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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines four pivotal autobiographies by Canadian Aboriginal authors—written in the 1840s, 1920s, 1970s, and 2013—as classics that preserve specific tribal knowledge. The first is George Copway’s The Life, History and Travels of Kah-ge-ga-gah-bowh (1847), in which Copway draws on Anishinaabe ideas of marking the landscape to leave signs of his presence. The second is the autobiographical writings of Cree cleric Edward Ahenakew (1885–1961), which draws on the Cree tolerance for multiple perspectives and kisteanemétowin, respect between people, to speak from conflicting positions of both Anglican and Cree. The third is Métis autobiographer Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed (1973), which draws on Cree ideas of wâhkotowin, or kinship, and the tradition of protest to theorize opposition and allegiance. The fourth is Xweliqwiya: The Life of a Sto:lo Matriarch (2013) by Rena Point Bolton (with Richard Daly), which reveals an understanding of ancestors as those who reappear in subsequent generations.

Keywords: Aboriginal authors, autobiography, Anishinaabe, Cree, Métis, Sto:lo, Halfbreed

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