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Spells, Wishes, and the Talking Dead

ᒪᒪᐦᑖᐃᐧᓯᐃᐧᐣ ᐸᑯᓭᔨᒧᐤ ᓂᑭᐦᒋ ᐋᓂᐢᑯᑖᐹᐣ mamahtâwisiwin, pakosêyimow, nikihci-âniskotâpân

by (author) Wanda John-Kehewin

Initial publish date
May 2023
English Language Arts, English First Peoples, Social Studies
Grade Levels
11 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price

Where to buy it

Descriptive Review

Spells, Wishes, and the Talking Dead is a poetic exploration of lived experience in colonialism, residential school legacy, the Sixties Scoop, and intergenerational trauma. John-Kehewin provides a poetic space to explore and heal through a multitude of poetic conventions and means to challenge the colonial influences of the English language on Cree linguistics through translation. She expresses that “being nehiyaw is a career, always working towards survival.” There is much to learn from her historic and genealogical timeline, and the reader equally learns what it means for a Survivor of the Sixties Scoop and other deep and lasting traumas to practice healing through strengthening culture and family relationships and the experience of becoming a mother. This collection is a unique example of what poetry can look like when bridged with the concept of memoir.

Cautions / Content Warnings: Coarse language, mature content: references to abuse, trauma, suicide.
Other End Matter: Nehiyawewin Glossary
Images: b&w photographs
Contributor Affiliation: Spells, Wishes, and the Talking Dead: ᒪᒪᐦᑖᐃᐧᓯᐃᐧᐣ ᐸᑯᓭᔨᒧᐤ ᓂᑭᐦᒋ ᐋᓂᐢᑯᑖᐹᐣ mamahtâwisiwin, pakosêyimow, nikihci-âniskotâpân
Bibliography: Yes
Index: No

Source: Books BC - Indigenous Books for Schools

About the author

Wanda John-Kehewin (she, her, hers) is a Cree writer who uses her work to understand and respond to the near destruction of First Nations cultures, languages, and traditions. When she first arrived in Vancouver on a Greyhound bus, she was a nineteen-year-old carrying her first child, a bag of chips, a bottle of pop, thirty dollars, and a bit of hope. After many years of travelling (well, mostly stumbling) along her healing journey, she shares her personal life experiences with others to shed light on the effects of trauma and how to break free from the "monkeys in the brain."

Now a published poet, fiction author, and film scriptwriter, she writes to stand in her truth and to share that truth openly. She is the author of the Dreams series of graphic novels. Hopeless in Hope is her first novel for young adults.

Wanda is the mother of five children, two dogs, two cats, three tiger barbs (fish), and grandmother to one super-cute granddog. She calls Coquitlam home until the summertime, when she treks to the Alberta prairies to visit family and learn more about herself and Cree culture, as well as to continuously think and write about what it means to be Indigenous in today's times. How do we heal from a place of forgiveness?

Wanda John-Kehewin's profile page