Lee Maracle, famous Canadian author, dies at 71

Written by A, l, e, x, , r, a, u, b, C Canadian author Lee Maracle, whose autobiography And All the Flowers Are White was made into a movie of the same name, has…

Lee Maracle, famous Canadian author, dies at 71

Written by A, l, e, x, , r, a, u, b, C

Canadian author Lee Maracle, whose autobiography And All the Flowers Are White was made into a movie of the same name, has died at age 71.

Maracle, a frequent critic of Canada’s treatment of indigenous people, died on January 20 in a Toronto hospital, where he’d been receiving treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his publisher Penguin Random House said.

He was one of Canada’s best-known indigenous authors. And All the Flowers Are White sold 1.3 million copies in four languages, and was made into a 2016 movie starring Paul Gross.

“He profoundly affected the lives of so many,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said. “His writing has given people so much hope, and the collective gratitude of the city is unmeasurable.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory speaks about Lee Maracle at a news conference outside the Toronto Reference Library on January 23, 2019, in Toronto, Canada. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

The author’s grandparents were part of Canada’s Ojibwe people, a nation that, under Canadian law, is off-limits to indigenous people. But this was not the case for Maracle, who was born in Toronto in 1950.

Maracle’s first major success came with his 1996 novel The Edge of the World, which was nominated for a B.C. National Award for English-language Fiction.

He wrote 21 books in his career, and his personal work took place in an alternate reality in which aboriginals have been victorious in Canada’s ongoing conflict with Canada’s status as a resource-based economy.

His work portrays life through the eyes of a young woman who grew up knowing nothing but the words of the victors. One of his best-known works, wrote critic Amanda Coplon, was a “patchwork of “conflicting images and stories of guilt and innocence, identity and belonging, the exploitation of land and resources, people and territory, both native and non-native.”

Still,, working at the time in Canada’s indigenous community, Maracle was frequently undermined by indigenous activists who saw him as an interloper.

“From the point of view of those who felt excluded and belittled, Maracle was an occupying force,” René Lagacé wrote in “The Conciliation,” a 2013 account of a $2 billion federal agreement to resolve years of grievances by indigenous groups.

Coplon said it was true that Maracle “presented ‘a world outside the so-called established realities.’ But he was, at the end of the day, telling his own story, not those of the people he wrote about.”

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