Vera Manuel devoted her life to encouraging others to free ourselves through the use of our personal voices. Telling the truth is disarming, speaking your truth is a generous and healing gift.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Style Guide excerpt & 2 plays about residential school

Deanna Reder:

“In 2006, in my last year of grad school, I had the privilege to see a play by dramatherapist Vera Manuel, daughter of Secwepemc political leader George Manuel and Ktunaxa community worker Marceline Paul. The play was produced in Vancouver by the Helping Spirit Lodge Society and when I went to speak to its director, Geni Manuel, I discovered that she was Vera’s niece. It was in that conversation that Geni gave me several unpublished plays that her association had put together under Vera’s direction. I really wanted to do something with these plays for a long, long time, but was overwhelmed when I began my new job in 2007 and by my uncertainty about what to do with them. At the same time, I was working with Metis scholar Jo-Ann Episkenew and Algonquian scholar Michelle Coupal. At one point, Jo-Ann gave Michelle a photocopy of the only play Vera had ever published, in 1986, which had fallen out of print: Strength of Indian Women about residential school experiences. Jo-Ann insisted: “You’ve got to teach this.” In a later conversation, Michelle told me, “We’ve got to get this play back into publication,” and I realized that this was the chance to work together with her on the plays entrusted to me several years previously. This itself was an amazing chance to work together, but then, a few months later, we bumped into Joanne Arnott, a Metis poet I’ve known for years, only to discover that, in the last year of Vera’s life, Joanne had begun curating a collection of Vera’s poetry. At first it was a shock. Michelle and I immediately recognized that we as academics had a lot more access to publishing and power. What could we do to support a project directed by an independent poet? And then of course it just seemed obvious: we should work together. This snowballed when we connected with Vera’s sister, Emalene, who had saved Vera’s archive. Imagine our sense of wonder when we came across some of Vera’s stories that were written in 1988, stories that are drop-dead gorgeous, needing practically no editing. And suddenly what was going to be “The Plays and Poetry of VeraManuel” became “The Plays, Stories, and Poetry of Vera Manuel.” The title of the volume, due in 2018, is Honouring the Strength of Indian Women.”

Deanna Reder in conversation with Sophie McCall, Culturally Appropriate Publishing Practices, p. 35-6, in Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples
By Gregory Young-Ing © 2018 Brush Education Inc.


Two Plays About Residential School 20th Anniversary edition, paper ed

Two Plays About Residential School (Indigenous Education Press) honours the fearless voices of residential school survivor Larry Loyie (Cree, 1933-2016) and intergenerational survivor Vera Manuel (Secwepemc / Ktunaxa, 1949-2010).

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Arthur Manuel

Photo from AM's facebook offerings
On Wednesday, January 11, 2017, at 11:00 p.m., Arthur Manuel, our beloved father, grandfather, husband, brother, uncle, warrior, and teacher passed away.
Arthur was one of our most determined and outspoken Secwepemc leaders and activists—a pillar in the resistance, known globally for his tireless advocacy for indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination. He passed on into the spirit world surrounded by many generations of his loving family.
Arthur was the son of Marceline Paul of the Ktuanaxa Nation and George Manuel of the Secwepemc Nation. George was a political leader and visionary who served as president of the National Indian Brotherhood and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. Arthur was born into the struggle and groomed to be a leader and defender of indigenous rights and title.
Coming up as a young leader in the 1970s, he served as president of the National Native Youth Association, leading the occupation of Indian Affairs. He attended Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec) and Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto, Ontario). He returned to his community and was elected chief of Neskonlith Indian Band, chair of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, and chair of the Assembly of First Nations Delgamuukw Implementation Strategic Committee.
He was a long-time cochair of the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and former cochair of the global caucus. He was active in the Defenders of the Land and Idle No More movement and as a board member of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples. He was one of the main strategic thinkers of the decolonization movement in Canada.
As the spokesman for the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, he convinced the World Trade Organization to recognize that indigenous peoples are subsidizing the B.C. lumber industry through the nonrecognition of aboriginal title. He was coauthor, along with Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, of the award-winning Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call, with a foreword by his friend and fellow activist Naomi Klein. He worked selflessly in defence of indigenous territorial authority and he fiercely opposed any termination of indigenous land rights. He rejected provincial and federal authority over unceded indigenous land and challenged the extinguishment of indigenous title through the B.C. treaty process.
He fought climate change, battling the imminent threat of pipelines across Secwepemc territory. He was a world traveller who connected indigenous nations across the globe to unite in a common vision and defend their rights. He was gifted a button blanket by the Nuxalk Nation and has received countless honours for his work around the world.
Arthur was also a teacher and a mentor to many. He was a source of knowledge for youth and young leaders. Through his fierce love for his people, he shone a light on the path to justice for a new generation of activists. He’s a residential-school survivor, having attended the Kamloops (Kamloops, B.C.), St Eugene’s (Cranbrook, B.C.), and St. Mary’s (Mission, B.C.) residential schools.
Arthur is survived by his life partner, Nicole Schabus, by his sisters Emaline, Martha, Doreen, and Ida, his brothers George, Richard, and Ara, and by his children, Kanahus, Mayuk, Ska7cis, and Snutetkwe. He is predeceased by his parents, sister Vera, brother Bobby, beloved son Neskie, and his grandchildren Napika Amak and Megenetkwe.
In his most recent article on Canada’s 150th celebration, published only a week before his death, Arthur insisted again that Canada was built entirely on the theft of Indigenous lands:
"Our Indian reserves are only .02% of Canada's land and yet Indigenous peoples are expected to survive on them. This has led to the systematic impoverishment of Indigenous people and the crippling oppression that indigenous peoples suffer under the current colonial system. The .02 land based is used to keep us too poor and too weak to fight back. It is used to bribe and co-opt the Indigenous leadership into becoming neocolonial partners to treat the symptom of poverty on Indian reserves without addressing the root cause of the problem, which is the dispossession of all of the Indigenous territory by Canada and the provinces."—First Nations Strategic Bulletin, August-December 2016 Issue

The Reconciliation Manifesto

Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy

By Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, Preface by Naomi Klein

Unsettling Canada

A National Wake-Up Call

  • Canadian Historical Association Aboriginal History Book Prize, 2016 (Winner)