In an impressive and powerful first book, Janice Acoose deconstructs stereotypical images of Indigenous women in popular literature. Exposing "literature" as an institution of a Euro-Canadian nation shaped by white, Christian patriarchy, Acoose calls attention to its projections of Indigenous women as Indian princesses, easy squaws, suffering helpless victims and tawny temptresses.
With clarity and depth, Acoose traces the bars of literature imprisoning Indigenous women in images born of racism and sexism. From Margaret Laurence to William Patrick Kinsella, she interrogates the words that hurt, challenging liberalism, upending complacency and leaving the prison doors gaping. Iskwewak: Neither Indian Princesses nor Easy Squaws is a strong addition to literary and cultural criticism and an important resource for teachers and students alike.
Janice Acoose’s roots stem from the Sakimay Indian Reserve and the Marival Métis Community. A writer, researcher, consultant and professor, Acoose resides in Saskatoon and lectures at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College.
"In analyzing the stereotypes of Indigenous women embedded in Canadian literature, mapping out the resistance led by Maria Campbell, and exploring the writings of new Indigenous writers, Acoose offers a powerful antidote to the influence of negative literary images in shaping public policy. Her book deserves a place on the 'must read' list of both literary readers and policy writers."— “Donna Greschner, Chief Commissioner, Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission