Heather Olaveson is a PhD candidate at Wilfrid Laurier University in English and Film Studies as well as a classically trained pianist with a Master’s in Music Composition from the University of Victoria. Her research interests include Canadian literature, postmodernism, historiography, gender studies, and theories of identity formation and subjectivity.
Heather is the author of “’Coming Home” Through Music: Cree and Classical Music in Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen.”
This article examines the purpose of music in Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen by exploring its connection to the growth and development of the protagonist and musician Jeremiah Okimasis. In considering the growth of Jeremiah’s character, I explore ways in which the novel’s Bildungsroman structure is both exemplified and problematized by Highway’s use of Cree and Classical musical aesthetics, and investigate the development of Native youth identity as well as a Cree cultural home. What is ultimately revealed is a trickster poetics at work in the text, as demonstrated by music’s ability to lure characters into and out of cultural spaces of belonging while also functioning as an essential method of Cree cultural survival.