Quebec Studies

Writing of/from the Fourth World: Gabrielle Roy and Ungava

Quebec Studies (2003), 35, (1), 45–62.

Abstract

45 Writing of/from the Fourth World: Gabrielle Roy and Ungava Rosemary Chapman University of Nottingham Any analysis of Canada in terms of postcolonial theory or criticism exposes the specific complexities of Canada’s particular colonial history. As Robert Young states: colonialism involved an extraordinary range of different forms and practices carried out with respect to radically different cultures, over many different centuries.. .. This extraordinary diversity, both historically and geographically, even within the practices of a single colonial power, or with respect to different historical epochs and successive colonial powers in the history of a single colony (for example, Sri Lanka), troubles the possibility of any general theory. (17) If one substitutes first Canada and then Quebec in the place of Sri Lanka, different patterns of colonial relationship emerge. Anglophone and francophone settlers in pre-Conquest Canada were already in between two layers of power: neither the center, the metropolitan government, which could both protect them and oppress them, nor the colonized, the indigenous natives whom the colons would for the most part slaughter, expel from their own lands, or exploit as a labor force, and from whose perspective the colons and the metropolitan government would be equated. (Young 19) After the signing of the Trait6 de Paris in 1763 this position “in between’’ is further complicated. The francophone colons became colons colonisb, the subjects of a new colonial power, but as before, still in a position of power (as expressed, for example, in cultural, territorial, economic, and linguistic terms) over the indigenous population. In the late twentieth century, in the postcolonial age, the indigenous populations of former dominions, such as Canada and Australia remained colonized, members of the Fourth World. John D. ONeil explains the situation of the Fourth World peoples, inhabitants of marginal geographic regions, as “internal colonies in relation to the larger nation-state.... the populations involved are the original inhabitants of the area, whose lands have been expropriated and who have become subordinate politically and economically to an immigrant population’’ (280). The former settlers, members of the Second World (Whitlock, Slemon), are differently, though still doubly positioned (Young 19), being freed from colonial rule yet themselves becoming the oppressors of the indigenous population. In such ways, the postcolonial and the colonial coexist.’ Quebec Studies, Volume 35, SpringlSummer 2003

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Chapman, Rosemary