Ruth Dyckfehderau on scholarly writing and storytelling: guest blog post on


In this guest blog post for Pass It Down, Ruth writes about the evolution of Sweet Bloods, her own writing practice, and explores the differences and similarities between scholarly writing and storytelling:

All the data I had crammed into those twenty pages was something the intended audience of indigenous people already knew since their stories made up the book in the first place. And the analysis of that data, with its citations and hyper-specialized vocabulary – well, it might have intrigued a few academics. But it would have sent a signal to readers that this book was to be interpreted in a particular way and that it 3 was ultimately for an academic audience. It would have alienated the readers for whom the book was originally written (especially since English is a second language for many of them). And in so doing, it would have disrespected the very people to whom the stories belong. […] I’m happy to report that I eventually came to my senses. Blocking in and deleting those 20 pages with 6O+ citations was perhaps the most satisfying writing moment of my life.

Read the full post here.

James Fisher's article on Sweet Bloods in The Miramichi Reader


The author chose to write up Sweet Bloods in a short story format rather than word-for-word interviews, and this makes it highly readable. The stories are interspersed with “Stories We Heard Along The Way”, brief notes that the author has gathered and arranged under different topics. These typically have nothing to do with diabetes but serve to give the reader some insight into the difficult way of life the James Bay Cree struggle to exist under due to colonization, the James Bay hydroelectric project, and the advancement of Western technology.

Read the full article in The Miramichi Reader.

Kevin Lamb writes about Sweet Bloods in "The Power of Storytelling in Healthcare"

IN NORTHERN QUÉBEC, Canada, the James Bay Cree are addressing their diabetes epidemic in an unusual way: by telling stories. According to The Sweet Bloods of Eeyou Istchee, every family in the traditional territory of the James Bay Cree is directly affected by diabetes, which has an impact not only on their physical health but on their financial and cultural health as well.

Read Kevin’s full article here.