Maria Campbell

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Maria Campbell
Born (1940-04-26) April 26, 1940 (age 76)
Athlone, Edmonton
Nationality Canadian
Ethnicity Métis
Education Honorary doctorates, Athabasca University (2000), York University (1992), University of Regina (1985)
Occupation Author, playwright, filmmaker, English professor
Employer University of Saskatchewan
Known for Halfbreed, a 1973 memoir taught in Canadian schools

Wilfred Campbell (brother) Ben Campbell (brother)

Kayli campbell (niece; daughter of wil)

Victoria Campbell (niece; daughter of wil)

Steven (billy) Campbell (nephew; son of wil)
Awards Order of Canada, and others

Maria Campbell (born April 26, 1940 near Athlone, Edmonton) is a Métis author, playwright, broadcaster, filmmaker, and Elder. Campbell is a fluent speaker of four languages: Cree, Michif, Saulteaux, and English. Park Valley is located 80 miles northwest of Prince Albert.

Her first book was the memoir Halfbreed (1973), which continues to be taught in schools across Canada, and which continues to inspire generations of indigenous women and men. Four of her published works have been published in eight countries and translated into four other languages (German, Chinese, French, Italian).

Campbell's first professionally produced play, Flight, was the first all Aboriginal theatre production in modern Canada.[citation needed] Weaving modern dance, storytelling and drama together with traditional Aboriginal art practises, this early work set a stylistic tone that her most recent productions continue to explore. Two of her plays have toured extensively within Canada and abroad to Scotland, Denmark and Italy. From 1985 to 1997 Ms. Campbell owned and operated a production company, Gabriel Productions. She has written and/or directed films by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), including My Partners My People, which aired on CTV for 3 years. She is coordinator and member of Sage Ensemble, a community theatre group for Aboriginal elders, and is actively associated with the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company in Saskatoon.

In addition to her work in the arts, Maria is a volunteer, activist and advocate for Aboriginal rights and the rights of women. She was a founder of the first Women’s Halfway House and the first Women and Children’s Emergency Crisis Centre in Edmonton. She has worked with Aboriginal youths in community theatre; set up food and housing co-ops; facilitated women’s circles; advocated for the hiring and recognition of Native people in the arts, and mentored many indigenous artists working in all forms of the arts. Maria sits as an Elder on the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Justice Commission, and is a member of the Grandmothers for Justice Society. Academically, she has focused on teaching Métis history and Methods in Oral Tradition Research. She has worked as a researcher, meeting with elders to gather and record oral historical evidence of many aspects of aboriginal traditional knowledge, including medical and dietary as well as spiritual, social, and general cultural practices.

Selected works[edit]


  • Stories of the Road Allowance People (1995)
  • The Book of Jessica (co-writer) (1987)
  • Achimoona (editor) (1985)
  • Little Badger and the Fire Spirit (1977)
  • Riel’s People (1976)
  • People of the Buffalo (1975)
  • Halfbreed (1973)

Film and Video[edit]

  • Wapos Bay she does the Cree voice for Kohkum in "The Hardest Lesson" in 2009, which debuted 14 June 2010 on APTN
  • Journey to Healing (Writer/Director) (1995)
  • La Beau Sha Sho (Writer/Director) (1994)
  • Joseph’s Justice (Writer/Director) (1994)
  • A Centre for Buffalo Narrows (Writer/Director) (1987)
  • My Partners My People (Co-Producer ) (1987)
  • Cumberland House (Writer/Director) (1986)
  • Road to Batoche (Writer/Director) (1985)
  • Sharing and Education (Writer/Director) (1985)
  • Red Dress (Writer) (1977)
  • Edmonton’s Unwanted Women (Writer/Director) (1968)


  • Kiskamimsoo (Writer/Interviewer) (1973–1974)
  • Tea with Maria (Writer/Interviewer) (1973–1975)
  • Batoche 85 (Writer/Interviewer) (1985)

Writing about Maria Campbell[edit]

  • Armstrong, Jolene, Ed. Maria Campbell: Essays On Her Works. Toronto: Guernica, 2012. ISBN 978-1-55071-648-1
  • Barkwell, Lawrence J. “Maria Campbell” in Women of the Métis Nation. Winnipeg: Louis Riel Institute, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9809912-5-3



  • Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellowship (2012)
  • Officer of the Order of Canada (2008)[1]
  • Distinguished Canadian Award (2006)
  • Saskatchewan Order of Merit (2006)
  • Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize (2004)
  • Saskatchewan Theatre Hall of Fame (2000)
  • Chief Crowfoot Award, Department of Native Studies, University of Calgary (1996)
  • National Aboriginal Achievement Award (1995)
  • Golden Wheel Award, Rotary Club, Saskatchewan (1994)
  • Saskatchewan Achievement Award, Government of Saskatchewan (1994)
  • Gabriel Dumont Medal of Merit, Gabriel Dumont Institute (1992)
  • Chalmers Award for Best New Play (1986)
  • Dora Mavor Award (1986)
  • Order of the Sash, Métis Nation of Saskatchewan (1985)
  • National Hero, Native Council of Canada (1979)
  • Vanier Award, Vanier Institute (1979)
  • Honorary Chief, Black Lake First Nations (1978).

Honorary Doctorate Degrees[edit]

Academic career[edit]

  • Assistant Professor at the University of Saskatchewan (current; cross-appointed in the departments of English, Drama and Native Studies, and as a Special Scholar under the Dean of Arts and Science)
  • Stanley Knowles Distinguished Visiting Professorship, Brandon University (2000–01)
  • Seasonal Instructor, Saskatchewan Federated Indian College (since 1998)
  • Aboriginal Scholar, University of Saskatchewan (1995)
  • Lecturer, University of Saskatchewan (1991–1997)



External links[edit]