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Reviewed by:
  • Me Tomorrow: Indigenous Views on the Future ed. by Drew H. Taylor
  • Hogan Schaak
Drew H. Taylor, ed. Me Tomorrow: Indigenous Views on the Future. Madeira Park, BC: Douglas & McIntyre, 2021. 224 pp. Paperback, $22.95.

Drew Hayden Taylor, award-winning playwright, novelist, journalist, and screenwriter, returns as compiler and editor to the "Me" series from Douglas & McIntyre in Me Tomorrow: Indigenous Views on the Future. This series of essay anthologies, all compiled and edited by Taylor, are written by Indigenous, Metis, and Inuit authors and include Me Funny (2005), Me Sexy (2012), and Me Artsy (2015). The goal of each anthology is to gather various Indigenous responses to a theme with the goal of introducing readers to Indigenous perspectives without essentializing indigeneity. Me Tomorrow focuses on the theme of "Indigenous futurisms," an offshoot of science fiction (SF) studies first theorized by Grace Dillon in the 2012 Indigenous science fiction short-story and poetry collection Walking the Clouds. The variety of viewpoints included in Me Tomorrow is broad. The authors are poets, teenage Indigenous rights activists, business people, college professors, and more. The goal that links all of these essays together, as the cover of the book tells us, is the "unraveling of linear time." Whereas traditionally White, Western SF relies on the concept of technological advancement enriching (White) human life over time, Indigenous futurism is about imagining a better future by integrating knowledge from the past; specifically, Indigenous pasts silenced in White, Western narratives. In Me Tomorrow, the variety of approaches taken to achieve this goal ranges from the manifesto, to personal narrative, to academic essay, and beyond. Whereas most Indigenous futurism has been written through the mediums of novel, short story, poem, and critical essay, Me Tomorrow includes such genres as personal narrative, self-help essay, and Q&A. The result is a sort of "transmotion" in which certain anti-racist goals are shared among the [End Page 288] writers even as they seem to disagree, at times, on specifics of how that anti-racism should manifest.

For example, Clarence Louie, Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band, cites self-help books such as Steven Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People throughout his essay as he argues for the importance of "seventh-generational thinking." Seventh-generational thinking, a concept a number of the authors in this anthology discuss, is the idea that whatever decisions are made by and for a tribe should be thought about in terms of their effect on those seven generations down the line. The revival of this concept is a perfect example of the kind of Indigenous futurism at the core of Me Tomorrow. Louie, as a businessman and the Osoyoos Indian Band's chief, argues for Indigenous people to take more responsibility with their lives and money as they strive for seventh-generational thinking. His essay relies heavily on the "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" ideology normalized in the self-help genre. This idea, combined with Louie's seventh-generation thinking, results in a unique message that mixes ideals of hyper individuality with community responsibility. Louie encourages tribal members to come together around the values of saving and investing money in property and business ventures.

On the flip side of this, but also steeped in Indigenous futurism, Shelley Knott Fire argues for a decolonization that clearly rejects parts of the more capitalistic ideology held up in Louie's essay. Whereas Louie's message is to stop Indigenous self-pity with positive thinking and to invest wisely in business ventures within Canada, the United States, and beyond, Knott Fire focuses on the cultural differences between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people as she seeks to explore issues such as achievement disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Knott Fire states that "the desire is to have our own worldviews, life principles and established constitutions acknowledged and coexisting with or even incorporated into today's societal norms" (128). Instead of accepting the societal norms and values of White North America, Knott Fire advocates for considering those norms. She claims that one form of Indigenous futurism would be to integrate "Biskaabiyang" into the education systems of North America (129). Biskaabiyang...

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