Holding Home Together: Katherena Vermette’s The Break


  • Aubrey Jean Hanson University of Calgary




This article reads Métis writer Katherena Vermette’s 2016 novel The Break in order to examine urban Indigenous women’s resilience in relation to understandings of home. As the women in this text gather around young Emily, who has endured a violent sexual attack, they embody a strength that resides in their kinship as well as in interconnected conceptions of home. This reading is significant given the issue of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada, as well as the growing numbers of Indigenous people finding home in cities. As a Métis woman, I also read this text through my own experience. Through these analyses, this paper contends that portrayals of strong Indigenous women can help to shift dominant understandings of Indigenous people, making space for Indigenous women’s well-being in urban spaces. This article offers a timely and Métis-focused consideration of Vermette’s novel.

Keywords: Katherena Vermette; The Break; Métis literature; resilience; urban Indigenous women

Author Biography

Aubrey Jean Hanson, University of Calgary

Aubrey Jean Hanson is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education. Her research interests span Indigenous literary studies, curriculum studies, and Indigenous and social justice education. Aubrey has previously published work in Studies in American Indian Literatures, the Canadian Journal of Higher Education, and The Walrus.