A new, fully restored edition of the essential Canadian classic.
An unflinchingly honest memoir of her experience as a Métis woman in Canada, Maria Campbell's Halfbreed depicts the realities that she endured and, above all, overcame. Maria was born in Northern Saskatchewan, her father the grandson of a Scottish businessman and Métis woman--a niece of Gabriel Dumont whose family fought alongside Riel and Dumont in the 1885 Rebellion; her mother the daughter of a Cree woman and French-American man. This extraordinary account, originally published in 1973, bravely explores the poverty, oppression, alcoholism, addiction, and tragedy Maria endured throughout her childhood and into her early adult life, underscored by living in the margins of a country pervaded by hatred, discrimination, and mistrust. Laced with spare moments of love and joy, this is a memoir of family ties and finding an identity in a heritage that is neither wholly Indigenous or Anglo; of strength and resilience; of indominatable spirit.
This edition of Halfbreed includes a new introduction written by Indigenous (Métis) scholar Dr. Kim Anderson detailing the extraordinary work that Maria has been doing since its original publication 46 years ago, and an afterword by the author looking at what has changed, and also what has not, for Indigenous people in Canada today. Restored are the recently discovered missing pages from the original text of this groundbreaking and significant work.
About the author
Maria Campbell is a Métis writer, playwright, filmmaker, scholar, teacher, community organizer, activist, and elder. Halfbreed is regarded as a foundational work of Indigenous literature in Canada. She has authored several other books and plays, and has directed and written scripts for a number of films. She has also 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, established shelters for Indigenous women and children, and run a writers’ camp at the national historical site at Batoche, where every summer she produces commemorative events on the anniversary of the battle of the 1885 North-West Resistance. Maria Campbell is an officer of the Order of Canada and holds five honorary doctorates.
Praise for Halfbreed
“You can almost feel this book vibrating in your hands, it is so compelling. You read it with a kind of agonized heart-in-the-mouth sensation, halfway between laughter and tears…. Truth is stronger than fiction.”—Victoria Times-Columnist
“Sometimes a book tells us what we have always known but in a way that makes it seem as if we have not heard it before.”—Toronto Star
“Powerful, simple, direct, and passionate without being bitter.”—CBC Radio Vancouver
“Here speaks a voice never heard before with such direct frankness, such humour: the voice of the true Canadian woman.”—Rudy Wiebe, author of The Temptations of Big Bear
Other titles by Maria Campbell
Trickster Tales and the Stories of Chief Thunderchild
Keetsahnak / Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters
Our Struggle to Reclaim Treaty Rights for First Nations Women and their Descendants
Life Stages and Native Women
Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine
People of the Buffalo
How the Plains Indians Lived
Stories of the Road Allowance People
The Revised Edition
Three Plays by Metis Authors
The Book of Jessica
A Theatrical Transformation