This book is a result of a few years work at Sagatay. Emily Pohl-Weary first conducted the workshops that led to this work. Emily and the men in the Sagatay Program developed two volumes of writings called Broken Arrow. I was a guest teach for her during the course of her creative writing workshops with the men.
In the summer of 2012, the life-skills coordinator at Sagatay, Randal Defant, asked me to conduct the workshops in order to put a book of the men’s writings together. During the workshops it became clear that the writing milieu they preferred was mainly poetry. This was not surprising as it is a deeply held belief by Indigenous peoples that poetry is the language of the heart and spirit. It’s known that writing and reading poetry strengthens the body and assists in trauma recovery.
Some of the men who participated in this project had been writing for some-time. Others were new to this experience, but all were eager to put their hearts and minds to the task. I was impressed by the honesty of the works produced.
We are an oral people. Our oral traditions have survived the storms of colonization. I also loved how closely the men listened to one another and how much respect they accorded on another. Despite the attempts of government during the hay day of residential school much of the central teachings of our culture survived. The Sagatay men understood that being a Warrior was an awesome and difficult road to travel. They also understood the journey that brought them to the program and that through writing; they could express their good heart.
We are a poetic people, in many of our languages; the word for art and the word for way of life is the same word. Prior to colonization every part of our life was artful, our clothing, our utilitarian objects were all artfully created. Our languages were rich in metaphor. According to my grandfather, Chief Dan George, if you are going to say difficult things use beautiful language. Writing for me is about articulating the difficult and beautiful language.
This book is a journey that began with the men of Sagatay and Emily Pohl-Weary. The journey was to come to understand themselves as modern Warriors and to respect the journey’s their lives have been.
I want to thank all the men for their willingness to participate to shape this book. This work has been a labour of love. – Lee Maracle
Contact person for this book
Na-Me-Res Fundraiser Trainee
416 300 2079
Na-Me-Res is selling the book to fund the Na-Me-Res /Sagatay Apaenmowineen Life skills program. The book sells at $15 a book single, $12 for multiple copies and $10 for 100+ copies. We can deliver free for bulk deliveries.