Can one be Jewish and Indian; Jewish and Mohawk; Jewish and MicMac? Yes! Jewish and aboriginal cultures have been intertwined for many moons. In an earlier incarnation of Shtetl, Nakuset, a self-identified Jewish Indian told of how she was adopted away from her native Manitoba into a Jewish Montreal family. She reflected on the richness and alienation of living with a foot in both worlds.
This special edition of Shtetl will begin to explore the intriguing encounter of Jewish and indigenous worlds, to see where the two communities have connected historically, in literature, philosophically and in our lived experience. In this edition you will find: Jews & Indians:by David Koffman. Jewish Redface by Rachel Rubinstein. Honour Song, poetry and video by Howard Adler. They Don’t Like Indians, poetry and painting by Nathan Adler. Ojibway Jews on Shtetl on the Shortwave. Actress and producer Jennifer Podemski speaks about her Jewish/Ojibway heritage, working with Sarah Silverman and producing the critically acclaimed TV series Mocassin Flats. We also speak with Ojibway/Jewish artist Howard Adler about his role as co-Director of Aniskabe- Ottawa’s newest indigenous film and new media festival.
A heartfelt thank you to the writers and artists who contributed to Indigenous Shtetl. Thank you to Deborah Kramer. And most especially to Stephanie Schwartz for her invaluable research and production help, and for her commitment to this special and important edition. Since this issue was published last year, the Idle No More movement for indigenous rights has taken off in Canada and Shtetl has covered the issue in our Magazine and on the radio show. Listen: Interview with Winona Duke on the epsiode: A Modern -Day Esther: Chief Theresa Spence, and a local Jewish activist’s perspective on Idle No More. Read: Thou Shalt Not Stand Idly By: an interview with Rabbi Shachar Orenstein about the link between Idle No More and the Jewish community, and an Aborigional Rewrite of the 10 Plagues from the Passover seder.
Tamara Kramer, Editor