Chelsea Vowel on the Post-Apocalypse in This Place:150 Years Retold

Chelsea VowelChelsea Vowel is the author of “kitaskînaw 2050,” a story in the anthology This Place: 150 Years Retold. The story features illustrations by Tara Audibert and colour by Donovan Yaciuk. In her author statement below, Chelsea examines the tie between This Place: 150 Years Retold and the dystopian genre, and shares the basis of “kitaskînaw 2050” .

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Illustration & Colours: Natasha Donovan

Illustrations by Tara Audibert with colourist Donovan Yaciuk.

Dystopian or apocalyptic writing occupies an enormous amount of space in contemporary storytelling and in the social consciousness. We are told that the end is nigh, and that the world (or at least the world as we know it) will be destroyed, and that this is a Bad Thing. We are encouraged to imagine what life could be like during and after this supposedly inevitable destruction, but are steered away from dreaming up alternatives. Indigenous peoples have been living in a post-apocalyptic world since Contact. This entire anthology deals with events postapocalypse! Why end on the same note?

In 2014, Molly Swain and I began an Indigenous feminist sci-fi podcast called Métis in Space. We explicitly rejected the idea that liberation necessarily proceeds from a period of even more intense oppression, of apocalypse as a catalyst for decolonization. Instead, we envisioned a future shaped by indigenous peoples; a future in which the ways we relate to one another are fundamentally transformed.

This chapter is a love letter to my ancestors and my descendants. It is a refusal to lose hope, and a denial of oblivion. Indigenous peoples will continue to exist into the near and far future. We need space and time to imagine our relationships branching out, growing in spite of severances, becoming more firmly rooted and nourished. We can do that work wherever we are, in our communities, in the academy, at the bedside of our babies who demand just one. more. Story.

Perhaps, after you finish this anthology, you will realize you too have been doing this work, and for that, I thank you.

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  • Listen to Chelsea Vowel examine the science fiction genre through a decolonization lens in her podcast Métis in Space, co-hosted with Molly Swain.
  • Read Chelsea’s take on a post-apocalyptic world in This Place: 150 Years Retold.

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Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are a wild ride through magic realism, serial killings, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

Featuring Stories By: Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, and Chelsea Vowel

Illustrated By: Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, Ryan Howe, Andrew Lodwick, and Jen Storm

Colour By: Scott A. Ford and Donovan Yaciuk


CCA_NewChapter_logo_transparent-eThis is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.


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