Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2019-01-07 02:16Z by Steven

Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
June 2019
295 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-240-5

Michelle La Flamme, Professor of English
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Canada’s history is bicultural, Indigenous, and multilingual, and these characteristics have given risen to a number of strategies used by our writers to code racially mixed characters. This book examines contemporary Canadian literature and drama in order to tease out some of those strategies and the social and cultural factors that inform them.

Racially hybrid characters in literature have served a matrix of needs. They are used as shorthand for interracial desire, signifiers of taboo love, images of impurity, symbols of degeneration, and examples of beauty and genetic perfection. Their fates have been used to suggest the futility of marrying across racial lines, or the revelation of their “one drop” signals a climactic downfall. Other narratives suggest mixed-race bodies are foundational to colonization and signify contact between colonial and Indigenous bodies.

Author Michelle LaFlamme approaches racial hybridity with a cross-generic and cross-racial approach, unusual in the field of hybridity studies, by analyzing characters with different racial mixes in autobiographies, fiction, and drama. Her analysis privileges literary texts and the voices of artists rather than sociological explanations of the mixed-race experience. The book suggests that the hyper-visualization of mixed-race bodies in mono-racial contexts creates a scopophilic interest in how those bodies look and perform race.

La Flamme’s term “soma text” draws attention to the constructed, performative aspects of this form of embodiment. The writers she examines witness that living in a racially hybrid and ambiguous body is a complex engagement that involves reading and decoding the body in sophisticated ways, involving both the multiracial body and the racialized gaze of the onlooker.

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Charla Huber: Every Indigenous person is Indigenous enough

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2018-12-31 03:27Z by Steven

Charla Huber: Every Indigenous person is Indigenous enough

The Times Colonist
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
2018-12-30

Charla Huber, Communications and Indigenous Relations
M’akola Group of Societies

New_dx-1230-ho ho huber.jpg
Devan Cronshaw, left, Riley McKenzie and Alita Tocher are all urban Indigenous people in the capital region.
Photograph By Charla Huber, Times Colonist

So often, we hear the words reconciliation and decolonization, and lately I have been wondering if people really understand their meanings. The more I read, learn and listen, the more important these words become to me.

I am a product of the Sixties Scoop and was adopted and raised by a non-Indigenous family. Being adopted and having no knowledge of or connection to my birth family growing up, I really held onto being Indigenous. It was the only thing that I ever knew about myself for sure.

Because I wasn’t raised in Indigenous culture, I have often wondered if I am Indigenous enough. This is especially heightened because I am half. I am very open about my heritage and my adoption, but I do struggle saying: “My family is from Fort Chipewyan and I have Inuit roots.” I’ve never set foot on my ancestors’ traditional territory…

Read the entire article here.

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Peace Weavers: Uniting the Salish Coast through Cross-Cultural Marriages

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2018-11-18 22:59Z by Steven

Peace Weavers: Uniting the Salish Coast through Cross-Cultural Marriages

Washington State University Press
2017
290 pages
Illustrations / maps / notes / bibliography / index
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87422-346-0

Candace Wellman

Peace-weaving marriages between Salish families and pioneer men played a crucial role in mid-1800s regional settlement. Author Candace Wellman illuminates this hidden history and shatters stereotypes surrounding these relationships. The four exceptional women she profiles left a lasting legacy in their Puget Sound communities.

Strategic cross-cultural marriages between Coast and Interior Salish families and pioneer men played a crucial role in mid-1800s regional settlement and spared Puget Sound’s upper corner from tragic conflicts. Accounts of the husbands exist in a variety of records, but the native wives’ contributions remained unacknowledged. Combining primary and secondary sources, genealogy, and family memories, author Candace Wellman illuminates this hidden history and shatters stereotypes surrounding these relationships. The four women she profiles exhibited exceptional endurance, strength, and adaptability. They ran successful farms and businesses and acted as cultural interpreters and mediators. Although each story is unique, collectively they and other intermarried individuals helped found Puget Sound communities and left a lasting legacy. They were peace weavers.

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New $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond goes into circulation next week

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Videos, Women on 2018-11-13 04:49Z by Steven

New $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond goes into circulation next week

CP24
2018-11-12

Alex Cooke, Reporter
The Canadian Press

HALIFAX — A new $10 banknote featuring Viola Desmond’s portrait will go into circulation in a week, just over 72 years after she was ousted from the whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, N.S.

The civil rights pioneer and businesswoman is the first Canadian woman to be featured on a regularly circulating banknote, which will also show a map of Halifax’s historic north end, home to one of Canada’s oldest black communities and the site where Desmond opened her first salon.

Irvine Carvery, a prominent member of Halifax’s north end and a former school board chair, said he’s excited that the bill will pay tribute to her, describing the inclusion of a black woman on the note as “a historic moment.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Edmonton Police Under Fire For Calling Teenage Girl ‘Mulatto’ In Amber Alert

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive on 2018-10-14 00:49Z by Steven

Edmonton Police Under Fire For Calling Teenage Girl ‘Mulatto’ In Amber Alert

The Huffington Post Canada
2018-10-07

Sima Shakeri, Associate Editor


Alberta Emergency Alert
The Amber Alert sent out on Friday, with information about the alleged victim censored for her protection.

People who received the alert were shocked by the word choice.

Edmonton police issued an Amber Alert on Friday afternoon for a missing 14-year-old girl, who had allegedly been forcibly abducted.

The girl was found safe shortly after the call was sent out, and a suspect has been charged with several offences including kidnapping with a firearm, but what caught many people’s attention was the word choice in describing the teen.

The alert said the alleged victim was “mulatto,” an outdated term for a child with one white and one black parent…

Read the enter article here.

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An Honest Woman: Poems

Posted in Books, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Poetry, Women on 2018-10-08 04:00Z by Steven

An Honest Woman: Poems

Talonbooks
2017
104 pages
6 W Ă— 9 H Ă— 1 D inches
Paperback/Softback ISBN: 978177201144

JĂłnĂ­na Kirton

An Honest WomanFront Cover

An Honest Woman by JĂłnĂ­na Kirton confronts us with beauty and ugliness in the wholesome riot that is sex, love, and marriage. From the perspective of a mixed-race woman, Kirton engages with Simone de Beauvoir and Donald Trump to unravel the norms of femininity and sexuality that continue to adhere today.

Kirton recalls her own upbringing, during which she was told to find a good husband who would “make an honest woman” out of her. Exploring the lives of many women, including her mother, her contemporaries, and well-known sex-crime stories such as the case of Elisabeth Fritzl, Kirton mines the personal to loosen the grip of patriarchal and colonial impositions.

An Honest Woman explores the many ways the female body is shaped by questions that have been too political to ask: What happens when a woman decides to take her sexuality into her own hands, dismissing cultural norms and the expectations of her parents? How is a young woman’s sexuality influenced when she is perceived as an “exotic” other? Can a woman reconnect with her Indigenous community by choosing Indigenous lovers?

Daring and tender in their honesty and wisdom, these poems challenge the perception of women’s bodies as glamorous and marketable commodities and imagine an embodied female experience that accommodates the role of creativity and a nurturing relationship with the land.

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Announcing the appointment of Dr. Minelle Mahtani as Senior Advisor to the Provost on Racialized Faculty

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive on 2018-07-18 19:02Z by Steven

Announcing the appointment of Dr. Minelle Mahtani as Senior Advisor to the Provost on Racialized Faculty

The University of British Columbia
Office of the Provost & Vice-President Academic
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2018-07-17

The Provost is pleased to announce that Dr. Minelle Mahtani has been appointed to the role of Senior Advisor to the Provost on Racialized Faculty, a new position that will support the university’s institutional commitment to advancing equity and inclusion in the scholarly and leadership environment for faculty members at UBC. This 40% position is initially for a two-year term, commencing September 1, 2018. Dr. Mahtani holds her professorial appointment in the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice in the Faculty of Arts.

Since 2009, Dr. Mahtani has been an Associate Professor in Human Geography and Journalism at the University of Toronto Scarborough, serving as the Associate Chair of the Department of Human Geography from 2014-2015. She received her PhD in Geography from University College London in 2000. Dr. Mahtani is the Past President of the Association for Canadian Studies, and former Chair of Metropolis-Ontario (CERIS – Centre for Excellence on Immigration and Settlement). She is the 2012 Winner of the Glenda Laws Award from the Association of American Geographers for outstanding contributions to geography and social policy, and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Award winner. Dr. Mahtani is a former television news journalist with the CBC and has consulted with a variety of organizations on diversity and journalism, including Citizenship Immigration Canada and the Ministry of Multiculturalism and Integration, among other groups. She is the former strategic counsel for the not-for-profit IMPACS (Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society).

Professor Mahtani’s research interests are in the areas of diversity initiatives; anti-colonial approaches in critical geography; global mixed-race theory and critical race theory; and structural and systemic racism as experienced among academics of colour…

Read the entire press release here.

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A MĂ©tis Night at the Opera: Louis Riel, Cultural Ownership, and Making Canada MĂ©tis

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2018-05-28 02:54Z by Steven

A MĂ©tis Night at the Opera: Louis Riel, Cultural Ownership, and Making Canada MĂ©tis

Adam Gaudry, Ph.D.
2017-05-18

Adam Gaudry, Assistant Professor
Faculty of Native Studies & Department of Political Science
University of Alberta

Riel Set

Taking my seat at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, home of the Canadian Opera Company (COC) to watch the debut of Louis Riel, I snap a photo with my camera. (above). Immediately and out of nowhere an usher appears to inform me that I can’t take photos inside the hall, because the set design is copyrighted. I’m surprised by this, as the image used is clearly derived from a public domain photo of Riel, something that Métis rightfully regard as part of our historical legacy.

In truth though, I’m more annoyed that five minutes before this a number of Nisga’a—represented by the Git Hayetsk and Kwhlii Gibaygum Dancers—had presented to opera-goers on the theft of one of their songs by the opera’s composer, a lament song from the House of Sgat’iin. After contacting the COC, they had worked to educate the audience and the COC on how the composer took one of their sacred songs, without permission or prior knowledge, using Cree words in place of theirs and renamed the Kuyas Aria (read their critique in the opera’s program here).

The irony, of course, was that while the opera appropriated Indigenous songs and stories, my photo for Instagram was somehow violating the intellectual property of one of the many non-Native people who had decided to remix Indigenous culture, history, and imagery for non-Indigenous consumption. It reinforced the tightly held colonial notion that everything that once belong to us now belongs to “everyone,” and that in the name of art all is open to appropriation—and eventual ownership—by Canadians…

Read the entire article here.

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Communing with the Dead: The “New Métis,” Métis Identity Appropriation, and the Displacement of Living Métis Culture

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Canada, Media Archive on 2018-05-22 02:25Z by Steven

Communing with the Dead: The “New Métis,” Métis Identity Appropriation, and the Displacement of Living Métis Culture

The American Indian Quarterly
Volume 42, Number 2, Spring 2018
pages 62-190

Adam Gaudry, Assistant Professor
Faculty of Native Studies & Department of Political Science
University of Alberta

Métis are witnessing an increase in the number of self-identified “Métis” individuals and groups lacking affiliation with long-standing Métis communities. For these groups, genealogical discovery of previously unknown Indian ancestors acts as a catalyst for personal self-discovery, spiritual growth, and ultimately the assertion of a Métis identity, regardless of whether or not this identity is accepted by contemporary Métis communities. These “new Métis” do not situate their Métis identity in the lived practice of Métis communities that have persisted for generations throughout Western Canada but in written genealogical reports that link them to long-dead Indigenous relatives who may not have even understood themselves to be Métis. In light of this problematic “new Métis” orientation to “the dead,” this article explores the narratives generated by the unprecedented growth of Métis self-identification, particularly in Eastern Canada, and how shifting conceptions of Métis identity have inaugurated a problematic “new Métis” subjectivity.

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The Chat With Chelene Knight

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive on 2018-05-20 00:59Z by Steven

The Chat With Chelene Knight

49th Shelf
2018-05-09

Trevor Corkum

dearcurrentoccupant

Chelene Knight’s debut memoir Dear Current Occupant (Bookt*ug) takes a closer look at childhood trauma and the uncertain idea of home. It’s a haunting, experimental, and deeply moving book which follows the author as she returns to many of the apartments she lived in as a young girl.

The Toronto Star calls Knight “one of the storytellers we need most right now” and calls the writing in Dear Current Occupant “lush, lyrical…mesmerizing.”

Chelene Knight was born in Vancouver, and is currently the Managing Editor of Room Magazine. A graduate of The Writers’ Studio at SFU, Chelene has been published in various Canadian and American literary magazines. Her debut book, Braided Skin, was published in 2015. Dear Current Occupant is her second book. Chelene is also working on a historical novel set in the 1930s and 40s in Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley.

Trevor Corkum: Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind Dear Current Occupant?

Chelene Knight: While I was writing my first book, Braided Skin (Mother Tongue Publishing 2015), I felt that there was an unfinished thread. Something wasn’t complete. I actually started working on Dear Current Occupant in 2013, but quickly tucked it away because the realization that I was not ready to re-experience everything was quite apparent. I was not ready to write these stories.

When it comes to childhood and trauma, there’s a certain amount of healing that needs to occur, you have to distance yourself a bit, step back from the table. Every day on my way to work I’d pass ride the Sky Train and just before the train pulled into Broadway Station, I’d get this twinge as I passed one of the buildings I used to live in as a young girl. Then I’d pass another, and another, and another and the same twinges poked and prodded under my skin. Then I knew I was ready to start the work, to put the pieces together.

I stood out front of as many of the houses as I could remember and I just wrote. It was winter and I was cold. I didn’t have gloves on and the snow was coming down, but I couldn’t stop. Memories and fragments came back like lightening. There was something about being there in the space. Even though I was outside those walls I knew so well, I will still there, back in time. I had no idea the effect this book would have on people. I have received nothing but stories of change, emails, tweets, messages, and posts about how this book changed them.

And at the end of the day isn’t that what a book is supposed to do? Change the reader…

Read the entire interview here.

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