Richard Van Camp, #NWT Dene storyteller shares wisdom of the North – Camrose Canadian – Alberta, CA

Via Scoop.itNWT News

Aboriginal author and University of Alberta writer-in-residence Richard Van Camp stopped at the Augustana campus last week to impart wisdom and share stories of his childhood. [excerpt] The Dogrib (Tlicho) Dene from Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories has been the U of A writer in residence since September, and is known for his works such as The Lesser Blessed, Angel Wing Splash Pattern and The Moon of Letting Go, as well as children’s books and two graphic novels. It was his first time visiting Camrose and the Augustana campus. “I think you live in paradise. I’m from the Northwest Territories, a little place called Fort Smith. We’re officially quadrilingual where I’m from – some of us speak Cree, some of us speak Chipewyan, some of us speak French and some of us speak a little English,” he said. Van Camp knew at 19 that he wanted to become a writer and share the stories that no one else was sharing – the tales of living in Canada’s North. “I’m going to give you the only possible advice any writer can give you: if you want to be a writer, write something you would like to read. Growing up in Ft. Smith, my grandparents were medicine people and didn’t speak a word of English. We had some of the best storytellers in the world come to our house. I was raised in a time when families still visited with families. When we had company, m mom would say ‘you boys, come listen to how the world really works.’ We were never sent away,” he said. “Nobody is talking about Ft. Smith. Nobody is talking about our mullets, nobody is talking about our hickies, nobody is talking about our fistfights in snow and nobody is talking about how we can two-step to anything. Growing up, I had a good eye. I was nosy, I was bossy and so I said ‘I want to start writing down the magic of the North and the romance of the North and the treachery and the heartache.” Van Camp’s newest work is the graphic novel Kiss Me Deadly, a story about sexual health and love in the Northwest Territories. It will soon be available online for free in French and English at “We grew up in the STI capital of Canada. I think we’re still in the top five,” he said. […]


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