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Hill Life & People

Elliott takes a raw, fierce deep-dive into the lasting legacy of colonialism in Canada

By Sean Wilson      

A Mind Spread out on the Ground comes from the Mohawk phrase for depression, and the book begins with a piece on mental health that highlights the fact that self-inflicted injuries are the leading cause of death for Indigenous people under the age of 44.

What makes this book so difficult and so very compelling is Alicia Elliott’s honesty and her willingness to interrogate the entire suite of systemic, cultural, and internalized racism that First Nations citizens are subjected to, writes Sean Wilson.

OTTAWA—A couple of years ago, my young son asked me if there was a difference between Ottawa and the settlements in the occupied territories. Aren’t both, he asked, communities built on stolen land? I didn’t have a good answer then, and still don’t. Here in “progressive” Canada, we are rarely asked to consider what it means that Parliament itself sits on unceded Algonquin, Anishinabek territory.

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