Maps of Experience: The Anchoring of Land to Story in Secwepemc Discourse


252 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-8435-4
DDC 971.1'7500497943




Reviewed by Joan A. Lovisek

Joan A. Lovisek, Ph.D., is a consulting anthropologist and
ethnohistorian in British Columbia.


Andie Diane Palmer takes us on road trip through the arid environment of
the Interior Plateau of British Columbia and into the linguistic world
of the Shuswap or Secwepemc of Alkali Lake (Esk’et), which is south of
Williams Lake. Palmer’s stated objective is to record and study the
multifaceted conversations and stories she heard while travelling to
various landscapes. Drawing on the richness of the language, Palmer
describes how Secwepemc knowledge is shared and transmitted. She
stresses the importance of both landscape and experience to Secwepemc

Maps of Experience also describes the author’s journey into the rites
of passage associated with anthropological fieldwork. Palmer quickly
learned the value of listening over asking questions. Her book provides
the theoretical potential for a new means of interpreting and
transcribing the written word of an oral people and of rethinking what
is often considered “poor” grammar in Indian English texts. Palmer
purposely chose not to transcribe into standard English the few stories
she provides in the book; instead she provides an introduction to the
methods of highlighting and analyzing the English to better interpret
Secwepemc meaning.

This important scholarly work is recommended for students of language
and for non-linguists who are in interested in Secwepemc culture.


Palmer, Andie Diane., “Maps of Experience: The Anchoring of Land to Story in Secwepemc Discourse,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024,