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Breaking the Chains: Indigenous Voices in the Shadows of Horror Unleashed

Breaking the Chains: Indigenous Voices in the Shadows of Horror Unleashed

In the realm of horror fiction, Indigenous writers have emerged from the shadows, piercing through the genre’s gates and leaving an indelible mark on the eerie landscapes of dark storytelling. In an interview with co-editor Shane Hawk, the visionary behind the dark fiction anthology Never Whistle at Night, he sheds light on the challenges faced by Indigenous writers and the transformative power of horror narratives. Breaking the Chains: Indigenous Voices in the Shadows of Horror Unleashed

Breaking Down the Gates

Historically, gatekeepers limited the entry of Indigenous writers into the horror genre, driven by marketability concerns. Shane Hawk, co-editor of Never Whistle at Night, believes that this trend is changing as more people recognize the diverse and rich storytelling capabilities of Indigenous authors. The anthology, launched in 2021, aimed to provide a platform for emerging Indigenous writers to delve into the realms of the dark and scary.

A Battle for Representation

To make the anthology marketable, Hawk and co-editor Theodore G. Van Alst Jr. reached out to established Indigenous authors. Notable contributors include Tommy Orange, Cheyenne-Arapaho tribe member and Pulitzer Prize finalist, whose short story “Capgras” is part of the collection. Despite facing resistance from some publishing houses, Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada, embraced the vision and increased the representation of emerging writers in the anthology.

A Global Perspective

Never Whistle at Night embraces a global vision, although legal limitations prevented the inclusion of Indigenous writers from beyond Turtle Island. The title itself, suggested by co-editor Van Alst, reflects a cautionary theme present in Indigenous cultures worldwide. The anthology explores the consequences of actions, mirroring the structure of horror stories that captivate audiences with tension, horror, and terror.

Tackling Colonization Through Horror

Many stories in the anthology, including Hawk’s own “Behind Colin’s Eyes,” address the theme of colonization. Hawk explains that this pervasive theme reflects the daily thoughts of Indigenous individuals living within colonial systems. Through fiction and art, the collection strives to create awareness and foster change.

Horror Beyond Supernatural Entities

While the anthology includes supernatural beings like wheetagos and aliens, the real horror emerges from human actions. Hawk emphasizes that the heinous acts committed by humans throughout history are more terrifying than any supernatural elements. The stories aim to provoke thought and offer social commentary on the darkness within humanity.

A Cathartic Journey

For Hawk, writing horror is a cathartic and therapeutic experience. As a history teacher turned horror writer, he finds solace in exploring societal issues within the horror genre. He hopes to bring a deeper meaning to horror narratives, moving beyond the conventional elements of gore and fear.

Challenging Stereotypes

Hawk encourages non-Indigenous readers to view the anthology as more than a dichotomy of good and bad. He hopes readers explore the serious and real-life themes embedded in the stories, fostering a greater understanding of past and present issues affecting Indigenous communities.

Embracing the Future

For Indigenous writers, Hawk sees a bright future beyond the constraints of historical fiction or memoirs. He believes that horror, as a genre, offers a multitude of possibilities for Indigenous storytelling. The anthology serves as a testament to the evolving landscape of Indigenous literature, breaking free from previous constraints.

In conclusion, Never Whistle at Night stands as a testament to the resilience and creativity of Indigenous writers who are carving their niche in the horror genre. Shane Hawk’s insights illuminate the transformative power of horror narratives in challenging stereotypes, fostering awareness, and embracing the multitude of stories yet to be told.

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Source: https://windspeaker.com/news/windspeaker-news/established-emerging-indigenous-authors-produce-disturbing-fiction-dark

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