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“I wrote from my scars, not my active wounds.”–Brittany Penner

Her comment ran through me like a bolt of lightning. That’s it–isn’t it?  When we have the bravery to share ourselves on the page…in a book…to write from the scars is the healthiest place to write from.

I often get people who come to me for guidance around their memoir. Some of them are still in the hurt. They’re still healing. It’s why you see me say in this newsletter, and on my podcast, that sometimes we begin our book too soon. Because to write from an open wound is triggering. 

This week on Bound + Determined, I’m talking with Brittany Penner, Indigenous Métis writer, family physician and author of the upcoming book Children Like Us: My Journey From the Sixties Scoop to Finding Home in My Indigenous Identity.

Brittany was adopted at the end of the Sixties Scoop in Manitoba, Canada, and was raised in a large extended Mennonite family with over 30 Indigenous, adopted family members. 

The Sixties Scoop was a period in which a series of policies were enacted in Canada that enabled child welfare authorities to take, or “scoop up,” Indigenous children from their families and communities for placement in foster homes, from which they would be adopted by white families. Despite its name referencing the 1960s, the Sixties Scoop began in the mid-to-late 1950s and persisted into the 1980s.

In her book, and this interview, she takes us through her journey of marginalized community, welfare systems, abuse–and ultimately, belonging. 

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We discuss:

  • The Sixties Scoop and its continued impact
  • What it’s like searching for your roots
  • The process of writing her memoir
  • The work she needed to do before she could write
  • Literary agent + publisher process
  • Getting a publishing deal without a platform
  • The power of our stories

TW in this episode: suicide.

Resources:

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