Ceremonies for the Dead
Ceremonies for the Dead by Giles Benaway
Giles (Mitikomis) Benaway (Anishinaabe/Tsagli/Métis) is of Odawa/Potawatomi, Cherokee, European, and Métis descent. His paternal ancestors are from Northern Michigan, as his Métis forefathers migrated to the region after arriving to Halifax from Scotland. His maternal ancestors are original Mayflower immigrants who settled in West Virginia and worked as coal miners in Raleigh County for more than three centuries. Born and raised in Huron County, he currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.
His first collection of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead, examines the haunting themes of inter-generational trauma, cyclical abuse, and inherited grief. Four generations of the dead take turns narrating these themes, navigating from the Great Lakes through the Appalachian Mountains, and examining the fur trade, an exile from Minnesota, the experiences of West Virginia coal miners, and the legacy of mission schools. Black humour and satire fill the collection, illuminating a fierce determination to survive and resist colonization and the endurance of culture and identity under extreme duress.