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Essential Ingredients by Carol Rose GoldenEagle is a collection of poetry that explores the power of parenthood

Carol Rose GoldenEagle is a Cree and Dene author and journalist from Saskatchewan. His book Bearskin Diary was chosen as the National Indigenous Literature Title for 2017.

In 2021, GoldenEagle was named Saskatchewan’s ninth Poet Laureate for his “long history of interacting with students, K-12, who want to learn more about reconciliation, how to honor our past…and how to move forward”.

GoldenEagle broke ground as the first Indigenous woman to host a national television newscast in 1989. She began her career as a journalist as a teenager, and she says it was journalism that led her to discover and reclaim her inheritance, a bond that was severed when she was taken from her Cree mother at birth and adopted by a white family.

In Essential ingredients, GoldenEagle expands on the notion of moving forward as the book of poetry reflects on life, struggle and spirituality. The poems are personal — Essential ingredients highlights the joys of childhood, parenthood and family.

GoldenEagle is also the author of the books Hiraeth and bone black. She spoke with Shelagh Rogers about writing Essential ingredients.

The power of parenting

“When you’re a mom or a dad, daily life can be really busy. When kids are little, you don’t realize that the day will come soon enough when they’ll graduate from high school and find their own. They move in – and all of a sudden you’re sitting in an empty house and it’s just quiet and it’s very strange.

I decided to write down as many memories as possible, in the form of poetry.

“But, when we get together, especially in the spring, summer and early fall, as often as we can, we go out by the hearth and stories always come up. Mom, remember when we did that Do you remember when we did it And they bring up all those beautiful moments in time that I almost forgot They were just in the back of my mind.

“I had to write them down. If we don’t talk about those moments – and give them the respect and honor they deserve – we will forget them. I decided to write down as many memories as possible, in the form of poetry.”

Important teachers

“As parents of children, we are their first teachers – and we are their most important teachers. I wanted to make sure their childhood was beautiful, filled with wonderful memories.

“I was one of them [Indigenous] kids picked up in the 1960s, and I think I missed a lot of stuff because of that time in my life. So when I became a parent, I said to myself, I’m going to do everything the exact opposite of what I was taught.

As parents of children, we are their first teachers – and we are their most important teachers.

“So in the spring, when there’s potholes everywhere, I’ll let you get out and splash and get dirty and dirty. I don’t care – because we can do the laundry afterwards. It’s a little example: I let them play and rejoice and laugh and learn that way.”

Carol Rose GoldenEagle’s comments have been edited for length and clarity.


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