“We Have Stuff Enough in Us to Get Better”: healing through truth telling in contemporary indigenous women’s literature

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University of New Brunswick


Through its analysis of Rudy Wiebe and Yvonne Johnson’s “Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman”, Katherena Vermette’s “The Break”, and Tracey Lindberg’s “Birdie”, this thesis explores the ways in which Indigenous women’s literature works as both a medium of historical and contemporary truth telling and a medium of healing from ongoing gendered colonial violence. By giving voice to the most heavily silenced – Indigenous women – these texts work to humanize and validate those whom Canada has judged sexualized and disposable. In doing so, they not only have the capacity to positively alter how Indigenous women and their experiences are perceived by settlers, but also to heal Indigenous peoples by offering alternative representations to those circulated by the dominant culture. In these ways, Indigenous women’s literature proves invaluable to fostering a better future for Indigenous peoples and settlers alike.