Working with SFU’s Indigenous Studies prepared Alix Shield for the work with "Halfbreed" by requiring her to integrate Indigenous ethics and protocols into literary studies, something scholars are not often trained to do.

Persistence is pivotal in major discovery by archive ninja Alix Shield

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Deep in the archives below McMaster University’s library, Alix Shield held two typewritten pages containing a teenage girl’s account of rape by an RCMP officer. Large, red x’s covered the supposedly lost manuscript written 46 years earlier by Métis author Maria Campbell for her seminal autobiography, Halfbreed.

Dissuaded by her grandmother, who was certain that she wouldn’t be believed, Campbell never reported the rape.

Shield, who is a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University’s English department, sent shockwaves through the contemporary Canadian literature community with her extraordinary find. Halfbreed’s publishers McClelland & Stewart removed the rape account without Campbell’s permission when the book was released in 1973 over concerns that the incident was too libelous and that the RCMP would block Halfbreed’s distribution. Despite lacking the pivotal RCMP incident, Halfbreed represented a milestone as one of the first books of Indigenous autobiography by a Métis writer to be published in Canada.

Read more on the Department of English site ...

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