From Qallunaat to James Bay: An Interview with Mini Aodla Freeman, Keavy Martin, Julie Rak, and Norma Dunning by [WRITERS A-D]

  • Rebecca Fredrickson University of Alberta
  • Brandon Kerfoot University of Alberta
  • Orly Lael Netzer University of Alberta
  • Katherine Meloche University of Alberta


This interview speaks to Mini Aodla Freeman’s Life Among the Qallunaat, a memoir that interlaces vignettes about her childhood in James Bay, Nunavik with her adult life in Hamilton and Ottawa. The book has been published in two editions to date: the 1978 edition with Hurtig Publishers, which heavily revises the memoir, and the 2015 edition with the University of Manitoba Press, which restores the original manuscript. The interviewers met with Aodla Freeman and the editors, Keavy Martin, Julie Rak and Norma Dunning, on June 9, 2015 at Rak’s home in Treaty 6 territory. We discuss the editorial processes of the original and restored publications, as well as the community protocols and conditions of visibility that go into writing and publishing a book. Aodla Freeman shares new stories about James Bay, reflects on the republication of her memoir, and unveils her plans for future projects.

Author Biographies

Rebecca Fredrickson, University of Alberta
Rebecca is a settler from Treaty 8 territory of northern Alberta. She defended her doctoral dissertation in December 2014. Her research focuses on the relation between northern literary texts and environmental forces.
Brandon Kerfoot, University of Alberta
Brandon Kerfoot is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta and a settler from Edmonton, in Treaty 6 territory. His SSHRC-funded dissertation interrogates animal figures in Arctic literature and politics.
Orly Lael Netzer, University of Alberta
Orly Lael Netzer is a PhD student at the University of Alberta’s Department of English and Film Studies, and co-founder of the International Auto/Biography Association Students and New Scholars network (IABA SNS). Coming from Tel Aviv and currently living on treaty 6 territory, her research focuses on transcultural relationships between settler and Indigenous communities in contemporary Canadian life narratives.
Katherine Meloche, University of Alberta

Katherine is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She is a settler from Moncton, New Brunswick now living in Edmonton, Alberta, in Treaty 6 territory. Her SSHRC-funded research explores the connection between Indigenous legal frameworks and fiction, film, and comics.