“Men break when things like that happen”
On Indigenous Masculinities in Katherena Vermette’s The Break
This article addresses inner-city Métis and Indigenous Masculinities in Métis novelist, documentary filmmaker, and poet Katherena Vermette’s The Break. The critical reception of Vermette’s novel has focused on the strength and resilience of the women in the text. While this novel primarily focalizes Indigenous and Métis women, Vermette is also interested in masculinity, and in articulating ways of being male that will allow Indigenous and Métis women not to need to be as strong and resilient. Vermette rejects models of Indigenous and Métis masculinity that focus on perceived deficits in Indigenous and Métis men while showing the impacts of “good men” on Indigenous women. She contrasts this with the impact of toxic settler masculinities, masculinities that create fragility. In this way, this is a novel about masculinity and the North End of Winnipeg, and the way that growing up in living in the North End complicate Indigenous and Métis masculinity.