An unflinching reimagining of Legacy: Trauma, Story, and Indigenous Healing for young adults
Written specifically for young adults, reluctant readers, and literacy learners, Killing the Wittigo explains the traumatic effects of colonization on Indigenous people and communities and how trauma alters an individual’s brain, body, and behavior. It explores how learned patterns of behavior — the ways people adapt to trauma to survive — are passed down within family systems, thereby affecting the functioning of entire communities. The book foregrounds Indigenous resilience through song lyrics and as-told-to stories by young people who have started their own journeys of decolonization, healing, and change. It also details the transformative work being done in urban and on-reserve communities through community-led projects and Indigenous-run institutions and community agencies. These stories offer concrete examples of the ways in which Indigenous peoples and communities are capable of healing in small and big ways — and they challenge readers to consider what the dominant society must do to create systemic change. Full of bold graphics and illustration, Killing the Wittigo is a much-needed resource for Indigenous kids and the people who love them and work with them.
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Suzanne Methot is the author of Legacy: Trauma, Story, and Indigenous Healing. She has worked in adult literacy and skills-training, as a museum educator, and as a teacher, creating a classroom program for Indigenous students experiencing intergenerational trauma. Born in Vancouver and raised in Peace River, Alberta, Suzanne is Nehiyaw of mixed Indigenous and European heritage. She lives on Gabriola Island, B.C., on the unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw Nation.
Published: June 2023
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
“While Indigenous teens are the obvious audience, this is an eye-opening and important resource for anyone concerned with North America's colonial legacy.” — Booklist Starred Review
“Killing the Wittigo is written with complete transparency, a clear understanding of trauma and its many aspects. The read is an in-depth look into the reader’s life experiences, bringing them to an enlightened knowing of self. But the most powerful part is offering the tools needed to heal while living in more happiness and peace. I highly recommend this book to everyone, and mostly for those who assist in another’s healing.” — Joanne Dallaire (Āhtawāpiskatowi Ininiwak), Elder and Senior Advisor, Toronto Metropolitan University
“I like Suzanne’s style of writing — it’s like she’s in the room with me. I was at page 54 when I realized that, even at my age, the journey of healing never stops.” — Nicole Tanguay (Cree/French), Writer and Community Worker
“A valuable introduction to Indigenous culture-based approaches to trauma.” — Kirkus Reviews
“I truly enjoyed reading Killing the Wittigo by Suzanne Methot. I love the stories, ceremonies, and teachings. The book is very thought-provoking, and bringing wittigo into the modern-day hardships of our people is brilliant. Yes, wittigo is trauma and mental health. Very few people can go through life without some kind of trauma, but what happened to the Indigenous community was life-altering. The physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and grieving — our families are suffering so much. We don’t just get over it, and the intergenerational hurt will be with our community for a long time to come. This book will help people look at their trauma in a different way. Our culture and ceremonies have always helped our people, and the cultural approach is on point. This has always been our way to living a good life. The book gives cultural credibility back to our youth.” — Harvey Manning (Anishinaabe), MSW, Community Worker