Autobiography as Indigenous Intellectual Tradition critiques ways of approaching Indigenous texts that are informed by the Western academic tradition and offers instead a new way of theorizing Indigenous literature based on the Indigenous practice of life writing.
Since the 1970s non-Indigenous scholars have perpetrated the notion that Indigenous people were disinclined to talk about their lives and underscored the assumption that autobiography is a European invention. Deanna Reder challenges such long held assumptions by calling attention to longstanding autobiographical practices that are engrained in Cree and M tis, or n hiyawak, culture and examining a series of examples of Indigenous life writing. Blended with family stories and drawing on original historical research, Reder examines censored and suppressed writing by n hiyawak intellectuals such as Maria Campbell, Edward Ahenakew, and James Brady. Grounded in n hiyawak ontologies and epistemologies that consider life stories to be an intergenerational conduit to pass on knowledge about a shared world, this study encourages a widespread re-evaluation of past and present engagement with Indigenous storytelling forms across scholarly disciplines