Stories central in Vera Wabegijig’s new book of poetry, wild rice dreams by Greg Macdougall

OTTAWA – Vera Wabegijig’s first book, “wild rice dreams”, comes after 20 years of writing poetry.

The mother of two was born in Sudbury to a mother from Mississauga First Nation and a father from Wikwemikong, and says her upbringing in Blind River and Iron Bridge was missing any cultural context. (read more… )

Waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy in Conversation with Vera Wabegijig

Waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy (WCS): Language, our language is everywhere. I noticed the lovely inscription you wrote in the copy of wild rice dreams, particularly how you wrote “or, manoomin bwaadang” after the title. anishinaabemowin has an active presence in much of your writing and although it lives somewhat transiently in this collection, I was wondering if you’re fluent or if you’re reclaiming it like so many of our generation?

Vera Wabegijig (VW): So, I’m an adult learner. I’m not fluent by any means. I try to use it at home. My youngest daughter knows some words and phrases. It’s remarkable that she remembers what I teach her. When I was growing up I heard my granny, grandma, aunties, and uncles speaking it. They would always switch to English when they talked to us kids. If they were talking about something private, or to protect us, they would switch back to anishnaabemowin. This is when I would try to listen real hard, but I had no real grasp so couldn’t decipher any of it. All I really learned when I was a kid was being told what to do—the commands like wiisnin! bindigin! maadibin! eat! come in! sit down! besaanyaan! be quiet! lol! This tells me so much about parenting and child rearing. You were told what to do and not really asked if you wanted to do it. Now of course that has changed. So from being a kid to a young adult I only picked up a little bit more of the language but not enough to actually have a conversation. (read more…)

Listen now through CKCU On Demand
Program A Luta Continua: Interview with First Nations writer and media artist Vera Wabegijig.
Hosted By Monique Fuller
Date 9:00 AM on Mar. 14th, 2014
2 replies to Interviews
  1. Dear Vera,
    I just saw that you’ll follow our blog from now on and was curious about who you are, so I’m checking out your website and must say “Thank you” ……… I’d probably never found you on my own!
    I’m touched and inspired by your story and your thoughts!
    I grew up in Ontario and among my friends at school there were many first nations children and as children we never thought we’d be different…..we were just children having a great time…….not really realizing the struggles and doubts the parents and elders had to deal with.
    Living in Sweden for a while I found a friend who told me about the same experience you had as a child………her parents and grandparents being Sami and denying her to learn the language as they thought I would be no god for her and now as an adult she feels a great loss and is trying to catch up with her history and language.
    I myself can feel with you growing up as a child of German immigrants in Canada and at age 10 moving back to Germany and always feeling something missing in my life (not that I want to compare my life with the struggles of the First Nations !) now finally finding some peace and feeling at the “right place” here in the woods of Nova Scotia.
    I wish you all the best and will definitely be stopping by to see where your path is leading you!
    All the best and cheers from Nova Scotia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. miigwech Manuela for connecting our familiar family histories. i don’t think of it as comparing realities but finding the similarities in experiences.
      i remember as a child not knowing the differences between myself or other children. like you said, we’re kids and we see only that. although it changed when we began learning about history. my little school friends found out i was an indian and began to see me and my family, my community as conquered so began treating me as such as well as all the other indian kids. i remember feeling so let down but that’s when the resilience surfaced. we are all survivors of this harsh history as it’s repeated itself around this tiny planet.
      thanks again for connecting from nova scotia! i will dropping by your blog as well!


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