Daughters Are Forever

Article excerpt

by Lee Maracle


Review by Maya Khankhoje

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Lee Maracle is a social activist, the current holder of the Canadian Culture Chair at Western Washington University, and an internationally acclaimed author. She has deftly woven a complex narrative in which the struggle for the sovereignty, liberation and cultural revival of First Nations runs parallel to the struggle for the individual liberation of women and of the men who must become their true partners in this struggle. For Maracle, freeing oneself from colonization is as personal a process as the reclaiming of a culture of one's own.

Daughters are Forever tells a triple story. It is a story that is about the colonization of Turtle Islanders by Europeans, about a woman named Elsie who loses a child to death by negligence and risks losing her other children to the child welfare system, and about a Salish social worker, Marilyn, who has to find herself before she can lead her clients to safety.

This novel is patterned on Salish Nation storytelling and dream interpretation traditions. Its four-part structure mirrors the four winds: North Wind provokes action, West Wind incites passion, East Wind ushers intelligence, and South Wind pleads patience. …