AN ANTHOLOGY OF CANADIAN NATIVE LITERATURE IN ENGLISH
Edited by Daniel David Moses and Terry Goldie.
Volume 20 Number 4
This landmark book is a collection of poetry, letters, songs, fiction, essays and drama from Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) and Emily Pauline Johnson of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to contemporary artists such as Tomson Highway, Harold Cardinal, Duke Redbird, Basil Johnston, Buffy St. Marie, Maria Campbell, James Tyman and Beatrice Culleton. Many others not as well known such as Jordan Wheeler, Simon Arnaviapik, Anthony Apakark Thrasher and Margo Kane make major contributions to this collection.
As Basil Johnston notes, aboriginal people have, for the most part, not been understood because their languages, culture, and beliefs have been ignored. Only their material artefacts are presented in Canadian schools and academic studies, leaving scholars devoid of any understanding of how aboriginal people think and what they believe in. The languages and culture of aboriginal peoples have usually been downgraded or simply ignored. This book will do much to rectify the situation.
Nearly ten years ago, Penny Petrone first explored this genre with her collection First People First Voices ¹. Unlike Petrone's book, An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English is a more contemporary collection and less an academic record of past writings.
Both books have much to offer for those wanting to learn more about aboriginal cultures, literature and ways of life. For general audiences An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English is probably more appropriate. Any library that can afford both should certainly attempt to purchase both books, as they complement each other. An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English is meant for students of Canadian literature and aboriginal studies and will undoubtedly be widely used in post-secondary courses.
Highly recommended as an introduction to some excellent artists that deserve wider recognition.
David Chadwick is a former high school librarian in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
¹ Reviewed vol. Xll/2 March 1984, p. 74.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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