Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)




In Canadian cities, public podium talks featuring Indigenous speakers are increasingly turned to as an avenue for raising public awareness and promoting social change. Podium talks provide occasions for Indigenous activists and spokespeople to tell their own stories, to speak on their own behalf. Yet, as a particular mode of discursive interaction, they also organize how such telling unfolds. Through an in-depth discourse analysis of one talk addressing Indigenous eco-activism, focusing in particular on pronoun use and quoted speech, this paper examines the affordances and obligations present in speaking both about Indigenous people and as an Indigenous person to non-Indigenous audiences. Investigating how Indigenous speakers act both with and against the contexts of interaction provide one approach to thinking about Indigenous agency in contemporary Canada.