Sge:no Swagwe:goh! Hi everyone!
I've been holding onto this very exciting news for the last few weeks and now that it is September, I am super excited to share that starting tomorrow, I will be taking a year off to do more intensive language learning!
Those of you who have been following the blog may know that for the past year or so, my husband and I have been making a concentrated effort to speak more of the Cayuga language in our home. The results of this effort have been really inspiring. The majority of our baby’s new words are all in Cayuga and our three-year old daughter also is able to speak and understand a lot of the language as well. This made us realize that things would moving along faster and even more language would be spoken in our home if I were to become a more proficient speaker. And so that is what we are going to do: take a year and focus on increasing my speaking proficiency.
Richard Wagamese has passed away. He was a wonderful and talented Indigenous writer whose books were the recipients of many awards. He was also one of those few authors whose books both my parents and I really liked. I remember reading A Quality of Light as a teenager and just being completely blown away. To this day, it is one of my favourite books. I never met Richard—I only knew him from Facebook and Twitter, but he was always kind in his posts, open about his struggles and his dedication to writing and to helping other writers. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
After a week where I did little else but read article after article for my dissertation, his passing reminded me of how wonderful art is and how important it is to take the time to make it. To hone your skills and share what you love and are passionate about with others.
Last week I had my first ever author visit to the wonderful Braemar House School, where my niece attends. I presented to the Junior and Intermediate classes (grades 5-8) on my experiences being a writer, a creator of books and an aspiring language learner. I also read aloud from one of my books. It was awesome to share about how writing has helped me connect with, learn and share about my culture and our history as Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island. It was also nice to realize that I'm really and truly living my dream of being a writer. To be able to look back and see that what I’m doing now—telling stories and starting to make comics—is something I’ve been working toward for thirty years. So yeah. It was an awesome experience and I’m grateful to have had it.
And of course, the students themselves were nothing short of amazing. I’m always so impressed with young people, the questions they ask and their incredible capacity for compassion, understanding and imagination.
Wow. What a week it's been. I've been reading a lot. News. Blogs. Books. Facebook posts. I've also been thinking a lot - about the days ahead and what I want to do to support and empower my daughters and my nieces and nephews. About what I want to do to make sure they are able to speak our languages, know our stories and our ways of honouring creation. I've also been thinking a lot about water and the climate, and what I can do to reduce my footprint and live more sustainably. About how we can really transform the way our little family lives and demonstrate how grateful I am for the many blessings we have in our lives.
For all these reasons and more it seems strange to launch a book today, but I am happy to share this one. It's called The Fortune Teller's Daughter and it's about a young Haudenosaunee girl named Cora who is yanked out of her everyday life when her mother goes missing and she suddenly acquires the power of lightning.
2016 was a difficult year for the world, filled with loss and change. In some ways, it was difficult for us too but it was also a tremendously special year and I’m grateful for all the wonder and happiness that entered our lives.
My husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary in September. We welcomed our second daughter in May. And we moved into our new house in October—all very wonderful things.
2016 was also the year that I made the most progress with realizing my writing dreams. I launched my publishing company on January 21st, 2016 and published six books over the course of the year.