Precious little: a novel

Fouillard, Camille (2017) Precious little: a novel. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This novel is an exploration of my participation, as a white French-Canadian woman and educator, in a people's inquiry—an Innu community self-examination after six children died in a house fire in Davis Inlet, Labrador in 1992. It is an attempt to make meaning and learn from my 35 years of living and working with the Innu in various capacities, often from the privileged perspective of an invited guest. The research encompasses reflexive autobiography and creative writing as methods of inquiry (Clandinin 1994, Neilsen et al 2001, Ellis and Bochner 2003, Richardson 2003, Sinner et al 2006, Leavy 2013). The act of writing meshes memories and creativity, interweaving stories and voices, conversations with Innu colleagues and mentors, professors and friends; snippets of letters, emails, journals, photographs and musty files; as well as multiple readings of a wide variety of texts. I explore embodied experiences, thoughts, emotions, intuition, silences, dreams and other uncharted and unarticulated nuances, complexities, layers and territories of my work with the Innu. Postcolonial, Indigenous, feminist and critical race scholars inform investigations of representation and voice—both mine and Innu—within constructs of power, culture, class, race, gender, appropriation, subversion and complicity. I challenge assumptions about research, knowledge, truth, universality, translation, worldview and how these assumptions have failed the Innu (Spivak 1988, hooks 1990, Battiste 2004). The writing is an exercise in decolonizing my mind, of learning to learn from the disenfranchised and practicing a pedagogy of love (Freire 1970). This work responds to a call from Gail Valaskakis (2005) for new Canadian narratives to replace existing ones that pit First Peoples and newcomers against each other. The novel serves as data in support of my research, as well as a representation and report of my findings.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 12640
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 202-214) -- Restricted until August 31, 2025.
Keywords: postcolonialism, Innu, cultural translation, narrative research, fiction as research, indigenous
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: April 2017
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Innu Indians -- Newfoundland and Labrador -- Davis Inlet -- Social conditions -- Fiction; Indigenous children -- Newfoundland and Labrador -- Davis Inlet -- Social conditions -- Fiction; Social problems -- Newfoundland and Labrador -- Davis Inlet; Davis Inlet (N.L.) -- Social conditions -- Fiction

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