Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 16
- Grade: 11
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.
About the author
Janice Acoose holds a PhD from the University of Saskatchewan and is a Sessional Lecturer with the Northern Teacher Education Program, an activist-educator, and an internationally recognized Indigenous literary critic, writer, researcher, and consultant. Her roots stem from the Sakimay First Nation and the Marival Métis community.
"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
Iskwewak: Kah’ Ki Yaw Ni Wahkomakanak / Neither Indian Princesses Nor Easy SquawsThis scholarly book examines the stereotypes and misrepresentations of Aboriginal women in Canadian literature. These images are often unrealistic and promote racism and prejudice. Acoose outlines the dangers that exist when non-Aboriginal writers write about Aboriginal characters. She exposes the works of literature that treat Aboriginal women in a derogatory way and the effect it may have on the reader. She offers a powerful antidote to the influence of negative literary images in shaping collective thought.
Acoose is an Associate Professor with the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College.
Caution: Some of the personal accounts are sexually violent.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2008-2009.