Leah Marie Dorion was invited to share a glimpse into her Metis culture as the author invited to speak during a Family Literacy Day 2017 celebration in Swift Current on January 27.
Dorion conducted a series of readings to students at the Swift Current Mall this past Friday during a literacy celebration hosted by the Southwest Literacy Committee.
The theme of Family Literacy Day was Canada 150 (One Country – Together is Better), and it shone a special spotlight on the importance of reading to children in their ethnic or indigenous languages.
Dorion, a Prince Albert based author and illustrator of six children books about Metis culture, read from her book The Giving Tree: A Retelling of a Traditional Metis Story. Each student attending the reading was given a copy of the book, which is printed in both English and Michif, and includes a CD reading of the story by a Metis elder in Michif.
Dorion was thrilled to be part of the literacy event, especially as it was also held in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.
“I love that, looking at all the stories of Canada, and Canada from all those angles. And the Metis people are a huge part of this country. We were right through every phase, and drama, and we’re still here,” she said.
“I’m really happy that they wanted to hear a Metis story, with a Metis point of view. They reached out to me. They knew my work. And they wanted that connection to be made.”
Dorion published a new kids book, My First Metis Lobstick, late last year, and most recently she completed the Mother Earth Colouring and Activity Book as an opportunity to explore and discover indigenous culture through colouring.
She hoped the students receiving her book were able to share literacy in their homes.
“They can show their parents. They can show siblings who weren’t here. And they can kind of talk about what they heard from the living author. I love it.”
“And seeing the world from another point of view. That’s really neat. First Nations and Metis do have a really neat point of view, and we want to share it.”
Dorion added that she was happy to share a traditional message with children, who are often caught up in the technology that surrounds them.
“With our world becoming so quick, and all the technology how do we balance with our earth relationship. So I think the kids are really liking that, and they’re thinking about it.”