Maria Campbell

With her searing 1973 novel Half-Breed, Maria Campbell exposed the brutal realities of life for Aboriginal women in Canada. It also revealed the angst, anguish, dislocation, and desperation of a nation impoverished economically and spiritually. People worldwide were shocked and saddened by the plight of Canada’s Métis. The novel became a catalyst for change. The Métis Nation saw a resurgence of cultural pride and awareness, Aboriginal women organised and reclaimed themselves, governments affirmed Métis political rights, and Aboriginal literature in Canada was born. Many Canadian Aboriginal authors have followed the path first blazed by Maria Campbell. The Métis grandmother is now the author of seven books and is an award-winning playwright. She has conducted writing workshops in community halls, friendship centres, libraries, tents, and cabins. Her writers’ camp at Gabriel’s Crossing – the old Gabriel Dumont homestead near Batoche, Saskatchewan – resulted in the 1991 anthology Achimoona, a collection of stories which showcased emerging Aboriginal authors. A noted lecturer and workshop facilitator, Ms. Campbell continues to work in the areas of community development, race relations, and creative writing. She was honoured with an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from the University of Regina and taught Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Maria Campbell received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for bringing the story of her people to the eyes and ears of the world.