Helen Knott writes a gut-wrenching memoir which bravely recounts her struggles with sexual violence and addiction. She explores themes of losing herself to the trauma of being raped, which leads to self-destruction through drugs and alcohol. Ultimately she finds herself by looking to the women and family around her to see herself clearly. Becoming whole means incorporating Indigenous culture back into her life. Knott condemns Canada and settler colonial violence and narrates her journey to healing by overcoming the shame and guilt they both inflict.

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Knott, Helen. Photo of Helen Knott. Instagram, photographed by Tenille Campbell, 11 Mar 2019, www.instagram.com/p/Bu41TGdlm0H/?igshid=cdpmyhb2egai.

Helen Knott’s memoir, In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience, tells the story of her trauma, survival and healing. She is an Indigenous women of Dane Zaa, Cree and European descent. Knott writes honestly about her sexual assaults and addiction to tell the story of her journey to healing. She opens the introduction remembering the often forgotten or ignored Indigenous women who experience sexual assault, addiction, and violence, writing, “I wrote this for you.” Most importantly, she writes for herself. She grew up moving around British Columbia, from Fort St. John to Prince George. She also shares the story of her destructive episode in Edmonton, Alberta. …


Arielle Twist writes an autobiographical collection of poems that explore how sexual violence can be linked to colonial power and also outlines how healing can be found through metaphorical destruction and death. Twist unwittingly condemns colonial systems and highlights the decolonial process, which occurs through her and her culture’s survival.

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Twist, Arielle. Photo of Arielle Twist. Instagram, 31 Mar. 2020, www.instagram.com/p/B-Z8urundp2/?igshid=1jl8o55ymjd5p

Arielle Twist is a Cree transgender woman who hails from George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan but is currently living in Nova Scotia. Disintegrate/Dissociate is a self-reflective poetry collection highlighting her experience. She writes poems that tackle identity, culture and healing.

In her poetry book, Disintegrate/Dissociate, there seems to be a continued tension between what she chooses to share and what is deliberately left unsaid. The reader is only made aware of what she wants to share. In her poems, it seems there is an exploration of identity that is inherently tied to sexual violence, which can be a codified way to describe colonial violence. Twist narrates her journey to healing by navigating intergenerational and colonial trauma. In some poems, Twist’s “self” seems so reliant on validation by white cis men and can be just as easily destroyed by these agents of sex and violence. …

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