SIX NATIONS, ON – On Friday October 30, the International Festival of Authors came to the Woodland Cultural Centre, when Tracey Lindberg – author of the acclaimed novel Birdie – presented her latest work.
The novel centres on Bernice (also known as Birdie), “a big, beautiful Cree woman” who leaves her home in northern Alberta to travel to Gibsons, British Columbia in search of strength to help overcome a dark tragedy in her past.
Lindberg shared that she is a member of the As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation, Rocky Mountain Cree from the Kelly Lake Cree Nation Community. She teaches both Indigenous Law and Indigenous Studies at two universities in Canada, and although this is her first novel, she is an award-winning academic writer. Lindberg explained that even though her family is mainly Cree, she does have an Iroquoian ancestor.
“Coming out here is a big deal for me, because I started out my book tour in Kelly Lake and I’m ending it here,” said Lindberg. “It’s really important to me that I was able to do that. I’m glad to have been here, and thankful too for the people here to have walked us into the community, that’s huge to me,” she said.
“I’ve said tonight – and I believe that it’s true – that every one of us has one good story in us at least, and I think that it’s important that if you’re not in the right space to get that story out, that you find that space,” said Lindberg.
Lindberg spoke to the healing value of writing when she recalled a teaching shared with her by elders.
“One of my elders explained to me that words have a bundle, that every word has a bundle, and that part of being a writer is unpacking the bundle. And I think that that’s true,” she said.
She began offering advice to writers of all ages from her own experience.
“For people that are just starting this, it doesn’t matter what your age is. You can be seventeen or you can be, in my community, seventy-nine and feel like you have a story to tell. That thing where you feel like ‘oh I wish I could just get it out, or I wish I could put it out there,’ what I encourage people to do is just take the time and either record it, or type it out. It doesn’t have to be in any format right now, just get it out of you and put it in that place. And I also say, take your precious things and put them in safe places, and for some people paper is that, putting it there or putting it on a tape is part of that space where you put it. It might come out like my book, where the stories start to look different, or you don’t want it to be an exact replica of your life, so you weave it in different ways,” she said, as she elaborated that the format could be poetry, songs or even fiction.
Lindberg explained that many writers don’t truly know how much help they have surrounding them in finding publishers, and she merely typed “indian agent” into Google to start her journey into publication.
She offered her contact information to any writers in need of advice or support. Aspiring authors can reach Lindberg at: firstname.lastname@example.org.