Who are North American Indians today? For answers, meet the poets, fashion models, chefs, scientists, Olympians, YouTube stars, graphic artists, activists, athletes and many others featured in this vibrant, kaleidoscopic anthology.
Contributors, many young adults from first nations across Canada and the United States, portray their experiences in short works that range from flash fiction, essays, songs and poetry to paintings, cartoons and photo collages. Innovative design by Inti Amaterasu pairs words and art, echoing and amplifying themes of departure and return, integration and discovery. Writers recount tough, crooked journeys that led to rewarding outcomes, incorporating a complex, difficult, rich heritage in cutting-edge careers. Not all stories are happy, but most move from pain toward hope, even triumph. Twelve years of residential school couldn’t erase her cultural identity from Isabelle Knockwood, Mi’kmaq, whose mother’s early teachings gave her a course to follow. Throat singer Tanya Tagaq Gillis, Inuk, thanks school bullies who tormented her—surviving them gave her the determination and resilience to pursue her dreams. Self-styled “Salish geek” Jeffrey Veregge draws on a mixed heritage to create his inventive prints. Children of Alberta’s Horse Lake First Nation share what gives them strength. Tired stereotypes are demolished with sly humor. Cree model Ashley Callingbull satirizes fashion’s appropriation of native dress. But stereotypes aren’t always disempowering, as Kelli Clifton, Tsimshian, points out in her exploration of Disney’s Pocahontas.
Original and accessible, both an exuberant work of art and a uniquely valuable resource. (Anthology. 12-18)