In this requiem to Narcisse Blood, Hildebrandt writes a history or “istorin” (as a verb not noun from the Greek) in the sense of American poet Charles Olsen “to look”, “to find out” the story of Blackfoot Country. As told to him by Narcisse Blood the story is grounded in place or geography and then rises up in his docu-poem to allow us to see the intricate and elaborate life of the Blackfoot people who were on the Great Plains, as Narcisse Blood tells, long before the pyramids of Egypt. The North American Great Plains were not empty spaces waiting to be occupied by Europeans as portrayed in a recent National Geographic documentary but were, as Rosalyn Lapier states in her introduction, a place where the Blackfoot people established a rich and enduring way of life. The stories, as Narcisse Blood said, “arise from the land” and we have much to learn from this history ranging from the buffalo hunt, fur trade, acquisition of the horse and the gun, epidemics, the buffalo robe trade, treaties and reserve life.
About the author
Historian and poet Walter Hildebrant was born in Brooks, Alberta and now lives in Edmonton. He has worked as an historian for Parks Canada and as a consultant to the Treaty 7 Tribal Council, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Banff Bow Valley Task Force. He is co-author of The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7 and The Cypress Hills: The Land and Its People, and author of Views From Battleford: Constructed Visions of an Anglo-Canadian West. His long poem Sightings was nominated for the 1992 McNally-Robinson Book of the Year for Manitoba. His book Where the Land Gets Broken won the Stephen G. Stephensson Award for Poetry in 2005. He is presently the Director of the Athabasca University Press. This is his seventh book of poetry.
Other titles by Walter Hildebrandt
Now Time / Jetztzeit / Nunc Stans
Treaty Elders of Saskatchewan
Our Dream Is That Our Peoples Will One Day Be Clearly Recognized as Nations
The Battle of Batoche
Small British Warfare and the Entrenched Métis
The Time in Between / Adorno's Daemons
Winnipeg from the Fringes
Views from Fort Battleford
Constructed Visions of an Anglo-Canadian West