Monday, May 30, 2016

Reader's Diary #1319 - Leanne Betasamosake Simpson: Treaties


Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's "Treaties" took me back to that time in university, in my undergrad days, when I'd been there a while and the sheen of all those new ideas was just starting to wear off, when I was realizing that, exciting and enlightening as all of this had been, it was largely fake. The world at large didn't feel the same way as my campus.

Such times have potential to be soul-crushing. Identity crisis combined with a sense that you may have just wasted a lot of time and money. But like most times of personal crisis, those of us with strong roots (like the narrator in Simpson's story), come to rely on those to help get us through.

Two interesting questions linger after reading this short story: the meaning of the title and the purpose of avoiding capital letters. It would take a few more readings in order to determine if my theories are plausible, but it's my early idea that the "Treaties" title comes from the fact that the narrator is of a First Nation and she is forming a sort of agreement to reconcile that supposed campus enlightenment with her culture and traditions. The lack of capitals may be a way of showing that undergrad experimentation, disregarding accepted norms.

Again though, these are just guesses and would take a few more reads to know if they even make sense or hold up under scrutiny.

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