SGS Celebrates Graduate Student Winners of Federal Tri-Council Awards - Shannon Webb-Campbell

Author: Andrea

Posted on Nov 30, 2022

Category: Money Matters , Student Stories

Profile of: Shannon Webb-Campbell 

Award Received: SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship

Awarded for the project: Only Young

Faculty: Arts

Department: English Literature, Creative Writing

Project supervised by: Dr. Sue Sinclair & Dr. Jennifer Andrews

Summary of research

My doctoral research project, a novel entitled Only Young after a well-known colloquial Newfoundland phrase used to describe a lack of maturity or experience, portrays the complexities of Indigenous identity in Newfoundland from the perspective of a young Two-Spirit character whose story resembles my own. As a novel, Only Young explores the federal government recognition in 2011 of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band in Newfoundland and Labrador as a band without reserve lands. It also explores the implications of this newfound identity on individuals who sought band membership in the years that followed. The federal government, concerned about the large number of applicants for status (over 100,000 people), suddenly revised the criteria to exclude many of those who had been recognized as members. I am someone whose membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation was granted and then revoked.

In my dissertation, I examine how colonialism continues to fracture the identity of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq peoples and perpetuate trauma, creating a sense of estrangement or unbelonging through government-dictated criteria and selection processes for band members. My story is complicated by the fact that the Mi’kmaq Grand Council, the traditional government of the Mi’kmaq people across Canada, has also refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band and its members. Prefaced by a thirty-page critical introduction that surveys recent Indigenous work on identity formation, trauma and healing, my novel examines the theoretical and fictional implications of being part of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq tribe, regardless of band status.

Storytelling is essential to my way of knowing, relating to the world, and understanding theory as a Mi’kmaq/Newfoundlander.