Hi Mike -- Have a look at this article by Alicia Elliott on cbc.ca (it discusses a number of recent novels and films in the 'Indigenous horror genre')...
Elliott makes a strong case for the distinctiveness of the genre and provides some hints about how such works might be thematized in the classroom:
"It's remarkable to consider that many non-Indigenous horror writers depict situations that Indigenous people have already weathered — such as apocalyptic viral outbreaks that decimate whole populations — or use the history of genocidal violence against us to explain why innocent white folks are being haunted today, such as in Stephen King's It or the 1982 film Poltergeist. In fact, I'm not sure what scares non-Indigenous horror writers and readers more: experiencing variations of what Indigenous folks have already endured for centuries, or the reality that they have built their entire country on literal Indian burial grounds.
Indigenous writers, on the other hand, acknowledge the mundane horror of living in a country that dehumanizes you, weaving the reality of Indigenous life with fiction to scare audiences. In Waubgeshig Rice's Moon of the Crusted Snow, for example, the apocalyptic event that ends life as we know it — taking out power, internet, phones, satellites, etc. — isn't even really noticed as an apocalyptic event at first; it's just another day on a northern rez, where power can go out at any time and internet and phone signals aren't always available. As Nick, a young Anishinaabe man, points out, "We thought it was kinda funny...The blackout was only two days, but it seemed like some people were already freaking out a little bit. I was just like, 'Come to the rez, this shit happens all the time!'" Once it becomes apparent that things have changed forever, the protagonist Evan observes that "the milestones he [now] used to mark time were the deaths in the community…as people perished through sickness, mishap, violence or by their own hands." He notes that northern reserves like his are "familiar with tragedy," the result of generations of intergenerational trauma and genocide — only now this tragedy is magnified." - A. Elliott
I taught A.A. Carr's (Navajo, Laguna Pueblo) Eye Killers a number of years ago and it seemed to go over well. I've read and enjoyed (but not yet taught) Eden Robinson's (Haisla) Traplines and Monkey Beach, so-called "Indigenous Gothic" works. I've also just started Stephen Graham Jones' (Blackfeet) recently published The Only Good Indians and may consider teaching it (or another of his novels) in the future...
Geoff Hamilton, Site Co-Ordinator, OurLearningCircle.org