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The Homing Place

Indigenous and Settler Literary Legacies of the Atlantic

By Rachel Bryant
Subjects Literary Criticism, History, Canadian Literature, Indigenous Studies
Series Indigenous Studies Hide Details
Hardcover : 9781771122863, 256 pages, October 2017
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781771122894, 256 pages, October 2017
Paperback : 9781771122870, 256 pages, September 2018
Ebook (PDF) : 9781771122887, 256 pages, October 2017

Table of contents

Table of Contents
Introduction: Inscriptions of Possession and Place
Cultural Iconoclasm: John Gyles’s Atlantic Canadian Captivity Narrative
Canadian Exceptionalism: Finding Anna Brownell Jameson in the Anglo Atlantic World
Longing across the Line: Cultural Storytelling in the Northeast Borderlands
Making Words Walk: Joséphine Bacon’s Poetic Tshissinuatshitakana
"A wigwam on the hill": Meeting Rita Joe in Native Space
Cartographic Dissonance: Between Geographies in Douglas Glover’s Elle
Conclusion: The Homing Place


Can literary criticism help transform entrenched Settler Canadian understandings of history and place? How are nationalist historiographies, insular regionalisms, established knowledge systems, state borders, and narrow definitions continuing to hinder the transfer of information across epistemological divides in the twenty-first century? What might nation-to-nation literary relations look like?
Through readings of a wide range of northeastern texts – including Puritan captivity narratives, Wabanaki wampum belts, and contemporary Innu poetry – Rachel Bryant explores how colonized and Indigenous environments occupy the same given geographical coordinates even while existing in distinct epistemological worlds. Her analyses call for a vital and unprecedented process of listening to the stories that Indigenous peoples have been telling about this continent for centuries. At the same time, she performs this process herself, creating a model for listening and for incorporating those stories throughout.
This commitment to listening is analogous to homing – the sophisticated skill that turtles, insects, lobsters, birds, and countless other beings use to return to sites of familiarity. Bryant adopts the homing process as a reading strategy that continuously seeks to transcend the distortions and distractions that were intentionally built into Settler Canadian culture across centuries.


  • Joint winner, AUP Book Jacket and Journal Show Selected Entry 2018
  • Short-listed, Atlantic Book Awards for Scholarly Writing 2018
  • Winner, Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick Book Award for Non-Fiction 2017


The Homing Place enacts and advocates for a paradigm shift in ‘literary relations’ in North America, revealing the ’invisible wall ’ in colonial perceptions that may at first seem as impermeable as the nation-state borders that divide the continent. Yet just as Indigenous people and homelands have always traversed those borders, so may our readings transcend that wall. Rachel Bryant foregrounds and leads us to acknowledge the active ways our embodied minds evade or engage Indigenous contexts and communities, producing greater awareness of the impacts of our activities as readers and writers, Native people and settlers, those who make policy, and those who are most impacted by it.

- Lisa Brooks, Amherst College