Daniel Heath Justice
Why Indigenous Literatures Matter
Wilfrid Laurier University Press 2018
In a remarkable new book, Daniel Heath Justice, an author and professor of First Nations and Indigenous Studies and English at the University of British Columbia, makes an argument for the vitality of Indigenous literatures and their ability to help make sense of our world. Why Indigenous Literatures Matter (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2018) is one-part literary exegesis, one-part memoir, and many parts radical text which calls for, among other things, broader human and non-human kinship, and the use of indigenous literatures to push back against settler colonial forms of erasure and oppression. Justice explores the vibrant universe of over two hundred years of literatures (written and non-written alike), from autobiography to spoken word poetry, to fantasy and wonderworks, in order to make the case that yes, of course indigenous literatures matter; they do so because indigenous people matter. Why Indigenous Literatures Matter thus acts as both indigenous literary bibliography and call to action to people of indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds to read up and take notice of indigenous people speaking back to colonial power structures.
Stephen Hausmann is a doctoral candidate at Temple University and Visiting Instructor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently writing his dissertation, a history of race and the environment in the Black Hills and surrounding northern plains region of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.