Moving between Lafond’s own Cree language and her adopted English language, these poems create a kind of cultural dialogue that invests heavily in the close relationship she had with her grandmother and the teachings that were offered to her. Employing the transformation rituals of her Cree culture, Lafond seeks out the universal love of “all people, all animals, all things/my heartbeat slows, my spirit breathes/ in a circle of women I find myself/with my ancestors.” The tone of such adaptation is reflected time and again in the elements of nature that form the life source for understanding her grandmother’s words and for understanding how she can be one with her Cree past. The descriptions of the natural world – the rain and snow, the sage and sweetgrass, and the wind and clouds serve her poems as do the memories of her grandmother’s life and the day-to-day rituals that shaped it. Stylistically emotive but never maudlin, Lafond recreates those energies that now give her strength.
nipê wânîn: my way back is a poetic journey of one woman discovering her Cree heritage and how it has shaped her. The poems are written in both Cree and English, on facing pages. Her pathway for the poems was paved by her grandmother’s life and teachings.
I am my grandmother’s thought. I was in her tears. I have shared dreams with her. I am a sprig of present produced by the past, cultivating the future. (from “I am”)
I come back to find solace in my history, to see the depth of the sky once more, to fall away to peacefulness with the stars. (from “homebound”)
Mika Lafond is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. She took a great interest in creative writing while she attended ITEP at the University of Saskatchewan through a mentorship with author Bill Robertson. Lafond and her cousin Joi Arcand started Kimiwan Zine in 2012 as an outlet for Indigenous visual artists and creative writers. Lafond has worked in education for ten years, has written resources for teachers, and began teaching at the U of S in 2015. Her writing is influenced by her love for her culture, language, and the importance of education. This is her first book. Lafond lives in Saskatoon.
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