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My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell

Athabasca University Press | Our Lives: Diary, Memoir, and Letters


My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell is a simple and outspoken account of the sexual and psychological abuse that Arthur Bear Chief suffered during his time at Old Sun Residential school in Gleichen on the Siksika Nation. In a series of chronological vignettes, Bear Chief depicts the punishment, cruelty, abuse, and injustice that he endured at Old Sun and then later relived in the traumatic process of retelling his story at an examination for discovery in connection with a lawsuit brought against the federal government.

He returned to Gleichen late in life—to the home left to him by his mother—and it was there that he began to reconnect with Blackfoot language and culture and to write his story. Although the terrific adversity Bear Chief faced in his childhood made an indelible mark on his life, his unyielding spirit is evident throughout his story.

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"... a remarkable example of Indigenous storytelling and proof of the lingering psychological damage of residential schools on their survivors. . . . These [the appendixes] push conversations concerning residential schools into several arenas, offering readers a more complete view of the schools' operations and legacy than previously published."

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Arthur Bear Chief left Old Sun Residential School at the age of

seventeen. He worked

at Shingwauk Indian Residential

School as a student counsellor, before embarking on a career

with the government, which

included work with the Public

Service Commission of Canada in

Edmonton and Northern Affairs

in Ottawa. He now lives on

Siksika Nation.

 
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An Ethnohistorian in Rupert’s Land

Athabasca University Press


In 1670, the ancient homeland of the Cree and Ojibwe people of Hudson Bay became known to the English entrepreneurs of the Hudson’s Bay Company as Rupert’s Land, after the founder and absentee landlord, Prince Rupert. For four decades, Jennifer S. H. Brown has examined the complex relationships that developed among the newcomers and the Algonquian communities—who hosted and tolerated the fur traders—and later, the missionaries, anthropologists, and others who found their way into Indigenous lives and territories. The eighteen essays gathered in this book explore Brown’s investigations into the surprising range of interactions among Indigenous people and newcomers as they met or observed one another from a distance, and as they competed, compromised, and rejected or adapted to change.

While diverse in their subject matter, the essays have thematic unity in their focus on the old HBC territory and its peoples from the 1600s to the present. More than an anthology, the chapters of An Ethnohistorian in Rupert’s Land provide examples of Brown’s exceptional skill in the close study of texts, including oral documents, images, artifacts, and other cultural expressions. The volume as a whole represents the scholarly evolution of one of the leading ethnohistorians in Canada and the United States.

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"A welcome and compelling selection of articles (some previously published, some unpublished) that focus on the stories of Cree, Ojibwe and Métis peoples, Hudson’s Bay and Northwest Company fur traders, Methodist and Anglican missionaries,and twentieth-century anthropologists. [...] The varied thematic foci of An Ethnohistorian in Rupert’s Land allow readers to delve into topics and issues related to language, family, marriage, women, and Indigenous stories and memories. Each chapter is of interest in its own right, but gathered here each becomes part of a larger narrative of a lifetime of scholarship and contributions by one of the most important practitioners in her field."

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"Brown's clear narrative writing style makes this collection accessible to both academic and public audiences. Historians will appreciate her close and thorough reading of primary sources. Anthropologists will recognize Brown's attention to language and her reading of the historical record through an ethnographic lens that can focus on both the micro-scales of domestic life and the macro-scales of the fur trade's political economy."

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"Brown's ability to read between the lines of texts of all kinds is without parallel in Canadian ethnohistory. The articles are a pleasure to read, full of insight and analysis, and written with the agreeable style of a born communicator and teacher. [...] Brown's work continues to impress and influence."

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Jennifer S. H. Brown taught history at the University of Winnipeg for twenty-eight years and held a Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal history from 2004 to 2011. She served as director of the Centre for Rupert’s Land Studies, which focuses on Aboriginal peoples and the fur trade of the Hudson Bay watershed, from 1996 to 2010. She is the editor of the Rupert’s Land Record Society documentary series (McGill-Queen’s University Press), which publishes original materials on Aboriginal and fur trade history. She now resides in Denver, Colorado, where she continues her scholarly work.

 
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"My Own Portrait in Writing"

Athabasca University Press | Cultural Dialectics


Art historians, biographers, and other researchers have long drawn on Van Gogh’s voluminous correspondence—more than eight hundred letters—for insights into both his personal struggles and his art. But the letters, while often admired for their literary quality, have rarely been approached as literature. In this volume, Patrick Grant sets out to explore the question, “By what criteria do we judge Van Gogh's letters to be, specifically, literary?” Drawing, especially, on Mikhail Bakhtin’s conceptualization of self-awareness as an ongoing dialogue between “self” and “other,” Grant examines the ways in which Van Gogh’s letters raise, from within themselves, questions and issues to which they also respond. Their literary quality, he argues, derives in part from this “double-voiced discourse”—from the power of the letters to thematize, through their own internal dialogues, the very structure of self-fashioning itself. Far from merely reproducing the narrative of the artist’s personal progress, “the letters enable readers to recognize how necessary yet open-ended, constrained yet liberating, confined yet unpredictable, are the means by which people seek to shape a place for themselves in the world.”

This volume builds on Grant’s earlier analysis of Van Gogh’s correspondence, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh: A Critical Study (AU Press, 2014), a study in which he approached the letters from a literary critical standpoint, delving into key patterns of metaphors and concepts. In the present volume, he provides instead a literary theoretical analysis of the letters, one that draws them more fully into the domain of modern literary studies. In his deft and keenly perceptive reading, Grant deconstructs the binaries that surface in both Van Gogh’s writing and painting, discusses the narrative dimensions of the letter-sketches and the recurring themes of fantasy, belief, and self-surrender, and draws attention to Van Gogh’s own understanding of the permeable boundary between words and visual art. Viewing the letters as an integrated body of discourse, “My Own Portrait in Writing” offers a theoretically informed interpretation of Van Gogh’s literary achievement that is, quite literally, without precedent.

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"A deep and creative inquiry suggesting meaningful structures for understanding the richness of the artist's life and work. Grant succeeds in bringing Van Gogh's letters into the domain of modern literary studies, and demonstrates that the effort opens exciting new ways of understanding the radical tensions, puzzling transformations, and internal frustrations expressed by the artist in writing, drawing, and painting."

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Patrick Grant, professor emeritus of English at the University of Victoria, is best known for his studies on literature and religion. He is the author of Imperfection, which was short-listed for the Canada Prize, and of Literature, Rhetoric, and Violence in Northern Ireland, 1968-98.

 
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Without Apology

Stettner, Shannon (Hrsg.) | Athabasca University Press


Until the late 1960s, the authorities on abortion were for the most part men—politicians, clergy, lawyers, physicians, all of whom had an interest in regulating women’s bodies. Even today, when we hear women speak publicly about abortion, the voices are usually those of the leaders of women’s and abortion rights organizations, women who hold political office, and, on occasion, female physicians. We also hear quite frequently from spokeswomen for anti-abortion groups. Rarely, however, do we hear the voices of ordinary women—women whose lives have been in some way touched by abortion. Their thoughts typically owe more to human circumstance than to ideology, and without them, we run the risk of thinking and talking about the issue of abortion only in the abstract.

Without Apology seeks to address this issue by gathering the voices of activists, feminists, and scholars as well as abortion providers and clinic support staff alongside the stories of women whose experience with abortion is more personal. With the particular aim of moving beyond the polarizing rhetoric that has characterized the issue of abortion and reproductive justice for so long, Without Apology is an engrossing and arresting account that will promote both reflection and discussion.

With contributions by Aalya Ahmad, Tracey L. Anderson, Jane Cawthorne, Peggy Cooke, Shannon Dea, Carolyn Egan, Linda Gardner, Laura Gillespie, Sterling Haynes, E.K. Hornbeck, Clarissa Hurley, “Dr. James”, H. Bindy K. Kang, Kristen, Natalie Lochwin, Mackenzie, Colleen MacQuarrie, Ruth Miller, Judith Mintz, Erin Mullan, Jen Rinaldi, Sadie Roberts, Martha Solomon, Shannon Stettner, Karen Stote, Nick Van der Graaf, Bernadette Wagner, Laura Wershler, Shannon West, Ellen Wiebe, and Jess Woolford.

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“Finally, there's a resource that comprehensively and thoroughly explores the history and evolution of reproductive rights in Canada. [...] A great resource for anyone looking for information about the evolution of abortion rights, regulations, and laws in Canada, but also a great read for anyone interested in the role of abortion rights in the history of the feminist movement.”

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"Heartbreaking and enraging. . . . A commendable survey of abortion in Canada that gives space to a wide range of voices while also acknowledging the work still to be done."

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"An excellent example of how Canadian historians can make their scholarship more accessible to a public audience. Stettner's collection shows how the field of women's history can combine scholarly and activist agendas through history. [...] While many of the essays draw on personal and anecdotal evidence, they provide historical insight into how far the pro-choice movement has come in Canada and where it should go next. This book will be useful to academics, women's health practitioners, policymakers, and members of the public who want to understand Canada's abortion debate in the past and in the present."

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Shannon Stettner teaches in the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Waterloo. She is the co-founder of the Reproductive Activism and Abortion Research Network.

 
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Reading Vincent van Gogh

Athabasca University Press


Soon after his death, Vincent van Gogh’s reputation grew and developed through the remarkably symbiotic relationship evident between his paintings and letters. However, the sheer bulk and complexity of Van Gogh’s complete surviving correspondence presents a formidable challenge to those who wish to read and analyze the whole text as a literary work.

Reading Vincent van Gogh is at once an interpretive guide to Van Gogh’s letters and a distillation of the key themes that reoccur throughout his collected letters—foremost among them the motifs of suffering, love, imagination, and the ineffable. In this indispensable, synoptic view of the letters, Patrick Grant makes the main lines of Vincent van Gogh’s thinking accessible and displays the arresting vividness of the well-known artist’s writing.

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Patrick Grant, professor emeritus of English at the University of Victoria, is best known for his studies on literature and religion. He is the author, most recently, of two other criticisms of Van Gogh's letters, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh (2014) and My Own Portrait in Writing (2015).

 
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Living on the Land

Kermoal, NathalieAltamirano-Jiménez, Isabel (Hrsg.) | Athabasca University Press


An extensive body of literature on Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing has been written since the 1980s. This research has for the most part been conducted by scholars operating within Western epistemological frameworks that tend not only to deny the subjectivity of knowledge but also to privilege masculine authority. As a result, the information gathered predominantly reflects the types of knowledge traditionally held by men, yielding a perspective that is at once gendered and incomplete. Even those academics, communities, and governments interested in consulting with Indigenous peoples for the purposes of planning, monitoring, and managing land use have largely ignored the knowledge traditionally produced, preserved, and transmitted by Indigenous women. While this omission reflects patriarchal assumptions, it may also be the result of the reductionist tendencies of researchers, who have attempted to organize Indigenous knowledge so as to align it with Western scientific categories, and of policy makers, who have sought to deploy such knowledge in the service of external priorities. Such efforts to apply Indigenous knowledge have had the effect of abstracting this knowledge from place as well as from the world view and community—and by extension the gender—to which it is inextricably connected.

Living on the Land examines how patriarchy, gender, and colonialism have shaped the experiences of Indigenous women as both knowers and producers of knowledge. From a variety of methodological perspectives, contributors to the volume explore the nature and scope of Indigenous women’s knowledge, its rootedness in relationships both human and spiritual, and its inseparability from land and landscape. From the reconstruction of cultural and ecological heritage by Naskapi women in Québec to the medical expertise of Métis women in western Canada to the mapping and securing of land rights in Nicaragua, Living on the Land focuses on the integral role of women as stewards of the land and governors of the community. Together, these contributions point to a distinctive set of challenges and possibilities for Indigenous women and their communities.

Contributors include Denise Geoffroy, Kathy L. Hodgson–Smith, Kahente Horn-Miller, Shalene Jobin, Carole Lévesque, Leanna Parker, Brenda Parlee, Geneviève Polèse, Zoe Todd, and Kristine Wray.

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“A beautiful and complex collection of perspective, story, knowledge, and wisdom. This book captures the traditional role, depth, and power of the Indigenous women from the Mohawk, Cree, Naskapi, Métis, and Inuit peoples. [...] and gives each Indigenous woman a distinct voice on where she originates.”

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Nathalie Kermoal is of Breton descent (a people whose territory is situated on the West coast of France). She is a professor as well as the Associate Dean Academic at the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. She is a bilingual specialist (French and English) in Canadian history and more specifically in Métis history.

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Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez is Zapotec from Oaxaca, Mexico. She holds a joint appointment as an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.

 
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Interrogating Motherhood

Athabasca University Press | OPEL (Open Paths to Enriched Learning)


Four decades have passed since the publication of Adrienne Rich’s Of Woman Born but her analysis of maternity and the archetypal Mother remains a powerful critique, as relevant today as it was at the time of writing. It was Rich who first defined the term “motherhood” as referent to a patriarchal institution that was male-defined, male controlled, and oppressive to women. To empower women, Rich proposed the use of the word “mothering”: a word intended to be female-defined. It is between these two ideas—that of a patriarchal history and a feminist future—that the introductory text, Interrogating Motherhood, begins.

Ross explores the topic of mothering from the perspective of Western society and encourages students and readers to identify and critique the historical, social, and political contexts in which mothers are understood. By examining popular culture, employment, public policy, poverty, “other” mothers, and mental health, Interrogating Motherhood describes the fluid and shifting nature of the practice of mothering and the complex realities that definecontemporary women’s lives.

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“Ross provides a comprehensive take on the state of contemporary motherhood in the western world. The book examines the social, political, and economic conditions that influence the ways women - and, to a lesser degree, men - mother. She organizes the book around three themes: the dominant discourses on motherhood; the ways public factors shape private practices of mothering; and the negotiations contemporary women must make to mother. The book is clearly written and organized and gives readers an up-to-date accounting of contemporary motherhood.”

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Lynda R. Ross is professor of women’s and gender studies, and chair of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at Athabasca University. She has a doctorate degree in psychology from the University of New Brunswick. Her research focuses on the social construction of theory and disorder, attachment, and motherhood.

 
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The Wolves at My Shadow

Stahl Listort, DarilynListort, Dennis (Hrsg.) | Athabasca University Press | Our Lives


Ingelore Rothschild was twelve years old when she was whisked out of her home in 1936. It was her first step on a cross-continent journey to Japan, where she and her parents sought refuge from rising anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany. A decade later, as she sails away from what has become her home in Kobe, Japan, Ingelore records her memories of life in Berlin, the long train journey through Russia, and her time in Japan during World War II.

Each leg of the journey presents its own nightmare: passports are stolen, identities are uncovered, a mudslide tears through the Rothschild’s home, and the atomic bombs are dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Ingelore’s bright, observant nature and remarkable capacity for befriending those along her way fills her narrative with unique details about the people she meets and the places she travels to.

The story of Ingelore and her prominent German Jewish family’s escape is an invaluable account that contributes to Holocaust witness and memoir literature. Although she was forever marked by her traumatic past, Ingelore’s survival story is a painful reminder that only European Jews with significant financial means were able to carefully orchestrate an escape from Nazi Germany.

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Darilyn Stahl Listort, daughter of Ingelore Rothschild, is a retired public school teacher, counsellor, and school administrator.

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Dennis Listort is a retired public school teacher and administrator. A poet and a freelance writer, his work has appeared in magazines and newspapers. He is the author of The Writing Box, a work of adult contemporary fiction.

 
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Sharing Breath

Batacharya, SheilaWong, Yuk-Lin Renita (Hrsg.) | Athabasca University Press


Treating bodies as more than discursive in social research can feel out of place in academia. As a result, embodiment studies remain on the outside of academic knowledge construction and critical scholarship. However, embodiment scholars suggest that investigations into the profound division created by privileging the mind-intellect over the body-spirit are integral to the project of decolonization.

The field of embodiment theorizes bodies as knowledgeable in ways that include but are not solely cognitive. The contributors to this collection suggest developing embodied ways of teaching, learning, and knowing through embodied experiences such as yoga, mindfulness, illness, and trauma. Although the contributors challenge Western educational frameworks from within and beyond academic settings, they also acknowledge and draw attention to the incommensurability between decolonization and aspects of social justice projects in education. By addressing this tension ethically and deliberately, the contributors engage thoughtfully with decolonization and make a substantial, and sometimes unsettling, contribution to critical studies in education.

With contributions by Temitope Adefarakan, Candace Brunette-Debassige, Susan Ferguson, Katie MacDonald, Jamie Magnusson, Stephanie Moynagh, Devi Dee Mucina, Denise Nadeau, Roxana Ng, Randelle Nixon, Wendy Peters, Carla Rice, Sheila Stewart, and Alannah Young Leon.

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Sheila Batacharya completed her doctoral studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She has taught education, women’s and gender studies, criminology and sociology courses at several colleges and universities in southern Ontario. Sheila’s scholarship in embodiment and embodied learning is fueled by her experiences teaching yoga and her curiosity and concern with articulating and practicing attunement to social-sentient embodied experiences in formal education and community contexts.

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Yuk-Lin Renita Wong is an associate professor at the School of Social Work at York University. Her scholarship and teaching aim at deconstructing the colonial, racial, and gender power relations in the knowledge production and discursive practices of social work, and in re-centering marginalized ways of knowing and being. Mindfulness and social justice are inseparable in Renita's practice in and outside of the academy.

 
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The Teacher and the Superintendent

Grigor-Taylor, BarbaraBoulter II, George E. (Hrsg.) | Athabasca University Press | Our Lives: Diary, Memoir, and Letters


From its inception in 1885, the Alaska School Service was charged with the assimilation of Alaskan Native children into mainstream American values and ways of life. Working in the missions and schools along the Yukon River were George E. Boulter and Alice Green, his future wife. Boulter, a Londoner originally drawn to the Klondike, had begun teaching in 1905 and by 1910 had been promoted to superintendent of schools for the Upper Yukon District. In 1907, Green left a comfortable family life in New Orleans to answer the “call to serve” in the Episcopal mission boarding schools for Native children at Anvik and Nenana, where she occupied the position of government teacher. As school superintendent, Boulter wrote frequently to his superiors in Seattle and Washington, DC, to discuss numerous administrative matters and to report on problems and conditions overall.

From 1906 to 1918, Green kept a personal journal—hitherto in private possession—in which she reflected on her professional duties and her domestic life in Alaska. Collected in The Teacher and the Superintendent are Boulter’s letters and Green’s diary. Together, their vivid, first- hand impressions bespeak the earnest but paternalistic beliefs of those who lived and worked in immensely isolated regions, seeking to bring Christianity and “civilized” values to the Native children in their care. Beyond shedding private light on the missionary spirit, however, Boulter and Green have also left us an invaluable account of the daily conflicts that occurred between church and government and of the many injustices suffered by the Native population in the face of the misguided efforts of both institutions..

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“... a valuable collection of documents related to colonialism and schooling in the Alaskan Interior at the beginning of the twentieth century. [...] Boulter II and Grigor-Taylor have done a good job of editing and annotating important records, which reveal much about the lives of teachers in Native schools of the period, and hopefully their publication will spur new scholarly analysis.”

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“The letters and diary entries of these missionaries are stark windows onto the ordinariness of colonisation and the horrific natural/unnaturalness of the destruction of indigenous ways of life. However, just as life, in even the darkest and most violent of storms, has beauty and joy, these texts are filled with the intricacies of the daily expressions of friendship, love, and commitments to unselfish purposes.”

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Barbara Grigor-Taylor, of Cavendish Rare Books, London, is an antiquarian bookseller. She has presented papers and lectures on topics ranging from Western writings on China to eighteenth-century Russian explorations.

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George E. Boulter II was born in Alaska and later lived in California before embarking in 1942 on a career in the U.S. Merchant Marines.

 
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