Maria Campbell is an example of never judging a person. You might have noticed her, many years ago, on the streets of Vancouver. You might have avoided a woman staggering under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Years, later, you might have met this same woman at her book signing or opening of one of her films.
Born in 1940, in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada, to parents of Cree (Indian) and Scottish and French heritage, her early life was extremely difficult. Her mother died when she was twelve and she was forced to leave school to care for her siblings. To keep her family together she married a Euro-Canadian at the age of 15. He was abusive and reported her to welfare authorities. Her siblings were placed in foster care.
They moved to Vancouver where her husband abandoned her. After that event, Maria descended into the nightmare of alcohol and drug abuse.
She was hospitalized after two suicide attempts, she entered Alcoholics Anonymous and began her long journey back from hopelessness and despair.
She wrote Halfbreed, a novel that covers 33 years of her life. It is an autobiography of her struggle as a Metis(Indian and French) woman in Canada and the racism and discrimination she faced.
Today, she is an accomplished and acclaimed author, playwright, film maker, and university professor. She is a political activist for Aboriginal rights in Canada.
She has also written three books for children: People of the Buffalo (1975), Riel’s People (1978) and Little Badger and the Fire Spirit (1977).
In 1979 Campbell was appointed Writer-in-Residence at the University of Alberta.