Publication Details

McMahon-Coleman, K. 2005, 'Indigenous diaspora and literature', Australasian Canadian Studies: a multidisciplinary journal for the humanities and social sciences, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 91-112.


Alootook Ipellie is an Inuk writer whose work can be read as diasporic, dealing as it does with issues of transculturation. Diaspora is fundamentally concerned with complex notions of home, belonging and exile. Within the Indigenous context, the situation becomes even more complicated, for when Indigenous peoples were forcibly removed from their familial locations, they crossed traditional borders, even whilst remaining within the modern nation-state. As Noelene Brasche argues, the forced displacements of Indigenous peoples "infringed traditional boundaries ... Territorial or national groups who previously had little or nothing in common now shared experiences of dispersal and loss of sovereignty, as well as physical displacement from traditional country" (2002, 49). Although Ipellie has not migrated in the traditional sense, the experience of his people foregrounds one such history of transplantation, dispossession and alienation at the hands of colonial regimes. This paper argues that colonialism has effectively created an Indigenous Diaspora, and explores the ways in which Ipellie's work can be seen to exemplify this notion.

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Australasian Canadian Studies