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Lecture 2

ENGLISH 2C03 Lecture 2: Lecture Two (May. 3. 17) Wenjack- Boyden

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McMaster University
Sara Rogers

Lecture Two Chanie Wenjack: . Ogoki Post (Northern Ontario) . Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School (Kenora, ON) . He had lung problems-> he had a large scar from surgery and nobody knows why or what his problems were . He is good with words and languages-> a very bright kid . He is treated as unintelligent because he doesn’t know English . He speaks Ojibwe instead of English . There is no proof that he was physically or sexually abused . Got 30km away from the School . When interviewed the uncle of the boys he was with they said he left on his own account . Trying to walk 600km . He walked 20km more . DIED BY: . Bumps and bruises were shown so he fell while walking . The exposure to cold and hunger killed him . Nobody went looking for him-> a railroad worker found him dead 36 hours after passing away . Inquest after his death (entirely white people, non indigenous) . This group of people said that the Residential Schools were WRONG . It took too long for the schools to end-> last one closed in 1996 . This is still a problem today . It’s been 50 years since Chanie died . Joseph Boyden wanted to write a novel called “Seven Matches” -> he had writers block (and wrote the small version “Wenjack” because he wanted it done by the 50 anniversary of his death) . Did a spoken word poem (a conversation with Chanie) . The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) -> 2008 . They were not anticipating the media blow up of Chanie Problems . Joseph Boyden was claimed not as an Indigenous man . Went to school, university, won Guiller prize, Canada reads . All his books have Indigenous ties in them . He claimed to be a member of a lot of the clans . They found his uncle Earl went under the name “Injin” and dressed up in stereotypical Indigenous wear and sold fake indigenous souvenir stuff in Algonquin Park . There was no proof and people said that he has done well by the Indigenous People . The Indigenous group-> an Ojibwe woman had a ceremony to make him an Indigenous man . Plagiarism-> Joseph Boyden stole lines and plots from various authors . He said that both stories were told orally so it’s no wonder they are similar Wenjack-> Joseph Boyden . It is pretty looking-> it makes us desire to read it . Chanie’s tragic life story has been packaged up in a pretty package . It is not a THING to have-> it is a serious issue that Canadians need to grapple with . Joseph Boyden has been trading under an Indigenous name . Wenjack is in gold and small so it is hard to notice-> when the story is about him . Who is this book for? Do the people have to know who Chanie Wenjack is to begin with? . At the very back there is a page talking about the font . “Huronia” “Piggiarnic”-> the person who designed this is an Indigenous person . The font could be translated into Ojibwe and the layout would be the same . This font is problematic-> who is the story for? . Should it be in Ojibwe for his own people to value his death? . Should it be in English for the oppressors to see what their heritage did? Writing about someone else . Wenjack-> is fictitious-> but it is real, so why is Chanie’s life not valued and represented with artistic ideas Themes and Ideas: . The language is English-> if words were not in English we would not know what they was . The words that are in Ojibwe then echoed in English-> we are being destabilized, gives us a sense of Otherness . The story unfolds and the language shows us the connection he has with his culture-> if language is taken away from him, his ancestry is taken away . His story must be told in his language otherwise it will not be told the same . He pretended to be slow so that he wouldn’t lose his language . Chanie hears the teacher’s word “don’t” in Chapter three-> he flips the meaning of this lesson by not going back to the school-> even though they want him to honour the English way and “don’t” be Indigenous . The teachers are situated on words . Chanie is picking up on the symbols . He sees the marks on the kid’s backs that have tried to run away-> he reads the land and symbols . He reads the land and the land speaks to him Chanie is alive and his story is known as long as he can keep him language and his ability to read the land-> he will stay alive as he becomes more Indigenous (
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