Maria Campbell's Halfbreed to be re-released with author's account of rape by Mountie

Métis author Maria Campbell's classic memoir Halfbreed will be re-released next year with two recently discovered missing pages detailing her account of being sexually assaulted by an RCMP officer when she was 14.

'Her story cannot be denied and it cannot be forgotten,' says literary agency

Campbell's seminal memoir originally contained two pages detailing Campbell's rape by two RCMP officers, but those passages were never published. (Formac Publishing Company, canlit.ca/McClelland & Stewart archive/McMaster University )

Transcript

Métis author Maria Campbell's classic memoir Halfbreed will be re-released next year with two recently discovered missing pages detailing her account of being sexually assaulted by an RCMP officer when she was 14. 

The pages had originally been scrubbed from the 1973 book against Campbell's wishes,, because her publishers at the time feared RCMP would try to halt its publication.

"Maria Campbell offers us an understanding of the Métis people and of the racism and hatred they face," reads a press release from the Bukowski Agency, which represents Campbell. 

"Her story cannot be denied and it cannot be forgotten. It stands as a challenge to any Canadian who believes in human rights and human dignity."

The missing pages recount a grisly scene from Campbell's childhood in 1950s rural Saskatchewan, in which describes an unnamed RCMP officer raping her on her grandmother's bed while his colleagues searched her family's home for illegally hunted meat.

In June, Saskatchewan RCMP called the account "highly concerning" and said it would look into it.

Halfbreed is a memoir by Métis author and playwright Maria Campbell. (Ted Whitecalf/U of Nebraska Press)

The long-lost pages were discovered earlier this year by research assistant Alix Shield in an unpublished copy of the book at the McClelland & Stewart archives at McMaster University in Hamilton.

With Campbell's permission, Shield and Indigenous studies professor Deanna Reder published the pages in full in the journal Canadian Literature in June.

"This classic went on to inspire generations of Indigenous writers in Canada," Reder, a Simon Fraser University professor, told As It Happens at the time.

"And yet we haven't heard this key part of the story. And why? Because the editor decided it wasn't worth the risk, even though she was ready — bravely, courageously ready — to do so."

A new edition of Maria Campbell's Halfbreed hits shelves November 2019. (Bukowski Agency )

Campbell's agent Denise Bukowski told As It Happens the new edition, published by McClelland & Stewart, will hit shelves in November 2019.

The agency has published an excerpt on its website. 

It will include two missing pages intact, as well as a foreword by University of Guelph Métis scholar Kimberley Anderson​ and an afterword by Campbell reflecting on what's changed and what hasn't since the book was first published.

Written by Sheena Goodyear with files from Kate Swoger.