In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel initiates myriad conversations about the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. An advocate for Indigenous worldviews, the author discusses the fundamental issues—the terminology of relationships; culture and identity; myth-busting; state violence; and land, learning, law and treaties—along with wider social beliefs about these issues. She answers the questions that many people have on these topics to spark further conversations at home, in the classroom, and in the larger community.
Chelsea Vowel is Métis from manitow-sâkahikan (Lac Ste. Anne) Alberta, currently residing in amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton). Mother to six girls, Chelsea is a public intellectual, writer, and educator whose work intersects language, gender, Métis self-determination, and resurgence. Cohost of Indigenous feminist sci-fi podcast Métis in Space, Chelsea blogs at apihtawikosisan.com and makes legendary bannock.
Vowel’s voice and personality remain present throughout each essay. Her use of vernacular, humour, and at times, sarcasm add layers of meaning, underscore arguments and carry her and her readers through discussions of infuriating facts and difficult, often painful issues.
While subtitled A Guide to First Nations, Métis and Inuit Issues in Canada, it would be a mistake to see Indigenous Writes as a book primarily about Indigenous people. Instead, it is much more about all of us — our relationship as non-Indigenous and Indigenous Canadians, and how it has been shaped (and misshaped) by the historic and contemporary governance of these issues.
For any Canadian who wishes to have an informed opinion about the country that we share — or, more to the point, publicly share that opinion — Indigenous Writes is essential reading.
Chelsea attacks issues head on, with humour and wit, sarcasm and cynicism and clear, concise and well-organized information. She makes further research easy, as every chapter includes copious endnotes with links to her curated resources. She explains the terminology of identity — status, non-status, registered, membership, Métis, Inuit, cultural appropriation and two-spiritedness.