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The Métis in Western Canada: O-Tee-Paym-Soo-Wuk

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The BeginningsThe People and Their CommunitiesCulture and Lifeways

Métis writers today have experienced success in all fields from non-fiction, literary novels, poetry, screenwriting, stage plays, to young adult and children’s literature. In many cases they are driven by an urge to tell the stories of their people.

One of the earliest and most successful Métis writers is Maria Campbell whose autobiography, Half-breed, was published in 1973. Her writing puts forth the reality of the Métis people, which had not been articulately presented before. Campbell has gone on to write the stage play Flight that was produced as the first all-Aboriginal theatre production. Her work has been recognized through many awards including the Canada Council’s, Molson Prize in the Arts.

Another Métis writer is Rita Bouvier, a well-known poet with her 1999 collection, Blueberry Clouds, and her 2004 work Papiyahtak. Bouvier is an educator and speaker on Métis issues. Joanne Arnott is an award-winning poet with collections like Wiles of Girlhood. Other books by her include My Grass Cradle, and Breasting the Waves: On Writing & Healing.

Other non-fiction writers like Kim Anderson who published A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing the Native Women, and Lawrence J. Markwell, Leah Dorion and Darren Prefontaine who published Métis Legacy, have all worked to bring the reality of their culture and world to others.

Métis writer Jacqueline Guest lives in Rockie Mountain House, Alberta and produces novels for children that incorporate her culture. By doing this she reaches out to the new generations of young readers with stories of the Métis people.

There is a large and healthy group of successful Métis writers of children’s books. This group includes, Deborah L. Delaronde, who has published titles like, A Name for a Métis, Little Métis and the Métis Sash, Flour Sack Flora, and Flour Sack Friends.

Bonnie Murray is from Winnipeg, and in her book li minoush she uses English and Mitchif Cree. Jane Chartrand published, How The Eagle Got His White Head. Other Métis children’s writers include: Grant S. Anderson, writer and illustrator, Gloria Miller, Leah Dorion, Tina Umpherville, and Joe and Matrine McLellan.

The Métis community across Canada has found its voice, and each year there are many new titles that continue to explore their experiences.

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