Friends, a writer by definition should be a glutton for punishment, if not a miser for misery!
After having lived with my first book, From Bear Rock Mountain; The Life and Times of a Dene Residential School Survivor, I thought for sure that would be it, my statement in print.

But no, now that pain filled process turns out to have been but the bait for more of the same sort of torture.

What happens, I think is that either you as a writer get the hopeful feeling that people actually do want more and that you, too, for your part, have more to offer.

The first, of course, has proven to be true.

My memoirs have even found their way to over 40 schools in the North, with requests from a number of overseas countries, Spain, Germany and even faraway Russia, for translations.
For the time being From Bear Rock Mountain is available in a second edition.

Probably because of all of my years volunteering in our northern communities I recently had the feeling that we need something to do with the Arts and the way it relates to community.


At this year’s NorthWords Literary Festival I was struck by one thing which writer Richard Van Camp had to say about the process of writing, that you need to just sit right on up and think of what the World needs to know and go from there.

What better way than to start pondering on what we are really missing in our north, the Arts.

For the amount of it which people create we still don’t have a centre just for this purpose.
In terms of what I am still studying for my Indigenous Studies PhD, too, I already spend a good deal of my time on the fallout from the past, with intergenerational residential school trauma.

It is no secret that our Indigenous youth have the talent to spare.
But because of the apathy they have to deal with at home and a lack of real cultural leadership, their potential is never recognized.

My new book, now with over 100 chapters and eighty photos, takes a closer look at how, for one thing, our traditional Dene cultures already have the foundation for ways to include the Arts into community.

One specific way I’ve been working on, with others, is for a mural recognizing traditional Dene grave digging practices, for home, Radelie Koe, Fort Good Hope, next summer.
Having served on different crews for this service a number of times I do know there is much more to it than just digging a grave and putting the body in.

For now, at least I have a start towards making my own statement towards the future.
Mahsi, thank you.

Antoine Mountain

Antoine Mountain is a Dene artist and writer originally from Radilih Koe/Fort Good Hope. He can be reached at

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