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Living Racial B/Order in First Nations Canadian Novels: Richard Wagamese’s Keeper’ N Me and Lee Maracle’s Ravensong

Kristina Aurylaitė


The paper discusses two border narratives by First Nations Canadian writers, Richard Wagamese's Keeper'n Me (1994) and Lee Maracle's Ravensong (1993), both constructed upon the motif of the white-indigenous border within Canada's (post)colonial space. While Wagamese's novel is a familiar homecoming narrative, which highlights indigenous people's success in domesticating and appropriating imposed colonial spatial constructs, such as reserves and the restricting racial border, Maracle's text works to hyperbolize the racial segmentation of space, resulting from the absence of cross-cultural interaction. The border here is marked by what Bhabha calls "fixed" differences and prejudice, which preclude active borderline engagements. The border in the novel is the controlling element of the spatial arrangement of the reserve and the town as two adjacent but incompatible segments. Both novels choose to foreground the ways the racial/cultural border is experienced and imagined. In this essay, I discuss the border in terms of contact with and performance for the racial Other, during which cultural differences are negotiated and a racial border constructed, reconstructed, or unsettled.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229