Wednesday, June 2, 2021
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“As a child I understood ni’wahkomakanak to mean “all my relations.” […] We understood and lived that word, celebrating wakotowin and ni’wahkomakanak with visiting, feasting, and helping each other regardless of differences.”
“I was 12 years old when that started to change, beginning with the state scooping our children and forcing our people off the land; and families migrating to urban centres to find work. Boundaries made up of policies and laws divided us and worst of all, we started to believe these divisions defined us. It’s hard to understand that kind of division, the destruction of ni’wahkomakanak, unless you have lived it. Family, community, place all becoming smaller and smaller.”
About Maria Campbell
Writer, playwright, filmmaker and teacher Maria Campbell has published 7 books, she is best known for her 1973 bestselling memoir Halfbreed. The most recent book Keetsahnak / Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters, co-edited with Kim Anderson and Christi Belcourt was released in 2019.
Maria taught Indigenous Literature, Creative Writing and Métis History at the University of Saskatchewan for 15 years, retiring in 2012. She is the Indigenous Cultural Advisor at the College of Law University of Saskatchewan and at Athabasca University.
The Big Thinking series is sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Universities Canada, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.