Three Day Road

4352 Words18 Pages
Wandering
Windigo of the Wemistikoshiw The novel Three Day Road can be viewed as an explicit indicator as to the importance of sustaining cultural identity, and the consequences associated with its absence from any aspect of human life. The tale provides a salient setting through which this spiritual malfeasance is brought about, with much of its content consisting of the supremacy of the wemistikoshiw, or white man, over the Aboriginals in World
War 1. The novel’s European setting manifests the primary cause for the spiritual bankruptcy of Elijah Weesacheejak, one of the story’s central figures and the novel’s primary thematic microcosm. Influenced deeply by
Western ideals, he is said to be a windigo which, as explained by the
aboriginal
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An objectivist to the core,
Niska represents an archetype of cultural wisdom, as described by Joseph
Boyden: “I wanted her to be a strong woman who was doing this [being a woman of the bush] despite what everyone says about her and the toughness of her existence…” (Wylie 229). Niska is exposed to the horrors of the world at an early age, witnessing events such as her father’s murder of one of her fellow Cree gone windigo (Boyden 45). This coupled with her being used sexually by the Frenchman, who claimed to have “…fucked ahcahk, [her] spirit” (174), out of lustful capitalism creates a perfect storm of familiarity with the human condition within her. Niska realizes that the man-made society of the whites further pronounces the flaws of the human spirit, thereby differentiating between her culture and that of the wemistikoshiw. She explains this difference early on in the novel, by way of her epileptic visions: “No one is safe in such times, not even the Cree of the Mushkegowuk. War touches everyone, and windigos spring from the earth” (49). In order to prevent the mingling of Aboriginal and European lifestyles, she completely refuses to submit to the will of the wemistikoshiw, even when forced to live in one of their residential schools as a young girl. The bushmaster neglects even menial compulsories, such as

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