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The author Barbara Derrick's indigenous heritage comes from Tshilqot’in from Xeni Gwet’in First Nation Government, located 270 km outside of Williams Lake in traditional territory called Nemiah Valley, B.C. During the writing in the co-authored book “First Lady Nation: Stories by Aboriginal Women Volume IV; Chapter 3 Muskwa Walks'" Barbara’s mother passed away. With the thoughts of her mother’s trauma from residential schooling and that of the missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada it became important for her to lead the way in creation of a new legacy for the women in her family. From the teachings of various grandmothers throughout her life the author has molded and crafted the lessons around her life’s experiences through a young elder Muskwa (bear).
First Lady Nation - Stories by Aboriginal Women VOL IV
Through a character named "Muskwa" (Cree word for bear) the author shares some of her life experiences to create a pathway for her own book. The author's first pages of writing for First Lady Nation was triggered by media discussions about: Residential School Abuse Inquiries, reconciliation and the Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women in Canada. While she finalized the chapter for the "First Lady Nation- Stories by Aboriginal Women VOL IV" the author's contract to write a book of her own sat idle. She wasn't sure what she would write about until the loss of her mother.
Walking in Your Power - lessons from the grandmothers
On January 24th, 2016 Barbara received a call from home. Her mother was hospitalized and passed away quite suddenly on that morning as the sun rose. As she left the hospital and entered her room her emptiness of loss enveloped her. The author remembers wanting to articulate her feelings but only a solemn shock ran through her. As she sat on the hotel bed she began to scrawl the words of loss on a hotel notepad and it was in these darkest moments the words fell upon paper. Barbara did not want her mother, or any other grandmother, or great grandmother to be labeled the survivor of residential school system. She quickly started to rewrite the history of the women in the family, starting with her own forgiveness, followed by other lessons of wisdom gathered from her family. The walking bear or grizzly bear image on the book came from a dream told in First Lady Nation. The old photo of her mother sitting on horse tack was taken when she was sixteen years old fresh out of Residential School with a sly look about her, quietly sitting on horse tack and rope. She was a woman who was not only physically strong but who inwardly “forged steel.” In this book, Muskwa shares her tears, fears, anger and tribulation in various chapters and not to be thought of as her continued “resentment.” Instead, the character steps forward to share from a place that will help readers begin to look at their own stories as a pathway to their own healing and inner wisdom to “let go, let God."
On February 25, 2017 the author's father passed away, one year, one month and one day after her late mother. Three weeks after his passing, "Walking in Your Power" was published. The author's writing of a father born during the "dirty thirties" commemorates this man as someone who worked hard in this world despite his struggle with mental illness caused from a childhood trauma that he never spoke about.
Apr 4, 1938- Jan 24, 2016
May 10, 1964 - Aug 30, 2009
Strathcona Chapters, Edmonton AB
Feb 17, 1933 - Feb 25, 2017