Two Houses Half-Buried in SandFront Cover

ISBN: 9780889225558 | paperback / softback

$29.95 | 352 pages | Pub. Date: 2008
6.00 W × 9.00 H × 1 D inches
Non-Fiction | Backlist | Bisac: HIS006010
ISBN 13: 9780889225558 | Rights: WORLD

Two Houses Half-Buried in Sand
Oral Traditions of the Hul'q'umi'num' Coast Salish of Kuper Island and Vancouver Island
By Chris Arnett

A vital collection of writings about First Nations people and culture as it existed on the island coasts of the Depression-era Pacific Northwest and originally published in the pages of Victoria’s oldest newspaper, the Daily Colonist, the sixty stories included here are the result of a unique collaboration between a middle-aged woman, Beryl Cryer, of upper-class British ancestry, and well-known Hul’q’umi’num’-speaking cultural elders, keenly aware of the punitive anti-land claims legislation passed by the Canadian Parliament in 1927, and therefore eager to have their stories told and published.

Mary Rice from Kuper Island, who lived next door to the Cryer family home in Chemainus, BC, is well remembered even today for her storytelling abilities; she taught Beryl Cryer, with whom she became close friends, countless aspects of indigenous culture, particularly as experienced by women. An elder in a thriving native culture, she introduced Cryer to the many other authorities from whom these stories were gathered for the newspaper.

Although she was not a trained anthropologist, Beryl Cryer was an honest observer and careful recorder. She embellished the material she collected with minor anecdotal introductions that give the reader a vivid sense of the person telling the story. The accounts themselves are valuable documents of Coast Salish oral traditions dealing with a wide range of subject matter from known sources, almost all of whom were well-versed in English.

By Chris Arnett

Sophie Bienvenu is a Québécois writer. After studying visual communication in Paris, she settled in Quebec in 2001 and quickly established herself as a successful blogger. Et au pire, on se mariera (La Mèche) her first novel, was followed by Chercher Sam (translation forthcoming from Talonbooks, 2019), and Autour d’elle, translated as Around Her by Rhonda Mullins (Talonbooks, 2018). Ceci n’est pas de l’amour (This Is Not Love) was her first poetry collection, published in 2016 by Poètes de brousse. Bienvenu’s writing takes its readers on an emotional journey, an intense exploration of profoundly human characters, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Read more about Chris Arnett


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news | 2012-05-23
Aboriginal Awareness Week in 2012

…Accidental Women Tombs of the Vanishing Indian Two Houses Half-Buried in Sand Where the Blood Mixes Write It on Your Heart: The …