This is a poetry collection written during a period of trauma while the author was working as a Counsel to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in 2017. This book is about memories and experience growing up on the Pelican Narrows Reserve in northern Saskatchewan in the 1980s: summers spent on the land and the pain of residential school. With this collection, the author wants to teach and inform Canadians of her experiences growing up as an Indigenous woman in Saskatchewan. She believes it is important to share her stories for others to read.
Francine Merasty is a Nehithaw Iskwew, Opawikoschikanek ochi, a reserve in Northern Saskatchewan. She is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and a fluent Cree speaker. She began writing poetry in the winter of 2017 while working for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as both a Statement Taker and Legal Counsel. She currently works for the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in Saskatchewan. She is a winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Awards. She lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Translated by John Martial Merasty who was born in Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan in 1952. He is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. John attended the Guy Hill Indian Residential School from 1959 to 1967. He is knowledgeable in the Cree language, written and spoken. His skill in Cree Syllabics was encouraged by his mother Jane Merasty (Colomb). John has translated for several publications and teaches Cree to whoever is interested. To John language is identity.
Iskotew Iskwew / Fire Woman: Poetry of a Northern Rez Girl: