Communicable Stories: HIV in Canadian Aboriginal Literature
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The devastation wrought by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Aboriginal communities is both physical and metaphorical, as the stigmas associated with the virus mediate the way it is both understood and experienced. This thesis examines the role of HIV in Canadian Aboriginal literature, with an eye to the specific ways that these narratives about HIV relate back to real-world understandings of the epidemic. The works of Tomson Highway, Jordan Wheeler, Beth Brandt, and Gregory Scofield demonstrate how HIV/AIDS is frequently tied to colonial histories and personal experiences of disconnect, alienation, and abuse. HIV operates at the boundaries of these texts, drawing connections between otherwise disparate narratives, highlighting stigmas within communities, and focussing on differently marginalized communities of Aboriginal people in Canada. These authors draw from traditional understandings of storytelling, using narrative to incite important discussions about HIV/AIDS, and to work towards greater acceptance and inclusion of HIV-positive people in Aboriginal communities.