Gatherings, Vol. 14: En'owkin Reunion


199 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-894778-12-X
DDC C810.8'0897





Edited by Karen W. Olson
Reviewed by Beverly Rasporich

Beverly Rasporich is a professor in the Faculty of Communication and
Culture at the University of Calgary. She is the author of Dance of the
Sexes: Art and Gender in the Fiction of Alice Munro and Magic Off Main:
The Art of Esther Warkov.


The En’owkin Centre, located in the Okanagan Valley in British
Columbia, is a premier Aboriginal arts school. Since 1990, the centre
has published an annual volume of new writing. This 14th volume, like
many that have gone before it, does not disappoint. Filled to the brim
with poems, stories, and essays, it bubbles over with emotional and
spiritual energy celebrating the theme of reunion.

Living close to nature and experiencing the joy of the physical moment
are welcoming melodies heard here. Women gather berries and words,
grandmothers dance, eagle feathers carry ancestral memories, and a
“home beat drum” draws us back “where the land meets the soul /
and we have metaphysical understanding.” There is humour here, too, in
the escapades of Napi and Raven as well as in the experience of
well-known author Drew Hayden Taylor, who titles his musings on Native
playwriting and performance in the United States as “Dry Lips Oughta
Move to America,” a joking reference to Tomson Highway’s well-known
play about Native life in Northwestern Ontario, “Dry Lips Oughta Move
to Kapuskasing.”

Besides Hayden Taylor, there are other contributions by established
writers, such as Joy Kogawa, Jeannette Armstrong, and the German scholar
of Native literature Hartmut Lutz. The strength of the volume does not
depend on these older voices, however. The quality of the work is high
throughout. The biographies of the contributors, as well as a final
section of artistic images, complete the book. Gatherings not only
offers pleasurable reading, it is an absolutely essential resource for
those who are involved in the study of literature by Native authors.


“Gatherings, Vol. 14: En'owkin Reunion,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,