May 30, 2024

Memoirs of an Indian: A Guide to Surviving Colonialism was soft launched by Sarah Simbedia, an Indigenous author, who said the book addresses her personal experiences. The event drew a diverse crowd at the McDougall Cottage Historic Site on Sept. 30 in Cambridge.

“The stories that I have written are very traditionally based because I created them taking inspiration from my own culture,” said Simbedia.

Coming from an Indigenous family, she said she faced many struggles, including intergenerational trauma which led to self doubt and questions such as: Am I good enough? Am I ever going to feel safe?

Though a self-described introvert, Simbedia says she has always been passionate about talking about her experiences.

“Part 1, Ignorant Wishes, comes from a place of questioning myself as I never fit in my family which made me wonder if I belonged there? Quite a lot of negative phrases were used on how I was or who I was being because it was everything, they didn’t want me to be,” she said.

Among the highlights, Simbedia talked about ghosts and spirits in the part 2, The Ghost.

This book also covers her experience being a sexual assault survivor. The poem Life Sentence is a combination of freestyle and allegory. The main message to be conveyed was that it’s the survivors who go through life sentences instead the abuser. She offers a reminder that survivors can take their power back, and there’s no wrong time for it.

Kevin Hiebert, one of about 10 people who attended the event said: “Listening to Simedia’s poetry was important to think about the generations ahead of me, the first thing I would pray for them is safety. I pray for them to be in the world with no hate and just love from the society. I think when we start to accept who we are is when we start to accept everyone around us. Make sure to do actions that makes this world a better place”.

Simbedia mentioned that book 2 is already in the works and it will be Memoirs of an Indian Fearless Leader inspired from family, culture and a little more.

Copies of the book can be purchased by mailing on – sarah_simbedia@hotmail.com

Photo Credit- Mineet Kaur

A pile of book copies kept on the table for the attendees.

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