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BONE BLACK | Carol Rose GoldenEagle | MMIWG


 UPDATE: Poet Laureate Carol Rose GoldenEagle coming to share her works in Humboldt

GoldenEagle's novel a vengeful twist on Missing and Murdered issue

Walking her dog around Regina Beach every day, Carol Rose GoldenEagle would mull over how to dispose of dead bodies.

Walking her dog around Regina Beach every day, Carol Rose GoldenEagle would mull over how to dispose of dead bodies.

She thought about all the ice fishers who drive onto not-quite-frozen parts of Last Mountain Lake and nearly lose their vehicles.

“If you went on the lake a little earlier than probably what’s safe, the lake would actually take care of the forensic evidence,” said GoldenEagle. “And so I walked around thinking about ways of murdering (someone).”

This was her process in writing her new novel, Bone Black.

The protagonist Wren Strongeagle turns to serial killing after her twin sister Raven disappears. Having experienced and witnessed so much violence as an Indigenous woman, Wren hits her breaking point: In search of justice, she begins to prey on men who prey on Indigenous women. Wren is a deep character, and GoldenEagle’s prose is vivid with a hint of poetry.

Tina Fontaine sparked the novel’s inception.

Carol Rose GoldenEagle walks her dog Saffy at Regina Beach. GoldenEagle’s new novel Bone Black is about a woman who takes justice into her own hands when her sister becomes one of the many Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Carol Rose GoldenEagle walks her dog Saffy at Regina Beach. GoldenEagle’s new novel Bone Black is about a woman who takes justice into her own hands when her sister becomes one of the many Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Photo by TROY FLEECE /Regina Leader-Post

GoldenEagle (formerly Daniels and Morin) remembers hearing a radio broadcast in her car, about a 15-year-old girl being found in a Winnipeg river in August 2014.

“It upset me so much that I actually had to stop. I had to pull over on the highway, because I had started crying,” said GoldenEagle.

“She was so close in age to my own daughter. (It) just broke my heart. So I think it might have started there.”

The serial killer angle came after GoldenEagle encountered a man whose daughter was murdered. She remembers him saying, “If I was still drinking, I know I would have gotten my shotgun and I would have hunted this guy down, and I would have killed him myself.”

Raymond Joseph Cormier had been charged with second-degree murder in Fontaine’s death, but was acquitted in February 2018.

“There was no forensic evidence,” said GoldenEagle: Hence her search for ways Wren could dispose of bodies without a trace of forensic evidence.

Unlike Fontaine, the character Raven goes missing, and she stays missing.

“We never know, right to the end, really, what happened to (Wren’s) sister,” said GoldenEagle. “That’s the whole thing about the reality of missing and murdered women. There are women who’ve been categorized as missing for decades and the case is never solved. And so that’s the same with her sister.”

The RCMP counted 1,181 missing and murdered Indigenous women between 1980 and 2012. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls concluded this year “there is no reliable estimate,” and “thousands of women’s deaths or disappearances have likely gone unrecorded over the decades.”

That leaves many thousands of loved ones to mourn them.

“Honest to goodness, even today, when I watch the news or I listen to the radio, and I see these same types of stories again and again and again. Those poor aunties and mothers and grandmothers and family members left behind,” said GoldenEagle.

Carol Rose GoldenEagle’s new novel Bone Black.
Carol Rose GoldenEagle’s new novel Bone Black.

“It’s too much. And so the character of Wren Strongeagle said the same thing, ‘It’s too much. I’m not just going to sit back and let someone who causes harm to Indigenous women just walk away. Because it’s time for us to do something because nobody else is doing anything.’”

While GoldenEagle does not advocate murder, she hopes her book carries a message of incentive, encouraging people to “figure out a solution” to an ongoing problem, the “crisis in Canada of missing and murdered Indigenous women.”

GoldenEagle believes people will either love or hate her new book.

“It is kind of controversial,” she said. “Also an Indigenous woman is raising her voice. And so a lot of people won’t like that, but too bad.”

GoldenEagle launched Bone Black on Oct. 9, 2019 at Bushwakker in Regina, and Oct. 10, at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon.

amartin@postmedia.com

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