Morningstar Mercredi is an accomplished author who wrote about her unflinching personal journey of abuse, racism and her triumph over trauma and childhood sexual exploitation in her memoir ‘Morningstar, A Warrior’s Spirit’.
Published in 2006 by Coteau Books, her memoir provides important documentation about the crisis of Missing and Murdered women, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the generational impact of residential schools.
Morningstar attributes Warren Goulding, author of ‘Just Another Indian’ as a major influence in her decision to write her memoir. Eerily, Morningstar recalled that 31 years ago, she was walking home from work when John Martin Crawford, the convicted killer whom Goulding based his book on, followed her in his car along Avenue P, off 20th Street in Saskatoon. She intuitively sensed her life was in danger and fled to a block parent house.
Crawford waited until someone came to the door before he sped off. Years later, when Goulding spoke to Morningstar about Crawford, describing his green car, she remembered the car on that evening and knew she narrowly escaped becoming one of his victims.
What motivated her to write was a verdict from a case in the fall of 2001, in Tisdale, Saskatchewan, a twelve year old Cree girl was gang raped by three men in their mid twenties. In May of 2003, Dean Edmundson was found guilty of sexual assault after three days of jury deliberations. He was not taken into custody and remained free until his sentencing in June. On June 27, 2003 the other two accused, Jeffrey Kindrat and Jeffrey Brown were found not guilty.
Outside of Saskatchewan, this story garnered very little publicity. The little girl was Native and her attackers were Caucasian. The verdict triggered Morningstar, who was raped when she was twelve years old.
Morningstar told the TRT “This is the reality we live with in Canada”. She also discussed the root origins of abuse, which she traces back through history.
“The premise of dominion over the earth, resources and human beings was implemented in other countries centuries ago, by the Roman Empire. If the efforts of war were unsuccessful in obtaining dominion, then they sought to break the spirit of the people. These practices began by torturing, raping, and murdering children and women specifically for the purpose of achieving dominion over a people and the land. Rape and pillage, then taking the resources and enslaving the people.”
Morningstar believes the same processes were at work in Canada, where thousands of Indigenous children were abused and murdered in residential schools. However, that being said Morningstar insists that “they do not have dominion over us, we are still here. Our spirit is not broken. And we need to celebrate and honor our ongoing resilience in the face of all historical atrocities.”
Morningstar stated Indigenous peoples are not the only people indoctrinated by the system. “When I hear racist dogma and slurs I recognize a certain systematic indoctrination within a segment of society conditioned to hate to a degree that condones and dismisses murder and rape, as was the case with the twelve year old Cree girl in Tisdale, Saskatchewan.”
“The ‘Highway of Tears’ is known for men, women, boys and girls who are missing and murdered. The women who were missing and murdered at the Pickton farm…there are far too many cases one can cite regarding violent crimes toward First Peoples, Metis and Innu in Canada.”
“Its important to acknowledge the human beings, from all walks of people, conscious enough not to be ‘colorblind’ who are responding to this crisis compassionately and humanely. Those who reject the status quo and will not conform to racist ideology.”
“I suggest we continue to support and help those who have been on the frontlines in urban centres and within our communities, as well as continue to hold vigil alongside families and friends of missing and murdered women and children. Thank you to everyone raising awareness of this crisis, because for many of us, this is very close to home.”
Morningstar has also authored a non-fiction children book titled, ‘Fort Chipewyan Homecoming’ was published in 1996, Lerner Publications. She produced the documentary “Sacred Spirit of Water” which discusses the alarming impacts of the Harper Government’s legislative removal of environmental protection on lakes and rivers and the funding cuts to the First Nation water and wastewater action plan. For more, see her website at www.morningstarmercredi.com