Deanna Reder, professor of Indigenous literature. Photo credit: Greg Ehlers


Cree-Métis prof earns top academic honour

May 13, 2019

Deanna Reder, a Cree-Métis professor of Indigenous literature who works in both the Department of First Nations Studies (chair) and the Department of English, has been named to the Royal Society’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Membership in the college is one of Canada’s highest academic honours. New members are nominated by current college members, Royal Society Fellows, and institutional members. The new members are selected based on demonstrated levels of high achievement in their early careers.

Reder has exemplified outstanding leadership and scholarship in her many contributions to the growing field of Indigenous literary studies. Her research focuses on previously unpublished work by Indigenous writers—Edward Ahenakew, Vera Manuel, James Brady, Maria Campbell, Alootook Ipellie—in order to bring attention to the longstanding and critically neglected Indigenous archive.

Her work challenges the assumption that there is a divide between the oral and the literary, and champions autobiography as both Indigenous intellectual tradition and theoretical practice. She has worked collaboratively with other Canadian scholars to produce some of the first anthologies on Indigenous fiction and literary criticism in Canada. Currently, she is producing a major database on Indigenous writing in northern North America up until 1992.

She is a founding member of the Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA), established in 2013, and was its second president. She also co-chairs the Indigenous Voices Awards, which support emerging Indigenous writers.

“Canadians have been deprived of impressive, provocative, challenging and visionary writing by Indigenous authors, some who have written before Canada began,” says Reder. “My work is to bring these authors back into scholarly conversations and public access while at the same time celebrating a new generation of upcoming writers.”