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Tomson Highway

Autor(a) de Kiss of the Fur Queen

18+ Works 1,146 Membros 40 Críticas 2 Favorited

About the Author

Tomson Highway was born December 6, 1951 in northwest Manitoba. He did not learn to speak English until he was six years old. In high school, he was considered to be a musical prodigy, and he later attended the University of Western Ontario where he obtained degrees in both Music and English. mostrar mais Highway then spent two years at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Music studying piano. He went on to study to be a concert pianist in London under William Aide He is best known for his plays The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, both of which won him the Dora Mavor Moore Award and the Floyd S. Chalmers Award. In addition to writing plays, he has worked as a producer, actor and stage manager. Before his career in theatre, he spent seven years working with Aboriginal organizations. His Native Performing Arts Company is Toronto's only professional Aboriginal theatre company. Highway's awards also include the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama. In 1994, he was made a member of the Order of Canada. In 2000, Maclean's named him as one of the 100 most important people in Canadian history. In 2001, he received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the field of arts and culture. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos
Image credit: athabascau.ca

Séries

Obras por Tomson Highway

Associated Works

Our Story: Aboriginal Voices on Canada’s Past (2004) — Contribuidor — 99 exemplares
An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English (1992) — Contribuidor — 72 exemplares
Me Funny (2006) — Contribuidor — 44 exemplares
Postcolonial Plays: An Anthology (2001) — Contribuidor — 32 exemplares
Me Sexy: An Exploration of Native Sex and Sexuality (2008) — Contribuidor — 29 exemplares
Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water (2011) — Contribuidor — 15 exemplares
The Exile Book of Native Canadian Fiction and Drama (2011) — Contribuidor — 4 exemplares

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Membros

Críticas

As I read this book I couldn't help thinking about how different my life was from Tomson Highway's even though we both call Manitoba our birthplace and we grew up during the 1950s and 60s. There are many reasons for that difference but probably the biggest factor is that Highway is Indigenous and I am Caucasian. Many would say that I was privileged and I don't deny that but I don't think Tomson Highway would have changed his life for mine. This book is his paean to his life and family.

Tomson's parents, Joe and Balazee, are returning to Brochet from their caribou hunting trip on December 5, 1951. They are travelling by dog sled with Balazee and three children seated in the sled pulled by eight huskies. Suddenly, Balazee realizes she is not going to make it to Brochet to give birth and the family heads to a nearby island that shows evidence of people staying there from the smoke rising into the sky. When Tomson is born he is the eleventh child of the Highway family; however, five of those children died before reaching adulthood which makes a new child even more precious. Tomson is loved by his parents and he returns that love. He also loves his siblings but he is closest to the boy who comes after him in a few years, Rene. Rene is the twelfth and final child in the family. Neither Joe nor Balazee had any formal schooling but they wanted their children to have more choices than they had. So, when the children reach school age, they are sent off to a Catholic residential school where they stay from September to June. There is probably not person now living in Canada who doesn't know the horrible effects the residential school system had on the children who attended them. Nevertheless, Tomson Highway managed to succeed and prosper in the system. There was one priest who sexually abused the boys, including Tomson, but he does not dwell on that. Instead he describes eating great meals, studying hard, learning to play the piano, and the wonderful time of Christmas concerts. Interspersed with his descriptions of life at the school and the summer months spent back with his family. His love of sub-Arctic Manitoba,its flora and fauna, is mixed up with loving his family and friends. Although he left the North to continue his education and work, he says he still returns as often as he can.

One of the joys of this book is Highway's use of the Cree language throughout.and his explanations of how funny the language can be. Be sure to read the Author's Note at the beginning to learn how to pronounce words. The note about the names of people will be especially important as you continue to read the book. (I don't think I'll ever look at the name Jean-Baptiste whithout thinking "Samba Cheese" in my mind!) Since this book only takes us up to the time in 1967 when Tomson Highway graduates from Grade 8, I really hope he will write another memoir about the years that follow.
… (mais)
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Assinalado
gypsysmom | 3 outras críticas | Sep 4, 2023 |
Read to page 74 for book club (and then ran out of time). If found the narrative voice charming and positive, but the language was confusing and I was expecting a bit more of a critical reflection on his childhood from an adult perspective.
 
Assinalado
pgchuis | 3 outras críticas | Apr 20, 2023 |
Laughing (and some Crying) at Life and Death
Review of the House of Anansi paperback edition (September 2022)

It was not long into his childhood education at an Indian Residential School that author Tomson Highway began to perceive that there was something wrong with the teachings of the monotheistic religion which the Catholic priests were promoting in class:

As have, surely, my mother and father. No one deserved entry into heaven more than they, except that my father was an accordionist not a harpist, as I inform the priest in class that day.
"Will God let my father in?" I ask this Father Cheepootaat*-which-rhymes-with-eemataat (which is what I sometimes call him to myself).
"No," snaps Father Cheepootaat. "Sorry, Accordions are not allowed in heaven."
Distraught that my father might have to change instruments or go to hell, I vow to help him keep his accordion.


In Laughing with the Trickster, Highway examines the history and humour of the Cree language, and especially its reliance on jokes and laughter based on its central mischievous Trickster character. This thesis is built around the theme of pantheistic Indigenous mythology, where God is in everything whether it be a ray of sunshine, a blade of grass, an animal, a rock or a human being. This is in contrast with other pantheistic mythologies such as those of the Greeks and Romans where mostly the only non-serious exceptions were the messenger god Hermes/Mercury and the revelry god Dionysus/Bacchus. It is especially in contrast with the mythology of the monotheistic Christian God where no humour exists at all.

See photograph at https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FdaosaGXEAE3eNu?format=jpg&name=large
Photograph of author Tomson Highway delivering the 5th and final lecture of 5 in the "Laughing with the Trickster" series as part of the CBC Massey Lectures on September 23, 2022 at Koerner Hall, Toronto, Canada. Photograph by Karan Aquino sourced from Twitter.

Laughing with the Trickster covers this wide-ranging set of themes with Highway's personal anecdotes of his upbringing and life interspersed with various Trickster stories and jokes. The overall subject matter is actually more serious than the title of the lecture series might suggest. HIghway delivers it all with his trademark zest for life and humour which leaves you both enlightened and entertained. I also had the pleasure to attend the finale of the lecture series at Toronto's Koerner Hall.

Trivia and Links
* Cheepootaat was the closest equivalent that the Cree children knew from their own language, in order to pronounce the name of Father Thiboudeau at the residential school where Tomson Highway was sent in his childhood.

Author Tomson Highway was interviewed on CBC Radio on the subject of his 2022 CBC Massey Lectures and you can hear the interview on CBC Metro Morning with Ismaila Alfa.

Massey College, along with CBC and the House of Anansi Press, co-hosts the Massey Lectures, widely regarded as the most important public lectures in Canada. Established in 1961 by the CBC to honour the former Governor-General of Canada, the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, the College’s Founder and first Visitor, these annual lectures are given by a noted scholar or public figure. They are broadcast by the CBC from cities across Canada, and published at the same time by House of Anansi Press.
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Assinalado
alanteder | Sep 25, 2022 |
Highway is the Canadian Shakespeare we need. His characters are vibrant, his narrative is multi-layered and he makes the experience of Indigenous people come to life in a way that challenges the stereotypical assumptions of non-Indigenous audience members. There are reflections of Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces and I'll be searching for a live production of this play to see how the text translates into live performance.
 
Assinalado
macleod73 | 9 outras críticas | Sep 14, 2022 |

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Obras
18
Also by
8
Membros
1,146
Popularidade
#22,410
Avaliação
½ 3.7
Críticas
40
ISBN
64
Línguas
3
Marcado como favorito
2

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