Here it is, the long awaited and much hyped section of The Nation: cree@large! Repeat after me. Cree at large. There you go.
I know what you’re thinking. Large Crees, right? In a bizarre way, you’re almost right.Large Crees. Large in the sense, I guess, that they are not necessarily obese, but giantsin what they do and are. Cree@large will profile Crees, and once in a while, non-Crees.After all, in the end, aren’t we all Cree? They will reveal their deepest and darkestsecrets and bare their souls. They will answer profound questions such as,“What’s your name?” Even something as mundane as “When do you lie?”
Hell, we’ll even ask about their first kiss and how they lost their virginities.Just to keep it interesting.
So if you have anyone in mind who’d be a good subject, contact my agent here at The Nation.I’ll have my people call your people. Egoodeh? Egoodeh.
Our first guest is someone whose writing you may remember from these pages, Margaret Cromarty.
You’re wondering, “Why Margaret?”
Well, not only is Margaret the “poet laureate” of the Cree Nation, she has also publishedtwo books of her poetry and has just finished a tour of several New England states.
She is also a funny, bright, gifted, honest and beautiful woman who is not afraid tospeak her mind.
Besides, dammit, she’s a Virgo like me. So there.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
Do not be afraid.
I don’t have any.
They’re all crooked.
What talent would you like to have?
I think I would like to be a politician (laughs).
Person, living or dead, you would like to meet most.
The person I wanted most to meet when he was still alive was, you won’t like this, Bourassa.
Where were you when the JBNQA was signed?
I was in Fort George. We didn’t know about it until later.
Your vote for “Honorary Cree.”
Ginette. She’s a teacher in Chisasibi.
What did you want to be when you were young?
I wanted to be a white person. I’m probably like a white person now!! (laughter)
Most treasured possessions.
My children, my books and my gift as a writer.
If you were an animal, which would it be and why? (give three choices)
A dog. Because they’re not nasty and they’re faithful companions. And when someone says,”Hi” we turned to face them even though our names are not “Hi.” A dog will not turn to youwhen you say “Hi”. Only when you say their names. And then, maybe I’d be a goose because ittastes so good. I would taste so good (laughs). Or a fish. I would be able to swim underwater.
That I didn’t attend school longer.
Song you would like played at your funeral.
“I Saw The Light” by Hank Williams.
Who would play you in a movie?
Cher with her bellybutton.
Most embarrassing moment.
I was trying to get through US customs at Toronto’s airport and I lost my Indian statuscard. The customs agent said, “I know you’re Indian but others won’t.” William went tolook for it but it was in my purse all this time.
Favorite time of day.
Morning. I like to go out before anyone else is up. It’s a quiet time.
Pauline Johnson. She wrote Flint and Arrow, a poetry book.
Wanting material things, like a new couch — my couch got stolen.
It relaxes me and because I enjoy it.
First person you showed your poetry to.
A tourist. An Amèrican tourist.
What did they say or do?
You should have it published.
You should share it with the rest of the world.
photo: neil / design; chishkoba’