Dr. Sandra Muse Isaacs

Assistant Professor

B.A. Honors and M.A. (University of Windsor), PhD (McMaster)

Contact        Dr. Sandra Muse-Isaacs

CHN Room 2112
 519 253 3000 ext. 2292
 Sandra.muse@uwindsor.ca   

Teaching/Research Areas

  • Indigenous Literature
  • Native Oral Tradition & Storytelling
  • Indigenous Literary & Critical Theory
  • Nineteenth-century Detective Fiction

Biography

Siyo, Boozhoo, Skano, Tansi, and hello. My name is Sandra Muse Isaacs, and I’m of Eastern Cherokee (Ani-tsisqua, Bird Clan) and Gaelic heritage (Clan MacRae). As the professor of Indigenous Literature and a President’s Indigenous Peoples Scholar, I’m also an alumnus of the University of Windsor. I hold both a BA in Honors English and an MA in English and Creative Writing here at Windsor.  My PhD is through McMaster in English and Cultural Studies. I was the first recipient of the Harvey Longboat Graduate Scholarship for First Nations, Inuit and Metis students, and received that honor an additional three times. Previously, I taught Indigenous Literature at Saint Mary’s University in Mi’kmaq’i (homelands of the Mi’kmaq people), and at McMaster and Laurier-Brant (Haudenosaunee territory), and Native journalism courses at UWO (Anishnaabe, Leni-Lunaape, and Haudenosaunee lands).

I am honored to now live and work once again in the traditional territories of the Anishnaabe Peoples, of the Three Fires Confederacy.  I grew up on the west side of Detroit with twelve siblings, and am deeply connected to the Detroit/Windsor region.   

My first book, Eastern Cherokee Stories: A Living Oral Tradition and Its Cultural Continuance was released in the July 2019, through the University of Oklahoma Press in their “Cherokee Studies” line. The work documents and examines Eastern Cherokee Oral Tradition as both an ancient and contemporary literary form with emphasis on cultural survivance, nationhood, Indigenous resistance, and tribal sovereignty, along with its modern usage in land reclamation, cultural regeneration, and language revitalization amongst a highly literate and technical Native American band in the southern Appalachian Mountains. 

My field of research is in Indigenous Literature and critical theory, Indigenous oral storytelling, Orality theory, Oral Histories, Creative Writing, and Post-Colonialism. My work examines the parallels between Indigenous oral traditions and their Earth-connected teachings which are becoming more pertinent with the changing global climate and recognition of the damage to the Earth caused by human practices of resource extraction – stealing the life-giving bloods of the Earth. Much of Indigenous literature is based on the ancient oral stories which are the foundation of the 500+ nations/tribes throughout Turtle Island (North America) and in my courses, we look for ways that the old storytelling appears within the written works of literature. I’m also interested in the interstices of Cherokee society and that of early Scottish settlers, along with the parallels between Indigenous cultures here and ancient Gaelic culture.