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A Metaphoric Mind

Selected Writings of Joseph Couture

edited by Ruth Couture & Virginia McGowan

by (author) Joseph Couture

Athabasca University Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2013
Native Americans, Educators, General
About Alberta , Author lives in Alberta
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    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

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Dr. Joseph Couture (1930–2007), known affectionately as "Dr. Joe," stood at the centre of some of the greatest political, social, and intellectual struggles of Aboriginal peoples in contemporary Canada. A profound thinker and writer, as well as a gifted orator, he easily walked two paths, as a respected Elder and traditional healer and as an educational psychologist, one of the first Aboriginal people in Canada to receive a PhD. His work challenged and transformed long-held views of Canada's Indigenous peoples, and his vision and leadership gave direction to many of the current fields of Aboriginal scholarship. His influence extended into numerous areas—education, addictions and mental health treatment, community development, restorative justice, and federal correctional programming for Aboriginal peoples.


With a foreword by Lewis Cardinal, A Metaphoric Mind brings together for the first time key works selected from among Dr. Joe's writings, published and unpublished. Spanning nearly thirty years, the essays invite us to share in his transformative legacy through a series of encounters, with Aboriginal spirituality and ancestral ways of knowing, with Elders and their teachings, with education and its role in politicization, self-determination, and social change, and with the restorative process and the meaning of Native healing.

About the authors

Ruth Couture has authored research reports for the Mistissini Cree and, with Dr. Joseph Couture, for the University of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre and the Aboriginal Peoples’ Collection, Public Safety Canada.

Ruth Couture's profile page

Virginia McGowan is adjunct associate professor with the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology in the Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University. She has been involved in applied anthropology research on the health and well-being of indigenous peoples for over twenty years.

Virginia McGowan's profile page

Joseph Couture's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Joe’s encouragement was an important force in my own engagement with Indigenous issues. His writings strike me the way he did: they tell difficult truths in hopeful ways. You find yourself drawn into his vision—that the Northern European spirit of individualism will be able to join with the communal Native spiritualities to create an altogether new society.”

Rupert Ross, author of Returning to the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice