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Page history last edited by Dr. Mary K. Bryson 13 years, 9 months ago

ama7 sqit   hi mary

great to hear from you              I'm happy to respond

please find my reply interspersed below    rhizomes amongst rhizomes

these are pretty much unedited ideas  quickly written down     you might

want to read my responses or selected responses   rather than hand them

out because of their unfinishedness

if something seems to crazy or nonsensical   you might want to leave it out

though myself    I would probably read what might seem to have some value

for the students



On 5-Mar-08, at 12:59 AM, Mary K. Bryson wrote:

 Hey there Peter


 My whole class watched your talk from the summer Institute, and were inspired to write you questions, which I promised I would pass on, knowing you could not respond to them all. But if you felt inspired to respond to one or two, I will pass the responses back to the group.




 As someone who speaks clearly about the importance of aboriginal people representing themselves in academia and not being researched by non-aboriginal people, who is included as aboriginal? Is it okay for one aboriginal person  to speak collectively for all aboriginal people?

I think that we are all troubled by the seemingly binarized nature of the english language and of academic argumentation

essentialism itself   and other   isms  and arguments against them do not seem to me to move the idea of ab/originality into

a meaningful venue       it's like   okay let's make a different stew     we've tried the pomo stew    now lets have a post structural

ragout    or an existentialist miso     or let's see what paulo freire has in his pantry         is this evolution in some direction with

some consistence     is there a place 'to' which   it is evolving     or is it just about a bunch of   meaningless brilliance rotating

about the dead star of language which might itself (indeed I use language to say this) in considerable disarray and want of

meaning (more language!)   

how does the idea of 'preposition' even work when you move it between conceptual-ontheground-languaged spaces?

how do you go 'into' an idea       is there an 'in'   an 'into'  can there be a trans-fer  from 'branch' to "branch"    and what is the 'to'

is it the movement      remember movement is a noun     it doesn't go anywhere     if we go from macro to micro within language

it's like trying to say okay   newtonian and relativistic physics can coexist    okay   numbers are used    mathematics     new rules

arise      from people     the laws of nature come from people    the laws of nature are words    and if you say them aloud they

come alive   the carbon dioxide that comes out of your exhaled breath gives life to plants   which reciprocate    but the

carbon dioxide comes out anyway even if you don't say  anything    

there are some similarities with respect to philosophy/worldview shared among many first nations however it is problematic

to generalize and assume that we're all the same        when I was a kid when I heard the expression 'talking indian'  I used

to think that all indians spoke the same language      in a way  indigeneity is itself a kind of language in that it has within it

a sense of respect for the land   at least in a traditional sense        after aboriginal people are streamed through euroeducation

they can become changed as to how they think about the land    does this in any way deaboriginalize them   L   ab origine   from the

beginning    how can the de- find any meaning when the ab- is already there?

I am not saying that nonaboriginal people should never research with aboriginal people   what I do think is that aboriginal people

should always be primary investigators or at least co-primary investigators of research projects which relate to aboriginal people

I also feel that aboriginal people should think first of doing research with/in their own community so as not to appropriate or alienate

or copyright others' knowledges       how do we deal with the copyrighting of research findings    the virtual stealing of aboriginal

intellectual property     I think that intellectual property laws in canada need to be less biased toward supporting industry and economic

growth and the pleasure of the queen (!) and more about laws that actually protect rights of the first peoples    the consitutional and pre-

constitutional and extra-constitutional rights    and especially relationships (since rights move us into a western realm of jurisprudence)

as a scholar I don't speak for all stl'atl'imx people  let alone other groups    I have to couch my talk in who I am   where I am from   

how I have learned what I know         my authority has to be within that space and flow        aboriginal people are very often as

much visitors where they live as nonaboriginal people      most of the people from my community live on sto:lo territory      we have

to speak there as guests      but we have to speak as people of the land    with the land   for the land      of course over the millenia

we have intermarried so our relations are very much part of a very large circle within sw british columbia and south eastern vancouver island

for whom does one speak if one is using automatic writing as part of one's methodology   or data from dreams or visions or hallucinations?

and what of the intervention of reason within the process of utterance?    do we wear shoes    or pieces of leather  glued together with pieces

of rubber and glue and foam and nails?   do wear the labour of maquilladoras

look at laura (riding) jackson's ideas about the rational and language and her antipoetical stance

whoever wants to celebrate their aboriginal heritage is  I feel aboriginal      otherwise they can talk about themselves in some other

fashion   other/wise  alter/natively


 Are there any postcolonial scholars that you identify with?

 no      I don't talk about postcolonialism       I see it as a euroconversation

anybody who is trying to be part of aboriginal self empowerment is doing something that is very important

 Why do you speak from a position of collective knowing (i.e. "us")?  Who else are you speaking with and/or for?  Is this collective material or imaginary?

although I make some effort to not overuse the word 'why' I remember the late chief jake thomas  say   me   I don't use that word because

it means I am questioning the creator       it is difficult to speak in english without at least gesturing toward the idea of whyness

according to an online etymology dictionary why (from old english hwi) is the instrumental case (showing for what purpose or by what means) of hwæt (what), and the dictionary goes further back to protogermanic and old norse  proto indoeuropean)      so I am thinking that you are

saying     for what purpose do I use the position of collective knowing?

when I talk I sometimes think of the zoom lens of a camera or of the imagination and how when we want to see the individual  the I (s/he/it/one)   

we probably zoom in when we want to see more of a context    we zoom out    which is where we and us    and you s/he/it/one come in  

(usted    Lei   one   the royal we)  

for me the 'we'  comes from the aboriginal people I have met  including myself        how does this 'I' negotiate itself with(in) the community of other personal pronouns    and how can the idea of 'I' negotiate anything     the personal pronoun doesn't do it     at least that is not the usual

understanding    there is a symbolic process which takes place

am I made up of many I's       a multiplicity of subjectivities             how does I + I = we or us    how does addition work when you are adding

substantives themselves rather than the number (1 one) of the substantives     (you can't really add apples    whereas you can add the numbers assigned to the apples)  what is the process   is it meaningful?    is it one which develops when we are infants  learning our language in a very deep way?          if there is no 'me' or 'I' can there be a we?        how does this we develop?   it depends on what you are trying to prove   otherwise people just talk           philosophy taken to extremes can make language and communication meaningless  absurd  (or it can point out the meaninglessless and absurdity)  or not even meaningful enough to be meaningless       

grammatically   my understanding is thus:  the 'we' is the first person    in the plural form    it is a grammatical construct    a conveyor of relational meaning     the individual I's she's he's its  one's      when we use the  verb 'to be' in english (is are am was were been seem) the subject and the object are brought into intimate relationship     there is accord    agreement

I am you   we are them   it is we     you seem tired       it was I       grammatical agreement    predicate nominative   predicate adjective   case relationality

when asking a question one is making a lot of preparatory presumptions     when one uses the term 'or' it complicates the answering

because it limits the possible direct answers

it would take too long to really answer this question and in the end it might not really be meaningful to anybody who is really trying to



 While watching the video of the lecture (which was excellent - thank you) I was struck by the similarities between the struggle for First Nation inclusion within the ivory tower and the feminist political movement. 

 Considering that women, including all cultural and social backgrounds, are grossly under represented in academia, continue to earn significantly less when we do reach academic position, and are habitually studied by the white male researcher, which surmounts to little, if anything, more than glorified girl watching, where do you position (if at all) feminist politics within your work? 

the ivory tower     hmmm    which brings to mind  tusks   the elephant trade    killing walruses   narwals  and those ancient habitations made of tonnes of mammoth bones including tusks   

I support women in their struggles   and have sat on the equity committee at yorku for 5 years and at uvic for 2 years in such a role      I think that other people have to determine from my writing and speaking what my position(s) is (are)        how do I support women without speaking for/instead of them?

one thing though     aboriginal people must be more than just another equity seeking group        constitutionally this is important    and in terms of

situating ourselves     we have nowhere else to call home but this western hemisphere       we cannot be deported

I remember taking a course in the early or mid 80s on the representation of women in film      it was an eyes opener      it was the last film studies course

I took   because I had taken them all    and it was the one that really struck me          research is about voyeurism     it is about intruding   obtruding

extruding       it is a kind of surgery       questions are like shovels       they dig       into        they are instruments of invasion       as is the gaze

some people make great effort to not overhear the words of others      they feel they have no place in that space      no right to hear what is not

'about' them       some people are affronted when they accidentally overhear/overlisten to what was a secret communication     affronted because

they feel as if they have intruded     into private space

I did feel out of place in the feminist film studies course        I was there to learn    rather than to become an expert on

the aboriginal peoples of australia   some of whom I have met     speak about men's business and women's business       we can learn from and with

one another     by respecting        



 Your writing is also an invitation to immerse oneself in a kind of aesthetics; an aesthetics that, in my perspective, creates an enigma to later produce a new understanding of that which is questioned in your writings.


 What is your personal purpose when integrating aesthetics to your writing?

although I began my phd in arts education and switched to curriculum theory & implementation I suppose I have been infected with ideas

of aesthetics   but I do not make any effort to ground my writing in such ideas      I am drawn to them      because what is spoken of as

aesthetics is an intimate relationality      we are swallowed into the sacred spaces of art          we are transported across time and away

from our time       as I say I do not make efforts to integrate aesthetics into my writing         I have written hundreds or probably thousands of poems

I have written stage plays      screen plays      film/dance/theatre/art/book reviews     stories        what I hope to do is to not write within a genre

my purpose is not necessarily to flee genre    but to let a higher let us say part of myself do the writing   using the reference of my mind/spirit/body

to act as a kind of monitor/editor        I don't write    rather  I do believe that I am the written     except in those highly disastrous times that I try

to take on the role of writer        when I say  (which I do not) that I am a poet    playwright    reviewer    and so forth  I set myself within a

particular(ized) genre     it is not a place where I particularly want to be      I feel confined by the definitions        even to say I am a writer

I say so as to participate in public converse       if I really said what I really thought I would say nothing        perhaps I would hum or make

scat sounds     the thinking trips over itself      the language talks about itself    and is trapped in of by with meaning(lessness)     I do not

make efforts to base my ideas on aristotle  plato     rousseau  western philosophers           I prefer the lived philosophies of novels   poetry

dramatic presentations    storytelling         


 What are some meaning effects that you have experienced to have had on reader subjects when called upon aesthetics?

I'm not sure what you're getting at      there are always ...ellipses     they join us with the unspoken    unwritten     I do not spend a lot of time

thinking about meaning   because I feel that in order to really connect         I have to explore my own thoughts   and feelings  and experiences

so that I can participate in regenerating    rather than continually generating new thoughts        I suppose it is difficult to get away from the

thoughts that come with language but I reach out to that handandarmandpresence that reaches to me   from other times   other essences

not wanting to be filled but wanting to participate   not searching for meaning    but for   yes 'beauty'   I guess you could call it  to use an

english expression      but it is the nouminous     the arcane    the mystical that I am enthralled by          and am in some fear of

 Post Knowing


 Kwe Kwe! Peter!

 My question relates to the passage on page 450, " legitimate discourse

 within sanctioned institution of post-knowing ". Do you use the word

 'post-knowing' to address a particular period  in history? Is the word

 used in a broad sense to encompass or re-invent the  terms such as

 post-colonialist and post-modernist ways of knowing? The terms Post

 colonialism and post-modernism have created such a fixed  'knowings' 

 that is  might make more sense  if we  start from scratch with a new

 word for a new period.

 Meegweetch Peter.

ama7 sqit   

many times in my writing another force actually takes over and uses what is in my mind

at least that is one explanation I have     one way I understand what is going on

when I think of all the post-xxx's  incl semiotics I think about words talking about other words

about meaning being about words       the word itself can never actually land on the branch

of the 'actual' world and nest there     the word can only reside in wordland    language   

except when it is spoken or gestured    (sign language) then there is sound and rhythm

and in theatre     pause  silence and beat

when I think about post-colonialism  I think   okay  'they' haven't gone back to wherever they

came from and they have not taken all of the effects of colonization with 'them' so obviously

this is not the kind of meaning that post colonialism is inferring       so it must mean that now

they're colonizing posts   (pulp and paper   clear cutting)    I also sometimes include post

grape nut flakes  as one of the post-xxx's

the post knowing for me is a gesturing to a space that language cannot really reach  or get to

in any way         but it can be a lot of other things   depending on where my mind is at when

I think about it      in a way meditation can be a place of post knowing           doing can be a place

of post knowing        or okay 'I know'  now what?  or so what?       it is a story in itself     a writer has to write

in such a way that there is space                  for the reader  space              for the reader to participate and create

re(-)create meaning   or whatever else they want to create (or whatever they want to do)      

I have for a long time written or thought in such a way that for me I treat every word as if it were

a cliché    and they are       not just expressions   but words      denotations     each one  etymology is

like a genealogy for words      it talks about their ancestors       but this is also called consensual

reality       words exist in communities    logoville   sprechtlant     villages     outposts     

often I feel as if it doesn't really matter that much what we say or how we think  if all we are going to

do is deal with a conceptual world   a conceptual reality (which probably in many cases resides

within wordland/language)      'where' is this conceptual world    this talk about talk      is it in a little

talk babblebubble beside our heads?        okay there's talk        more talk       more talk about talk     and meanwhile

nobody's walking    nobody is in the world of their bodies or followup because the naming has denecessitated

the actual thing 'branch' because the word 'branch' has taken over          nouns are names     though

I suppose we can noun something    which is what medusa ostensibly did        although   standing motionless frozen

petrified       is about having doing and being      so doing nothing     is actually doing something

 in laura riding jackson's later work

she writes against poetry     she writes about reason       she writes against the idea of synonyms

when she was younger she was a celebrated poet

maurice blanchot writes about the loneliness of the writer    and so do lots of people   including novelists

philosophers    poets    songwriters    storytellers   those are great places to explore







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