The Poetics of Land and Identity Among British Columbia Indigenous Peoples

By Christine J. Elsey  

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The Poetics of Land and Identity is about the meaning of land for the many diverse First Nations within British Columbia. The work offers a study of the folklore and symbolic traditions within many Aboriginal regions and illustrates how these traditions emphasize the importance of orality and poetics as the defining factor in the value of land. Christine J. Elsey offers a deft, scholarly discussion of these “storyscapes,” providing us with a point of access for understanding First Nations’ perspectives on the world and their land. She provides an important alternative to the monetary, exploitative, resource-driven view of nature and land ownership and highlights the conflicts between the colonial, Western perspective of nature and the holistic view of First Nations people.

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  • Introduction
  • First Nations Identity Through a History of Struggle
  • The Poetics of Self and Land; A Phenomenological Explanation
  • Poetics and Stories Among the Coastal First Nations
  • The Poiesis of Land in Interior “Storyscapes”
  • The Poiesis of Enfoldment Within the Stein Valley “Storyscape”
  • Conclusion
  • Glossary
  • Appendices
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Index


  • Christine J. Elsey

    Christine J. Elsey teaches anthropology and sociology in the Department of Social, Cultural and Media Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

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