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Living in the Tall Grass

Durvile Publications | Every River Poems


In Living in the Tall Grass: Poems of Reconciliation, Chief Stacey Laforme gives a history of his people through stories and poetry to let Canadians see through the eyes of Indigenous people. Living in the Tall Grass is written in a way that makes the reader feel he or she might be sitting down with Chief Laforme, sharing experiences from their lives. Some poems share humour, while others express pain, though each comes from the heart.

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Laforme is a high-profile leader, attending scores of events, large and small in Ontario and gently reminding listeners that most of the southern part of the province is the traditional homelands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit. True to his belief in the longer-lasting impact of the arts, he’ll often open a speech with a verse. “The future lies in the arts, and it lies in all our youth, not just the Indigenous youth,” he says. “Arts make change … if we can share a moment through the arts whether its song, dance, poetry, painting, it transcends even language barriers. “ Steve Milton, The Hamilton Spectator

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Stacey Laforme was born on a cold December morning into a life of alcoholism and abuse. At fifteen, he left home and lived on the street, eventually finding a home with both of his grandmothers. He started his first job at twelve years old, eventually going into the family business and joining the iron workers union. He attended college late in life. He retired from iron work and, as he admits, “If I am honest, I was not the best at iron work.” After his mother passed away at the age of fifty, he was elected to council. He ran and was elected Chief of the Mississaugas of the Anishnabe in December 2015, a few months after his father passed away. Chief Laforme says, “I am dedicated to my people, and to all the people who live within our treaty lands.”e Chancellor of Oxford University in the rarest honour the college can bestow.

 
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