South Peace News
Popular award winning children’s author and local resident Larry Loyie passed away in Edmonton at the age of 82 years on April 18.
Loyie and his partner, editor and writer Constance Brissenden, spent many hours traveling across the region, enjoying Cree gatherings, doing research, writing books, visiting schools, and supporting local museums and archives.
Loyie lived a proud and traditional Cree life which was later reflected in his books. He spent six years in school at the St. Bernard Mission, which he later wrote about.
“I swore I would never lose my language in that school, where speaking Cree was forbidden,” he said.
Loyie transformed his childhood memories, both good and difficult, into his popular children’s books. He and Brissenden formed Living Tradition Writers Group and launched a 23-year adventure as co-authors and educators. Together, they gave more than 1,600 presentations in classrooms, libraries, at conferences and festivals across Canada.
Among Loyie’s credits are As Long as the Rivers Flow, which won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction and First Nation Communities Read award. Its sequel, Goodbye Buffalo Bay, answered the question, “What happened to Lawrence in residential school and after?”
He also authored When the Spirits Dance, The Moon Speaks Cree, A Winter Adventure, The Gathering Tree, and his greatest writing challenge: Residential Schools, With the Words and Images of Survivors. It is a national history, based on 20 years of research, and more than 200 interviews with school survivors.