Early into my writing life I was sitting at an Indigenous writers conference, it was one of the first I believe, and Lee Maracle got on the stage and she spoke to us. And one of the things she said was something I always felt but could never articulate, and it’s really the way I have set my life up now. The teaching she gave us was that we must live by the one hand up one hand down teaching. Meaning as we climb the ladder, we must always have one hand down pulling up the youth behind us. For me that is how I always want to live my life. I currently spend about half my year working with Indigenous youth teaching writing and visual art. It gives my life joy. And the more youth I can bring with me as I continue writing the more they can bring and so on and so on. There’s no limit to how many of us can rise, which is something I try to teach to. I feel like in some artistic fields that is the attitude, that there’s a limited amount of spots, but it’s not true. The more Indigenous voices I see on the shelf the more happiness I feel.
-Francine Cunningham, answering rob mclennan's 12 or 20 questions over on his blog. You can read the whole thing here.