Alana Sayers is from the Hupačasath (Nuu-Chah-Nulth) and Alexander (Cree, Treaty 6) First Nations. She grew up on the Hupačasath reserve and went to Haahuuyayak school. She is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Victoria. In her dissertation she is creating a place-based Indigenous methodology to study Indigenous literature in both structure and content—what she calls “Nuu-Chah-Nulth literary transformations”—to move beyond the limitations of the page.
The modernist period is a milestone in Canadian history, notably for playing an integral role in Canada’s identity formation as an independent settler colonial state. Since its inception as a nation, Canada has been shaped by the modern/unmodern binary (with the Indian on the “unmodern” side), as explicitly articulated in the Indian Act, 1876. Canada is reliant upon the Indian Act to claim its modernity as a nation, as it refuses to exist alongside sovereign Indigenous nations. The Indian act was used to create the unmodern Indian subject in order for Canada to justify the legal controls and assimilation it has used to achieve its main goal: to maintain illegitimate control and authority over Indigenous nations and lands. The Indian Act has never been, nor will ever be, about Indians. It is about the Canadian state attempting to establish itself as legitimate.