In the short story “Where Is the Voice Coming From?” by Rudy Wiebe, what role is assigned to Queen Victoria in this story? 

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Where Is the Voice Coming From?" describes events surrounding Jean-Baptiste (Almighty One), particularly the events surrounding his death: late 19th century. During this time, Queen Victoria was the Monarch of British North America from 1837 until 1901 and she was the Monarch of the Canadian confederation from 1867 until 1901. (Currently, Queen Elizabeth, with the Governor General David Johnston, is the Head of State of Canada and Stephen Harper is the Prime Minister and Head of the Canadian government.) 

Being the Head of State in Canada, relative to the Native Americans of Canada (and North America), Queen Victoria represented the leader or figurehead of the culture that had colonized Native lands and effectively oppressed the Natives themselves. In the process of European colonization, Native people were killed or relocated, lands were taken, and languages were lost. In a literal sense and in a political sense, Native "voices" were lost; these being the voices of killed people and the political voices that were never granted to them during colonization. 

The narrator describes the cast of players in the real historical account. The narrator starts with the Cree, the Natives. Then, listing the police, the narrator lists a range of higher command positions in the Canadian/British government, including the sarcastically noted: 

Herself: Victoria, by the Grace of God, etc. etc., QUEEN, defender of the Faith, etc. etc.; 

Since Almighty Voice's real history seems to have been obscured and manipulated by the historical accounts (penned by the police and the government agencies), Queen Victoria necessarily takes on the role of the head of these authorities. Therefore, she is not directly but ultimately responsible for British actions in Canada. One of these actions was the inaccurate account of Almighty Voice. This is why the narrator notes that making a story, or writing history, requires one to take part in the process of history itself. That is, all people (voices) should have some part or responsibility in writing history because when it is left to the victors/oppressors, it will be inaccurate and misleading. 

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Where Is the Voice Coming From?

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