary studies needs a new critical narrative, one that engages with the ideas of Indigenous writers and intellectuals.


Literature not only represents Canada as “our home and native land” but has been used as evidence of the civilization needed to claim and rule that land. Indigenous people have long been represented as roaming “savages” without land title and without literature. Literary Land Claims: From Pontiac’s War to Attawapiskat analyzes works produced between 1832 and the late 1970s by writers who resisted these dominant notions.

Margery Fee examines John Richardson’s novels about Pontiac’s War and the War of 1812 that document the breaking of British promises to Indigenous nations. She provides a close reading of Louis Riel’s addresses to the court at the end of his trial in 1885, showing that his vision for sharing the land derives from the Indigenous value of respect. Fee argues that both Grey Owl and E. Pauline Johnson’s visions are obscured by challenges to their authenticity. Finally, she shows how storyteller Harry Robinson uses a contemporary Okanagan framework to explain how white refusal to share the land meant that Coyote himself had to make a deal with the King of England.

Fee concludes that despite support in social media for Theresa Spence’s hunger strike, Idle No More, and the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the story about “savage Indians” and “civilized Canadians” and the latter group’s superior claim to “develop” the lands and resources of Canada still circulates widely. If the land is to be respected and shared as it should be, literary studies needs a new critical narrative, one that engages with the ideas of Indigenous writers and intellectuals.



Book News
Fee presents a selection of essays by five writers, sharing their experiences, identifications, and attitudes to the land and Canada’s claim to nationhood. The time period covered in these essays begins with Pontiac’s War (1763-1765) and ends in 1990, with the struggle between the people of Kanehsatake and the town of Oka in Canada; however, it is not comprehensive historically or geographically. Rather, the selected essays encourage insight and understanding into the relationship between the land and its inhabitants during these periods. Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Ingram Publishing Services
Literature not only represents Canada as our home and native land but has been used as evidence of the civilization needed to claim and rule that land. Indigenous people have long been represented as roaming savages without land title and without literature. "Literary Land Claims: From Pontiac s War to Attawapiskat" analyzes works produced between 1832 and the late 1970s by writers who resisted these dominant notions. Margery Fee examines John Richardson s novels about Pontiac s War and the War of 1812 that document the breaking of British promises to Indigenous nations. She provides a close reading of Louis Riel s addresses to the court at the end of his trial in 1885, showing that his vision for sharing the land derives from the Indigenous value of respect. Fee argues that both Grey Owl and E. Pauline Johnson s visions are obscured by challenges to their authenticity. Finally, she shows how storyteller Harry Robinson uses a contemporary Okanagan framework to explain how white refusal to share the land meant that Coyote himself had to make a deal with the King of England. Fee concludes that despite support in social media for Theresa Spence s hunger strike, Idle No More, and the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the story about savage Indians and civilized Canadians and the latter group s superior claim to develop the lands and resources of Canada still circulates widely. If the land is to be respected and shared as it should be, literary studies needs a new critical narrative, one that engages with the ideas of Indigenous writers and intellectuals. "

Indigenous people have long been represented as roaming “savages” without land title and without literature. Literary Land Claims analyzes works by writers who resist these dominant notions and posits that literary studies needs a new critical narrative, one that engages with the ideas of Indigenous writers and intellectuals.



Publisher: Waterloo, Ontario :, Wilfrid Laurier University Press,, [2015]
Description: x, 316 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781771121194
177112119X
Branch Call Number: 810.9897 Fee

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