As part of its commitment to heeding the Calls to Action produced by the 2015 Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, in the Winter term of 2017 the Department of English and Cultural Studies at Huron University College offered a fourth-year seminar course focused on the writing, visual and graphic art, and filmmaking of Indigenous people located in such places as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S., all of which were once colonies of the British Empire and which today continue to be the home of numerous Aboriginal communities whose ancestors have lived on these lands for millennia. The native people in these diverse regions have had to negotiate with the others who have come to populate them – namely, the descendants of settlers and new immigrants – to secure cultural, political, and legal rights equivalent to those granted to citizens who inhabit more mainstream places in their civil societies, including treaty rights and the right to practice and observe cultural and political values that depart from those considered more conventional. Entitled “Representing Indigenous Peoples: Indigenous Literature, Popular Culture, and Film from the Post(?)-Settler Colonies,” this was a course in research learning that sought to draw attention to the amazing array of artistic output by global Aboriginal peoples. The students in “Representing Indigenous Peoples” conducted their own primary and secondary research, a process that involved locating poems, graphic short fiction, visual art, and films, which had never before been subject to scholarly analysis, by authors, directors and artists from Indigenous communities. Using the insights gained from their research, the students then developed the first interpretations of these literary, artistic, and filmic texts. Below you’ll find original essays by some of the students who took the course.

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Submissions from 2017

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Navigating Reconciliation and Retribution in the Work of Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory, Marilyn Adlington

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Poetry as Political Activism in Thomas Ryan RedCorn’s “To the Indigenous Woman”, Aesha Nananso

Submissions from 2013

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Resisting a Colonialist Reading: Examining the Strength and Superiority of Native Women in Joseph Boyden's "Men Don't Ask", Victoria Fraser

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"A track is a story teller": Narratives of Colonialism, Native Art and the City and the Bush in Marvin Francis's Bush Camp, Katya Heckendom

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Mainstream perspectives in "Indian Prince" by Trevino Brings Plenty, Angela Holmes

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Problems of Identity and Authenticity in Winona Linn's "Knock Off Native", Rachel Hunt

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Deconstructing History: An analysis of Rita Bouvier's poem "Riel is dead and I am alive", Kate Osborne

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Taking Back Stolen Voices: Mahlikah Awe:ri's poetry as resistance for more than 500 missing girls, Kate Richards

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Education, Culture and Identity in Rita Joe's "Keskmsi", Kathleen Sumpton