The beloved Sto:lo artist and activist has died at 71.
“I was told, at the time I wrote Bobbi Lee, that they didn’t publish books by Indians and that we couldn’t write,” Maracle told CBC Books.
“A leftist publishing house, part of the Liberation Support Movement, actually published it initially. Then it gained notoriety and people liked it.
“It was an oral project, it was part of a course that my editor was teaching. It was teaching us to do life histories because I wanted to do other people’s life histories. But he liked the book and thought we should get it published. He went around and shopped it around, but he ended up publishing it himself because people didn’t want it and believed that ‘Indians can’t read.’
“It was not terribly well received, but it was an oddity. I was the oddity, actually. ‘Who wrote this for you?’ It was always the first question from the audience. And I said I wrote it. But I also spoke it; I’m an oral historian.”