The publishing industry has all but ignored Indigenous authors, deeming them “too ethnic,” “too distant,” “too discordant,” “too narrow,” or simply too far removed from the traditions and rubrics of the book world.
Because history. Because exclusion.
Publishing Indigenous voices authentically requires acknowledgment of and respect for themes and ideas that move beyond the tropes of poverty and despair, oppression and isolation, beyond the stereotypes of nature whispering and alcohol enslavement.
Because life is complex.
Publishing Indigenous voices authentically also requires acknowledgment of and thoughtful response to issues of style and usage particular to their writing (e.g., “How should we spell ‘sivuvanuts’?” rather than “We’d like you to add an English translation to that dialog”).
Because respect. See Cinnamon’s “Why IndigiPress?” post.
Reacting to the non-Indigenous market and assuming that readers are ignorant or sentimental is stifling and demeaning to readers and authors alike. Indigenous authors, storytellers, activists, and readers deserve a place where issues close to them can be discussed from a multiplicity of perspectives and complexities—without starting from the need to educate about basic history and fundamental realities.
Again, because respect. And momentum.
Because now is the time. Now, as never before, the world needs Indigenous voices, taken seriously and given space and time.