, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 177–188 | Cite as

The devil’s language of Marilyn Dumont

  • Vesna LopičićEmail author


This article is meant to be a sort of case study, where the case in question is a book of poetry by Marilyn Dumont, and the study focuses on contemporary indigenous realities as represented by Dumont in her poems. A Really Good Brown Girl is a relatively short collection of poetry published in 1996 by Brick Books. It was interesting to see how much of contemporary indigenous reality will be identifiable in the poems collected in a single book by an author who is widely anthologised but not overwhelmingly popular in Canada. A close reading of her poetry proves that Dumont touches on many aspects of Métis contemporary reality such as the corruption of their culture, the problem of Indian identity, the relationship between the First Nations and the White people, living conditions, gender roles, and the school system. Support for Dumont’s poetic rendering of the realities of indigenous people is found in other critical works. A conclusion may be drawn that social criticism finds its expression in the poetry which is personal and yet a form of resistance writing.


Marilyn Dumont Poetry Contemporary indigenous realities Close reading 



This research was supported by the project 178014 granted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.


  1. Adams, H. (1975). Prison of grass: Canada from the native point of view. Toronto: New Press.Google Scholar
  2. Andrews, J. (2002). Irony, Métis style: Reading the poetry of Marilyn Dumont and Gregory Scofield. Canadian Poetry, 50, n.pag. Accessed Jun 10, 2015, from
  3. Campbell, M. (1973). Halfbreed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  4. Coleman, J. (2013). Writing over the maple leaf: Reworking the colonial Native archetype in contemporary Canadian-Native literature. Bridges: an undergraduate journal of contemporary connections, 1(1), n.pag. Accessed Jun 1, 2016, from
  5. Damm, K. (1993). Says who: Colonialism, identity and defining indigenous literature. In J. Armstrong (Ed.), Looking at the words of our people: First Nations analysis of literature (pp. 9–25). Penticton: Theytus.Google Scholar
  6. Dumont, M. (1996). A really good brown girl. London, ON: Brick Books.Google Scholar
  7. Dumont, M. (2001). Green girl dreams mountains: Poems. Ladysmith: Oolichan.Google Scholar
  8. Fee, M. (2014, Autumn). Interview with Marilyn Dumont by Margery Fee. Canadian Literature, 222, n.pag.. Accessed Jun 5, 2015, from
  9. Gunnars, K., et al. (1998). Panel discussion: was the west ever one? Open Letter, 10(2), 101–121.Google Scholar
  10. Hakim, S. (2014). ANTONIO GRAMSCI and the idea of “hegemony” [Web log post].. Accessed Jun 5, 2015, from
  11. King, T. (2013). The inconvenient Indian: A curious account of native people in north america. Toronto: Anchor Canada.Google Scholar
  12. La Flamme, M. (2003). Revisiting a really good brown girl. Thirdspace: A Journal of Feminist Theory and Culture, 2(2), n.pag.Google Scholar
  13. Lopičić, V. (2014). Beth Brant: Multiple marginalisation of the First Nations women. In V. Lopičić & B. Mišić Ilić (Eds.), Jezik, književnost, marginalizacija: Književna istraživanja (pp. 351–363). Niš: Filozofski fakultet u Nišu.Google Scholar
  14. Matthews, J. R. et al. (2000). Successful scientific writing (p. 53).Google Scholar
  15. Miner, D. A. T. (2012). Halfbreed theory: Maria Campbell’s storytelling as indigenous knowledge and une petite michin. In J. Armstrong (Ed.), Maria Campbell: Essays on her works (pp. 147–178). Toronto: Guernica.Google Scholar
  16. Mytube4yourtube. (2006). CherHalf Breed [Video file]. Accessed Jun 10, 2015, from
  17. Online Cree Dictionary. Accessed June 10, 2015, from
  18. Registered or treaty Indian status of person. Statistics Canada. Accessed Jun 9, 2015, from
  19. Sage, L., Greer, G., & Showalter, E. (1999). Marilyn Dumont. In L. Sage, G. Greer, & E. Showalter (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to women’s writing in English (p. 206). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Vallejos, J.A. (2010, November 23). BCP honours Indigenous sovereignty week 2010: Interview with Cree/Métis poet Marilyn Dumont. Black Coffee Poet, n.pag. Accessed Jun 5, 2015, frométis-poet-marilyn-dumont.
  21. Wilson, B. (2008) First Nations chief Bill Wilson retells family history in B.C. By Chief Bill Wilson (Hemas Kla-Lee-Lee-Kla), Special to The Sun. The Vancouver Sun, n.pag. Accessed May 29, 2015, from

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosphyUniversity of NišNišSerbia

Personalised recommendations