My Mother in Cree 

installation shot

An exhibition by Atticus Mercredi

This exhibition is a tribute to my late mother Glenda Faye Ledoux from the Mistawasis Cree First Nation. She was born on April 26, 1958 and died on September 26, 1999 at the age of 41 from complications with stomach cancer. From what I have heard, she was a strong and feisty woman and was never afraid to say it like it was and stand up for herself. However, throughout her lifetime, she faced many obstacles that come with being an Indigenous woman in so-called Canada. She spent time in the Duck Lake residential school in Saskatchewan as a child. She also had to deal with social services for many years struggling to meet the requirements they set in order for her to gain custody of her own children – she was never able to gain custody of us, even though she tried very hard. All 12 of her children were taken from her and placed in foster care. Many of us grew up in settler families. She also struggled with addiction, likely a result of colonial trauma.

         I don’t have any memories of meeting my mother; however, my siblings have told me that she used to call me “Mr. Free” during family get togethers. There are also photos of us together, but I don’t remember these moments.

         I was born in 1991, and I am the 10th child before my younger brother Dylan Brittain, who was adopted with me into a white family, and my younger sister Elayna Ledoux. All of my siblings are still alive and living in Saskatchewan or BC.

        In the process of creating this exhibition, I met my birth father Joseph Mercredi two weeks ago. He is Chipewyan Dene and is from Fort Chipewyan in Northern Alberta. He is also an artist. He grew up speaking Dene and spent 10 years in residential school. Joseph and my mother were together for 11 years. They had 7 children.

       I am still learning about my mother’s life and her hardships, as well as her resilience.