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On Books: An extended conversation with author Raymond Yakeleya


The Rainbow, The Midwife, and The Birds is a new book comprised of four Dene First Nation stories, as experienced by Raymond Yakeleya. Raymond is a Dene author and filmmaker who’s originally from Tulita, Northwest Territories, and now based in Edmonton. His work is deeply informed by his strong conviction that Indigenous people and cultures “need to have a voice in mainstream media in order to tell our People’s stories, our way.”

Some of these stories are old legends that were relayed to Raymond over the years by his family. His uncle’s stories informed “The Medicine Brothers,” which is about the time when the world was new, and giant birds filled the skies. “The Midwife” comes from tales Raymond’s grandmother would tell him, about the practice of bringing new life into the world. And a boy’s remorse over a misdeed is the subject of “The Slingshot and The Songbird.” And finally, “Flight Through the Rainbow” is a story of traversing a rainbow in a small plane, and it’s also been spun off into an animated film by Rich Théroux, as well as a video game!

CKUA’s Grant Stovel brought us more about this fascinating new publication, published by Alberta’s own Durvile Books.