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Halfbreed Paperback – November 1, 1982


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 157 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; Reprint edition (November 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803263112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803263116
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

After the Halfbreed people's losing struggle with the Canadian Government to keep their land in the 1860s, many Halfbreed families homesteaded in northern Saskatchewan. Maria Campbell's family, a mixture of "Scottish, French, Cree, English, Irish" who "spoke a language completely different" from the people around them, was "a combination of everything: hunters, trappers and ak-ee-top [pretend] farmers." Born in 1940 in a home where ancient Cree rituals were practiced alongside Catholic ceremony, Maria writes this story "for all of you, to tell you what it is like to be a Halfbreed woman in our country. I want to tell you about the joys and sorrows, the oppressing poverty, the frustrations and the dreams." Raised by a hard-working, hard-drinking father, a "very beautiful, tiny, blue-eyed" mother who loved books, and Cheechum, her father's Cree grandmother, Maria grows up strengthened by the Cree traditions and Cheechum's wisdom and weakened by the burdens and shame wrought by her family's steadily growing poverty. When Maria moves to Vancouver, British Columbia, she is confronted with the brutal realities of urban racism and poverty: drugs, prostitution, alcoholism, violence. After many years of hardship and struggle, Maria makes new friends who help her remember her Cheechum's lessons, and "years of searching, loneliness and pain" end. Through her work with organizations of Native people - "brothers and sisters, all over the country" - Maria Campbell shares her steeled strength and gentle wisdom about what it means to be Halfbreed. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Jesse Larsen

About the Author

Maria Campbell lives in Saskatchewan.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mete Çomoðlu on August 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
The novel, "Half-breed" is based on the biography of Maria Campbell, a Metis woman who was born in northern Saskatchewan. Maria Campbell's family was a mixture of Scottish, French, Cree, English, and Irish. They spoke a language completely different from the people around them. The half-breeds lost their land when the authorities reclaimed it to offer to immigrants. Thus half-breeds settled down along the road lines and crown lands where they built cabins and bars, giving them the title of "Road Allowance people". Maria was born in a home where Cheecum, her father's Cree grandmother, taught ancient Cree rituals and legends. Maria's struggle for existence was strengthened by the Cree traditions and by Cheecum's wisdom. However, this was weakened by extreme discrimination and poverty.When she was fifteen, she tried to escape from poverty and discrimination by marrying a white person. However, soon after she broke up with him and found herself alone in the slums of Vancouver where she faced drug addiction, prostitution and depression. After many years of hardship and struggle, Maria made new friends who helped her to remember Cheechum's lessons, advice and her heritage. Eventually she returned to her own people and decided to work with native organisations all across Canada. The text is mainly concerned with the frequent discrimination, its negative impact and the extreme poverty in which the Metis- Indians had to live under. The narrator of the book, Maria Campbell, conveys her sorrows and frustrations by emphasising what it is like to be a Half-breed woman and grows up between two opposing worlds: white and native. The text clearly demonstrates the existing problems regarding race within the pluralistic Canadian society.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Elfriede Wells on January 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Maria Campbell tells a story of courageous survival from the perspective of a Metis woman. The reader becomes a part of Maria's journey through life, which begins amongst the Road Allowance People of Northern Saskatchewan. Her story describes a life dominated by basic survival. Hunting, trapping, poaching - if need be - and roasted gophers for a young school child's lunch. Her odyssey leads her through many dark places, one of them the Vancouver skids and a life as a junkie. Yet througout Maria Campbell manages to convey a sense of beauty, and her story, though often tragic, will become vivid in front of the reader's inner eyes. Half-Breed is a story of triumph over racial oppression. After reading this book, one can feel this woman's willingness to continue the fight that her great-grandmother's people began long ago in Riel country.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "diana9" on February 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
The way Maria Campbell literally bears her entire being onto paper is absolutely amazing. As Canadian citizens, it is important to still recognize the issues that plague our society. Campbell's book does just that, offering insight and a hope for something better.
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