If you follow Canadian literature, you may recall that in June this year, Maria Campbell‘s 1973 ground-breaking autobiography Halfbreed was the subject of significant press coverage. The cause was the rediscovery of pages of the manuscript excised by the press without her knowledge or permission “over fears the RCMP would try to halt the book’s publication.” This act of excision is especially resonant, given the issues about which Campbell herself has been so outspoken. For scholars of literature, such a discovery also demands we consider the ways in which the path to publication can involve coerced and involuntary textual violences for writers from historically marginalized publications.
We at UWaterloo are fortunate that Maria Campbell will be joining us on campus as part of the Indigenous Speakers Series on Wednesday, February 13th at 4pm, in Modern Languages Theatre of the Arts. Campbell is a Cree-Métis writer, playwright, filmmaker, scholar, teacher and elder. Campbell’s memoir Halfbreed (1973) is regarded as a foundational piece of Indigenous literature in Canada for its attention to the discrimination, oppression and poverty that some Métis women (and other Indigenous people) experience in Canada.
Campbell has published several other books and plays, and has directed and written scripts for a number of films. As an artist, Campbell has worked with Indigenous youth in community theatre and advocated for the hiring and recognition of Indigenous people in the arts. She has mentored many Indigenous artists during her career. Among many honours and awards, Campbell received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2005, and was named Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008.
This Indigenous Speakers Series event is co-presented by the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, the Faculty of Arts, the Department of History, and the Department of Communication Arts. The Series highlights the voices of Indigenous artists, writers, activists, and leaders from across Turtle Island, offering UWaterloo students, faculty and staff opportunities to learn from, understand, and engage with Indigenous issues.
Photo credit: Ted Whitecalf