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In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience

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Long-listed for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize A memoir of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the lasting wounds of sexual violence Helen Knott, a highly accomplished Indigenous woman, seems to have it all. But in her memoir, she offers a different perspective. In My Own Moccasins is an unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by Long-listed for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize A memoir of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the lasting wounds of sexual violence Helen Knott, a highly accomplished Indigenous woman, seems to have it all. But in her memoir, she offers a different perspective. In My Own Moccasins is an unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption. With gripping moments of withdrawal, times of spiritual awareness, and historical insights going back to the signing of Treaty 8 by her great-great grandfather, Chief Bigfoot, her journey exposes the legacy of colonialism, while reclaiming her spirit.


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Long-listed for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize A memoir of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the lasting wounds of sexual violence Helen Knott, a highly accomplished Indigenous woman, seems to have it all. But in her memoir, she offers a different perspective. In My Own Moccasins is an unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by Long-listed for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize A memoir of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the lasting wounds of sexual violence Helen Knott, a highly accomplished Indigenous woman, seems to have it all. But in her memoir, she offers a different perspective. In My Own Moccasins is an unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption. With gripping moments of withdrawal, times of spiritual awareness, and historical insights going back to the signing of Treaty 8 by her great-great grandfather, Chief Bigfoot, her journey exposes the legacy of colonialism, while reclaiming her spirit.

30 review for In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I am feeling a lot. I cannot even articulate all that is bubbling below the surface. I cannot even remember how this memoir got to me, but I am glad that I read it. Goodreads review 07/09/20

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jaime Morse

    I felt like I was reading my own story. I had so much in common with the author that I am feeling defeat about writing my own memoir 😆 Actually, I’m so happy that she wrote it. It took me back in time to all sorts of memories; good and bad. I had only one physical trigger from this book and I caught myself staring at my husband who was talking to me and I had no idea what he had just said because I was lost in thoughts. Everything from going to the United Nations, to being Métis and a past conne I felt like I was reading my own story. I had so much in common with the author that I am feeling defeat about writing my own memoir 😆 Actually, I’m so happy that she wrote it. It took me back in time to all sorts of memories; good and bad. I had only one physical trigger from this book and I caught myself staring at my husband who was talking to me and I had no idea what he had just said because I was lost in thoughts. Everything from going to the United Nations, to being Métis and a past connected to Edmonton and WEM. I could also relate to Helen’s trauma and after effects of sexual abuse, rape and how the memories chase you until you are forced to lose yourself almost completely. I lived not far from Ft. McMurray - man camps. Sometimes our town housed those strangers for work and they would drive in to Ft. Mac daily because at the time there wasnt enough housing for them in Ft. Mac. Wherever they went they left their mark on the the land and Indigenous women of the land, they’re children; destructively pushing everything around them to the limit. I’m glad to hear about Helen’s sobriety and it has definitely affirmed mine as well. I know that it must have been very difficult at times writing this memoir. It’s so very brave of the author to push through triggers and dig deep into her truth in order heal her soul, and to mostly address “us” - Indigenous women readers. I was touched by this dedication at the beginning of the book and mostly. It was just towards the end where the way she was talking about Residential Schools was for a non-Indigenous audience. Even though this book was meant for Indigenous women readers, I highly recommend anyone to read this because it is a common experience of northern Indigenous women of our age. Probably before us and before them too maybe. Anyway, I’d love to see the video of the poem somewhere if it’s still available. Much support and strength to Helen and her mother, Helen and her son and Helen and her father, Helen and Asu. All such important relationships to learn from, heal from and grow from. 💕 Helen’s story is one of many Indigenous women’s stories especially those from Western Canada. If you’re wondering about this Indigenous women who are not missing or murdered but had close calls, there are many of us and this book is a perfect illustration of our endurance.

  3. 5 out of 5

    katelyn

    THIS. BOOK. IS. SO. IMPORTANT. I spent much of it underlining and circling because it is full of significant moments that I want to remember and learn again. Beautifully written, even at the darkest of moments

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Klassen

    Own Voices memoirs are such a personal journey and culturally important as an act of storytelling, resistance, and reclamation. Especially when a memoir doesn't land with me, I have trouble criticizing a person's story. The process of laying one's self bare is hard to judge as a reviewer. That being said, I have no trouble rating and reviewing this memoir. In My Own Moccasins is incredible. Helen Knott is a fantastic writer. Each part of the memoir (before, middle, after) was well-weighted and n Own Voices memoirs are such a personal journey and culturally important as an act of storytelling, resistance, and reclamation. Especially when a memoir doesn't land with me, I have trouble criticizing a person's story. The process of laying one's self bare is hard to judge as a reviewer. That being said, I have no trouble rating and reviewing this memoir. In My Own Moccasins is incredible. Helen Knott is a fantastic writer. Each part of the memoir (before, middle, after) was well-weighted and not lacking in anything. It is technically flawless. But that's not why I loved it. The heart and strength of Helen Knott. She reveals bit by bit the trauma of her past and the PTSD afterward. Intergenerational trauma and that which is done directly to her. Residential schools, alcoholism in her family, sexual abuse from the age of 2, racism in school, "slut shaming" and bullying, harassment at work, on the streets, by those she should be able to trust. This memoir is tough to read, hard to stomach. Sexual violence against indigenous women as a whole reflected in the experiences of an individual. The clear connection between her traumatic experiences and the self-medication of alcohol, drugs, and self-harm made me rage against the injustice. My heart broke. Like Chanel Miller's memoir Know My Name, I had to stop and take breaks. It is overwhelmingly angering and saddening. Knott prefaces the book with a content warning and by saying to be gentle with yourself. This is a very triggering book that explicitly depicts trauma and coping mechanisms. But also healing. Traditional medicines and cultural practices bring her back to herself. Her spiritual journey of healing is as important (even more so) than her counselling, gynecology visits, and detox. Her recovery process was the balm to the pain of the first half. She begins to forgive herself, forgive her attackers, forgive her family. She learns the value of herself and unlearns racist and sexist ideas that she has internalised. And turns it outward. Reclaiming her work as a social justice warrior, her writing amplifies her voice. She is what we would problematically call a "success" story. She gets 'out' and shares her story. We must never forget those who are still struggling and those who are currently having traumatic experiences due to the Canadian colonial project and violence against indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people. She makes it clear what is to blame — the centuries long effort by Canadians to dehumanize indigenous people in order to dominate. She resists this devaluation of indigenous women's bodies and says "You are worth a thousand horses." A memoir that punches upward. Toward knowledge, healing, and hopefully change. A vital part of "Canadian" decolonization. A small book with a big impact on me. I will keep my eyes out for Helen and anything she writes in the future.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Annie💞

    This book made me more emotional than I have felt reading a book in a while, and I JUST finished Billy-Ray Belcourt’s book so that’s saying something. For a memoir, I felt as if Helen Knott was telling a story that was both hers and mine. Maybe that’s too depressing, but she wrote in a way that I was able to see myself in her stories, to feel her pain, and to recover with her. This is something that I really needed. I highly recommend this book to all Indigenous women. Yes others can read it as This book made me more emotional than I have felt reading a book in a while, and I JUST finished Billy-Ray Belcourt’s book so that’s saying something. For a memoir, I felt as if Helen Knott was telling a story that was both hers and mine. Maybe that’s too depressing, but she wrote in a way that I was able to see myself in her stories, to feel her pain, and to recover with her. This is something that I really needed. I highly recommend this book to all Indigenous women. Yes others can read it as well and I think definitely should, but as an Indigenous woman this was something I needed to read. Knott’s story of resilience and recovery was something that felt so personal. If you enjoyed Jesse Thistle’s “From The Ashes”, this is an absolute must read. I think this story is even more impactful. This is a beautiful book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    If you’re wondering about some of the difficulties facing indigenous communities - particularly women - in Canada, this is an important read. The author overcomes childhood trauma and abuse, as well as addiction and violence, to bring awareness for these issues, and healing for herself. Powerful.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cassidy

    This book is incredibly vulnerable and powerful. The amount of struggle and truly horrible things Helen has gone through was shocking and heartbreaking. It’s so important that her story is out there so people are aware that extreme violence against Indigenous women is no myth. I will be thinking about Helen’s journey for a long time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Luke Spooner

    This hit me really hard. It could be because it is set pretty close to where I live, but that probably does a disservice to Knott's talent as a writer and her willingness to be so open and honest with her readers.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Schmitke

    I read this in one day in two sittings. Each time I thought to set it down to take a break I couldn't... I felt that this act would be a form of disrespect to the information within and to Helen Knott's bravery in telling her story. I only stopped the once to have a quick dinner. It is shameful that the story within can be garnered from a life lived in Canada. To me this book has opened up my eyes to horrors within my own country. The feelings and perspective gains are comparable to those of whi I read this in one day in two sittings. Each time I thought to set it down to take a break I couldn't... I felt that this act would be a form of disrespect to the information within and to Helen Knott's bravery in telling her story. I only stopped the once to have a quick dinner. It is shameful that the story within can be garnered from a life lived in Canada. To me this book has opened up my eyes to horrors within my own country. The feelings and perspective gains are comparable to those of which I derived from reading the Gulag Archipelago and King Leopold's Ghost. Again, it is tragic to hear this story coming out of Canada. We have a moral imperative to do better.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    It is an important and vital story of one Indigenous woman’s experience that sadly represents the experiences of so many Indigenous women across Canada. Visit my Instagram for my full review @thunderbirdwomanreads

  11. 4 out of 5

    Colinda Clyne

    Helen tells her story of sexual assaults and the spiral into addiction bravely. Heartbreaking as this is too often the story for Indigenous women. "Healing yourself is a revolutionary act. Healing yourself is the ultimate act of resistance" I especially like these lines as I so often hear of people wanting others to heal them; we can only heal ourselves, and it is, indeed, a revolutionary act.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dalija Kuca

    I had to take a few breaks while reading this book. Although, I knew what it was about, I needed respite from Helen’s pain which she so bravely and generously shared with us. Settlers, we all need to read this book. As difficult as it was, it is so very important to have an Indigenous woman’s account of the continuing consequences of generational trauma caused by on going racism and colonialism. Thank you for sharing and trusting us with your story Helen.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    A powerful and difficult memoir. This woman's strength is incredible, and her wisdom is far beyond her years. I sometimes had trouble following the story -- it's not always clear when the author has moved back to the present after a flashback. Or which he or she in the story she's referring to. But these are minor issues. Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cammy Nguyen

    The first third of the book was tiring, but I guess dealing with the aftermath of sexual abuse, alcoholism and addiction is tiring - to say the least. Then, like layers of an onion, Helen peeled back her wounds, her pains, her traumas, and walked readers through a journey of healing. It is beautiful. It is enlightening. It is powerful.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Neda

    Honest, raw, powerful.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Fannie

    A raw memoir that really makes you think. The resiliency of Helen... unbelievable.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    This was a well-written, heartbreaking memoir that everyone should read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Doherty

    Real raw emotions.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kayla MacInnis

    This book. I have so much to say about it, but at the same time, I can’t find the words. You know how sometimes it’s hard not to see yourself in the characters or stories you read? This one was incredibly hard to keep myself separate; as a half-blood who has experienced trauma and addictive self-destructive behaviours in the past, I felt as though a mirror was being held up in front of me, and I couldn’t look away. Helen writes beautifully and with so much vulnerability. Her path to healing para This book. I have so much to say about it, but at the same time, I can’t find the words. You know how sometimes it’s hard not to see yourself in the characters or stories you read? This one was incredibly hard to keep myself separate; as a half-blood who has experienced trauma and addictive self-destructive behaviours in the past, I felt as though a mirror was being held up in front of me, and I couldn’t look away. Helen writes beautifully and with so much vulnerability. Her path to healing parallels my own, and I am so thankful that she chose to share her story with the world.

  20. 5 out of 5

    L

    I have always despised my country for how they've treated Indigenous peoples and continue to fail Indigenous people and then lie about how they are committed to reconciliation and pretend like they are doing something. It disgusts me how intentional my country is in trying to hurt Indigenous people and dismissive they are. I hear it all the time how people generalise Indigenous people as just addicts and then dismiss them but they don't understand why. It is really unfortunate how ignorant we ar I have always despised my country for how they've treated Indigenous peoples and continue to fail Indigenous people and then lie about how they are committed to reconciliation and pretend like they are doing something. It disgusts me how intentional my country is in trying to hurt Indigenous people and dismissive they are. I hear it all the time how people generalise Indigenous people as just addicts and then dismiss them but they don't understand why. It is really unfortunate how ignorant we are. We cannot treat addiction as a crime but as a health issue and we need to focus on healing rather than criminalising. Indigenous people, because of colonialism and racism, have been disconnected from their culture and land and language, which has left them lost like Helen said. If we really care about reconciliation, first my country has to accept the truth of what disgusting crimes they have done and accept that they still do it today, they then have to truly understand what it means to be Indigenous and what they value and their culture so they understand how their acts can affect Indigenous people. Then they have to stop fucking taking away their land and everything from them! Holy Fuck! They are still doing that. Their land is a part of their identity. Then you have to get rid of those disgusting reserves. That's colonialism right there and it's fucked up. You have to give back their land so Indigenous people have a space to connect with each other and have a space to be themselves. Don't tell me 'oh why don't they just get over it and live like the rest of us' NO! If they dont want to they dont have to. If it doesn't match their values then they don't have to. That's colonialism. Trying to turn them into us and then make them believe that who they are is not human. That is what my country has been doing and still continues to do. I am still learning about Indigenous people but I do admire their values and the way they see the world. Honestly, we should be more like them if I am to be honest. They care about each other, they value community, they are spiritual people, which I love, they respect the environment, they believe everything and everyone is connected so they have a reverence for what's around them. It's great. All they want is for us to take care of their land, that's what I hear from them but we aren't even doing that. And don't even get me started on fucking rape and sexual assault and how women suffer everyday all over the world. Dont even! We are silenced and shamed and no one is teaching the men that what they are doing is wrong. And then we treat it like it's normal and it's not taken seriously. Instead all the blame is on us. 'Oh it's just a joke,' 'oh you're just showing off,' 'are you sure?,' 'you're just trying to get attention,' 'oh its just a misunderstanding' Fuck off! I love that Helen said the book is for Indigenous women. It's not meant to educate other's on Indigenous people and culture. It's to help all those Indigenous women who have suffered like Helen did and that is truly important. The book ends with great wisdom and hope and I loved it and needed it. It says that self care and healing has a ripple effect. To heal is not a solitary act, Helen says. And that truly means a lot. It means that to heal means you are not just healing yourself but you are helping heal so many others and that just gives a person more reason to heal.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Esther Wenger

    Powerful memoir from rising Indigenous voice in Canada. Knott is Dane Zaa and Cree; both sides of her family have been in Peace River territory for, obviously, a long long time. My family immigrated from Europe and I'm first-generation Canadian. We grew up in the same hometown. She didn't have any non-Indigenous friends in high school; I didn't have any Indigenous. Separation is de facto if not de jure. Reading this memoir demonstrated how many experiences we shared in common, yet how different o Powerful memoir from rising Indigenous voice in Canada. Knott is Dane Zaa and Cree; both sides of her family have been in Peace River territory for, obviously, a long long time. My family immigrated from Europe and I'm first-generation Canadian. We grew up in the same hometown. She didn't have any non-Indigenous friends in high school; I didn't have any Indigenous. Separation is de facto if not de jure. Reading this memoir demonstrated how many experiences we shared in common, yet how different our lives were. We both were huge readers growing up, with trips to the library and voracious reading one of the few things that got us through, and always wanted to be writers. We both worked the same job at 17, working traffic control / 'flagging' on construction sites in oil patch country, which is most of the time an incredibly male-dominated, toxic environment rife with sexual harassment - especially when you are 17. Alongside these were common experiences of high school teachers, local events, etc. I identified with a lot of what she shared. One of the biggest key differences in our experience, however, is the ways her Indigeneity meant experiencing addiction and emotional, physical, and sexual violence in her family, school, and community life from day 1 that I have not had to experience in the same way at all. She also goes through a process of learning and practicing more of her Dane Zaa and Cree traditions, which is really meaningful and powerful in her life. Both of these things a large focus of the book, simply because it has been so woven into her life and experiences. Her healing process is hard, beautiful, and a privilege to read. Her open and vulnerable expression of all her experiences and identities comes through powerfully and clearly. I really appreciated the tell it like it is, real, descriptions of her experiences. As she says, "I did not write this book so that people can learn how to humanize Indigenous women and gain context for the violence that seems to fill our lives. ... As Indigenous women, we sometimes must unapologetically write for ourselves. I wrote this for us."

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    5/5 Stars I ordered this memoir from Birchbark Books, an Indigenous-owned bookstore in Minneapolis, MN, after it was highly recommended by Indigenous author, Alicia Elliott. This book makes space to discuss the long-term effects of colonialism, residential schooling, and cultural genocide perpetrated on Indigenous communities in Canada. The memoir lays bare how this history has attributed to multigenerational trauma, loss, and resilience for Indigenous families, particularly Indigenous women. Kno 5/5 Stars I ordered this memoir from Birchbark Books, an Indigenous-owned bookstore in Minneapolis, MN, after it was highly recommended by Indigenous author, Alicia Elliott. This book makes space to discuss the long-term effects of colonialism, residential schooling, and cultural genocide perpetrated on Indigenous communities in Canada. The memoir lays bare how this history has attributed to multigenerational trauma, loss, and resilience for Indigenous families, particularly Indigenous women. Knott brings the reader deep within herself to learn her personal history of abuse, assault, alcohol and drug addiction, and recovery. She paints an elaborate portrait of her life through truthtelling and reclamation. At times it is painful to read her stories. It is painful to "know". But it is important to know. Knott's story, and millions of stories similar to hers, are worthy of our time and attention. It gives voice, not only to the missing and murdered Indigenous women of the world, but to the living, breathing, recovering, and thriving Indigenous women of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Knott told me at the beginning, that as a White European-American, this story was not written for me. It's purpose is not so those from the outside can "learn to humanize" Indigenous women. It's purpose is to be part of the medicine needed to heal the wounds, to forgive the self, to accept the weight of self-worth. I recommend this book to those who know Indigenous women, are friends with Indigenous women, who love Indigenous women. I also recommend this to anyone who self-proclaims as an "ally", as an "activist", as a "feminist", and beyond. We must all make space for truthtelling. We must all build platforms for Indigenous stories like Knott's to be told. The past may never be reclaimed, but the future can be saved for us all. "Healing yourself is the ultimate act of resistance." (pg. 264)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jane Mulkewich

    As the author Helen Knott says in her introduction: "I did not write this book so that people can learn how to humanize Indigenous women and gain context for the violence that seems to fill our lives. ... As Indigenous women, we sometimes must unapologetically write for ourselves. I wrote this for us." This is the story of a young woman who was traumatized and abused and unprotected at a very young age and turned to alcohol and drugs to obliterate and forget. Her love of words and books was one As the author Helen Knott says in her introduction: "I did not write this book so that people can learn how to humanize Indigenous women and gain context for the violence that seems to fill our lives. ... As Indigenous women, we sometimes must unapologetically write for ourselves. I wrote this for us." This is the story of a young woman who was traumatized and abused and unprotected at a very young age and turned to alcohol and drugs to obliterate and forget. Her love of words and books was one of the things that carried her through, and in her acknowledgements she thanks Richard Wagamese, who guided her through the beginning stages of this book. (I was fortunate to attend one of Richard's week-long writing workshops in which he spoke to us often about how libraries and books were a big part of what carried him through his early years to find his calling as a storyteller). Helen Knott's "memoir of resilience" culminates in such a positive note, as she has found not only sobriety but also support and healing and community - she writes of healing her relationships with both of her parents, and I love to see all the dust-jacket endorsements from powerful indigenous authors: Eden Robinson, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Maria Campbell, Kim Anderson, and more. This book is a triumph. It covers some difficult territory, but she pulls you through it. She may not have written it for you, but you should read it anyway. (What comes to mind is that Shakespeare did not write with Helen Knott in mind as his target audience... and yet she was the girl, she writes, who wanted to impress Shakespeare). I am sure she has more stories to tell and I am looking forward to reading more of her writing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I’m a 60 year old privileged white woman, raised by loving parents who did their very best by my siblings and me. Substance abuse has visited our family as well, as substance abuse does not discriminate. I chose to read Helen Knott’s In My Own Moccasins to learn from a survivor the hell that the indigenous women have endured for generations. I need to know how my ancestors contributed to the decimation of generations of families. I believe ALL Canadian women need to read Knott’s memoir, even if I’m a 60 year old privileged white woman, raised by loving parents who did their very best by my siblings and me. Substance abuse has visited our family as well, as substance abuse does not discriminate. I chose to read Helen Knott’s In My Own Moccasins to learn from a survivor the hell that the indigenous women have endured for generations. I need to know how my ancestors contributed to the decimation of generations of families. I believe ALL Canadian women need to read Knott’s memoir, even if it is not an easy read. She lead a horrific life, and while reading it told in her own words was difficult, uncomfortable, shocking, if she could survive it, I could survive reading about it. And I did come away with more insight into some of what plagues the Indigenous communities. I have a broader sense of the meaning of resilience thanks to Knott. While processing the idea of presenting her poetry to a new public, Knott was conflicted, scared, and finding reasons not to do it. Her friend said: “Don’t you always tell me that if there is fear there is room for growth?” That powerful statement will guide me when I’m faced with something scary. Thank you Helen Knott for writing this memoir, even though you must have felt vulnerable putting it all out there. You have demonstrated courage and bravery that will inspire your son Mathias.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    As you can see, I finished this book rather quickly in three days. That’s not to boast, but a tribute to the depth and honesty in Helen Knott’s writing. In My Own Moccasins is a memoir of a young Indigenous woman’s battle with inter generational trauma and addiction. As an activist in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman movement, her story is heartbreakingly authentic. Moccasins is a story of intersectional vulnerability and reclamation of spirit. As Knott would phrase it, if you don’t know As you can see, I finished this book rather quickly in three days. That’s not to boast, but a tribute to the depth and honesty in Helen Knott’s writing. In My Own Moccasins is a memoir of a young Indigenous woman’s battle with inter generational trauma and addiction. As an activist in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman movement, her story is heartbreakingly authentic. Moccasins is a story of intersectional vulnerability and reclamation of spirit. As Knott would phrase it, if you don’t know the history of Indigenous, residential schools, Indian Act, 60s scoop, etc.: you need to educate yourself. You must have this knowledge to appreciate the dynamics of Indigenous vs western dominant culture, and the particular vulnerability of Indigenous women in their own communities and larger society. That through her battle with addictions, she reconnects to her Dane Zaa and Cree Culture, she recognizes as a gift. There’s a depth to her story that makes it “about” so many things: Indigenous rights, feminism, addictions, and socio-economic status. Her intersectionality puts her in greater risk, but makes her story all the more compelling - we can each see ourselves in some aspect of her story. Although her journey to self healing is inspiring, we are left to answer the question: what is asked of me?

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rj

    A beautiful, although harrowing and often poetic memoir, Knott's book details her life as an Indigenous woman in Canada. She shows how colonial societies have treated women like her as disposable and the traumas that Indigenous woman carry with themselves in our modern world. "Someone, somewhere, once told me that a song will travel the world until someone is ready to receive it. Since then, I have imagined stories and poetry roaming the earth. Right now, invisible words are being carried by gus A beautiful, although harrowing and often poetic memoir, Knott's book details her life as an Indigenous woman in Canada. She shows how colonial societies have treated women like her as disposable and the traumas that Indigenous woman carry with themselves in our modern world. "Someone, somewhere, once told me that a song will travel the world until someone is ready to receive it. Since then, I have imagined stories and poetry roaming the earth. Right now, invisible words are being carried by gusts of wind trying to find someone to bring them into this world. Metaphors and similes are wandering the streets looking for a home." xiii "That's why I went there. To erase myself. To crash into the other non-existents and melt into their ever-changing formation. People disappeared every day. Native women like me disappeared every day. Becoming an invisible Indigenous woman was a goal of manifest destiny that was no longer willing to fight against." 5 "Some were good men. Some were nice men. Some were broken like me and we cut each other with our jagged edges." 80 "A story. Words. Words attached to trauma. Trauma tied my body to memory. The body remembers." 215

  27. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Kelley

    This is not an easy book to read. Helen Knott has written a clear and detailed portrait of her young life which has frequently been scarred by sexual abuse and addiction. Growing up in northern British Columbia, she tells a harrowing tale of rape, incest, gang rape, and other horrors. Her descent into addiction disrupts both her relationship with her young son, Mathias, and with her mother who struggles with demons of her own. But this is not a memoir of despair, as Knott connects with her a Indi This is not an easy book to read. Helen Knott has written a clear and detailed portrait of her young life which has frequently been scarred by sexual abuse and addiction. Growing up in northern British Columbia, she tells a harrowing tale of rape, incest, gang rape, and other horrors. Her descent into addiction disrupts both her relationship with her young son, Mathias, and with her mother who struggles with demons of her own. But this is not a memoir of despair, as Knott connects with her a Indigenous roots and culture, and fights her way out and onto a path of healing and resilience. Hers is a trail that starts as a victim, passes on to being a survivor, but ends as being a “ thriver”. Helen Knott writes clearly and well. She offers her story to other Indigenous women who are victims of abuse, of racism, of sadness. She reminds them that there can be days of hope and promise ahead.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Tom

    I just finished reading this incredibly powerful and beautifully written book. Not only did I love it, it's one of the most important books I have ever read. We can't learn about trauma and healing without listening to the stories (from those who are willing and able to share them with us) of those who have experienced it, with particular attention to ensuring that voices that have long been suppressed and disregarded are included. I can't possibly recommend this book highly enough. It's an easy I just finished reading this incredibly powerful and beautifully written book. Not only did I love it, it's one of the most important books I have ever read. We can't learn about trauma and healing without listening to the stories (from those who are willing and able to share them with us) of those who have experienced it, with particular attention to ensuring that voices that have long been suppressed and disregarded are included. I can't possibly recommend this book highly enough. It's an easy read in the sense that the writing is absolutely beautiful and engaging but, of course, there is difficult subject matter. Yet we have to be willing to listen to the darkness that others have lived through to learn how to help heal each other collectively and individually, so I encourage everyone who is able to read it to do so.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carol Rennie

    Helen is a very pretty indigneous woman...as a girl this was a dangerous combination - her own words....Helen faced many addictions through her life trying to live with all the abuse an indigenous woman will endure. Her mother also faced addictions and many times, Helen had to fend for herself. And even through this she was able to accomplish many wonderful things. Her story is disturbing, dark, even darker, hard to read sometimes, but can she find a way to overcome her addictions by embracing h Helen is a very pretty indigneous woman...as a girl this was a dangerous combination - her own words....Helen faced many addictions through her life trying to live with all the abuse an indigenous woman will endure. Her mother also faced addictions and many times, Helen had to fend for herself. And even through this she was able to accomplish many wonderful things. Her story is disturbing, dark, even darker, hard to read sometimes, but can she find a way to overcome her addictions by embracing her culture? I loved this book. It's been a while since a book had an impact on me..This could be my biological mother's story, She faced addictions, she went away weeks at a time, she could not rise above her abuse of many things and find me.....this book really made me think of how her life must have been....I haven't seen her since I was 4. Helen you are an amazing woman.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This is an amazing memoir of one Indigenous woman's journey through addiction, multiple instances of rape and sexual abuse, motherhood and activism. There are certain similarities between this book and Jesse Thistle's FROM THE ASHES (both are excellent), but this book is a far more hopeful stories, and I felt like the way Helen's family saw her through her addiction was far more supportive. That being said, this is also a remarkable story. I love that Helen tells her story honestly and with grea This is an amazing memoir of one Indigenous woman's journey through addiction, multiple instances of rape and sexual abuse, motherhood and activism. There are certain similarities between this book and Jesse Thistle's FROM THE ASHES (both are excellent), but this book is a far more hopeful stories, and I felt like the way Helen's family saw her through her addiction was far more supportive. That being said, this is also a remarkable story. I love that Helen tells her story honestly and with great humility, but states from the beginning that she is not writing it to educate white people about First Nations culture. I will have my eye on Helen Knott as am excellent writer, poet and Indigenous activist. She has done so much with this book alone, but the hopeful message of this memoir suggests she is nowhere near finished.

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