Halfbreed by Maria Campbell

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66,000 words
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North American English: McClelland & Stewart, November 2019
North American French: Éditions Prise de Parole
Catalan: Club Editor, S.L., C
Spain: Club Editor, S.L., C


Maria Campbell

[Click to view Maria Campbell's full CV]

Maria Campbell is a Métis writer, playwright, filmmaker, scholar, teacher, community organizer, activist, and elder (born 26 April 1939 in Park Valley, SK). Campbell's memoir Halfbreed (1973) is regarded as a foundational work of Indigenous literature in Canada. She has authored several other books and plays, and has directed and written scripts for a number of films. She has also worked with Indigenous youth in community theatre and advocated for the hiring and recognition of Indigenous people in the arts. She has mentored many Indigenous artists during her career, co-established shelters for Indigenous women and children, and run a writers' camp at the national historical site at Batoche, where she has produced commemorative events related to the famous battle of the 1885 North-West Resistance. Maria Campbell is an officer of the Order of Canada and holds six honorary doctorates.

Halfbreed Spanish edition


by Maria Campbell


This extraordinary account, written by a young Métis woman, opens the door to a little-known world that coexists alongside Canadian society. Maria Campbell shares with the reader the joys, the sorrows, the love and the tragedies of her childhood in northern Saskatchewan.

One of the “Road Allowance People,” Maria was a strong and sensitive child who lived in a community robbed of its pride and dignity by the surrounding white world.

At 15, she tried in vain to escape by marrying a white man, only to find herself trapped in the slums of Vancouver—a drug addict, prone to suicide, close to death. But she survived, inspired by her Cree great-grandmother, Cheechum, who gave her confidence in herself and in her people.

Maria Campbell offers us an understanding of the Métis people and of the racism and hatred they face. Her story cannot be denied and it cannot be forgotten. It stands as a challenge to any Canadian who believes in human rights and human dignity.

Originally published in 1973, Halfbreed took the country by storm and it became a foundational work of indigenous literature. Here it appears with a new introduction revealing what Maria Campbell has been up to since then, and an afterword from Maria looking at what has changed, or not, in the 45 years since publication. Restored are the recently discovered missing pages from the original text of this groundbreaking book.


Featuring Maria Campbell, Rita Bouvier, Maxine Roy and Louise Halfe—make some noise!



“The daring account of a strong-willed woman who defeated poverty, racism, alcohol and drug addiction by the age of thirty-three.”— SATURDAY NIGHT

“Here speaks a voice never heard before with such direct frankness, such humour: the voice of the true Canadian woman.”— RUDY WIEBE, author of The Temptations of Big Bear

“You can almost feel this book vibrating in your hands, it is so compelling. You read it with a kind of agonized heart-in-the-mouth sensation, halfway between laughter and tears…. Truth is stronger than fiction.”— VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST

“Sometimes a book tells us what we have always known but in a way that makes it seem as if we have not heard it before.”— THE TORONTO STAR

“Powerful, simple, direct, and passionate without being bitter.”— CBC RADIO VANCOUVER




Halfbreed French Canada editionHalfbreed Catalan edition






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