Canadian

Lake of the Prairies

Warren Cariou's story of origin begins in the boreal Saskatchewan landscape of rock, water and muskeg that is Meadow Lake.

Warren Cariou

Warren Cariou's story of origin begins in the boreal Saskatchewan landscape of rock, water and muskeg that is Meadow Lake — ensconced in the ethos of the north, where there is magic in a story and fiction is worth much more than fact.

Grounded in the fertile soil of Meadow Lake are two historical traditions — Native and settler. Cariou's maternal grandparents were European immigrants who cleared acres of dense forest and turned it into pasture. This land also held traces of centuries of Cree settlement — arrowheads, spear points and stone hammers, which Cariou stumbled upon as a boy. Though the tragic story of how these traditions came to share the same home would remain buried from him until much later, history's painful legacy was much in view. In the schoolyard and on the street corners Warren witnessed the discrimination, anger and fear directed at the town's Cree and Métis populations — prejudices he absorbed as his own.

As an adult, Cariou has been forced to confront the politics of race in Meadow Lake. He learned that a rambunctious Native schoolmate could be involved in a torture and murder that would shock the world. And then he discovered family secrets kept hidden for generations, secrets that would alter forever Cariou's sense of identity and belonging in Meadow Lake. (From Anchor Canada)

From the book

Where do I come from?

 

The potato patch.

God in Heaven.

A falling star.

The stork.

A moonlit night.

A hole in the legs.

You were named for the doctor who delivered you.

 

Where, really?

From here. You're from right here. The town of Meadow Lake, the province of Saskatchewan, the country of Canada, the planet of Earth. Just down the street at the Meadow Lake Union Hospital you were born, and we lived in the Carter Apartments until you were one, and then we moved to the house, and you grew like quackgrass in the backyard. And that's the story of you.


From Lake of the Prairies by Warren Cariou ©2002. Published by Anchor Canada.