In this Book

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
summary

In From the Iron House: Imprisonment in First Nations Writing, Deena Rymhs identifies continuities between the residential school and the prison, offering ways of reading “the carceral”—that is, the different ways that incarceration is constituted and articulated in contemporary Aboriginal literature. Addressing the work of writers like Tomson Highway and Basil Johnston along with that of lesser-known authors writing in prison serials and underground publications, this book emphasizes the literary and political strategies these authors use to resist the containment of their institutions.

The first part of the book considers a diverse sample of writing from prison serials, prisoners’ anthologies, and individual autobiographies, including Stolen Life by Rudy Wiebe and Yvonne Johnson, to show how these works serve as second hearings for their authors—an opportunity to respond to the law’s authority over their personal and public identities while making a plea to a wider audience. The second part looks at residential school narratives and shows how the authors construct identities for themselves in ways that defy the institution’s control. The interactions between these two bodies of writing—residential school accounts and prison narratives—invite recognition of the ways that guilt is colonially constructed and how these authors use their writing to distance themselves from that guilt.

Offering new ways of reading Native writing, From the Iron House is a pioneering study of prison literature in Canada and situates its readings within international criticism of prison writing. Contributing to genre studies and theoretical understandings of life writing, and covering a variety of social topics, this work will be relevant to readers interested in indigenous studies, Canadian cultural studies, postcolonial studies, auto/biography studies, law, and public policy.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. Acknowledgements
  2. p. ix
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-22
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  1. Part I. Genre in the Institutional Setting of the Prison
  2. pp. 23-28
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  1. 1. Barred Subject: Leonard Peltier’s Prison Writings
  2. pp. 29-39
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  1. 2. James Tyman’s Inside Out: An Autobiography by a Native Canadian
  2. pp. 40-48
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  1. 3. Auto/biographical Jurisdictions: Collaboration, Self-Representation, and the Law in Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman
  2. pp. 49-66
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  1. 4. Prison Collections and Periodicals
  2. pp. 67-82
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  1. Part II. Genre in the Institutional Setting of the Residential School
  2. pp. 83-87
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  1. 5. A Residential School Memoir: Basil Johnston’s Indian School Days
  2. pp. 88-100
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  1. 6. “It is the law”: Disturbing the Authoritative Word in Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen
  2. pp. 101-108
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  1. 7. Hated Structures and Lost Talk: Making Poetry Bear the Burden
  2. pp. 109-114
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  1. 8. Autobiography as Containment: Jane Willis’s Geniesh: An Indian Girlhood
  2. pp. 115-124
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 125-128
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 129-138
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 139-146
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781554581269
Print ISBN
9781554580217
MARC Record
OCLC
244637464
Pages
162
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
N
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