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Okanagan Women’s Voices - Syilx and settler writing and relations, 1870s to 1960s

Okanagan Women’s Voices

Syilx and settler writing and relations, 1870s to 1960s

Edited by Jeannette Armstrong, Lally Grauer, and Janet MacArthur
Paperback : 9781926886527, 464 pages, November 2021

A direct window into the lives of settlers and Indigenous Peoples in eras of upheaval, uncertainty and reform, this collection is a much-needed lens into histories too often told by the colonial state.


The writing and relations between Syilx women and settler women, largely of European descent, who came to inhabit the British Columbia southern interior from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries.

Okanagan Women’s Voices features the writing and stories of seven women: Susan Moir Allison (1845-1937), Josephine Shuttleworth (1866-1950), Eliza Jane Swalwell (1868-1944), Marie Houghton Brent (1870-1968), Hester Emily White (1877-1963), Mourning Dove (1886-1936) and Isabel Christie MacNaughton (1915-2003).


“Okanagan’s Women’s Voices is best viewed as an anthology rather than as a single master narrative intended to be read in “one go.”…Okanagan’s Women’s Voices is a welcome book and a rich resource for any student, researcher, or writer of the Okanagan Valley’s people.”

- The British Columbia Review

“A contact zone dominated by white men and popularly represented by cowboys, railway builders and gold miners is here illuminated by seven women writers­–some Syilx, some settler. They experienced intimate friendships and family relations across an increasingly high racial bar, and thought through their cultural entanglements in poetry, Syilx captikwl, memoir, letters, newspaper articles and history. Expertly contextualized, their writings give a gendered and often surprisingly original picture of the period when settler racism forced the Syilx from their territory. ”

- Margery Fee, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Professor Emerita of English, University of British Columbia

“Okanagan Women’s Voices allowed me to learn the stories while literally travelling the pathways of the Syilx and settler writers, thereby deepening my connection to this place through time.”

- Kerrie Charnley, BC Studies