Editors' responses to the authors who withdrew from kisiskâciwan
What follows below is a copy of the letters Jesse Archibald-Barber (Editor of kisiskâciwan: Indigenous Voices from Where the River Flows Swiftly) and Karen Clark (Acquisitions Editor, University of Regina Press) sent to the six female authors who contacted University of Regina Press about withdrawing their pieces from the anthology. In response to these writers' concerns, the Press offered them additional space to tell their stories and address issues of violence and oppression. Additionally, after Neal McLeod withdrew his contribution to the anthology, the Press extended an invitation to the authors to return their work to the anthology, if they were willing. This offer remains open for any authors who may wish, at a later date, to do so.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Late in the day, on 17 October 2017, Neal McLeod contacted us to say he was withdrawing his contribution to the kisiskâciwan anthology. He also sent a link to an Open Letter. It is found here: https://nealmcleodopenletter.wordpress.com/
In the spirit of reconciliation and with the desire to move towards healing the divisions in the communities, we hope you feel you can now return your writings to the anthology because McLeod’s have been removed. If you feel you cannot return, we will respect and honour that decision as well, and we wish you the best.
If the hard and necessary work of accountability, healing, and reconciliation can be accomplished in the months and years to come, then we do wonder about the future of this anthology as a space where that might one day be demonstrated. That is, we wonder about a future time when all the writers and communities involved in the anthology feel that those who felt they had to leave the anthology can return to it, and the anthology itself can become a place for healing, reunion, restoration, and support for all. If you feel you cannot rejoin us today, maybe at the time of a future printing of the anthology, you will feel differently.
We are terribly sorry for all the pain that this situation has caused so many people, in so many communities, in so many different ways, and for the damages that have resulted from all of this. The intention of the anthology was always, and continues to be, to bring together the Indigenous literary voices of this territory known as kisiskâciwan, so that those voices can go into classrooms next year, and in the years ahead, for the future generations.
Jesse Rae Archibald-Barber, Editor of kisiskâciwan, and Associate Professor at First Nations University of Canada
Karen May Clark, Scholarly Acquisitions Editor, University of Regina Press
Friday, October 6, 2017
We thank you for contacting us about your concerns regarding Neal McLeod’s inclusion in the kisiskâciwan anthology.
After much discussion and consultation over several days, we have made the decision to continue with the original intention of the anthology: to present as complete and vast as possible the historical record of the Indigenous writings that come from the people living on these lands known as Saskatchewan. The intention has always been for the anthology to be as comprehensive and inclusive as possible, going back to the 1700s, up to the present day.
We are truly sorry that this decision leaves you feeling unsupported.
We do want to repeat here what we have already communicated to you and other writers in phone calls, text messages, and emails: that we can and want to provide more space in the anthology so that these very issues can be addressed in this additional space. Moreover, in our marketing, promotion, readings, etc., the Press can be sure to highlight, bring forward, and spotlight your voices and support you and the others in this way as well.
Or, as already noted to some, we can offer the option of an anthology that is entirely devoted to Indigenous women and Two-Spirit writers and we can amplify these voices as loudly as we possibly can and support them with all the resources that are available for us to do so.
We hope you know that we remain committed to including and supporting your voice in the anthology, and, if you feel you cannot remain in the anthology, that we remain committed nonetheless to supporting your writing in other ways outside of this anthology.
Jesse Rae Archibald-Barber, Editor of kisiskâciwan
Karen May Clark, Acquisitions Editor, University of Regina Press