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#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women

Annick Press 2017. 110 pages
First published: 2017
ISBN: 9781554519576 (paperback)
9781554519583 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 971.004
Book type: Anthology

Text Elements:

conflict, dialogue, evocative language, figurative language, multigenre, multimodal, point of view, setting, stance

Award

Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction Winner – 2018

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This collection of works by Indigenous women across North America includes poetry, personal essays and profiles, visual art and illustrated spreads on empowering movements today.

Over four chapters (“The Ties that Bind Us”, It Could Have Been Me”, “I Am Not Your Princess” and “Pathfinders”), the challenges and strengths of Native American women are artfully conveyed, with a personal foreword by the editor.

Issues are laid painfully bare, as positive action and empowerment are celebrated. In “The Things We Taught Our Daughters”, Helen Knott (Dane Zaa/Cree) observes, “sometimes to protect our own wounds/we forced our daughters not to feel.” “Freedom in the Fog” by Zoey Roy (Cree/Dene/Métis) recounts how she fled parental abuse to live with her sister, Patricia, “a single mother trying to escape an abusive relationship … She’s only four years older than me but she’s always been like a second mom. Every week, she would come to bail me out.”

This book is rich with images, whether reproductions by visual artists, original comics and illustrations, or spreads that feature words and pictures in dynamic design grids. One piece of art by Wakeah Jhane (Comanche/Blackfoot/Kiowa) shows a woman bedecked in flowered designs. Her baby is visible in her womb, just below her own heart; her blank face is intersected by the lines of a government form that suggests a criminal record. The background is a faded conglomeration of maps that seem to mark reservations and ceded lands of the Cherokee, Comanche and more.

Women of all backgrounds will find much to relate to in these inspiring pages. Back material includes a list of contributors and their biographies.

  •  

    Read the foreword and “Shawl of Memory’s Embrace” as an introduction to the various issues and ideas.

  •  Select a piece from the anthology and discuss the message(s) being conveyed. Pay particular attention to the way author/producer’s craft contributes to meaning.
  •  

    Use a response process to write a response to a selected piece. Take into account both the text and illustrations when crafting your response.

  •  

    Briefly research how Indigenous women have been discriminated against and disrespected in North America. In a small group, discuss what you learned and what society can do to improve the lives of Indigenous women.

  •  As you read, pay careful attention to the visuals and how they tie in to the associated text. What do the images tell you that the text doesn’t?
  •  Select three or four texts from the anthology and compare them. What similarities do you find in content and style?
  • To communicate appropriately
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Media Literacy
  • Social Sciences
  • Visual Arts