Maracle’s “Goodbye Snauq,” a story that moves fluidly between textualized oral history, essay, fiction, and nonfiction, provides an opportunity for thinking through the implications of a paradigm of resurgence in imagining and practicing Aboriginal rights, while at the same time opening up the possibility of reconceptualizing a politics of recognition. Although in many respects the story is a eulogy mourning the loss of Snauq—the dredged, drained, and resculpted inlet of water now aptly renamed False Creek— it also imagines embodied models of sovereignty. Articulating her connection to Snauq through visceral, sensory memories of that place, she conveys her mixed feelings of both belonging (in reminiscing) and alienation (post land dispute, Mathias v. The Queen ). The story suggests that more than governmental negotiations or land claims, reclaiming cultural memory, through song, ceremony, and oral history, has the potential to bring about a paradigm shift or break in how to conceptualize Aboriginal rights and bring about the “transformative praxis” that Glen Coulthard invokes. Maracle’s vision of an embodied, sensory-driven practice of sovereignty makes possible a more open-ended and critically informed conception of Aboriginal rights in a time of transition and change.
– Sophie McCall, PhD