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A photo of the cover page and Alicia Elliott- the Author.

“Is there a language of depression? Depression often seems to me like the exact opposite of language. It takes your tongue, your thoughts, your self-worth and leaves an empty vessel. Not that different from colonialism, actually.”

In her mind-blowing collection of essays, Alicia Elliot, a Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River, encapsulates personal trauma due to Canada’s on-going systematic injustices. By retelling her lived experiences, Elliot brilliantly addresses the legal systems’ problems and their attempts to ‘reconcile’ the trauma of Indigenous communities. What’s really interesting about her writing is that it directly addresses the readers; there are multiple places within her essays. She asks questions about the art of writing and language. I find this fascinating because she takes her readings through her writing process; she lets us into her private, mental space, making this piece a metafiction. Particularly in the first chapter, A Mind Spread Out On The Ground, where she explains facets of depression using analogies comparing the mental state with colonialism- seen in the quote above. She simultaneously compares language and colonialism to depression, two drastically different systems, yet she explains her comparisons. The language she says is ‘opposite’ of depression, in which she associates language with liberation and depression, which ‘takes away your tongue.’ And while expanding her definition of depression, she mentions how this devastating state of mind isn’t different from colonialism. …


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A photo of Arielle Twist-the author of ‘Disintegrate Dissociate’ -photo obtained from her official Instagram Account

I am trying to figure out how to be in this world without wanting it.” — Billy-Ray Belcourt

I open my reflection with a quote from Billy-Ray Belcourt, highlighted at the very beginning of Arielle Twist’s Disentigrate Dissociate to inform the prevalent subject matter at hand-the struggles to live in this cruel world! Arielle Twist- a Nehiyaw, Two-Spirit, sex educator is a part of the Cree community, and she has crafted a brilliant poetic memoir called Disentigrate Dissociate which opens up deep struggles a person is ‘forced’ to feel when they truly embrace themselves. This memoir touches upon transgender Indigenous identity and Indigenous kinship. I will focus on the struggles of being a transgender Indigenous person that Twist expresses within her poems. Almost every poem reflects the struggles of any human finding a place in this sexist, racist, and power-oriented society. In my attempt to write a reflection on this incredible and fearless poetry, I want to emphasize the overarching themes pertaining to the self — the struggles of placing oneself into the world, self-doubting her identity, and then accepting the distance one might feel once they embrace their true self. This memoir is packed with the idea of fitting in alongside the guilt of feeling true to yourself. …


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When I was buying I Am Still Too Much by Brandi Bird, the title immediately caught my attention. The statement “ I Am Still Too Much” holds a certain intimacy that intrigued me. There is a sense of self-awareness that comes across from saying I am too much, a certain sense of acknowledgment, I suppose. Just from reading the title, I knew that the perfectly sized, convenient book would unfold deeper conflicts regarding one’s identity and concept of self-awareness. While reading this intelligently crafted, poetic chronicle I was inclined to read more about the speaker of the poems, Brandi Bird. They are a part of the Cree, Saulteaux, and Metis community, grew up on Territory 1 in Winnipeg, and this physical, geographic space is highly significant in the book. Their book is a fascinating collection of loss, trauma, displacement, and self-identity. …

Laraib Khan

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