The Concept of the Self in Come Walk with Me: A Memoir by Beatrice Mosionier

Agnieszka Rzepa 1
  • 1 Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań


Beatrice (Culleton) Mosionier is a Canadian Métis writer, whose first strongly autobiographical novel In Search of April Raintree (1983) has been recognized as a classic of contemporary Native Canadian literatures. Her memoir, Come Walk with Me (2009), describes her life story from 1949 till 1987, covering also the period between 1987 and 2001 in a brief epilogue. In the memoir, Mosionier uses fragments of the transcript of an interview conducted with her mother in 1984 by Alanis Obomsawin to preface the three parts of her book. Apart from constructing the two lives as parallel and in dialogue with one another, Mosionier frames and dialogises her story also through references to the process of writing, publication and the success of her novel; and reaches out to readers to induce them to “walk” with her. The aim of the present article is to examine the narrative presentation of the process of self-discovery focusing in particular on the relational aspects of the life story. Mosionier’s memoir demonstrates her growing into the realisation of the fact that her identity is relational-she recognizes herself as part of a larger ethnic and social group, and later also as shaped by familial relations. While depicting “the self [that] is dynamic, changing, and plural” (Eakin 1999: 98), she conceptualises it in reference to what she believes to be an essentially static core identity, and as “channelled” through a life that largely follows a predetermined pattern.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 2009. Aboriginal author of Canadian classic releases new title: Come walk with me, a memoir by Beatrice Mosionier. NationTalk, December 17. (accessed 10 May 2015.)

  • Acoose, Janice. 1999. The problem of ‘searching’ for April Raintree. In Beatrice Culleton Mosionier In search of April Raintree. Critical Edition, Cheryl Suzack (ed.), 227-236. Winnipeg: Portage & Main Press.

  • Alston-O’Connor, Emily. 2010. The Sixties scoop: Implications for social workers and social work education. Critical Social Work: An Interdisciplinary Journal Dedicated to Social Justice 11(1). (accessed 09 May 2015.)

  • Anderson, Kim. 2000. A recognition of being: Reconstructing native womanhood. Toronto: Sumach Press.

  • Armstrong, Jeanette. 2006. Keynote address: The aesthetic qualities of aboriginal writing. Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne 31(1). 20-30.

  • Bolaki, Stella. 2011. Unsettling the Bildungsroman: Reading contemporary ethnic American women's fiction. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

  • Eakin, Paul John. 1999. How our lives become stories: making selves. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

  • Episkenew, Jo-Ann. 2009. Taking back our spirits: Indigenous literature, public policy, and healing. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press

  • Fournier, Souzanne and Crey, Ernie. 1997. Stolen from our embrace: The abduction of First Nations children and the restoration of Aboriginal communities. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre.

  • Keeshig-Tobias, Lenore. 1990. Stop stealing Native stories. Globe and Mail 26 January. A7.

  • LaRocque, Emma. 2010. When the Other is me. Native resistance discourse 1850-1990. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

  • Logan, Tricia. 2008. Métis scholarship in the 21st century: life on the periphery. In Kerstin Knopf (ed.), Aboriginal Canada revisited, 88-99. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.

  • Lutz, Hartmut. 2002a. Cultural appropriation as a repression of peoples and histories. In Approaches: Essays in Native North American studies and literatures, 75-82. Augsburg: Wissner.

  • Lutz, Hartmut. 2002b. Confronting Cultural Imperialism: First Nations people are combating continued cultural theft. In Approaches: Essays in Native North American studies and literatures, 83-97. Augsburg: Wissner.

  • Mosionier, Beatrice Culleton. 1999. In search of April Raintree. Critical Edition. Ed. Cheryl Suzack. Winnipeg: Portage & Main Press.

  • Mosionier, Beatrice. 2009. Come walk with me. A memoir. Winnipeg: Highwater Press.

  • Smith Sidonie and Julia Watson. 2010. Reading autobiography: A guide for interpreting life narratives. University of Minnesota Press.

  • Smulders, Sharon. 2006. “What is the proper word for people like you?”: The question of Métis identity in In search of April Raintree. English Studies in Canada 32(4). 75-100.

  • Weaver, Jace. 1997. That the People might live: Native American literatures and Native American community. Oxford: New York.


Journal + Issues