Books·Canadian

Peyakow

A book by Darrel J. McLeod.

Darrel J. McLeod

Mamaskatch, Darrel J. McLeod's 2018 memoir of growing up Cree in Northern Alberta, was a publishing sensation — winning the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction, shortlisted for many other major prizes and translated into French and German editions. In Peyakow, McLeod continues the poignant story of his impoverished youth, beset by constant fears of being dragged down by the self-destruction and deaths of those closest to him as he battles the bullying of white classmates, copes with the trauma of physical and sexual abuse, and endures painful separation from his family and culture. With steely determination, he triumphs: now elementary teacher; now school principal; now head of an Indigenous delegation to the UN in Geneva; now executive in the Government of Canada — and now a celebrated author.

Brutally frank but buoyed throughout by McLeod's unquenchable spirit, Peyakow — a title borrowed from the Cree word for "one who walks alone" — is an inspiring account of triumph against unimaginable odds. McLeod's perspective as someone whose career path has crossed both sides of the Indigenous/white chasm resonates with particular force in today's Canada. (From Douglas & McIntyre)

Darrel J. McLeod is a Cree writer from Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. Before his retirement, McLeod was chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations. His first book was the memoir Mamaskatchwhich won the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction

Why Darrel J. McLeod wrote Peyakow

"I was very young when I lost some of my family. When love works, when it's all there, it is an incredible force and it gives us this life force that will endure whatever else gets thrown at us. And that incredible love from mom, from mushum, from my sister Debbie and my aunties and uncles.

When love works, when it's all there, it is an incredible force and it gives us this life force that will endure whatever else gets thrown at us.

"When I was a baby, we lived with our extended family. I got passed around from from auntie to auntie to uncle to uncle to grandma to grandma because it was just us. And that love, when it happens, it stays with you for the rest of your life and beyond, and hopefully I have enough to to pass on to future generations, too."

Read more in his interview with The Next Chapter.

Interviews with Darrel J. McLeod

Darrel J. McLeod talks to Shelagh Rogers on Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity
Darrel McLeod talks to Shelagh Rogers about his new book Mamaskatch

Other books by Darrel J. McLeod

 

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