Place-Based Identity in Northwestern Ontario Anishinaabe Literature
Charlton, Adar 1987-
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Place-based identity for Indigenous peoples in the land currently known as Canada, although foundational to many Indigenous land ethics, has been fraught by colonial processes of displacement, reserve designation, and racism. Definitions of home and belonging are often complicated by colonial divisions of urban and reserve spaces, and racist stereotypes that work to dispossess urban Indigenous lands. Moreover, settler amnesia problematically quells settler responsibility and guilt, while more damagingly attempting to remove Indigenous story from the land. This process of tearing story from land is discursive and ideological colonization. This dissertation examines the role of Indigenous literature in reuniting story and land, reasserting Indigenous presence, practicing place-based resurgence, and ultimately imagining and supporting decolonial futurities. Through a relational regional theoretical framework merged with elements of literary nationalism, I examine Anishinaabe literature from Northwestern Ontario, namely stories of Great Lynx, Mishipeshu, and works by Al Hunter, George Kenny, Ruby Slipperjack, and Richard Wagamese, to explore representations and methods of Anishinaabe relationship and connection to land. I theorize that an interaction between both physical land and the discursive space of stories encompasses an Anishinaabe sense of place and enacts Anishinaabe ways of being by studying these works as they broadly reflect the four aspects of self as represented by an Anishinaabe Medicine Wheel. Ultimately, by reclaiming both physical place and discursive space, land and story, the Anishinaabeg generate a definition of home rooted in the physical place of sacred fires and maintained and transported through migrations and transmotion: a mobile, adaptive, resilient, sovereign, resurgent, and grounded place-based identity.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeBanco, Lindsey; Van Styvendale, Nancy; Roy, Wendy; Carlson, Keith
Copyright DateDecember 2018