MAKING LOVE WITH THE LAND: Essays
by Joshua Whitehead
University of Minnesota Press. 232 pages, $24.95
JOSHUA WHITEHEAD has been steadily gaining fame in the Canadian prairie provinces that are his home turf. In 2017, his innovative poetry collection full-metal indigiqueer appeared, and it was followed by an award-winning novel, Jonny Appleseed (2018). More recently, he completed a doctorate in Indigenous Literatures and Cultures in the University of Calgary’s departments of English and International Indigenous Studies, where he is an assistant professor. He is a Cree-speaking member of Peguis First Nation in Treaty 1 territory in the province of Manitoba, but he lives and works in Alberta. He identifies as “Two-Spirit,” which is distinctly different from being a man who dates men. Whitehead has defied the odds by finding a voice and an audience in a social system in which many young Indigenous people—whether or not they’re “queer” in any sense—never find a place to survive.
At first glance, Making Love with the Land looks like a departure from the author’s poetry and fiction, but anyone who has read his earlier work will recognize Whitehead’s characteristic honesty, humor, and deeply traditional worldview in which humans, animals, and plants are interconnected and all equally important.