A small suitcase and a backpack sit on the floor just steps from our front door. They’re packed with everything we need to stay at the hospital for a couple of nights, if we need to: changes of clothes, snacks, chargers, masks, rubber gloves, and more. We’ll grab this luggage on the way out the door the day our new baby comes.
Letter to a Young Indigenous Journalist You will feel alone. You will want to give up. But I urge you to keep going
DEAR aspiring Indigenous journalists,
I share these words and sentiments with you, in the spirit of care and respect, as a former long-time journalist. You’re probably now second-guessing your career choice, if you haven’t already. A worldwide social movement to support Black lives has opportunely pushed systemic racism in all realms into focus, and that includes news media here in Canada.
A few years ago, an old friend of mine gave me two VHS tapes that he shot himself. The footage was from an annual camping trip for Grade 8 students from the Parry Sound, Ont., area that brought together youth from town with nearby First Nations. Fred Wheatley, an elder from my home community of Wasauksing, was one of the invited storytellers and the focus of the tapes.
Cherie Dimaline and Eden Robinson explore the intersection of science fiction, fantasy and Indigenous storytelling
When you’re just doing straight literature, there still seem to be boxes around what you can talk about and what you can write about if you’re Indigenous and using Indigenous characters. Whereas if you’re writing one of the books that I write with tricksters, you can just go so many places.
Another really fulfilling opportunity that came up since I jumped back into the writing world full-time is a regular column for Open Book. You can find all of my writings from that period by clicking the link below.
ON SATURDAY nights, as 7 p.m. nears, I pour popcorn into a bowl and a cold beverage into a glass, and I seat myself in my preferred spot on the couch, closest to the television. I change the channel to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs play hockey. Streak or slump, I tune in as I’ve done since I was a child growing up on the reserve. This expression of fandom is more than just a ritual and more complex than just supporting a professional hockey team that is both beloved and reviled. Like those of so many other sports fans, the roots of my devotion are intergenerational.
“Perhaps it’s the choice itself, to become part of a wider community that’s steeped in tradition and carried by hope, that appeals to Indigenous Leafs fans like me. The devotion unites us with fans from other cultures and communities, and we’re bound by the stories, the dreams, the heartbreaks, and the triumphs. We’re all holding out hope for the ultimate payoff of that lifelong dedication. “We know one day [the Leafs] will be victorious,” Goudreau wrote at the end of her message to me. “We’ve had small victories along the way, and we are never giving up.””