Troubling Tricksters
349 pages

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Troubling Tricksters is a collection of theoretical essays, creative pieces, and critical ruminations that provides a re-visioning of trickster criticism in light of recent backlash against it. The complaints of some Indigenous writers, the critique from Indigenous nationalist critics, and the changing of academic fashion have resulted in few new studies on the trickster. For example, The Cambridge Companion to Native American Literature (2005), includes only a brief mention of the trickster, with skeptical commentary. And, in 2007, Anishinaabe scholar Niigonwedom Sinclair (a contributor to this volume) called for a moratorium on studies of the trickster irrelevant to the specific experiences and interests of Indigenous nations.

One of the objectives of this anthology is, then, to encourage scholarship that is mindful of the critic’s responsibility to communities, and to focus discussions on incarnations of tricksters in their particular national contexts. The contribution of Troubling Tricksters, therefore, is twofold: to offer a timely counterbalance to this growing critical lacuna, and to propose new approaches to trickster studies, approaches that have been clearly influenced by the nationalists’ call for cultural and historical specificity.



Publié par
Date de parution 10 février 2010
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781554582051
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0070€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Indigenous Studies Series The Indigenous Studies Series builds on the successes of the past and is inspired by recent critical conversations about Indigenous epistemological frameworks. Recognizing the need to encourage burgeoning scholarship, the series welcomes manuscripts drawing upon Indigenous intellectual tradi-tions and philosophies, particularly in discussions situated within the Humanities.
Series Editor: Dr. Deanna Reder (Métis), Assistant Professor, First Nations Studies and English, Simon Fraser University
Advisory Board: Dr. Jo-ann Archibald (Sto:lo), Associate Dean, Indigenous Education, Uni-versity of British Columbia
Dr. Kristina Fagan (Labrador-Métis), Associate Professor, English, Universi-ty of Saskatchewan
Dr. Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee), Associate Professor, Indigenous Stud-ies and English, University of Toronto
Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn (Piikani), Associate Professor, Archaeology, Director of First Nations Studies, Simon Fraser University
For more information, please contact: Lisa Quinn Acquisitions Editor Wilfrid Laurier University Press 75 University Avenue West Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5 Canada Phone: 519-884-0710 ext. 2843 Fax: 519-725-1399 Email:
Deanna Reder and Linda M. Morra, editors
Indigenous studies series
This book has been published with the help of a grant from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, through the Aid to Scholarly Publications Programme, using funds provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing pro-gram. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program for our publishing activities.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Troubling tricksters : revisioning critical conversations / Deanna Reder and Linda M. Morra, editors (Indigenous studies series) Includes bibliographical references and index. Issued also in electronic format. isbn 978-1-55458-181-8 1. Tricksters—North America.2. Tricksters in literature.3. Folk literature, Indian— North America—History and criticism.4. Indians of North America—Folklore.5. Indians of North America—Social life and customs. I. Reder, Deanna [date] II. Morra, Linda M. III. Series: Indigenous studies series (Waterloo, Ont.) ps8089.5.i6t76 2010 398.2089'97 c2009-904028-x
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Troubling tricksters [electronic resouce] : revisioning critical conversations / Deanna Reder and Linda M. Morra, editors (Indigenous studies series) Includes bibliographical. Electronic monograph. Issued also in print format. isbn 978-1-55458-205-1 1. Tricksters—North America.2. Tricksters in literature.3. Folk literature, Indian— North America—History and criticism.4. Indians of North America—Folklore.5. Indians of North America—Social life and customs. I. Reder, Deanna [date] II. Morra, Linda M. III. Series: Indigenous studies series (Waterloo, Ont.) ps8089.5.i6t76 2010a398.2089'97
Cover image:Wesakichak5, by Steve Keewatin Sanderson. Cover design by Martyn Schmoll. Text design by Catharine Bonas-Taylor.
©2010Wilfrid Laurier University Press Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
This book is printed on FSC recycled paper and is certified Ecologo. It is made from100%post-con-sumer fibre, processed chlorine free, and manufactured using biogas energy. Printed in Canada Every reasonable effort has been made to acquire permission for copyright material used in this text, and to acknowledge all such indebtedness accurately. Any errors and omissions called to the publisher’s attention will be corrected in future printings. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the publisher or a licence from The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright). For an Access Copyright licence, visit or call toll free to1-800-893-5777.
PREFACE/ vii Deanna Reder A PREFACE: RUMINATIONS ABOUTTROUBLING TRICKSTERS/ xi Linda Morra LOOKING BACK TO THE “TRICKSTER MOMENT” What’s the Trouble with the Trickster?: An Introduction /3 Kristina Fagan
Trickster Reflections: Part I /21 Niigonwedom James Sinclair
The Trickster Moment, Cultural Appropriation, and the Liberal Imagination in Canada /59 Margery Fee
The Anti-Trickster in the Work of Sheila Watson, Mordecai Richler, and Gail Anderson-Dargatz /77 Linda Morra
RAVEN Why Ravens Smile to Little Old Ladies as They Walk By … /95 Richard Van Camp
Gasps, Snickers, Narrative Tricks, and Deceptive Dominant Ideologies: The Transformative Energies of Richard Van Camp’s “Why Ravens Smile to Little Old Ladies as They Walk By …” and/in the Classroom /99 Jennifer Kelly
A Conversation with Christopher Kientz /125 Linda Morra
Personal Totems /135 Sonny Assu RIGOUREAU, NAAPI, AND WESAKECAK Dances with Rigoureau /157 Warren Cariou Naapi in My World /169 Eldon Yellowhorn Sacred Stories in Comic Book Form: A Cree Reading ofDarkness Calls/177 Deanna Reder
COYOTE AND NANABUSH “Coyote Sees the Prime Minister” and “Coyote Goes to Toronto” /195 Thomas King Excerpt fromIndigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit/197 Jo-ann Archibald (Re)Nationalizing Naanabozho: Anishinaabe Sacred Stories, Nationalist Literary Criticism, and Scholarly Responsibility /199 Daniel Morley Johnson Quincentennial Trickster Poetics: Lenore Keeshig-Tobias’s “Trickster Beyond1992: Our Relationship” (1992) and Annharte Baker’s “Coyote Columbus Café” (1994) /221 Judith Leggatt Trickster Reflections: Part II /239 Niigonwedom James Sinclair
TELLING STORIES ACROSS LINES Processual Encounters of the Transformative Kind: Spiderwoman Theatre, Trickster, and the First Act of “Survivance” /263 Jill Carter Diasporic Violences, Uneasy Friendships, andThe Kappa Child/289 Christine Kim “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”: History, Story, and the Cant of Authenticity /307 Thomas King APPENDICES APPENDIXI:The Magazine to Re-establish the Trickster, Front Page /316 APPENDIXII: Let’s Be Our Own Tricksters, Eh /317 Lenore Keeshig-Tobias COPYRIGHT ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS/319
deanna reder
hile it is commonly quipped that the “Indian is a European inven-W 1 tion,” that no Indigenous person in North America called them-selves “Indian” before the arrival of Columbus, in much the same way no Indigenous community had “tricksters”—the term is the invention of a nine-2 teenth-century anthropologist. Instead, the Anishinaabeg told stories about 3 4 Nanabush, the Cree told stories about Wesakecak, the Blackfoot told stories 5 aboutNaapi,theStó:l¯otoldstoriesaboutCoyote,andallthesestoriescon-tinue to be told and retold to this day. That being said, just as many Indige-nous people in North America now refer to themselves as Indians, and many storytellers talk and write about tricksters, drawing not only on traditions in which they may or may not have been raised but also on their imaginations and the work of other Native authors. It has only been since the late1980s that an infrastructure has been established to publish, distribute, and teach Indigenous fiction in Canada. Literary critics, virtually all non-Indigenous, looked for strategies to discuss this literature. The products of the Canadian education system themselves, many were, not surprisingly, uninformed about basic legal terms (What is a Status Indian? Who qualifies as Métis?) and historical contexts (the Indian Act, residential schools, the Sixties Scoop), never mind the rich and intri-cate epistemologies and storytelling genres of individual Indigenous nations. One way in which critics sought to begin critical conversations and surmount this lack of background was to draw upon discussions in postmodernism, post-colonialism, and the work in the U.S. on and by Gerald Vizenor. Trick-ster criticism emerged as one of the first critical approaches for Indigenous
literature in Canada, an approach that at one point became so popular that in recent years it has become somewhat of a cliché. This volume seeks to reignite interest in trickster criticism, albeit not the discussions of old. Twenty-first-century trickster criticism is influenced by the recent work of nationalist critics who have called for ethical literary studies that are responsible to Indigenous people and communities. More often than not this requires that scholars identify themselves in relation to their material and to the nation they write about. This means that critics must not only have an understanding of the particular context from which a story emerges but also that they imagine their audience to include Indigenous 6 people, whether as scholars, students, or general community members. It is no exaggeration to state that this volume marks the coming of age for Indigenous literary studies in Canada, an area marked by an awkward absence of Indigenous scholars, reflecting the often poor ability of universities, espe-cially literature departments, to attract and engage Indigenous students. This is not to suggest that the study of Indigenous literatures be limited to Indigenous people, but rather that this absence is somewhat akin to having Women’s Stud-ies departments fully staffed by men. For this reason it is an encouraging sign that this volume contains the work of several emerging Indigenous critics, some still completing their doctoral work alongside more senior scholars, including a Canada Research Chair and an Associate Dean for Indigenous Education. As is said in the territory where I live and work, following Coast Salish protocol: “I raise my hands to you.” This anthology also includes the work of non-Indigenous critics who have long been part of and helped grow this field, as well as junior scholars trying to find their place in cultural approaches: “I raise my hands to you.” This volume also includes discussions with or reflections from visual artists (and one archaeologist), as well as the work of established writers, whose writ-ing continues to encourage us: “I raise my hands to you.” And to Lisa Quinn at Wilfrid Laurier University Press, who has been an enthusiastic supporter from the beginning, and to my co-editor, Linda Morra, who first invited me to work with her on this project, who is a crackerjack editor, an absolutely delightful person to collaborate with, and I suspect the hardest working critic in the field: “I raise my hands to you.” Hai Hai.
Notes 1See Louis Owens,Mixedblood Messages: Literature, Film, Family, Place(Norman: U of Oklahoma P,2001),116. 2The term “tricksters” is attributed to nineteenth-century anthropologist Daniel Brinton, who first used the word to describe the category of characters found
3 4 5 6
within Indigenous mythic traditions. As Suzanne J. Crawford and Dennis F. Kel-ley argue, this term has negative connotations; seeAmerican Indian Religious Tra-ditions: An Encyclopedia(Oxford: ABC-CLIO,2005),1123. Also called Nenabush, Nanabozho, Wenabozho, etc. Also called Wisakechak, Wesakaychak, Wisakedjag, etc. Also called Old Man, Napi, Napiw, etc. This approach is timely, a way to shift the focus of research from the effects of col-onization to the contributions and potential of Indigenous worldviews. I suspect that the next generation of literary critics might very well return to pan-Indian approaches in the discussion of literature, because national or tribal specific approaches are unlikely to satisfy or resonate with a growing urban Indigenous readership, many of whom have no connection to home communities, language, or culture, and identify instead with the cities in which they live. Because the term “pan-Indian” is associated with the monolithic homogenous notion of the “Indian,” I wonder if the powwow term, “inter-tribal,” might better explain future approaches that hold within them possibilities to unify and celebrate our belong-ing together. Until then, however, I look forward to the particular tack that the field has taken, to rely upon the intellectual contributions of Indigenous nations to provide new ways of reading.
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