“I would like to see in literature more stories that reflect the growing urban Indigenous population and our unique lens. I’ve worked with urban Indigenous youth for ten years and know they’re looking for characters that reflect their lives.”
I entered storytelling through theatre and from there fell in love with shaping experiences for an audience and the power that speaking truth can have. I studied creative writing and theatre throughout my BFA at The University of British Columbia. During my MFA at UBC, I pushed myself to learn as much as possible about the writing craft from many writers. While studying I wrote a young adult novel which features a young Cree Metis girl named Sage who struggles with mental illness and follows her journey to healing after an attempted suicide. The project that I am currently working on it titled 'The way I was brought into the world was this' and is a non-fiction memoir that looks at trauma and how it affects a person’s genetic tags and influences mental illness by exploring the research surrounding epi-genetics. Specially, it is exploring the intergeneration effects of the systemic policies of abuse, assimilation and attempted genocide against the First Nation’s people of Canada. By exploring these effects in one family, my memoir hopes to add to the ongoing conversation surrounding reconciliation. I am striving to bring my own experiences with being a Cree Metis woman who grew up in an urban environment to the conversation surrounding Indigenous issues. I would like to see in literature more stories that reflect the growing urban Indigenous population and our unique lens. I’ve worked with urban Indigenous youth for ten years and know they’re looking for characters that reflect their lives.
Francine Cunningham is Cree from Saddle Lake, Alberta, currently living in Vancouver, B.C.