Louise Bernice Halfe
“I write these stories in hopes that it will help others to articulate the violence that has been perpetrated in their lives; shame, guilt and anger are braided and have a powerful hold on a person.”
I am a Cree poet, writer and author of four books of poetry and have been published in various anthologies. The books are as follows: Bear Bones and Feathers, speaks to the residential school impact on the community as well as of personal nature. The book also addresses the teachings of the old people and what still needs to be preserved. There are also letters of retaliation to the Vatican. Blue Marrow is a book of imagined relations with the newcomers as told through the various voices of imagined aboriginal women of the fur trade era. The Crooked Good is a narrative poem of the sacred legend of the Rolling Head. It is told through the voice of the mother who weaves the story from a Cree feminist perspective. Burning In This Midnight Dream was written after the Truth and Reconciliation events took shape throughout the country. The book is written from the personal thereby more intimate and immediate. It addresses lateral and horizontal violence though none of this sterilized jargon is utilized rather they are stories that have shaped history and the personal lives of residential school survivors.
I write these stories in hopes that it will help others to articulate the violence that has been perpetrated in their lives; shame, guilt and anger are braided and have a powerful hold on a person. It is my hope in sharing these stories in a poetic voice that more people will step up and demand from the government the resources that are needed to educate and help our communities heal. These poetic stories also record some of the untold history of the ancestors; these stories are fast disappearing as our Elders are fewer in numbers. The Canadian public as well need to be educated about the policies that we all inherited; these have silenced and crippled our communities. We all have a responsibility not only to share the history but to do something about it. This is my way of contributing to hope and to awareness.
Louise Halfe is a Cree poet from Saddle Lake, Alberta.