|dc.description.abstract||Stories, as discourses, act on the world by creating systems of representation. Along with other discourses, they sanction and limit what can be conceived as reality. The stories of Thomas King and Patricia Grace are a good example of this dynamic because they both relate, and relate to, the (neo)colonial stories of ‘Canada’ and ‘New Zealand’ respectively. Using Grace and King’s works, this thesis traces the interrelationships among indigenous and colonial stories, the perspectives they advocate and the political/cultural locations they sanction. Drawing on both indigenous and postcolonial theories, I work with these stories to further expose Eurocentric conceptualizations of Aboriginal and Māori cultures.
Colonial and neocolonial stories place the ‘Aboriginal’ in Canada and ‘Māori’ in Aotearoa New Zealand from Eurocentric points of view. Both Canada and New Zealand are what Michel de Certeau calls ‘recited societies,’ discursive formations limiting the conceptualization of culture. I argued that these discursive formations share similar archives that give form to a utopian-progressive paradigm reflected in discourses of cartography, geography, neocolonial tourism, and multiculturalism and biculturalism. This thesis unpacks these key discourses of assimilation and integration that are central to the construction and reconstruction of the idea(l) of the colony and the Nation.
(Neo)colonial discourses that ‘recite’ Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand as colonies and as nations devalue indigenous peoples’ conceptualizations of their own cultures. In counterpoint to these discourses, King and Grace envision cultures as relational and in process. They each create new discursive systems through their texts. Critics must respond to these new systems and adopt spiral reading strategies in order to move beyond the limitations of colonial and neocolonial ways of thinking.
Spiral reading strategies embrace postcolonial and indigenous theories, and colonial and indigenous literatures in relation to one another. Read together, these discourses challenge colonial and neocolonial worldviews and activate a shifting and relational order as the basis for new ways of imagining the Nation. Grace and King promote cultural empowerment using what Rob Wilson calls ‘inside-out perspectives’ and writing from relational worldviews. They resist Eurocentric discourses of assimilation and integration in various ways and enact alternative models of culture. Drawing on selected colonial, postcolonial and indigenous discourses, including excerpts from the work of King and Grace, this thesis shows how spiral reading strategies put pressure on colonial and neocolonial conceptions of cultures as either static or progressive.
In this thesis I both explain and enact spiral reading strategies, bringing together colonial and neocolonial discourses, indigenous and postcolonial theories, in relation to one another and through the contrapuntal lens of King and Grace. This dissertation does not presume to cover the entire range of these discourses, but to explore a new approach to reading that opens up a relational-processual paradigm already located within these Aboriginal and Maori stories. Spiral reading strategies break down traditional dichotomies that oppose history and stories, theory and literature. These strategies take as a given that both theory and history are changing sets of stories, and that stories are both historical and theoretical.||en_NZ