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Sheila North will speak at Brodie Library Thursday night

The former Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak is reading from her memoir as part of Thunder Bay Public Library’s Indigenous Author Series.
Sheila North is reading from her memoir My Privilege, My Responsibility at the Brodie Resource Library on Thursday night.

THUNDER BAY – A few years ago, Sheila North was approached to write a memoir.

At the time, she didn’t think that she had enough to write about her life journey.

After some conversations with Great Plains Press, the former Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak started work on her memoir My Privilege, My Responsibility, which was released in 2022.

“When COVID was in full force, I really had no choice but to sit down and write it,” North said with a laugh.

“It was a gruelling process and it actually took an extra six months longer than I had planned to write it . . . the editing process was probably the hardest part for me.”

North, who lives in Winnipeg, is reading from her memoir at Brodie Resource Library at 6 p.m. on Thursday as part of the Thunder Bay Public Library’s Indigenous Author Series.

“I’m looking forward to hearing people’s opinions and perspectives on what they’re hearing from a different part of our country and on some of the issues we all seem to be facing as Indigenous people,” North said.

“I’m also looking forward to learning from people and answering any questions that they might have about some of the perspectives I know from where I’m from, and just spending time learning from how people are coping with all of this, especially with all of the reconciliation work that’s very prevalent in this part of Canada.”

North – who has also worked as a journalist for CBC and CTV – said that a lot of the feedback from her memoir comes from people wanting to learn about her leadership knowledge, what she experienced with domestic violence and her knowledge of the issues around missing and murdered Indigenous women.

“People are surprised at some of the things they learned about growing up on a reserve,” said North, who grew up in Bunibonibee Cree Nation in northern Manitoba. “I was hoping to help people understand what it’s like to come from an isolated community to an urban centre and some of the challenges that we face.

“I’ve heard the stories of young people coming from the north to try and go to high school in Thunder Bay and some of the tragedies that have happened over the years. I don’t think people understand or expect that kind of difficult transition you go through coming off of a reserve to an urban centre, but it’s a huge reality that people need to understand.

“They need to know what happens and some of the things that they can do to help make that transition easier.”

Pre-registration for Thursday’s event is still open and can be done on the Thunder Bay Public Library’s website.

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