An analysis of Helen Knott’s emotional journey. From being lost to finding HER light in her memoir, In My Own Mocassins.

Source: Cbc.com
Source: Cbc.com
Source: CBC.com (2020)

** Disclaimer: This post deals with sensitive matter that may be uncomfortable or disturbing to some readers. Readers discretion is advised**

Author of In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience, Helena Knott, is an Indigenous poet, writer, grassroots-activist and social workers. She identifies as Dane-Zaa, Nehiyaw, Metis, and European, her mother is of European heritage, and father of indigenous origin. She resides in the Prophet River First Nations community in the Northern Rockies Region of British Columbia. Knott’s Indigenous community seems to be situated in Western Canada. Knott’s current community, Prophet River First Nations, is the southernmost community in the Northern Rockies Region and focuses its financial industry around commercial services and provisions to the local and nearby oil and gas industry. Located nearby along the Peace River in Alberta and British Columbia, Knott’s ancestry of the Dane-Zaa community resides. Historically referred to as the Beaver Tribe by European Colonialists, the Dane-Zaa community is known for their contribution to the local oil and gas industries. Over the years they have endured a significant loss of land due to farming and petroleum production but still maintain hunting and trapping as a part of their lifestyle which provides food, income and a sense of identity for this community. …


Author of Disintegrate/Dissociate, Arielle Twist is of Cree descent, specifically Nehiyaw, and identifies as a Two-Spirit, trans women from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan. Being one of the largest indigenous communities, the Canadian Cree community lives north and west of Lake Superior, and in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Although the Cree community is one of the largest in North America, the people are still experiencing the horrors and trauma from settler colonization which has dramatically affected their sense of “Self” and identity.

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Figure 1. “Disintegrate/Dissociate poetry collection and author, Arielle Twist”. Arielle Twist explores grief in her poetry and finds a home in the Indigenous arts community, CBC.ca, April 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/books/arielle-twist-explores-grief-in-her-poetry-and-finds-a-home-in-the-indigenous-arts-community-1.5109458.

Evident in Twist’s book of poetry Disintegrate/Dissociate the concept of the “self” and trying to understand one’s indigenous identity in modern days is a very striking theme that is prevalent in many poems. The search for an identity is not met with answers or happiness, instead Twist’s narrator highlights the struggles that indigenous woman have to face from settler colonizers, which include rape and assault with strong, graphic imagery. What is interesting about Twist’s collection is that the narrator seems to be speaking for the collective I, the collective of indigenous women in many of the poems. …

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Alanna Sabatino

RU M.A Candidate / Canadian / She/her

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