Mar 17, 2019
Darrel J. McLeod is Cree from treaty eight territory in Northern Alberta. Before deciding to pursue writing in his retirement, he was a chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations. His memoir Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age won the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for non-fiction.
We met at the Canada Council's offices in Ottawa to discuss it, along with negotiating land claims and arguing for concessions; residential schools; catholic priests, sexual abuse and the fear of God. The United church, the Evangelical church, listening to birds; music; non-binary definitions of gender; traditional native foods, fish heads, red willow shoots, and moose thigh bones. Death. Unconditional love. Alcohol and weakness. And stand-up comedy.