Storied Geographies: Settler Extractivism and Sites of Indigenous Resurgence in Cherie Dimaline’s Empire of Wild

  • Julia Siepak Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu


This article offers a reading of Cherie Dimaline’s Empire of Wild (2019) that focuses on the novel’s poetics of space, which contests settler colonial extractive geographies. Adopting a strong Métis- and women’s perspective, Dimaline’s narrative explores the contemporary Métis condition, which is marked by dispossession and displacement under settler colonialism, and the precarity connected with rampant resource extraction in Canada. In order to tackle the tensions between settler- and Indigenous conceptualizations of space, I provide a brief overview of settler Canadian land politics, and describe the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels applying the concepts of petrostate and petroculture. By incorporating a Rogarou figure, a lupine monster in Métis stories, Dimaline embeds her novel within the traditional stories of her people, demonstrating their potential to critique and contest settler colonial geographies marked by extraction. The analysis approaches Indigenous storytelling as a strategy that resists dispossession and tackles the representation of Métis bodies as sites of resurgence.

Author Biography

Julia Siepak, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu
Julia Siepak is a PhD student in the field of literary studies at the Interdisciplinary Doctoral School Academia Copernicana, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland. Her research pertains to the poetics of space emerging from the intersections of the feminine and the environmental in contemporary Indigenous North American fiction written in English.


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