Reconciliation, Resistance, and Biskaabiiyang: Re-imagining Canadian Residential Schools in Indigenous Speculative Fictions

  • Judith Leggatt
Part of the Studies in Global Science Fiction book series (SGSF)


This chapter examines how Indigenous storytellers use speculative tropes to reimagine relationships within Canada in the aftermath of residential school trauma, not only to unpack the immediate and intergenerational trauma of residential schools, but also to situate the schools within ongoing colonial processes, and to suggest specifically Indigenous modes of regeneration. It shows how Gerry William’s The Black Ship (1994), the first Indigenous science fiction novel published in Canada, Lisa Jackson’s Savage (2009), a short residential school zombie musical film, and Jeff Barnaby’s film Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013), a residential school revenge fantasy, all resist narratives of reconciliation grounded in colonial Canadian ideologies. It argues instead that the speculative elements in each text are inextricably linked to the Anishinaabe concept of biskaabiiyang—returning to ourselves—and that their intermingling of past and present suggests ways of finding balance in an unbalanced world.


Indigenous futurism Gerry William Lisa Jackson Jeff Barnaby Rhymes for Young Ghouls Residential schools 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith Leggatt
    • 1
  1. 1.Lakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada

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