Dr. Tracey Lindberg is a fascinating woman. As a citizen of As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation Rocky Mountain Cree, from the Kelly Lake Cree Nation community, she is both a celebrated author and accomplished academic.
Dr. Tracey Lindberg is an Academic
Presently, Dr. Lindberg is at the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto as the 2017-2018 Distinguished Visiting Indigenous Faculty. There, she will be working on a research project for the annual theme of “Indelible Violence: Shame, Reconciliation, and the Work of Apology”.[i] Specifically, she will work on a project exploring “inherent Indigenous laws, Indigenous citizenship laws and standards, Indigenous governmental authority, and comparative Indigenous law research.”[ii]
This fellowship is a natural step in her academic career, which has seen her attend three different law schools. Among her accolades, she is the first Aboriginal woman in Canada to complete her graduate law degree at Harvard University, and also received the Governor General's Award in 2007 upon convocation for her dissertation Critical Indigenous Legal Theory.[iii]
(Photo credit: David Weatherall, 2017. University of Toronto.)
Dr. Tracey Lindberg is a Speaker
In November, 2016, Dr. Lindberg spoke at Vancouver Island University. The talk, entitled (W)rec(k)-onciliation: Indigenous Lands and Peoples' Respect, Reciprocity and Relationships, illustrates her point of view. About the presentation, she says: “I’m going to look at the notion of reconciliation not as a starting point, but as a measure of the health of relationships,” she says. “Reconciliation is supported by a lot of other concepts. I’m going to talk about reconciliation with self, reconciliation with community, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. And then addressing reconciliation with Canada.”[iv]
She sees reconciliation as realizing, reaching out, and admitting that “you are a part of my community, I am part of your community”. Her honesty and insight into reconciliation is beautiful to listen to, as she admits that there is no easy way, but she is constantly hopeful. You can hear her speak more on this in her short Address to King’s College, when she received her Doctorate. In the speech, she mentions the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. If you need a refresher on their work, we have put together a summary for you.
Dr. Lindberg is also a speaker for the National Speaker's Bureau, and does talks on the Indigenous themes "Strength of Survivors" and "Relationships and Reconciliation". Also, she does a youth-themed talk called "Don't Take No for an Answer", where she "shares her path to her chosen career. It is one of overcoming unimaginable difficulties on the way to success. Tracey encourages students to focus on the things that bring them joy in school — in her case, words and storytelling."[v]
Dr. Tracey Lindberg is a Storyteller
Dr. Lindberg’s CV is impressive, and her strong voice and passion for exploring Indigenous law and reconciliation makes her an amazing storyteller. She doesn’t seem to see boundaries in ways that she can share and educate, and fiction writing is yet another way she shares her point of view.
Tracey Lindberg’s novel, Birdie, was part of CBC’s Canada Reads in 2016, and became a national bestseller.
A big, beautiful Cree woman with a dark secret in her past, Bernice (Birdie) has left her home in northern Alberta to travel to Gibsons, B.C. She is on something of a vision quest, looking for family, for home, for understanding. She is also driven by the leftover teenaged desire to meet Pat John—Jesse from The Beachcombers—because he is, as she says, a working, healthy Indian man. Birdie heads for Molly’s Reach to find answers, but they are not the ones she expected.With the arrival in Gibsons of her Auntie Val and her cousin Skinny Freda, Birdie begins to draw from her dreams the lessons she was never fully taught in life. Part dream quest and part travelogue, Birdie is a darkly comic and moving first novel about the universal experience of recovering from tragedy, informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions. At heart, it is the story of an extraordinary woman who travels to the deepest part of herself to find the strength to face the past and to build a new life. (From the Author’s Website).
Luckily for us, Dr. Lindberg has more stories to tell. In fact, she has a new work coming out (hopefully) soon. “I have book on the Lubicon Lake Nation, my nation (the Kelly Lake Cree Nation), and another novel that looks at four generations of Cree women's experience of Canada coming out.”[vi]
Dr. Tracey Lindberg wholly lives what she is most passionate about: finding truths and contemplating ways to heal from the past. Her career in law, speeches, and even her writing breathe this theme. With a voice like hers, we most certainly will be waiting for her next work, whatever form it may take.