Rachel Bryant in The Homing Place calls for a process of listening to the stories that Indigenous peoples have been telling about this continent since before the arrival of European settlers centuries ago. In doing so, Bryant performs this process herself, creating a model for listening and incorporating Indigenous stories, and deferring to Indigenous knowledge structures to demonstrate how those structures can transform settler understandings of history and place.
The study addresses two closely related questions: (1) How and why did settlers and their descendants assume a semblance of indigeneity on territories that already had Indigenous populations? and (2) How can this phenomenon of assumed indigeneity be challenged and ultimately transcended, at least in an intellectual sense, by settler descendants?
In each chapter, Bryant foregrounds the active ways in which we engage with literature and communities, producing greater awareness of the effects of our activities as readers and writers, as Indigenous peoples and settlers, and as those who make policy and those on whom it has the greatest impact. Elucidating the effects of failure to engage with Indigenous historical, social, and cultural contexts and frameworks, Bryant shows how such failure limits meaningful understanding of Indigenous and settler literatures and history in North America as a whole, and prevents a nuanced understanding of contemporary policy and the vital issues that First Nations are currently raising, concerning not only Indigenous rights, lives, and land but also the effects colonization continues to have on the global community.