Blackbird Calling

By Laura Swart

Blackbird Calling
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Blackbird Calling depicts the beauty and complexity that unfold when dominant and indigenous cultures fuse horizons. It begins on Cape Breton Island, where the protagonist, unnamed, encounters the agonies and exploits of childhood--and the prejudices lodged against Aboriginal ... Read more


Overview

Blackbird Calling depicts the beauty and complexity that unfold when dominant and indigenous cultures fuse horizons. It begins on Cape Breton Island, where the protagonist, unnamed, encounters the agonies and exploits of childhood--and the prejudices lodged against Aboriginal people. These prejudices form a solid line between pigments, and the protagonist understands this line, lives at its borders. But when her family moves to the Prairie Pothole Region in Alberta, she sees another reality in the people of the Blood: she sees a remnant of ancient civilizations pushing itself into the present. Her older brother writes the stories of the marsh in the Prairie Pothole Region, and these small, isolated stories of the wetland, of its creatures and soils and vegetation, begin to fuse horizons with the main text, make their way into it--like potholes in the wetland working together, separate pieces forming a whole. Blackbird Calling, derived from dozens of interviews with Aboriginal people, carries within its borders poignant anecdotes of cultural import; there's a deep pride associated with being Native in the face of the racism, the hurt, and the agony of a disappearing way of life. But we are all indigenous in some part of our being, and at some level we understand the stories of the wetland.

Laura Swart

Laura Swart is passionate about writing and teaching. She taught academic writing at the University of Calgary for twenty years, encouraging students to move their writing from the sterile walls of the classroom to the arenas of publication and exhibition. She is Founder and Director of I-AM, a faith-based ESL program that uses story and song to teach the intricacies of English to refugees. Laura's degrees and research in Education and Philosophy have shaped her pedagogy, and the theories of Hans Gadamer in particular have woven themselves into her thinking, her teaching, and her writing.

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