Mosionier, Beatrice: Author

Beatrice Mosionier. (b.

1949)
Beatrice (Culleton) Mosionier, a Manitoba Metis author was born in St. Boniface, Manitoba, to Louis and Mary Clara Mosionier. Beatrice was the youngest of four children in a dysfunctional and broken home. At age three she was taken away from her parents and raised in a series of foster homes, away from her family and Metis heritage. Taunted and increasingly abused, she began to deny her Aboriginal heritage and embraced Euro-Canadian values. Her personal identity was badly damaged as she moved from foster home to foster home. Such experiences destroyed two of her sisters who ended their lives in suicide. She eventually settled in Toronto, and trained as an accountant, she never thought that she would become a writer. However, the pain of her sister’s suicide motivated her to begin writing. Her first novel, In Search of April Raintree was published in 1983. Culleton did not write the book from an autobiographical perspective. “Its what most people think” she says, “I wrote this book for myself; for answers after a second suicide in my family. I didn’t want to write about the real people around me.” (“Author Culleton a Hero,” The Drum, Vol. 3 (2), 2000: 13). Culleton’s novel illustrates the way in which a light-skinned Métis girl, for whom assimilation into white society seems a possibility, is convinced by her teachers, foster family, and social workers that Native people are responsible for their own disempowerment and that their social positioning is unalterable. This book has been used extensively in Canadian high schools in Canadian Literature Studies. Culleton also wrote Spirit of the White Bison and Unusual Friendships: A Little Black Cat and a Little White Rat (children’s books) and a film script called Walker, and Night of the Trickster, a play for the National Film Board that was produced by the Native Earth Performing Arts in the spring of 1992. Culleton worked as managing editor of Pemmican Publications at one time and was a recipient of Manitoba’s Order of the Buffalo Hunt in 1985. She has acted as playwright-in-residence for Native Performing Arts. (Written with contributions from the Gabriel Dumont Institute.) Her second novel In the Shadow of Evil, was published in 2000. Mosionier contributed the Foreword and two short stories to the recent 2011 anthology Manitowapow (James Sinclair and Warren Carriou (Eds.).1

Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research Louis Riel Institute

1

Beatrice Mosionier. “Foreword,” from “In the Shadow of Evil,” and from “Come Walk With Me, A Memoir.” In Manitowapow, James Sinclair and Warren Carriou (Eds.) Winnipeg: Highwater Press, 2011: xv-xvi, 217-225..

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