Carol Rose Daniels wins $5K Aboriginal Literature Award for Bearskin Diary

carolbearskin.jpg (Photo courtesy Harbour Publishing)

Carol Rose Daniels has won the 2017-2018 Periodical Marketers of Canada's Aboriginal Literature Award for her debut novel Bearskin Diary.

Daniels will take home $5,000 for winning the award, which recognizes works of outstanding Indigenous literature. This prize is presented jointly by the First Nations Communities READ program and Periodical Marketers of Canada.

Published in 2015, Bearskin Diary follows an Indigenous girl named Sandy, who is forcibly taken from her family during what's known as the Sixties Scoop. Facing discrimination for her brown skin, Sandy finds strength in embracing her First Nations heritage.

The novel sheds light on the psychological damage caused by the Sixties Scoop, in which thousands of on-reserve children were placed in non-Indigenous care between 1965 and 1984. In a February ruling from the Ontario Superior Court, a judge ruled that the federal government failed to prevent Indigenous children from losing their identity.

"It is my hope that what I have written in Bearskin Diary might be the impetus for others - who were taken away as infants - to go find those gifted First Nations teachers and learn about who we are as Indigenous people," Daniels said in an email to CBC Books. "What you will find is love, magic, strength and resilience."

The novel has also been selected for the First Nation Communities READ program for 2017-2018. The program was launched in 2003 and recommends books by First Nations, Métis and Inuit writers and illustrators.

Over 50 submissions were considered for this award by a jury of six librarians from First Nation public libraries in Ontario. Other shortlisted titles include Melanie Florence for Missing Nimâmâ, Bev Sellers for Price Paid and They Called Me Number One and Tim Tingle for How I Became a Ghost.

The award will be presented to Daniels on June 28 in Toronto.

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