I grew up with a ghost in my house, a feminist for a grandma, and wishing I had a buffalo for a pet. Now I’m a writer!
I like to write stories about all kinds of people and their journeys. I like scary journeys, crazy journeys, impossible journeys, or when people have scary, crazy, impossible journeys—those are fab! I also like abstract dreams and abstract thoughts and abstract paintings! Most of all, I like when ordinary children overcome impossible situations by being simply inspirational. Those are the best stories!
- My full name is actually Deidre D Daily Havrelock, but that’s a lot of Ds! So just call me Deidre (Dee-dra) and we’ll get along fine.
- My husband, my cat, ALL my kid’s names (including my grandson’s name) also begin with the letter D. (I don’t know why that happened… it’s weird.)
- My favorite animal is… the bison, also called buffalo!
- I am Irish on my Dad’s side and Cree on my mother’s side. I am a First Nations woman.
- Yes, I am a feminist just like my grandma!
What does First Nations Mean?
Since early European colonizers thought they were in India when they landed in North America, they called the inhabitants that lived here “Indians” as in “East Indians.” But today, in Canada, the descendants of those first peoples now prefer to be called First Nations (other distinct Indigenous Peoples also living in Canada are the Inuit and Métis). First Nations people also identify themselves by the nation to which they belong, for example: Mohawk, Cree, Oneida, and so on. I am Cree First Nation; my family comes from the Saddle Lake Reserve in Alberta, Canada.
What is a Feminist?
Feminism means a lot of different things to different people. For me feminism is about not placing unfair or harmful limits/restrictions on each other simply because of gender. I believe society is best served when both boys and girls are free to pursue their own personal excellence according to their innate talents, gifts, and interests. Unfortunately, often times (but not all the time), girls are the ones who are restricted, undervalued, or misrepresented in what they can do and achieve. I’ve experienced being restricted because of my gender, so that’s why I’m a feminist.
Who is my Grandmother… and Why is She a Feminist?
My grandmother is Nellie Makokis Carlson. She co-founded the organization Indian Rights for Indian Women back in the 1970s while living in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where I was born. Her cause was known as Bill-C31. She fought to reinstate treaty rights to Canadian First Nations women who had lost their rights after marrying non-Indian men.
In 1876 the Government of Canada introduced the first Indian Act. It defined an “official Indian” as “any male person of Indian blood reputed to belong to a band, any child of such a person and any woman lawfully married to such a person.” Because of this act, the only Indian person that actually existed in Canada was that of a male Indian. Women were classified “Indian” only in relation to the person of their husband or father.
This caused a lot of problems for women and their children. If an Indian woman decided to marry a non-Indian man then she (and her children) risked losing their Indian status. Meanwhile, Indian men were allowed to keep their status no matter who they married. My grandmother thought this was unfair and wrong — after all, she was a person too.
Her book, Disinherited Generations: Our Struggle to Reclaim Treaty Rights for First Nations Women and their Descendants can be found here.
In 1988 my grandmother was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case for her work in advancing gender equality. In 2016 she had a school named after her… we are all very proud of her! And, YES, I will make an announcement in the near future about an upcoming children’s book about my grandmother, Nellie!
Buffalo Wild! published by Annick Press, 2021, illustrated by Azby Whitecalf
Indigenous Ingenuity: A Celebration of North American Traditional Knowledge, co-authored with Edward Kay — Spring 2023 — with Little, Brown and Company
Buffalo: The Enduring Story of Buffalo and the First Peoples of North America — summer 2023 with Holiday House, illustrated by Avis Charley
Why We Dance — spring 2024 with Abrams Books for Young Readers, illustrated by Aly McKnight
The Heartbeat Drum TBD with Abrams Books for Young Readers, illustrated by Aphelandra
The Anti-Racist Cookbook — fall 2023 with Orca Books. *I am a contributing author in this upcoming book.