Callo, Esther

Project title: Tell Me a Story: Why Canadians Need Narratives by Indigenous Women

Department: English

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Misao Dean

"For years, Canadians have heard about missing and murdered Indigenous women in the form of statistics, as though statistics alone might make the problem disappear. Our collective inaction has been described as genocide by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; yet, this report, too may gather dust unless Canadians awaken to the horrific accusation of participating in the murder of thousands of Indigenous women.

“Not me,” might be the response of countless Canadians. “I have never laid a hand on an Indigenous woman.” Such denial is founded on the notion that murder starts and ends with physical action. However, murder starts with thoughts and belief systems that maim and kill the human spirit long before individuals act out this social malaise. Hence, counting bodies solves little--it merely confirms the symptoms of the invisible social and spiritual crimes that Canadians commit on a daily basis.

What, then, can we do? My intent is to read the works of several Indigenous female Canadian authors to explore common themes and narrative techniques that counter the genocidal narrative pervading our social landscape. Statistics reveal nothing of the human spirit. Narrative, on the other hand, claims territory in the imagination of the reader, reversing the cultural tide of colonialism that is at the root of our current crisis."