Announcing New CanLit Guides Chapter: “The Future(s) of Indigenous Horror: Moon of the Crusted Snow,” by Gage Karahkwí:io Diabo

We are thrilled to announce an exciting new CanLit Guides chapter, “The Future(s) of Indigenous Horror: Moon of the Crusted Snow,” by Mohawk scholar and educator Gage Karahkwí:io Diabo.1 In this latest addition to our open-access educational resource, Diabo guides readers through critical approaches to Indigenous horror with a close examination of Waubgeshig Rice’s (Anishinaabe) 2018 novel about the survival and transformation of a remote Anishinaabe community facing apocalyptic events in northern Ontario. Contextualizing Moon of the Crusted Snow within recent discussions of Indigenous genre fiction—specifically what Tuscarora (Haudenosaunee) writer Alicia Elliott describes as the “Rise of Indigenous Horror”—Diabo curates a range of scholarly approaches from critical Indigenous studies that open interpretive possibilities for Rice’s novel, while also demonstrating how these discourses can inform analyses of the text itself. The chapter includes a variety of reflection questions, activities, and resources that model lines of inquiry and support further research and discussion in and beyond the classroom, encouraging an active reading process that promotes independent engagement grounded in Indigenous intelligence. Diabo provides an accessible yet challenging educational resource for students and instructors studying Rice’s bestselling and widely taught novel, introducing new methods and broadening existing reading skills that will be useful for anyone interested in the growing field of Indigenous genre fiction.


This newest chapter continues the work of collaboration between experts in the Canadian literary field and Canadian Literature’s editorial team that began in 2016 as we transitioned to a new model of publishing and knowledge dissemination for the CanLit Guides. When the educational resource was first launched in 2011, modular chapters organized into thematic teaching guides were initially written in-house by our journal staff. With the launch of “The 2018 Collection,” which earned the 2019 CALJ Scholarly and Research Communication Award, we moved to publishing chapters developed by area specialists working in those spaces where the contested field of “CanLit” is continuously articulated, revised, and encountered by students—the classroom. Chapters are designed to supplement classroom learning and support both students and educators to critically engage with diverse topics of importance to reading, contextualizing, discussing, and writing about Canadian literature, while also promoting independent study. The chapters undergo a double-anonymous peer review process akin to our journal articles that assesses both pedagogical and scholarly criteria, and they are edited by our journal staff before being published and made freely accessible on the CanLit Guides website.


When this digital humanities project was first conceived and produced by past editors Margery Fee and Laura Moss over a decade ago, one of its goals was to translate the decades of knowledge published in the extensive print archives of Canadian Literature into an open-access (free), useful, and trustworthy educational web resource for students, teachers, and wider non-specialist publics. While this remains one of the project’s goals, the contexts of both Canadian literature and its teaching have changed significantly in recent years, not least by a global pandemic that has created new realities of multi-modal digital learning—shifts that the accessible and flexible design of the CanLit Guides is well suited to supporting. Our web analytics show that since March 2020, when teaching and learning first moved online for many of us, the CanLit Guides have been viewed over 625,000 times by more than 170,000 unique users from every corner of the globe. Just as the evolving demands and possibilities of digital learning have invited us to reimagine core facets of how our pedagogy is practised, the contours of the Canadian literary field itself—what it is, and how we orient our teaching within or against its history—continue to transform. There is opportunity for a resource like the CanLit Guides not only to reduce barriers to participation in the scholarly study of Canadian literature but also to participate in this field’s rethinking in and beyond its various instructional settings. The innovative new teaching chapters written by area specialists continue to translate Canadian Literature’s academic discourse into differently accessible formats, while also making original contributions to teaching and learning scholarship responsive to
contemporary pedagogical concerns and priorities.


“The Future(s) of Indigenous Horror” exemplifies these kinds of possibilities as a chapter invested in foregrounding a pedagogy centred on Indigenous knowledge and scholarship. Diabo introduces accessible strategies for integrating Indigenous epistemologies into methods of reading, learning, and teaching, demonstrating how storied Indigenous history illuminates decolonial understandings of the speculative futures imagined in Waubgeshig Rice’s haunting apocalyptic dystopia. Drawing on Lou Cornum (Diné) and Maureen Moynagh’s editorial introduction to Canadian Literature’s special issue on Decolonial (Re)Visions of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror (2020), and developing critical contexts from contemporary Anishinaabe theories of resurgence, Indigenous scientific literacies, and traditional Anishinaabe stories of Nanabush and the wendigo, for example, Diabo models approaches to Moon of the Crusted Snow from within a culturally specific Anishinaabe intellectual discourse. Users of this chapter are further encouraged to think through the ways Indigenous horror can function differently for variously located readers. By foregrounding the variety of relationships that readers hold with texts, their contexts, and each other, Diabo’s chapter facilitates a climate of learning that embraces “position and self-reflection . . . as fundamental methodologies in Indigenous literary studies” (Reder 16). The “power to terrify, captivate, and even empower audiences” in speculative horror stories like Moon of the Crusted Snow, Diabo writes, “stems directly from their uncomfortable closeness to everyday reality—a reality that has much to do with the past, present, and future of Indigenous peoples under and beyond colonization.” As the thrilling new writing in contemporary Indigenous genre fiction continues to gain prominence in Canadian literary pedagogy, there remains a need for quality resources that support decolonial study and privilege Indigenous knowledges, histories, and peoples at the centre of teaching and learning. We are excited to share this new resource and hope that interested readers of Canadian Literature will consider making use of it and other CanLit Guides chapters.



1. “The Future(s) of Indigenous Horror: Moon of the Crusted Snow” can be accessed by visiting the CanLit Guides website at


Works Cited

Cornum, Lou, and Maureen Moynagh. “Decolonial (Re)visions of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.” Canadian Literature, no. 240, 2020, pp. 8-18.
Elliott, Alicia. “The Rise of Indigenous Horror: How a Fiction Genre Is Confronting a Monstrous Reality.” CBC, 17 Oct. 2019,
Reder, Deanna. “Position.” Learn, Teach, Challenge: Approaching Indigenous Literatures, edited by Reder and Linda M. Morra, Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2016, pp. 7-17.




Brendan McCormack is an Assistant Professor without review in the Department of English Language and Literatures at the University of British Columbia, where he specializes in Canadian and Indigenous literary and critical studies. His teaching and research consider these fields and their intersections in relation to settler-colonial studies, critical multiculturalisms, literary nationalisms, environmental humanities, and the relationship between public policy and literary arts. Since 2016 he has been an Assistant Editor at Canadian Literature and currently works in the scholarship of teaching and learning by assisting with the journal’s CanLit Guides open-access educational resource.

This article “Announcing New CanLit Guides Chapter: “The Future(s) of Indigenous Horror: Moon of the Crusted Snow,” by Gage Karahkwí:io Diabo” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 250 (2022): 131-134.

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