Carol Rose Goldeneagle is a woman of many talents. The award-winning author, artist and musician published Bone Black in 2019. This novel offers the reader a much-needed view into the reality of living as a young Indigenous woman in Canada as well as its possible dangers.
From the moment she was born, Goldeneagle had to face the harsh realities of living as an Indigenous person in northern Saskatchewan. She was a product of the ‘Sixties Scoop,’ a practice that involved taking Indigenous children from their parents and placing them in foster families. These foster families were typically middle-class white families. In one fell swoop, any connection to her Aboriginal roots was eliminated. It took decades for Goldeneagle to reconnect with her Cree/Dene heritage, and it has since shaped her artistic career.
“I want to continue to tell stories from an Indigenous perspective, particularly highlighting the strengths of our women,” says Goldeneagle. “For the longest time, our stories were not being told. It gives me encouragement that Canadian readers have indicated an interest in reading works that come from our perspective. Although it may seem that much of my fiction is on the dark side, it always champions my culture.”
Goldeneagle found her own voice through the help of other Indigenous authors and one serendipitous meeting with the famous Cree painter Allen Sapp. A journalist for 30 years, she had the opportunity to interview Sapp who bestowed upon her the importance of learning about her own lineage. After this fortuitous encounter, she quickly sought out Cree language programs and attended her very first powwow.
A multi-genre artist
Goldeneagle has explored just about every art form out there. She has had art exhibits in Saskatchewan and northern Canada, written plays, music, as well as poetry and novels. Bearskin Diary was the author’s first book and was published in 2015. This semi-autobiographical fiction novel follows a journalist’s journey in discovering her Indigenous heritage. In 2019, Goldeneagle published a volume of poetry, Hiraeth, which was shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Book Award.
“For an artist, creating is creating,” says Goldeneagle. “I feel blessed to not see any difference between writing words on a blank page or putting paint on a blank canvas or creating melodies and lyrics with my drum (and now my fiddle – I’m just learning this). I have given myself permission to express myself in any which way [my creativity] wants to present itself. Everyone should do the same. We are never too old to learn.”
Justice for the voiceless
Goldeneagle’s novel, Bone Black, is a social commentary on the disappearances of Indigenous women in Canada. Indigenous women and girls represent ten percent of the homicides in Canada, but Aboriginal women only make up three percent of the female population. The numbers are staggering, and Goldeneagle wants to bring more attention to these cases in hopes that these women and their families can find peace.
Bone Black follows Indigenous twin sisters Wren and Raven. One night after a visit to a local pub, Raven disappears and Wren is left to convince the police and the courts that her sister, or any person for that matter, should not be considered ‘the less-dead.’
“My heart broke each time I would read a story about a family trying to cope after their daughter/niece/grandchild had disappeared,” says Goldeneagle. “And they were without hope because no authorities would really help them. It’s how I decided, in a fictional sense, to turn the tables. Why not create a character who does the same, but for a different reason? She will avenge the crimes done by others, and will she get caught? In real life, how many of those who’ve caused harm been caught? Too few. That’s why the statistics remain alarming for MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls). Enough is enough. We as Indigenous women are not victims, and we will stand up.”
To learn more about Bone Black, visit www.harbourpublishing.com/collections/carol-rose-goldeneagle/products/9-78089e-12