In Memoriam: Lee Maracle

The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre is deeply saddened by the passing of Lee Maracle yesterday. We honour and celebrate the life and work of this award-winning poet, writer, activist, mentor, and advocate for Indigenous and women’s rights. Although Lee didn’t attend one of Canada’s government or church-run residential schools, she was an outspoken critic of the harm they caused. Her contributions will long be felt. Our thoughts are with her family, friends, and the Stó:lō community. 

Maracle was raised on the North Shore and was a member of the Stó:lō Nation. She was previously an instructor and Elder-in-residence at the University of Toronto and was a new Indigenous Studies faculty member at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Her written works include novels—Ravensong, Bobbi Lee, Indian Rebel, Sundogs—short story and poetry collections, as well as non-fiction work. Maracle was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Universities of Toronto and Waterloo and Western Washington and Guelph University. She was awarded Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) and was named an Office of the Order of Canada (2018). For her teaching and writing, she earned numerous awards including the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (2014), the Anne Green Award (2016), and the Bonham Centre Award (2017).

Twitter quotes:

making Indigenous residential school history an elective slaps not just the survivors, but the non-survivors and their descendants. No one has calculated the suicides as a result of residential school, but they count.

It is not an exaggeration to say that EVERY indigenous family in Kanada and the US suffered from the boarding and residential school regimes imposed on our nations. And that the aftermath is still deeply affecting our communities.

Calling Bull says residential school was genocide. Start to finish the colonial project was genocide, residential school was part of the genocide. Calling Bull got that right.

It is impossible to escape the past, you can only transform it.