Justice, Healing, Resurgence: Spiritual Decolonization in Lee Maracle’s Celia’s Song


  • Geoffrey MacDonald York University


decolonial spirituality, Indigenous resurgence, justice in literature, gendered violence


This article examines the role of spirituality in Lee Maracle’s Celia’s Song (2014). After considering the usefulness of magic realism as an analytical tool for the novel’s spiritual depictions, I argue that Maracle goes far beyond the use of marvellous literary devices. Her novel insists that community healing and judicial sovereignty are inextricable from spiritual resurgence. The eponymous protagonist’s growing power as a seer, her family’s reconnection to ancestors and spirits, and a plot resolution that bridges the boundaries of life and death offer a literary vision of decolonization to which spirituality is crucial. These elements contribute to a concept of decolonial spirituality that posits a more holistic approach to representations of Indigenous responses to colonial and patriarchal violence. Reading Celia’s Song as a decolonial expression of spiritual practice situates the novel in a broader theory of Indigenous knowledge that encompasses spirituality, justice, and cultural restoration as it appears in fiction.

Author Biography

Geoffrey MacDonald, York University

Geoffrey MacDonald (he/him) teaches postcolonial literary studies and academic writing. His specialization is Caribbean writing but in teaching and research he also works with African, South Asian, Indigenous, and queer traditions broadly. His scholarly work focuses on the connections between social justice and literature, and has appeared in Modern Drama, Radical Americas, and the collection Practices of Resistance (2018). He is an associate editor at Caribbean Conjunctures, the journal of the Caribbean Studies Association. His teaching emphasizes active reading, effective communications, and the appreciation of literary form. His interests include gender and sexuality studies, indigenous critical theory, and decolonial thinking.