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[Windspeaker Confidential] Louis-Karl P. Sioui
Windspeaker: What one quality do you most value in a friend?
Louis-Karl P. Sioui: Loyalty. Honesty. Dedication. That would be three. Okay. Loyalty, then.
W: What is it that really makes you mad?
L.P.S.: Oh, I got a long list of things that make me quite mad. Actually, I add one or two items on that very list each week. But my top three never change much. Those would be injustice, stupidity, and self-nurtured ignorance.
W: When are you at your happiest?
L.P.S: Laughing with my son, Haronhyatekha. It’s like feeling the sky split asunder and witnessing the first sunrise, back when Little Turtle enkindled the sun.
W: What one word best describes you when you are at your worst?
L.P.S.: Well, I guess there is a down for every up you get. After I finish a project, I tend to crash. You know: Lying on the couch, gaping at the hole in me. “Depressed” is not that bad. “Numb” is worse.
W: What one person do you most admire and why?
L.P.S.: I’ve been blessed with so many stars in my life that it’s difficult to choose just one. I would say Hutsistahawi Frank Nottaway Kehen. He was so knowledgeable, wise and dedicated to the survival of our peoples.
W: What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do?
L.P.S.: To let go. To accept that there are things that can’t be changed in one’s lifetime, if ever at all.
W: What is your greatest accomplishment?
L.P.S.: I’m not good at judging my own stuff, but I still think that the CILAF (Carrefour des littÈratures autochtones de la Francophonie) that I organized in 2008 was pretty amazing. It created awareness about Native literature written in French that nobody wanted to acknowledge before. We were able to wire together all those writers and scholars from around the world and new things keep happening since then. Like, you got this Tahitian writer, Rai Chaze, who just published her new book, Contes tahitiens, and it’s dedicated to Jean Sioui, a Wendat writer from the other side of Mother Earth. That is something cool. I’m pretty sure in the years to come, the CILAF will be remembered as a turning point for a lot of Native writers worldwide.
W: What one goal remains out of reach?
L.P.S.: Oh, I got a list of those, too. (Yeah, I got a list for almost every aspect of my life. Keeps me from forgetting important stuff.) But really, I just want to be happy. To reach some kind of everlasting inner peace. Somehow, it has eluded me so far.
W: If you couldn’t do what you’re doing today, what would you be doing?
L.P.S.: Funny you’re asking, because that is basically the same question I keep asking myself every single morning of my life. And then I do something new.
W: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
L.P.S.: Not to lose myself in the work or struggle … to remember that I matter as an individual.
W: Did you take it?
L.P.S.: Working on it.
W: How do you hope to be remembered?
L.P.S.: I’d be glad to be remembered at all. I’d be even happier to be remembered as somebody who actually walked the talk, who did his best for the betterment of his people.
Louis-Karl P. Sioui is a Wendat historian, anthropologist, writer, playwright, poet, curator and performance artist from the Territory of Wendake, near Quebec City. As a cultural agent for his community, he created and organized cultural events like the Wendake: Meeting Ground of Nations music festival (2003-2005) and the CILAF (2008), an international Indigenous literary festival. His first novel, Yawendara et la forêt des Têtes-Coupées, was nominated in 2006 for the youth literature award from the Salon International du Livre de Québec. At the new Huron-Wendat Museum, he acted as curator for both the permanent exhibit Territories, Memories, Knowledge and the art exhibit, The Indian Act Revisited, which is now on tour. Louis-Karl P. Sioui is featured in La Cité second season on APTN. He is currently working on a sci-fi novel, a new play, as well as a new First Nations music festival project for 2011.
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