Tanaya Winder is from the Duckwater Shoshone, Pyramid Lake Paiute, and Southern Ute nations. She is a poet, performer, and activist and is a co-founder of Sing Our Rivers Red (SORR), a collective of indigenous artists, poets, and activists working to help raise awareness around the crisis faced by indigenous women in Canada and the US. According to the Department of Justice, “Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience assault in their lifetimes than women of other races. One in three will be raped in their lifetime, and on some reservations women are murdered at a rate ten times higher than the national average.”
Multilingualism has long been a key characteristic, even a central tenet of literary experimentation. So maybe it seems a bit weird that after all these commentaries I still haven’t found anything to say about the various streams of modernist literature that drew upon other languages. Why haven’t I addressed T. S. Eliot's attempted reconstitution of the “mind of Europe”? What about Ezra Pound's (also attempted) translation of Chinese written characters? Or what about the less well known but no less multilingual Zurich Dada “nonsense” poems that drew upon anthropological works, using fragments and phrases from world Indigenous languages to inform their experiments in non-meaning?
Analyses of avant-garde or experimental poetry typically understand multilingualism as a part of the modernist dream of breaking with the past in order to prefigure an unforeseen but possible future.