Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee Nation) is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture at the University of British Columbia. A widely published scholar in Indigenous literary studies, he is the co-editor of the groundbreaking Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature (2014) and author of a Cherokee literary history, a cultural history of badgers, and an Indigenous epic fantasy series.
Concise, engaging and readable, Why Indigenous Literatures Matter
evokes Indigenous frameworks of relationality at every turn,
whether the history of dispossession and removal, or pressing
contemporary issues like reconciliation and climate change.
Ultimately, this book argues that Indigenous literatures matter
because they transform lives. The last chapter, Reading the
Ruptures, is startling, moving, brilliant storytellingtroubling and
transformative tribalography, laced with humour, provocation, and
insight. The characters, drawn from real life, are ones I want to
travel with. -- Lisa Brooks, Amherst College, author of Our Beloved
Kin: A New History of King Philips War.
This book simultaneously affirms Indigenous writing, introduces Indigenous readers to the canon of Indigenous writing, and teaches non-Indigenous folks how to read our literatures. Thats impressive, and its done in a beautiful, intimate and at times playful way. Why Indigenous Literatures Matter was an honour to read. It is instructional without instructing, grounded, confident, affirming, generous, brilliant, clear and joyful. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of As We Have Always Done and This Accident of Being Lost
Justice makes strong, well-reasoned arguments that indigenous liberation is essential for indigenous peoples to survive and recover from colonialism ... and offers erudite, passionate analysis of and paths toward discovering new material. -- Publishers Weekly
A seminal work of simply outstanding scholarship, Why Indigenous Literatures Matter is as impressively informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. -- Jack Mason -- Midwest Book Review, 20180622
In Why Indigenous Literatures Matter, Daniel Justice, a writer and scholar from the Cherokee Nation, points out the all-too-common disparity between the stories Indigenous writers tell about ourselves, and the stories others have told about us. ... [Justice is] a bridge builder between cultures. -- Carleigh Baker -- Literary Review of Canada, 20180701
The fact that Justice writes on the matter of why Indigenous literatures matter in an analytically clear and intellectually generous, compassionate, and inclusive manner, always making clear how and why they do so to him, might make it easier for readers less familiar with Indigenous writing, history, and culture to consider the significance of Indigenous literatures to them personally, even if the possibility did not occur to them before. The book ends with an appendix that makes a case for the richness of Indigenous literatures in a more encyclopedic fashion and provides an excellent starting point to explore more Native writing. ... In a time where the question about the existence and worth of Indigenous literatures still has not ended, [Why Indigenous Literatures Matter] now stands as the number one recommendation to anyone asking this question. -- Rene Dietrich -- Transmotion
Daniel Heath Justice's Why Indigenous Literatures Matter tackles the significant task of illuminating the heart of Indigenous literary engagement, articulating the significance of the literary arts to Indigenous peoples. While politically impactful and theoretically cogent, Justice's book is simultaneously tender and personal. While owning his feelings and experiences, Justice comes out swinging against the systems that exacerbate and perpetuate the misrepresentation and erasure of Indigenous stories--but not by positing himself as a pure critical voice above the messiness of mutually complex relationships. Through this fertile approach to his questions, Justice opens up space for collective engagement around the significance of Indigenous literatures to Indigenous peoples. -- Aubrey Hanson, Canadian Literature 237 (2019)
"Justice has created a wonderwork of his own in Why Indigenous Literatures Matter; it is a text that I will read, teach, and share with students, fellow scholars, friends, and relatives because it demonstrates with such clarity and conviction why "Indigenous peoples matter" and why that fact should be celebrated [...] -- Jennifer Andrews -- The Fiddlehead 277