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Reviewed by:
  • Coyote and Raven Go Canoeing: Coming Home to the Village
  • Susan A. Gingell
Peter Cole . Coyote and Raven Go Canoeing: Coming Home to the Village. McGill-Queen's University Press. xx, 338. $29.95

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...


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