Read the Provinces: Carol Rose GoldenEagle (Daniels)

January 9, 2020

By definition, the word Hiraeth translates to a feeling of desire to return to a home or a place that you can no longer return to. Saskatchewan-based poet Carol Rose GoldenEagle (Daniels) joins us in this Read the Provinces feature to discuss her collection of the same name ( HiraethInanna Publications) and how essential this writing has been to her in confronting a dark grief that she has carried throughout her life and reconnecting with her First Nations culture.

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INTERVIEW WITH CAROL ROSE GOLDENEAGLE DANIELS

 

 

 

All Lit Up: Tell us about your poetry collection Hiraeth and how it came to be. 

Hiraeth_Cover

Carol Rose GoldenEagle (Daniels): The name for Hiraeth came about - by chance.  I was looking up the spelling of a word on Dictionary.com and hiraeth was the word of the day. (A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.)

I wrote this collection of poems, because I realized that I had been carrying around a grief and darkness all of my life.  Being a child of the 1960’s scoop, I hadn’t realized how much I had hidden bad memories, abuse, name-calling. When a person is a child, we do not know any differently than the reality in which we grow up.  However, once I became a mother, I noticed the “slights” that were directed towards my own children. The woman I used to refer to as my mom when I was a kid, actually called them wild Indians one day. It was at that point, I understood how I had internalized a deep hurt, having listened to that type of conversation all of my formative years.  I would not allow my children to be subjected to the same verbal abuse, and began to remember, and write. It’s important that my own 3 children understand what happened to me, and too many others, with the scoop-up. I am no longer in contact with that family, where I was raised, although it is important to note that I was very close with my Dad and my Grandma (Dad’s mom - both now deceased).  There was never name-calling when Dad was home.  

I also needed to write this collection, because somehow, I think I have managed to find my way out of this dark place. I did so by connecting with my own First Nations culture, which is rich, beautiful and strong. It is my hope that all those who feel lost or disconnected, find their way back to our culture and traditions.  It is a place of strength.

 

ALU: It's been argued that physical geography shapes our identity, that there's a connection between our physical place in the world and who we are. As a writer, in what ways does your natural environment inform your writing? 

CRGD: There is something magical about the wind in Saskatchewan. Ever since I was a child, I have been listening to the wind. I remember, as a child, standing at the side of a grid road and watching mature wheat swaying in the field. Also, the wide-open space of southern Saskatchewan gave me an appreciation for a wide-open sky. A place for dreamers. Even though my biological roots are in the boreal forest of northern Saskatchewan, I do appreciate the plains.

 

ALU: Who are some of your favourite Saskatchewan-based writers?

CRGD: Trevor Herriot - Gillian Harding-Russell - Bernadette Wagner - Barb Langhorst - Dave Margoshes - (and even though she now lives in AB) Sharon Buttala

 

 

FROM HIRAETH

 

 

From Section III: KOOKUM   (spirit wisdom)

our journey and how we choose to experience it

depends on our understanding of self

wise one

revered Elder of the circle

 

LILLY

 

I never fully understood the teachings of Jesus Christ

until I met an Old Woman

four foot ten

reminds me of Yoda

and just as wise

 

She has never been sentenced to jail

but she has done hard time

beaten to the point of death in Residential School

internal bleeding

the nuns did not send her to hospital until the next day

 

There

she lay in a coma

for eleven months

 

But she does not dwell on it

will not empower those early years

fraught with a litany of woe

peppered with hate

a mix of fear

 

She will not allow it to hinder her growth

towards becoming

the Old Woman who stands here

 

proud

strong

courageous

 

Too many now rely on her strength

which has become their starting place

of a shared sacred space

because of this Old Woman

 

who

years ago

accepted the unspeakable pain that arrived

when her young husband passed too soon

 

It was then two voices showed up

both promising something.

 

Spirits

which come in a bottle

and the Spirits

of the Old Voices we hear in the wind

 

Her husband is gone

their love remains

so she promises

to never drown those memories

but to keep their love       alive and powerful

honouring the memory of her husband

by honouring Spirit       The Old Ones

 

Transformation

smudging with sage      sweetgrass     cedar

she offers prayers for her children

for all children

and a promise that she will embrace

the rhythm of life

no matter what it may bring

 

It leads her to the circle

that magic place

peaceful place      the church forbade

for no good reason

 

Triumphant

Old Woman stands with an Eagle feather fan

held high at the honour beat

in a dance honouring her

 

Creator knows

she has earned the respect

towards her role as an Elder

as she continues to beckon

influence

encourage as many as she can

back to the dance

 

ancient

but new to those who have been disconnected

as she once was

but is no more

 

It is going on now     3 generations

this dance

getting stronger

and happening

because she let go of pain

felt it

but let it die

remembering instead      the love

a heart so large

it caused rebirth

resurrecting with it

traditions

the Old Ways

and extending that knowledge to her children    

grandchildren      great grandchildren      all of Creator’s children

 

Determined

they will not suffer the same

pain

disconnection

wandering in darkness

 

that was a long time ago

 

 

 

 

 

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Carol Rose GoldenEagle (Daniels) is Cree/Dene with roots in Sandy Bay, northern Saskatchewan. She is a published novelist, poet, playwright, visual artist, and musician. She is the author of the award-winning novel Bearskin Diary (2015). A sequel, Narrows of Fear, is forthcoming.  She published the novel, Bone Black (Nightwood Editions) in 2019, and her poetry collection, Hiraeth, a finalist for the 2019 Rasmussen, Rasmussen and Charowsky Indigenous Peoples’ Writing Award, was published by Inanna Publications in 2018.  As a visual artist, her work has been exhibited in art galleries across Saskatchewan and Northern Canada. As a musician, a CD of women’s drum songs, in which Carol is featured, was recently nominated for a Prairie Music Award. Before pursuing her art on a full-time basis, Carol worked as a journalist for more than 30 years in television and radio at APTN, CTV, and CBC. She lives in Regina.

 

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Purchase a copy of Hiraeth  for 15% OFF until January 31, and stay tuned for more  Read the Provinces featured authors all month long here on All Lit Up. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the hashtag #ALUreadtheprovinces.


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