Research Statement

 

I am the Principal Investigator of a SSHRC Grant, funded from 2015-2020, entitled The People and the Text, designed to collect and study forgotten or unpublished texts by Indigenous writers in Northern North America up until 1992. I work with my research partners, co-applicants Daniel Heath Justice and Margery Fee, as well as a host of impressive collaborators (Warren Cariou, Rick Monture, Rudy Reimer, Brendan Edwards) and Research Assistants to confront four barriers:

  • the devaluing of Indigenous texts written in English that often languish forgotten or unpublished;
  • the limitations of library cataloguing systems that marginalize texts by Indigenous authors;
  • the definition of a library that includes written texts, but not the multimodal storytelling encoded in Indigenous artifacts and traditions;
  • the failure of the Euro-western library to accommodate Indigenous protocols regarding private or sacred information.

 

Two partnerships are significant in this research: one, our association with the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (see cwrc.ca) to create a permanent database on our research; two, our support of the Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA), established in 2013 (see indigenousliterarystudies.org) .

 

A selection of research activities since 2015:

  • awarded a SSHRC amounting to $351,983.00 and a digitization grant of $5,000
  • one refereed book chapter published
  • two refereed articles published in American journals
  • co-edited and wrote an afterword, with Emelene Manuel, Joanne Arnott, and Michelle Coupal, the collected work of Vera Manuel in a manuscript forthcoming from The University of Manitoba Press. This is mostly unpublished material that has been safely kept in the care of her family.
  • my research team, with the help of Brendan Edwards, has transcribed the oldest novel discovered so far in Canada that is written by an Indigenous person: Edward Ahenakew’s Black Hawk, written circa 1918.
  • sent 2 trusted undergraduate RAs to visit retired scholar Hartmut Lutz, the PhD Supervisor for Jeannette Armstrong, Jo-Ann Episkenew, and Renate Eigenbrod, to scan his research notes. He has gifted The People and the Text with the cassette tapes of his interviews with Indigenous writers in the late 1980s and early 1990s; he is also donating almost 1000 books by Indigenous authors to the Simon Fraser University Library.
  • working with my RAs to transcribe a lost novel by Alootook Ipellie, found in the Lutz archives.
  • supported Sarah Henzi to translate Je Suis Une Maudite Sauvagesse by An Antane Kapesh (1976) and prepare it for publication in an English and Innu edition.
  • supervised 11 Research Assistants
  • gave 12 presentations/papers at 12 different venues, 4 in Vancouver, 6 out of province, and 3 internationally.
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