Intro to Lit: Literary History (Indigenous Literatures)

ENG 270: Indigenous Literatures

“This is in part what Indigenous writers offer us: in place of settler colonial curses that disfigure or diminish us, our writers plant songs and stories of joy and sorrow, praise and loss, remembrance and hope, rage and defiance and dedication, old memories and new possibilities, deep roots in rich soil. . . In that planting, we renew the world and one another. It’s how we become human.”–Daniel Heath Justice from Why Indigenous Literatures Matter 

In this course, we will explore the works and stories of scholars, activists, places, artists and communities who actively transform and reweave the ways in which we understand, engage with, and survive within occupation and/or colonialism. We will be engaging in discussions on Indigenous literatures across time, cultures, communities, and in different mediums (i.e. song, film, art). We will examine questions such as what are Indigenous literatures? Why do Indigenous literatures matter? How have Indigenous literatures transformed and taken shape over time? How can Indigenous literatures help to inform, bridge, and cultivate love and connections with other Indigenous communities? In what ways do Indigenous literatures entertain and reinforce specific ideologies? How, why, by, and for whom are these literatures being adapted today?

Format: Synchronous, TR, 10:30am-11:45am

Required Texts (subject to change) 

The True Story of Kaluaikoolau as Told by His Wife Piilani by Piʻilani Koʻolau

The Gift is in the Making: Anishnaabeg Stories by Leanne Simpson

Freelove by Sia Figiel

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

There, There by Tommy Orange

Other readings by authors such as: Noelani Goodyear-Ka’ōpua, Mary Kawena Pukui, Haunani-Kay Trask, Patricia Grace, Daniel Heath Justice, Sarah Nākoa, Thomas King, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Epeli Hauʻofa, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner and more will be made available online.

Course Films (subject to change) 

Whale Rider, 2002.

Stop motion animation films by Metis filmmaker Amanda Strong

Course Assignments: (subject to change)

Three (3) Major Essays (4-5 pages)

Two (2) Reaction Essays (1-2 pages)

One (1) Community Event Essay (1 page)

Weekly Blog Postings