An inclusive collection of essays and art,
The Land We Are (Arbeiter Ring Publishing) covers a lot of ground as it digs into the current era of reconciliation in Canada to better twig its roots and ends. The book gathers artists and academics to give us a better sense of Indigenous-settler relations and sparks questions of what those relations might look like in the future. Publisher ARP tells us more, below.
To celebrate Canada150, we’re turning the page on the most celebrated historical moments and highlighting the footnotes for a change. Take a trip down literary lane with us as we share books on aspects of Canadian history and notable people that don’t always get due attention.
TB: The Land We Are was published to mark the release of the final report of Truth and Reconciliation Commission in December 2015. The book is the result of a four-year collaboration between artists, writers, and scholars engaged with questions of what reconciliation between Indigenous and settler people is. Although there is great interest in reconciliation, there is little agreement about what it means and what its goals are.
The Land We Are is a major contribution to addressing reconciliation. Its essays and artistic contributions offer a narrative of Indigenous/settler relations and also serves as a catalyst for conversation of what social justice might look like.
A key feature of the book is its emphasis on collaboration—with artists and scholars from various backgrounds, such as Métis, Blackfoot, Secwepemc, Ukranian-Canadian, and Japanese-Canadian, working together, including editing and responding to one another’s contribution—to address reconciliation in the spirit of decolonization.
ALU: What impact do you think this work has on Canadian culture/history?
TB: The Land We Are is important as it serves as an example of how artists, curators, and scholars can engage or resist how reconciliation is presented or implemented as a policy and examines what the benefits of pursuing alternative concepts—conciliation, restitution, redress, revolution—might be. The result is a ground-breaking book that practices and demonstrates new ways of collaborating.
Thanks to Todd for answering our questions. Remember, buying a copy of
The Land We Aremeans you get a 2017 poster-calendar, too.
Also, don't forget to follow along with the rest of our #ALUneverforget picks on the
Instagram as we book-hop through the centuries, and check out our
history timeline showcasing still more books that tell Canadian history like it is, or should we say, was.
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