Taking Back Our Spirits
Indigenous Literature, Public Policy, and Healing


Cover image (Taking Back Our Spirits)

From the earliest settler policies to deal with the “Indian problem,” to contemporary government-run programs ostensibly designed to help Indigenous people, public policy has played a major role in creating the historical trauma that so greatly impacts the lives of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. Taking Back Our Spirits traces the link between Canadian public policies, the injuries they have inflicted on Indigenous people, and Indigenous literature’s ability to heal individuals and communities. Episkenew examines contemporary autobiography, fiction, and drama to reveal how these texts respond to and critique public policy, and how literature functions as “medicine” to help cure the colonial contagion.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Cover 1
Contents 6
Acknowledgements 8
Chapter 1: Myth, policy, and health 10
Chapter 2: Policies of devastation 29
Chapter 3: Personal stories, healing stories 78
Chapter 4: Moving beyond the personal myth 118
Chapter 5: Theatre that heals wounded communities 156
Chapter 6: Final thoughts, future directions 195
Notes 204
Bibliography 223
Index 246
A 246
B 247
C 247
D 248
H 249
F 249
E 249
G 249
I 250
J 251
K 251
L 251
M 252
N 252
O 253
R 253
Q 253
P 253
S 254
T 255
U 255
V 255
W 256