We speak to the acclaimed filmmaker, artist and activist about her recent memoir that reflects on seven decades of living and seeking justice as a Two Spirit Michif woman….
Earlier this year acclaimed filmmaker, artist and activist Marjorie Beaucage released her latest book, leave some for the birds: movements for justice (Kegedonce Press), which she dedicates to “the future ancestors and dreamers.” Part poetry collection, part memoir, part diary; leave some for the birds touches on Beaucage’s decades-long path of art, activism and social change while planting the seeds for another generation of loving, radical activism. The beautiful book ultimately offers guidance for younger activists following the author’s trailblazing footsteps.
Some part of me has always heard the music of a greater dance…
I have moved and been moved throughout my life.
I am a mover and moving…
Seeking my purpose, making my way, choosing my paths, trailblazing where the path did not exist.
Memories… what do I remember… what is real… possible histories, dreams, fantasies…
Still, memories are stepping stones from times past…
sifting through my past lives and uncovering truths, lessons, confessions, insights…
What have I learned?
We spoke with Beaucage about creating the memoir, her “Journal Burning” ceremony, her hard-won lessons, her involvement with with the Two Spirit Alliance of Saskatchewan, and much more.
Leave Some For The Birds is a memoir that is uniquely written in poetry/short story form. How did you decide to tell your story in this format?
I never really decided on the form…. My story just flowed out this way as I culled from decades of journals and reflected on all the movements for change that I have lived. As I went through them I realized I had a lot of poems that I never shared so I chose some to publish. I never really thought about it as a memoir either. It became a poetic narrative of moments in time that shaped me.
Is there a story behind the book cover art?
When I found the final title for the book, the cover I originally imagined no longer worked, so… I went to visit a friend in Saskatoon and when I walked in, there on her piano was this beautiful painting from her artist friend, Susan Sacobie in New Brunswick! I said- that’s my cover!! It felt so perfect with the crow, the cosmos and elements of a persona I created: Holy Feakness. So she called her and asked for permission and she said yes. So I gave my publisher her contact info and together they created this beautiful cover. I am always amazed at how the universe takes care of me when I let go and am open to surprises like this one. Gratitude for the gift.
On your 70th Birthday you had a “Journal Burning” ceremony. What did this entail, and how did this process influence this book?
I was accepted in a 6 week Equal Justice residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute where I decided to go through my journals. I saved some of the stories I wanted to pass on and some of the covers which hold their own stories and transformed them into a quilt pattern collage to honour my mother, aunties and grandmothers who also transformed clothing that no longer could be worn into quilts. So on my 70th birthday, I went to a sweat ceremony and burnt my journals. It was a very liberating experience to let everything go to the fire. I collected my ashes and used them in my collages and made giveaway bundles for my book launch ceremony. A total affirmation of my life.
What is your involvement with the Two Spirit Alliance of Saskatchewan?
I have been the Two Spirit elder in the community for over 10 years now. There is such a need for the youth to have access to ceremony and culture in safe and welcoming places. Many youth are denied their inheritance because of the patriarchal impact of Church and State erasing Two Spirit existence. I offer teachings and ceremony and time on the land as we work our way into our gifts being acknowledged and recognized. Our Medicine is powerful and we can help the people heal from gender based violence and abuse.
You are travelling a lot this summer. What are some of the events you are looking forward to?
This summer is a particularly hectic one! Besides my annual Water Walk for the South Saskatchewan River, I have been doing a lot of culture camps to make room for Two Spirit. We will be having our own camp: OUT on the Land in August and we just finished 4 days at Back to Batoche, claiming our space and offering hospitality, drumming, medicines, good conversations and a safe space for 2-S to gather under our big top tent! It was awesome.
In between these events I have also been attending Artist events and festivals where I do readings from my book. So good to have connections with the people who are buying my book. Especially the youth, since they are the future ancestors and dreamers I dedicated this book to.
For more information or to order a copy of Marjorie Beaucage’s book leave some for the birds: movements for justice ($20 CAD) visit: www.kegedonce.com.