Nisgha is a deeply personal and autobiographical book that attempts to address the complications of contemporary Indigenous existence. As a Nisga'a writer, Jordan Abel often finds himself in a position where he is asked to explain his relationship to Nisga'a language, Nisga'a community, and Nisga'a cultural knowledge. However, as an intergenerational survivor of residential school — both of his grandparents attended the same residential school in Chilliwack, British Columbia — his relationship to his own Indigenous identity is complicated to say the least.
Nisgha explores those complications and is invested in understanding how the colonial violence originating at the Coqualeetza Indian Residential School impacted his grandparents' generation, then his father's generation, and ultimately his own. The project is rooted in a desire to illuminate the realities of intergenerational survivors of residential school, but sheds light on Indigenous experiences that may not seem to be immediately (or inherently) Indigenous.
Drawing on autobiography, a series of interconnected documents (including pieces of memoir, transcriptions of talks, and photography), Nisgha is a book about confronting difficult truths and it is about how both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples engage with a history of colonial violence that is quite often rendered invisible. (From McClelland & Stewart)
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