Darrel J. McLeod

Darrel J. McLeod

Darrel J. McLeod is the author of Peyakow and Mamaskatch, which received the Govenor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction. He is Cree from Treaty Eight territory in Northern Alberta. Before deciding to pursue writing in his retirement, McLeod was a chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations. He holds degrees in French literature and education from the University of British Columbia. McLeod lives in Sooke, British Columbia.

Instagram: @wapus1

Peyakow (Cree for “he or she travels alone”) is a love song of gratitude to Mother Earth and an Ode to the Indigenous peoples of Canada.” The Toronto Star



<span style="font-weight: 400;">Growing up in the tiny village of Smith, Alberta, Darrel J. McLeod was surrounded by his Cree family’s history. In shifting and unpredictable stories, his mother, Bertha, shared narratives of their culture, their family and the cruelty that she and her sisters endured in residential school. McLeod was comforted by her presence and that of his many siblings and cousins, the smells of moose stew and wild peppermint tea, and his deep love of the landscape. Bertha taught him to be fiercely proud of his heritage and to listen to the birds that would return to watch over and guide him at key junctures of his life.</span>

<span style="font-weight: 400;">However, in a spiral of events, Darrel’s mother turned wild and unstable, and their home life became chaotic. Sweet and innocent by nature, Darrel struggled to maintain his grades and pursue an interest in music while changing homes many times, witnessing violence, caring for his younger siblings and suffering abuse at the hands of his surrogate father. Meanwhile, his sibling’s gender transition provoked Darrel to deeply question his own sexual identity.</span>

<span style="font-weight: 400;">The fractured narrative of </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mamaskatch</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> mirrors Bertha’s attempts to reckon with the trauma and abuse she faced in her own life, and captures an intensely moving portrait of a family of strong personalities, deep ties and the shared history that both binds and haunts them.</span>

<span style="font-weight: 400;">Beautifully written, honest and thought-provoking, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mamaskatch</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">—named for the Cree word used as a response to dreams shared—is ultimately an uplifting account of overcoming personal and societal obstacles. In spite of the traumas of Darrel’s childhood, deep and mysterious forces handed down by his mother helped him survive and thrive: her love and strength stayed with him to build the foundation of what would come to be a very fulfilling and adventurous life.</span>


<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">   </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Pride and the pen: Two B.C. authors reflect on success and Indigenous identity -</span> <a href="https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/pride-and-the-pen-two-bestselling-b-c-authors-reflect-on-success-and-indigenous-identity"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Vancouver Sun</span></i></a></li>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">   </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age </span><a href="https://quillandquire.com/review/mamaskatch-a-cree-coming-of-age/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">- </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Quill and Quire</span></i></a></li>


<span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span><a href="https://shop.owlsnestbooks.com/item/AUgNRER1yUoI2M_dpIpEFA"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Owl’s Nest Books</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (Calgary) |</span><a href="https://calgary.bibliocommons.com/v2/record/S95C1224299"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Calgary Public Library</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span>


<strong>Following his award-winning debut memoir <em>Mamaskatch</em></strong><em>, </em><strong>which masterfully portrayed a Cree coming-of-age in rural Canada, Darrel J. McLeod continues the poignant story of his adulthood.</strong>

In <em>Mamaskatch</em>, McLeod captured an early childhood full of the stories, scents, and sensations of his great-grandfather’s cabin, as well as the devastating separation from family, ensuing abuse, and eventual loss of his mother that permeated his adolescence. In the equally potent <em>Peyakow</em>, McLeod follows a young man through many seasons of his life, navigating an ever-turbulent personal and political landscape filled with loss, love, addiction, and perseverance.
Guided internally by his deep connection to his late grandfather, in a constant quest for happiness, McLeod strives to improve his own life as well as the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada and beyond. This leads him to a multifaceted career and life as a school principal, chief treaty negotiator, executive director of education and international affairs, representative of an Indigenous delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, jazz musician, and, today, celebrated author. Weaving together the past and the present through powerful, linked chapters, McLeod confronts how both the personal traumas of his youth and the historical traumas of his ancestral line impact the trajectory of his life. With unwavering and heart-wrenching honesty, <em>Peyakow – </em>Cree for “one who walks alone” – recounts how one man carries the spirit of his family through the lifelong process of healing.

<strong>GET THE BOOK</strong>

<a href="https://shop.owlsnestbooks.com/item/AUgNRER1yUqTn_Q_Igxwkg">Owl’s Nest Books</a> (Calgary) | <a href="https://calgary.bibliocommons.com/v2/record/S95C1379174">Calgary Public Library</a>

<strong>BE CURIOUSER</strong>
<li><strong>New Book by Darrel McLeod provides insight into Indigenous life in Canada. </strong>-<em><a href="https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/07/15/new-book-by-darrel-mcleod-provides-insight-into-indigenous-life-in-canada.html">The Toronto Star</a></em></li>
<li><strong>Review: Darrel J. McLeod’s Memoir Peyakow celebrates survival and resilience. </strong><a href="https://vancouversun.com/entertainment/books/review-darrel-j-mcleods-memoir-peyakow-celebrates-survival-and-resilience"><em>-The Vancouver Sun</em></a></li>


3 PM
Memoiring: No Escape from Reality
Oct 01 @ 3 PM MT - 4:15 PM MT

DJD Dance Centre

111 12 Ave SE
5 PM
Friendship Circle: Jillian Horton & Darrel J. Moscrop
Oct 01 @ 5 PM MT - 6 PM MT

Memorial Park Library, 2nd Floor

1221 2 St SW