CON­TACT NO CON­TACT

Geist - - Miscellany -

Geist is em­bark­ing on a new project: Con­tact No Con­tact, a gath­er­ing of per­sonal Con­tact nar­ra­tives from Abo­rig­i­nal and non-abo­rig­i­nal writ­ers and sto­ry­tellers. “Con­tact” is a term used to de­note ini­tial en­coun­ters of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ples with Euro­pean set­tlers and car­ries a spe­cial charge in ac­counts of Abo­rig­i­nal his­tory. But for most Cana­di­ans, Con­tact re­mains an ab­stract “his­tor­i­cal” event that has (d)evolved over cen­turies into a con­tin­u­ous state of “No Fur­ther Con­tact.” The fin­ished works of Con­tact No Con­tact—writ­ten anec­dotes, au­dio and video—will be ar­ranged in

suites by theme and pub­lished in print and cu­rated on a web­site. Each nar­ra­tive will be short and to the point: to­gether they form an ar­ray of anec­dotes, each act­ing as a door into the space cre­ated by Con­tact: a glimpse, a sur­prise, a shock, a new con­nec­tion.

An en­try from Randy Fred:

My first con­tact with white kids was in grade seven, when kids from the res­i­den­tial school were bussed into town so we could go to a “pub­lic” school. We didn’t want to be there, and it was pretty clear that the white kids didn’t want us to be there ei­ther. So­cial Stud­ies was the worst class, be­cause In­di­ans were some­times the sub­ject. I didn’t know who the Iro­quois were, or who the Hurons were (no other In­di­ans were men­tioned in those classes), but I knew they were In­di­ans, and so was I. — The Ed­i­tors

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