Set along the Pacific Northwest Coast in the 1950s, Ravensong tells the story of an urban Native community devastated by an influenza epidemic. Stacey, a 17-year-old Native girl, struggles with the clash between white society’s values and her family’s traditional ways, knowing that her future lies somewhere in between. Celia, her sister, has visions from the past, while Raven warns of an impending catastrophe before the two cultures reconcile. In this passionate story about a young woman’s quest for answers, author Lee Maracle speaks unflinchingly of the gulf between two cultures: a gulf that Raven says must be bridged. Ravensong is a moving drama that includes elements of prophecy, mythology, cultural critique, and humour.
Featuring a preface by Lee Maracle and cover art by Métis artist Christi Belcourt, this revitalized edition is ideal for use in Literature and Gender and Women’s Studies programs.
About the author
Lee Maracle is a member of the Sto:Lo nation. She was born in Vancouver and grew up on the North Shore. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ravensong and Daughters Are Forever. Her novel for young adults, Will’s Garden was well-received and is taught in schools. She has also published on book of poetry, Bent Box, and a work of creative non-fiction, I Am Woman. She is the co-editor of a number of anthologies, including the award winning anthology My Home As I Remember and Telling It: Women and Language across Culture. Her work has been published in anthologies and scholarly journals worldwide. The mother of four and grandmother of seven, Maracle is currently an instructor at the University of Toronto, the Traditional Teacher for First Nation’s House, and instructor with the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and the S.A.G.E. (Support for Aboriginal Graduate Education). She is also a writing instructor at the Banff Centre for the Arts.
In 2009, Maracle received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Thomas University. Maracle recently received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work promoting writing among Aboriginal Youth, and is 2014 finalist for the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Maracle has served as Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, and the University of Western Washington.
Excerpt: Ravensong - A Novel (by (author) Lee Maracle)
From the preface:
“This country knows very little about us. We are something of a mystery. For decades no trespassing signs kept Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people separated. The mystery surrounded us, turned to speculation, and eventually stereotypes were born. Ravensong struggles to shed a truthful light on some of those stereotypes. Although we are not the noble savages of romantic writers, we are also not the brutes of some of the more racist writers either. What is still an aspect of our lives is our speaking to trees, plants, fish, and animals and in particular our speaking to Cedar and Raven.”
“In Maracle’s seminal work, Raven bears witness to one of the last epidemics in a small, Indigenous village with its new, white neighbours and their strange ways. Comic and mundane moments jostle together as Ravensong brings the reader on a stunning journey to a time and place before the women scattered and the matriarchy stopped being the center of village life. Maracle’s profoundly communal approach to storytelling is generous, earthy, and wise, a breath of bracing sea air. From her cedars to her ravens, her ocean and her characters, Maracle’s world is alive, bursting and singing.”
— “Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster and Monkey Beach
“Just as Raven brought light to the world, Lee Maracle brings light to the shape and cadence of Indigenous worlds that colonization attempts to erase. Set in a vibrant reserve community of stealthy night fisherwomen, berry picking cousins, whispering cedars, and chuckling ravens, this coming-of-age story is wrought within the vibrancy of Indigenous law and ancient kinship. Maracle’s words bring spirit to the page, tracing the contours of coastal relations that are aching to be read. This book is a survival song. With its re-release, our ancestors are dancing.”
— “Sarah Hunt, Kwagiulth (Kwakwaka’wakw) scholar and activist
Other titles by Lee Maracle
Conversations about Indigenous Manhood
I Am a Body of Land
Writers on Writing in Canada
Daughters Are Forever
Un territoire a partager
L'art du paysage au Canada
My Conversations With Canadians
Bobbi Lee Indian Rebel
Talking to the Diaspora