I met Carol at a writing festival a few years back. We connected and have stayed in touch ever since. She is an amazing story-teller, visual artist, poet, and author. More here.
She has so much to share and teach us but is also always open to listening and learning.
As she shared her story–both personal and professional–I realized how blessed I am to know her. Thank you Carol for this opportunity to share part of your journey with the world.
So with no further ado…
I introduce to you Carol Rose GoldenEagle
Carol the person…. Who you are?
I am a Cree/Dene author and artist, with roots in Northern Saskatchewan.
My biggest joy in life are my 3 children, who are now young adults.
Currently I live alone in a little cabin in the woods in Regina Beach, Sk. I love this community.
What message do you want the world to hear?
I want to continue to tell stories from an Indigenous perspective, particularly highlighting the strengths of our women.
For the longest time, our stories were not being told.
It gives me encouragement that Canadian readers have indicated an interest in reading (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, children’s stories) that come from our perspective.
Although, it may seem that much of my fiction is on the dark side, it always champions my culture.
This is important and an example of overcoming adversity.
It is particularly important for me to honour our Elders in my writing.
Our knowledge keepers are precious.
What should we know about Carol?
I was one of those children taken from the arms of my biological mother the very day that I was born. My birth mother died in a car crash when I was about twelve years old so I never got to meet her.
It’s known as the 1960’s scoop. I grew up away from my culture and was actually taught to be ashamed of my heritage and my color.
(To learn more about the ’60s scoop you can read about it here: 60’s Scoop
A Moment in Time That Changed her Forever…
I first met Allen Sapp when I was working as an Arts reporter for CBC TV in Saskatoon.
I think it was 1988 when the Allen Sapp Gallery was set to open in North Battleford.
Our assignment editor planned to just run some images of Allen’s art and a script that would
be voiced by the anchor.
But, knowing Sapp’s significant contribution, not just to art and culture, but preserving history while rebuilding – I convinced the editorial team to let me produce a documentary on his life and work.
I called his agent to set it up.
My surname at the time was still Adams (my adopted name). So, when “Carol Adams” showed up at his home on Red Pheasant Reserve – Sapp expected to be interviewed by another white reporter, which he’d done many times before (spoken to media).
His eyes lit up when this little brown girl (me) came out of the news van to greet him.
He immediately shook my hand, and then began to speak in Cree to me.
I told him that I didn’t understand the language, because I’d grown up in the southern part of the province in an all-white community.
He was very patient with me, in describing his work and why he’d chosen to paint the images, especially the ones of his Kohkum (Grandmother).
Interestingly enough, when I returned to the TV station with the footage – one of the producers remarked that “He’s never given this much information to a reporter before. Usually, he just gives one word answers.”
The documentary was lovely and I felt honoured that Allen Sapp had taken some time to
get to know me. While he talked, for the interview, he kept telling me about the importance of the language and knowing our history as Indigenous Peoples. His talent is enormous but he was gracious and kind and patient.
He insisted that we take a walk on the land, and he told stories about how we are connected to the land as a People, and why we need to honour Mother Earth.
He was – really – my first contact with an “Indian” (what we were called back then). Anyone else I had met prior to that, were mostly politicians who were First Nations.
You have to remember, I grew up being ashamed of my brown skin, always being told that “Indians” are dirty and lazy and stupid.
When a child hears that, repeatedly, it becomes their truth. A person, like an adoptive mother, is difficult to ignore. My dad never said those things.
Meeting Sapp, I was introduced to a Cree who was proud, and strong and someone who I looked up to, and wanted to aspire to (his love of our culture).
When we finished the interview, and as we were getting set to leave, he took my hand and said four words that changed my life.
“You need to learn.”
There was no need to explain. I knew exactly what he meant.
Once I got back to the city, I went to an art supply store. That was the beginning of me starting to paint.
From there, I also sought out Cree language programs. It wasn’t too long thereafter that I went to my very first pow wow.
Q: What is your education level? Did either getting or not getting impact your writing career.
I studied media arts at the SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) in Calgary in the early 1980’s. (Carol is listed as one of SAITs “notable alumni)
From there, I pursued a career in journalism which took me across the country. (Carol worked in radio for a couple of years and then joined CBC for several years). Read a CBC Interview —On the power of words.
Canada is beautiful and I am grateful to have been able to visit each region.
In between, I always took part in writing workshops. I also teach writing workshops and hope to attend the Wine Country Writer’s Festival that Faye organized for 2020 but had to postpone until 2021. It’s an opportunity to visit different communities while also sharing my books and learning about the many writers and their stories.
Q: When did you start writing?
I remember making up stories as early as the age of four.
I have been storytelling my entire life.
Pre-computer, I wish I had saved my early writing, which was written with pen on paper or with a type writer.
As a young girl, I totally LOVED my English class, and always got high marks. Prior to my career as a full time author/artist – I worked as a journalist for more than 30 years.
Elements of creative writing was part of that job as well. However, I didn’t pursue creative writing until we all ended up in Yellowknife, NWT. The long, cold and dark winter nights provided inspiration.
is a raw and open account of a First Nations child scooped from her mother at birth.
She is adopted by a white family, faces ostracism and racism from the every side.
She finds her voice and strength to continue against the daily barrage of judgment to rediscover and embrace her culture.
Published in 2015 it was winner of a National Indigenous Literature Award. and winner of a Saskatchewan Book Award
Translated to French language- Peau D’ours.
a book of poetry, shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Book Award, 2019.
Click here to:
Click here to:
And Carol’s third book: Bone Black
Bone Black, a novel was released 2019 was shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Book Award.
This is a novel that follows the disappearance of an indigenous woman’s twin sister.
A reflection of the so many missing and murdered indigenous woman in Canada.
Narrows of Fear a novel to be released Fall 2020 – Inanna Publications.
Purchase here at Indigo
And … in the Spring of 2021
The book of poetry Essential Ingredients is set to be released.
Don’t miss PART TWO of my interview with Carol GoldenEagle where she’ll talk more about her writing, poetry, and art.