Jeannette C. Armstrong

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Jeannette Christine Armstrong (* 1948 on a reservation near Penticton , Canada ) is a writer, poet and founder of the indigenous information and education center En'owkin Center , where she now heads the International School of Writing . She is a member of the Okanagan and speaks her language fluently.


Her mother belonged to the Kettle River tribe living on the Columbia River , whose members traditionally lived mainly from fishing, while her father was an Okanagan , traditionally a hunter people. She received the name of her paternal great-grandmother. Thus, she inherited rights and responsibilities in the territories of her parental tribes, but is herself an Okanagan. For every expert it is clear what rights and obligations, knowledge and skills, but also limits they bring with them. According to each tribesman, it is clear “what my responsibilities are and what my goal is, what I have to carry with me, what I plan, what I teach and what I think about, what I have to do and what I cannot do ".

She became internationally known for her commitment to human rights and environmental initiatives as well as the anti-globalization movement . In her 1985 debut novel Slash , which is now also available in German, she described the cultural conflicts of the indigenous peoples in Canada. Based on the story of two Okanagan youths, it also reflects the Indian movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

Jeannette Armstrong grew up on the Okanagan reservation near Penticton in the province of British Columbia . She was brought up traditionally and learned both her mother tongue and English . Still, she had to go to residential school . In 1978 she graduated from the University of Victoria and Okanagan College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts .

She then worked at the Owkin Center , the Okanagan's cultural and educational center , and participated in the Okanagan Curriculum Project , which aims to bring Okanagan culture closer to “white” children. For them literature became the most important means of healing in a colonial process. In 1989 she founded the En: owkin School on International Writing , which she has been director since then.

In addition, she was committed to human rights , against the human genome project and for intellectual property rights , and was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Thomas University in New Brunswick in May 2000 . In 1990 she got involved in the Oka conflict in Québec , but also traveled to Chiapas, Mexico .

In 2000 she published “Whispering in Shadows”, which is based on her first novel “Slash” (which has since been published by Unrast Verlag , translated by Audrey Huntley ). In recognition of her achievements, she received the Mungo Martin Award , the Helen Pitt Memorial Award, and the Vancouver Foundation Graduate Award .

Armstrong received his doctorate in 2010 from the University of Greifswald with a thesis "Constructing Identity: Syilx Okanagan Oraliture and tmixwcentrism" (On the construction of ethnic identity: The communication of environmental ethics in the oral tradition of the Syilx-Okanagan) with Hartmut Lutz.


  • This is a story. "All My Relations": An Anthology of Contemporary Canadian Native Fiction. Ed. Thomas King . McClelland & Stewart, Toronto 1990, pp. 129-135
Children's books
  • Enwisteetkwa. Walk in water . Okanagan Indian Curriculum Project, Okanagan Tribal Council, Penticton 1982
  • Neekna and Chemai . Illustr. New edition Barbara Marchand. Theytus, Penticton 1991
  • With Douglas Cardinal. Photographs Greg Young-Ing .: The Native Creative Process: A Collaborative Discourse . Theytus, Penticton 1991
  • James Dumont, Donald R. Fiddler, Jeannette C. Armstrong, Aboriginal Perspectives of the Natural Environment . Theytus, Penticton 1991
  • Jeannette Armstrong, Maria Campbell, Doreen Jensen, Joy Asham Fedorick, Jaune Quick-to-see Smith, Lee Maracle. Give Back: First Nations Perspectives on Cultural Practice . Gallerie Publ., North Vancouver 1992
  • Lee Maracle et al .: We Get Our Living Like Milk from the Land . Theytus, Penticton 1993
  • as ed .: Looking at the Words of Our People: First Nations Analysis of Literature . Theytus, Penticton 1993
  • Writing from a Native Woman's Perspective. In the Feminine: Women and Words Conference Proceedings 1983, Eds. Ann Dybikowski et al., Longspoon 1985. pp. 55-7
  • Discipline and Sharing: Education in the Indian Way. Fourth World Journal. 1.2 (Winter 1985-1986): pp. 73-88
  • Traditional Indigenous Education: A Natural Process. Tradition Change Survival: The Answers Are within Us, University of British Columbia , First Nations House 1988
  • Voices of Native Women in Literature. Literature and Empowerment. Third International Feminist Book Fair, Montreal, June 17, 1988
  • Bridging Cultures , in: Columbiana: Journal of the Intermountain Northwest 30 (1989) 28-30
  • Cultural Robbery: Imperialism - Voices of Native Women , in: Trivia 14 (1989) 21-23
  • Real Power: Aboriginal Women - Past, Present and Future , in: Status of Women Journal (1990)
  • The Disempowerment of First North American Native Peoples and Empowerment through Their Writing. in: Gatherings 1.1 (1990) 141
  • Words . Telling It: Women and Language across Cultures. Ed. Telling It Collective. Press Gang, 1990, 23-30
  • Racism: Racial Exclusivity and Cultural Supremacy Give Back: First Nations Perspectives on Cultural Practice. Edited by Maria Campbell et al. Gallerie, North Vancouver 1992, pp. 74-82
  • C is for culture , in: Horizons 7.1, spring 1993, p. 40
Video and sound recordings
  • Mary Old Owl. Poetry is Not a Luxury: A Collection of Black and Native Poetry set to Classical Guitar, Reggae, Dub, and African Drums. Audio tape. Maya: CAPAC, 1987
  • Grandmothers. Word Up. Compact Disk. Virgin / EMI Music Canada, 1995


  • Jennifer McClinton-Temple, Alan R. Velie (Eds.): Encyclopedia of American Indian literature . New York 2007, p. 41

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. "... what my responsibilities are and what my goal is, what I need to carry with me, what I project, what I teach and what I think about, what I must do and what I can't do." quoted in Armstrong, I Stand With You Against the Disorder, 2006 ).