Read, Listen, Tell: Indigenous Stories from Turtle Island

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipients: Sophie McCall and Deanna Reder, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Project team: Jeannette Armstrong, Richard Van Camp and Eden Robinson, author interviewees, Rachel Taylor, Natalie Knight, and Rachel Ward, research assistant, Ian Balfour, videographer and video editor.

Timeframe: May 2016 to August 2017

Funding: $5,000  

Course addressed: ENGL 844 – Read, Listen, Tell: Indigenous Stories from Turtle Island

Final report: View Sophie McCall's final report (PDF)

Description: Read, Listen, Tell: Indigenous Stories from Turtle Island is the first critical reader of Indigenous literature that spans “Turtle Island” or North America, including Canada, the US, and Mexico. The reader’s goal is to transform literary method in the field of critical Indigenous literary studies. Firmly grounded in Indigenous research methods, the book explores core concepts at the heart of Indigenous literary criticism, such as the relations between land, language, identity and community; the variety of narrative forms in Indigenous literature; and the continuities between oral and written forms of expression. Read, Listen, Tell uses literary methods that build on and extend two decades of scholarly work to centre Indigenous knowledges, perspectives, and approaches in the field of Indigenous literary studies.

This project will focus on creating video recordings of author interviews. These interviews bring the voices and perspectives of the Indigenous writers into the classroom. Because I teach primarily contemporary literature, classroom visits by authors (especially Indigenous authors) are a vital part of my pedagogy and my sense of responsibility as a non-Indigenous instructor. However, inviting authors is not always feasible. These interview videos will be accompanied by questions that link the interviews to the authors’ stories, and help the students understand the personal and social contexts surrounding the stories.

In addition to creating these videos, I will create accompanying teaching activities and materials, pilot them with my peers and then test them out in my graduate course English 844, part of the Masters for Teachers of English (MATE) program, in spring 2017.

Knowledge sharing: I will facilitate a discussion of how the videos can supplement classroom learning and present my plans for the website at a lunch time or late afternoon presentation in my department.

I will attend a conference and present my findings about the usefulness of the interviews and the proposed website in Spring/Summer 2017. This will help conceptualize and design the follow-up website project.

McCall, S., Reder, D., Gaertner, D., & L'Hirondelle Hill, G. (Eds.) (2017). Read, listen, tell: Indigenous stories from Turtle Island. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Keywords: website design; videos;author interviews; course materials design; Indigenous content; questionaires; teaching journal; teaching reflections; classroom observation; Indigenous literatures; stories; Turtle Island; writing and storytelling; centering Indigenous methods of reading and interpreting; tribally specific and trans-Indigenous approaches to literary analysis; land; communities; Indigenous languages; stories in translation; as-told-to narratives