His role was determined before birth. As third-born grandchild, Duncan would become keeper of stories. “My paternal grandmother raised me. Although only five feet tall, she was boss of both families.” By age 4, Duncan was being hustled off to homes, night or day, where he’d listen to news coming down the Saskatchewan River. His grandmother would later request a recital, casting Duncan’s memory like a vault for family and traditional stories of his community.

In 1960, thousands of strangers inundated the community to build the hydroelectric dam, government buildings and the immense bridge over the Saskatchewan River.

After Duncan completed Grade 12, there was no going back home. “I knew changes were occurring. The ‘singing waters’ were no more.” While working for the Provincial Government, Duncan’s writing talent began to surface. “At my wife, Frieda’s, urging, I connected with writers at various workshops.” It proved inspirational. Duncan’s first book, Spirit of the Wolf, was followed by three more. Duncan travelled coast to coast doing writing and storytelling festivals in 2011.

Indigenous cultures take great pride in telling stories which traditionally had great practical value. Duncan Mercredi, poet and storyteller, continues to bring to light the vibrancy of Canada’s aboriginal culture.

Back to Portrait Gallery

Duncan Mercredi
Misipawistik Cree Nation (Grand Rapids)
Image size: 10 x 18 inches
Edition size: 175