Okanagan Women’s Voices
Syilx and settler writing and relations, 1870s to 1960s
An anthology of literary non-fiction featuring women’s historical narratives from the early settlement period of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. The writing and relations between Syilx women and settler women, largely of European descent, who came to inhabit the British Columbia southern interior in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, is the focus of this book. Encounters in this contact zone between two different peoples have been examined previously, but little has been written about the gender-specific relations among the women who lived during this time.
“A contact zone dominated by white men and popularly represented by cowboys, railway builders and gold miners is here illuminated by seven women writers–some Syilx, some settler. They experienced intimate friendships and family relations across an increasingly high racial bar, and thought through their cultural entanglements in poetry, Syilx captikwl, memoir, letters, newspaper articles and history. Expertly contextualized, their writings give a gendered and often surprisingly original picture of the period when settler racism forced the Syilx from their territory. ”- Margery Fee, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Professor Emerita of English, University of British Columbia