In Keetsahnak / Our Murdered and Missing Indigenous Sisters, the tension between personal, political, and public action is brought home starkly as the contributors look at the roots of violence and how it diminishes life for all. Together, they create a model for anti-violence work from an Indigenous perspective. They acknowledge the destruction wrought by colonial violence, and also look at controversial topics such as lateral violence, challenges in working with "tradition," and problematic notions involved in "helping." Through stories of resilience, resistance, and activism, the editors give voice to powerful personal testimony and allow for the creation of knowledge. It's in all of our best interests to take on gender violence as a core resurgence project, a core decolonization project, a core of Indigenous nation building, and as the backbone of any Indigenous mobilization. —Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Kim Anderson, Stella August, Tracy Bear, Christi Belcourt, Robyn Bourgeois, Rita Bouvier, Maria Campbell, Maya Ode'amik Chacaby, Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group, Susan Gingell, Michelle Good, Laura Harjo, Sarah Hunt, Robert Alexander Innes, Beverly Jacobs, Tanya Kappo, Tara Kappo, Lyla Kinoshameg, Helen Knott, Sandra Lamouche, Jo-Anne Lawless, Debra Leo, Kelsey T. Leonard, Ann-Marie Livingston, Brenda Macdougall, Sylvia Maracle, Jenell Navarro, Darlene R. Okemaysim-Sicotte, Pahan Pte San Win, Ramona Reece, Kimberly Robertson, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Beatrice Starr, Madeleine Kétéskwew Dion Stout, Waaseyaa'sin Christine Sy, Alex Wilson
"Indigenous women, these keepers, continue to go missing and be murdered in staggering numbers in Canada. This new collection of essays, most of which were written by Indigenous women scholars and activists, was edited by Campbell, Kim Anderson, and Christie Belcourt. The essays look at the violence against, the challenges facing, and the action taken by their sisters in this country."
— Laura Kupcis, Prairie Books Now, June 2018
"The stories in this book are presented with power, truth, humility, and beauty. They reveal complexities of women's lives that cannot be adequately reflected in statistics on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women."
— Hilary N. Weaver, January 2018
"Many chapters in Keetsahnak will appeal to academic and non-academic thinkers and teachers alike - allowing readers to think holistically about community remembrance, mourning, celebration and healing."
— Tracey Lindberg, July 2019
"Keetsahnak will be a staple resource in future research on violence against Indigenous women and girls....future historians and critics studying Indigenous resistance, both at the barricades and through artistic production, will want this book on their shelves."
— Margery Fee, January 2019
"The essays in Keetsahnak outline historical, legal, cultural, philosophical, and psychological perspectives on the topic of missing and murdered women in Canada. Their power is in detailing the affective consequences of living in pain, grief, rage; simultaneously they offer strategic examples of resilience, legal challenges, and paradigm shifts. There is an immediate and personal tone to each essay that provides a transparency to the process and a depth to the volume, reminding us that we have all been affected by the horrors of this reality. This is a serious and important read… [A]n excellent resource for university students taking courses in the fields of sociology, Indigenous Studies, Women Studies, or Social Work.”
— Michelle LaFlamme, The Pacific Rim Review of Books, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Winter/Spring 2020)
"If one wishes to examine this international issue of concern on a personal level, wherein the subject is deeply internalized by many Indigenous women and then shared thoughtfully with the reader, this is a good book with which to do so."
— Wendelin Hume, Great Plains Quarterly, February 2021
"Contributors to the anthology include family members of MMIWG2S, survivors of violence, activists, artists, counsellors, lawyers, and academics who provide insights from unique vantage points. Their incisive analyses offer us compelling testimonies, models of accountability and care, and proposals for action. Rooted in deeply personal stories, these pieces remind us that antiviolence organizing and theory must emerge out of everyday lived experiences.... Keetsahnak is imbued with an urgent call to rethink, complicate, and deepen our understandings of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people."
— Caroline Fidan Tyler Doenmez, Native and Indigenous Studies, Spring 2021
"Keetsahnak defies categorisation. The book is fundamentally a collective project that seeks to understand and raise awareness of the issue of MMIWG2S, examining the roots of the violence and registering the resilience of Indigenous peoples. Through chapters that are at once political and personal, intimate and analytical, the volume brings together over 35 contributors to honour Indigenous lives. Yet, the volume emphasises the need for action as well as remembrance... [The] lessons borne out of Keetsahnak’s wide-ranging dialogue are invaluable for Indigenous and allied scholars, policy makers, and activists working to bring an end to this crisis."
— Rebecca Macklin, British Journal of Canadian Studies, Autumn 2021
“Keetsahnak / Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters will be welcomed by members of Indigenous communities, scholars and students, and all those who are open to the overarching story of resiliency and resistance being shared.”
— Robina Thomas, University of Victoria, August 2018
Table of Contents:
I | All Our Relations
1 Voices from the Downtown Eastside
DEBRA LEO, BEATRICE STARR & STELLA AUGUST
DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE POWER OF WOMEN GROUP
2 Honouring Women
3 Sacred Sisters and Sacred Circles
A Story of One Nehiyawak Family and the Power of Spirit
4 Honouring Elsie
Was She Just a Dream?
ANN-MARIE LIVINGSTON & SARAH HUNT
II | The Violence of History
5 Generations of Genocide
The Historical and Sociological Context of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
6 A Tradition of Violence
Dehumanization, Stereotyping, and Indigenous Women
7 The (Un)Making of Property Gender Violence and the Legal Status of Long Island Algonquian Women
KELSEY T. LEONARD
8 (The Missing Chapter) On Being Missing
From Indian Problem to Indian Problematic
MAYA ODE’AMIK CHACABY
III | Challenges
9 Violence and Extraction
Stories from the Oil Fields
HELEN KNOT T
10 Skirting the Issues
Indigenous Myths, Misses, and Misogyny
11 The Moose in the Room
Indigenous Men and Violence against Women
ROBERT ALEXANDER INNES & KIM ANDERSON
12 Considering Wenonah, Considering Us
WAASEYAA’SIN CHRISTINE SY
13 Centring Resurgence
Taking on Colonial Gender Violence in Indigenous Nation Building
LEANNE BETASAMOSAKE SIMPSON
IV | Action, Always
14 Iskwewuk E-wischiwitochik
Saskatchewan Community Activism to Address Missing and Murdered
Indigenous Women and Girls
DARLENE R. OKEMAYSIM-SICOT TE, SUSAN GINGELL &
15 Woman Sacred
PAHAN PTE SAN WIN
16 Leading with Our Hearts
Anti-Violence Action and Beadwork Circles as Colonial Resistance
LAURA HARJO, JENELL NAVARRO & KIMBERLY ROBERTSON
Sitting in with Sisters
KIM ANDERSON, TRACY BEAR, CHRISTI BELCOURT, MARIA CAMPBELL, MAYA ODE’AMIK CHACABY, TANYA KAPPO, TARA KAPPO, LYLA KINOSHAMEG, JO-ANNE LAWLESS, BRENDA MACDOUGALL, SYLVIA MARACLE, RAMONA REECE, MADELEINE KÉTÉSKWEW DION STOUT
About the Editors:
Kim Anderson is a Metis writer and Associate Professor at the University of Guelph.
Maria Campbell (born 6 of 26 Apr 1940 near Athlone, Edmonton) is a Métis author, playwright, broadcaster, filmmaker, and Elder. Campbell is a fluent speaker of four languages: Cree, Michif, Saulteaux, and English. Park Valley is located 80 miles northwest of Prince Albert. Her first book was the memoir Halfbreed (1973), which continues to be taught in schools across Canada, and which continues to inspire generations of indigenous women and men. Four of her published works have been published in eight countries and translated into four other languages (German, Chinese, French, Italian).
Christi Belcourt is a Michif visual artist from Manito Sahkahigan (Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta). She is a lead co-ordinator for the Walking With Our Sisters commemoration.