Asian-Indigenous Relationalities: Literary Gestures of Respect and Indebtedness


Lee Maracle’s (Stó:lō) “Yin Chin” and SKY Lee’s Disappearing Moon Café have inaugurated a literary tradition of acknowledging and restoring Asian-Indigenous relations in the field of Asian Canadian studies. This study extends their intertextual conversation on the impact of racism and colonialism on Asian-Indigenous relations to consider the ways in which contemporary Asian Canadian settler citizens, migrants, and refugees may inherit not only the legacies of white supremacy, global capital, and settler colonialism but also the historical and ongoing relations of Sino-Indigenous indebtedness. Presenting an allegorical reading of the depiction of Sino-Indigenous indebtedness, this paper suggests that this literary tradition has the capacity to generate a sense of mutuality and self-critique amongst all Asian Canadians today to consider their roles and responsibilities within the structures of settler colonialism, particularly within Asian migrant and refugee communities shaped by an enduring sense of gratitude towards the state for being granted a new life on colonized lands.

This article “Asian-Indigenous Relationalities: Literary Gestures of Respect and Indebtedness” originally appeared in Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 227 (Winter 2015): 56-72.

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