Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Eden Robinson. the Sasquatch at Home: Traditional Protocols and Modern Storytelling

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Eden Robinson. the Sasquatch at Home: Traditional Protocols and Modern Storytelling

Article excerpt

Eden Robinson. The Sasquatch at Home: Traditional Protocols and Modern Storytelling. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2011. 49 + xii pp. Foreword. Introduction. Notes. Resource Materials for the Curious. $10.95 sc.

The Sasquatch at Home is Eden Robinson's three-part Kreisel Lecture, presented in Edmonton in 2010. (Appropriately, Henry Kreisel was one of the few non-Natives in Canada who strongly supported Native rights during the 1950s.) The Sasquatch is an excellent companion to Robinson's widely popular novel Monkey Beach, explaining more about--and especially how Robinson herself learned about--the traditional teachings embodied in the novel, especially those of the small fish, oolichan, and the powerful herb, oxuli. More important, this is a perfect demonstration of how seamlessly "traditional lore" is embedded in 21st century Haisla and Heiltsuk--and by extension all First Nations--life.

Each of the three sections combines the contemporary with the traditional, something that has been going on for a long time, as Robinson establishes with a quotation from Russian anthropologist Ivan Lopatin, who had done most of his research in Kitimatin in 1930: "I was surprised to discover that the Indians carried on a rather extensive correspondence with the department stores in Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Montreal ..." (3). The text proper begins on the next page with Robinson's introduction of herself, her parents, her lineage, and her Beaver Clan Haisla name. She also explains the Indian names of her sister and her mother. And then she tells of taking her mother, Sea Monster Turning the Other Way, to Graceland. (Monkey Beach readers will remember that the heroine is named Lisa Marie for Elvis's daughter. …

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