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How to Speak Up and Speak Out: On Jody Wilson-Raybould’s From Where I Stand

Posted: Tuesday, November 05, 2019

 

This post is in celebration of University Press Week 2019. For more posts from our university press friends, visit the AAUP's blog tour page.

Written by Megan Malashewsky, Agency & Digital Marketing Coordinator

This year’s University Press Week theme is Read. Think. Act. It sounds straightforward, right? But when I began to think about it, I wasn’t sure what this really meant. Reading and thinking—those ones are obvious, but do the books we publish encourage us to act?

Should they?

This whole time, the answer to that question was right under my nose.

This fall, one of our imprints, Purich Books, was privileged to publish From Where I Stand: Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada by Jody Wilson-Raybould. If you’re Canadian, or have heard Canadian news over the past year, Jody Wilson-Raybould’s name will be familiar. I won’t get political here, and From Where I Stand isn’t a tell-all, but Jody Wilson-Raybould is one Canadian who’s not afraid to speak up.

In From Where I Stand, Wilson-Raybould, through her previous speeches, talks about what matters most to her—Indigenous Reconciliation and self-determination.

In the introduction, she begins, “A central lesson instilled in me from a very young age was to be careful with words because you cannot take them back — you must always speak the truth.”

Later, she reflects on the progress made in Canadian politics, with respect to Indigenous reconciliation:

We have seen real progress in patterns of thought, actions, and relations in the last decade. And we cannot diminish this fact. This is the fruit of work and advocacy by Indigenous Peoples and many alongside. Even a decade ago, the work of reconciliation and justice, and addressing colonialism, was out of sight and out of mind for most Canadians. We have brought it out of the shadows. Much more has to be done, of course, but we are driving it forward.

From Where I Stand is an example of speaking truth. Its pages taught me a lot. It taught me about the Indian Act, about what I still need to learn as a non-Indigenous Canadian, and about the importance of speaking up and speaking out. Many of our books do this. They take the research—the words—of diverse voices and allows them, through the power of publishing, to speak truth.

In the final essay, “Each of Us, in Our Own Way, Is a Hiligaxte’,” Wilson-Raybould says: “I know something about power, the power each of us can and does have and about using one’s voice — I suspect we all do.”

University presses have power. We have the power to amplify voices, to encourage others to read. To think. To act.

"Much more has to be done, of course, but we are driving it forward."

Posted by Megan M.
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