George Kenny is an Anishinaabe poet and playwright who learned traditional ways from his parents before being sent to residential school in 1958. When Kenny published his first book, 1982’s Indians Don’t Cry, he joined the ranks of Indigenous writers such as Maria Campbell, Basil Johnston, and Rita Joe whose work melded art and political action. Hailed as a landmark in the history of Indigenous literature in Canada, this new edition is expected to inspire a new generation of Anishinaabe writers with poems and stories that depict the challenges of Indigenous people confronting and finding ways to live within urban settler society. Indians Don’t Cry: Gaawin Mawisiiwag Anishinaabeg is the second book in the First Voices, First Texts series, which publishes lost or underappreciated texts by Indigenous artists. This new bi-lingual edition includes a translation of Kenny’s poems and stories into Anishinaabemowin by Pat Ningewance and an afterword by literary scholar Renate Eigenbrod.
“Indians Don’t Cry ultimately reflects the thoughts and feelings of George Kenny, a man who has lived both on a reserve and in an urban setting – a man possessed some would say – but a man who, more than many, accurately reflects the alienation, frustration, hopes and dreams of urban natives in this small but important book.”