What Does it Take to Decolonize a Country? Celia’s Song revisions a West Before the West

A deeply insightful reflection from Diana Brydon about the difficulties of attempting to bridge worlds in that process that we call decolonization. Entirely on point.

Diana Brydon

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In The Truth about Stories, Tom King suggests that indigenous writers have usually avoided historical fiction, largely turning instead to the present and the future to articulate their visions of an alternative and indigenous world view.  He speculates that given the dominant negative stereotypes promoted by colonialism, indigenous writers have felt themselves lacking access to a usable discursive past capable of forming a basis for an indigenous-centred historical fiction. Since King’s lectures, Joseph Boyden has attempted historical fiction in The Orenda to mixed reviews. I hypothesize in this paper that options for engaging the past in alternative ways are opening up beyond those prescribed by a Eurocentric focus. If history as a discipline and particular orientation to the past has been contaminated by the biases of colonialism, then the more viable solution may be to turn, as King himself does, to the creation stories for an alternative starting point…

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Author: Makere

A Maori/Scots New Zealander transplanted to Canada. Grandmother, academic, indigenous scholar, sometime singer, sometime activist, who cares passionately about our world.