It's quiet outside. My pyjamas are running to holes. The dog has run off with my favourite slippers, and I'm completely out of Orlik Golden Sliced pipe tobacco. But my family say they never know what to get me for Christmas. The year is ending well, however, because I'm sitting here putting the finishing touches to our 8th issue (well, 7th if you count the Vol 2 double issue as a single) and reflecting on the 4th year of Transmotion's endeavours. It is an incredible privilege editing this journal, spending so much time reading the insightful work of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, catching glimpses of the incredible new Indigenous writing happening out there, and feeling awestruck—if also a little overwhelmed—at the sheer quantity of new books that are sliding off the humming presses at a rate of knots. So. Much. Talent. It is hard to keep up, as the delayed release date of this issue testifies. To complicate matters, in the past year, two of the editors have become department chairs, while one has moved institutions, leaving the fourth with a whole lot of work to do! As a result, we have decided it is time to take on more editorial assistants. Alla Holovina has continued to do excellent work with our book reviews (how many, you ask? Why, only 27 this issue), and we will be joined next issue by Bryn Skibo-Birney (University of Geneva), CMarie Fuhrman (University of Idaho), and Ying-Wen Yu (University of Arizona). This input is invaluable and allows us to continue taking in articles, reflective essays, fiction, and as many book reviews on new fiction and scholarship as possible. In addition, the wonderful Miriam Brown-Spiers (Kennesaw State University) has agreed to join us as a fifth editor. We are both delighted and 100% confident that all of this new input will keep the journal fresh, lively, and... on time.
This just happens to be the fourth guest-curated/-edited issue we have produced, as well, and we are deeply grateful to those who have sought to work with us. As you know, open access is crucial to our mission, and it is gratifying to see just how many others are drawn to the platform for the easy dissemination of high quality scholarship and writing that will remain permanently free to the end user. When we wrote the editorial to that double issue in 2016, we celebrated the fact that we were able to make more of the online platform, including various media. We continue that here with pieces that make strong use of images and visualizations, and one that incorporates sound files. If you're reading this in pdf... sorry. We can still do more, so if you're out there making film, animation, doing audio work of any kind, seeking to do something interactive, or simply want to use lots of great pictures, we have the capacity and the will to make all of that work. We're not blowing our own trumpets—we're just pinching ourselves that we have this opportunity.
So to this issue. Our huge appreciation goes to Melissa Michal Slocum for both suggesting and editing this special issue. She has worked with us very carefully—and patiently—on a topic that will always be difficult, and she has done so with commitment and passion, and openness to the Americas more broadly. Her article opens the issue and also acts as a strong introduction to the three articles that follow it by María Regina Firmino-Castillo, Molly McGlennen, and Stephen Andrews. We're delighted to be able to include in this issue a stand-alone article by AnnMarie De Mars and Erich Longie from 7th Generation Games, a timely piece on perseverance and the potential implicit in an apparently unusual combination: Dakota Culture, video games, and mathematics. An insightful and deeply engrossing explanation of their work on educational games among fourth and fifth grade students in two reservation schools, their study supports the proposition that "teaching traditional values, particularly perseverance, can impact Native American student achievement through increased effort."
The reflective piece in this issue, Gary F. Dorr's "Mind, Memory and the Five-Year-Old," is a moving contemplation on the experience of adoption, the comfort of family, and the ambivalence of shame. Two fiction pieces complement this: "the seed runner" by Jenny Davis and "Pretend Indian Exegesis" by Trevino Brings Plenty. Davis's story places us in a dystopian future that echoes a familiar past—of detention and State control—in which the protagonist's running ability holds hope for the future. "Pretend Indian Exegesis," meanwhile, showcases Brings Plenty's dry humour in this excoriating critique of the Pretend Indian, "a formula. A phantom entity in the community." The 27 (yes, 27!) reviews that follow tie up this issue with a real sense of the astonishing depth and variety of contemporary Indigenous writing.
Transmotion is open access, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the University of Kent: all content is fully available on the open internet with no paywall or institutional access required, and it always will be. We are published under a Creative Commons 4.0 license, meaning in essence that any articles or reviews may be copied and re-used provided that the source and author is acknowledged. We strongly believe in this model, which makes research and academic insight available and useable for the widest possible community. We also believe in keeping to the highest academic standards: thus all articles are double-blind peer reviewed by at least two reviewers, and each issue approved by an editorial board of senior academics in the field (listed in the Front Matter of the full PDF and in the online 'About' section).
David Stirrup December 2018
Theodore Van Alst