The Next Chapter

Katłįà wrote her novel Land-Water-Sky / Ndè–Tı–Yat'a to inspire Indigenous youth

The Dene writer discusses the importance and power of Indigenous history, culture and sharing stories.
Land-Water-Sky / Ndè–Tı–Yat'a is a book by Katłıà. (Fernwood Publishing)

Land-Water-Sky / Ndè–Tı–Yat'a imagines what it would be like if Indigenous legends were part of contemporary life, making mischief and reminding us of the importance and power of Indigenous history, culture and sharing stories.

Katłįà is a Dene writer and activist from the Northwest Territories. Land-Water-Sky / Ndè–Tı–Yat'a is her first novel. She stopped by The Next Chapter to discuss why she wrote Land-Water-Sky / Ndè–Tı–Yat'a.

The story of the Bushman

"Land-Water-Sky / Ndè–Tı–Yat'a is a fictional composite novel with six parts. Each part surrounds the different characters that come into contact with an antagonist and a protagonist that is weaved throughout the entire novel in our culture.

I wanted to change the stereotypes of Indigenous peoples through this book ​​​​​​.

"We have a bad guy, we call him the Nahgha in our language, which means kind of like a Bushman. We still believe that the Bushman walks today and some people have claimed to see him. He's on a mission to conquer the Northwest Territories because he is wild and he wants to rule over the land."

A story for Indigenous youth

"I wanted to write for Indigenous youth of the North because I wanted them to see themselves in the story. That doesn't often happen in mainstream publishing. A lot of the times the stories that Indigenous peoples see themselves in are victim narratives.

I wanted to write for Indigenous youth of the North because I wanted them to see themselves in the story.

"I wanted to change the stereotypes of Indigenous peoples through this book and tell stories in a way that was very empowering. I hope that comes through."

Katłıà's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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