- Coyote and Raven Go Canoeing: Coming Home to the Village
rich with witty often politically incisive coinages peter cole's Coyote and Raven Go Canoeing: Coming Home to the Village shape-shifts a word that evokes the book's tone and style: po/l/emic
framed as a canoe journey designed to get the paddlers back to the values of indigenous village life the book is characteristically performative engages in multiple forms of narrative inquiry and is powered by both a sense of injustices to indigenous peoples and a vision of more equitable and respectful relations with forest- four-legged winged- and human nations
often scathing the po/l/emic spares nobody (employment equity and affirmative action are charged with giving precedence to women over all other groups) but cole's solutions are concrete whether framed as raven's one step program: 'leave us alone' coyote's assessment of the need for a 'joint federally/provincially funded research chair on the "first peoples holocaust["] in every region of canada' or contribution to 'the transformation plan of the "head sshrcer"' (cole argues the organization should work with first nations communities and their scholars [what of the inuit and metis, peter?] 'to co-create a national aboriginal council [nac] which would be composed of only aboriginal people who would decide who would be awarded first nations funding')
Raven (squawking to coyote): you'd think she'd want to mention how the shape-shifting quality of that word po/l/emic suggests the ways our presence in this book animates it!
Coyote: arooo! you'd think she'd know to start by making clear that our tracks are everywhere in this book from the graphics of our paw and claw prints in the margins to the attempts to carry across to the page by using various kinds of conversational style our habitat in the oral traditions of turtle island peoples it's our spirit that informs the shape-shifting of academic discourse making it more hospitable to indigenous ways of knowing and being and expressing [End Page 166]
Sag(ging reviewer): this book implicitly questions whether current forms of academic discourse don't prevent some kinds of things from getting said and nothing makes clearer the challenge cole is making to the 'hege/money' of WEStern academic methodologies than his including in his list of references 'Coyote (outside of time). Personal communication.' oral tradition is as legitimate a source as any printed text he's saying
Wes: he'd like his readers to believe that his refusal to respect either the difference between the creative and the critical or the disciplinary boundaries between environmental studies (the back cover claims he's an environmental studies professor) indigenous studies education political studies history philosophy the performing arts sociology (the list could go on) IS ACTUALLY PRODUCTIVE AND SHOULD BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY! he seems to think he can talk about everything and use a mish-mash of methodologies to do so
Raven: wrakkk on peter
Coyote: WES is so busy getting his knickers in a knot he doesn't seem to notice that laughter and the serious business of scholarship journey happily together in this work
Wes: anyone who thinks it's legitimate to interview books and let tricksters and caricatures of westerners contribute to the conversation or to report snippets of conference presentations taking presenters' comments out of context needs to be told otherwise just talking mostly about past unfortunate educational experiences to friends he visits during his publicly funded travels transcribing that talk and calling that research – well! need I say more?
Sag: one thing that troubles me is the name-calling cole engages in apples (red on the outside, white on the in) coconuts (brown out, white in) get sarcastically dismissed rather than analyzed as products of oppressive power relations naming oppressors and oppressive conditions is one thing but isn't there a difference between naming and name-calling?
cole's anger at wie's (white indian experts) is contextualized by the tricksters musing 'I wonder how...