Author Media Kit

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chyana Marie Sage is an Indigenous woman, descendant of residential school survivors, and the great-granddaughter of the late Honorable Dr. Thelma Chalifoux. Intergenerational trauma is a theme that rings true in her life. She draws on experiences of intergenerational trauma, painting a world of raw emotion that pulls you into the viscerality of her poems, short stories, and soon to be memoir.

She graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA in English and Creative Writing, and is pursuing her MFA degree at Columbia University, graduating in 2023.

Email: cmd2265@columbia.edu | Instagram: @softasbones | Twitter: @softasbones

PRESS

Chyana Marie Sage did a podcast where she talks about being an Indigenous woman, experiencing anti-Indigenous racism, intergenerational trauma, healing, and her involvement with the University of Alberta Prison Project. Find it here.

Chyana Marie Sage’s book is featured on the Indigenous Goddess Gang website. Find it here.

DEAR YOU,

Dear You, is the first book in her poetry trilogy, The Love Letters. This book is for those who have felt the crippling pull of abusive and toxic relationships—this book is for those who have experienced trauma, abuse, deception, and have felt their own delicacy when their trust has been broken at a core level. 

Dear You, explores the dark themes of depression, self-harm, and toxicity—but it is only the beginning of the journey on discovering, nurturing, and forcefully embracing self love and respect. 

Within its first week of publication, Dear You, reached the number one spot on Amazon for Hot New Releases, number two in Native American Poetry Bestsellers, and number seven in Canadian Poetry Bestsellers list.

Excerpts and review copies available upon request for media.

Dear You, Chyana Marie Sage. Poetry / $19.99 CAD / 102 Pages, 979-8707601903. March 1st, 2021.

Available for wholesale retailer purchase through Ingram Book Company. ISBN: 978-1-7776246-0-6.

excerpt

sample Q & A / tip sheet

  • When and why did you first start writing?
    • “Some of my earliest memories from childhood are of myself sitting in the grass, writing songs about nature and the sky. So, in many ways it has always been there. Although, I started writing poetry when I was about eleven to twelve years old. I started writing when my dad was incarcerated for the abuse he committed against my family. It was a dark time in my life, and I was just a child. It was difficult to make sense of, and to process those emotions, so I began to write about it. My first poems are directed toward him, and I have included those poems in Dear You,.”
  • Where did the inspiration for Dear You, come from?
    • “As I touched on in the question before, you can say it all began with my father. When you go through something as traumatic as myself and my family went through, it affects you on such a deep level. Having that love and trust broken on that core level, you know, by my father, it impacted all areas of my life. The most prevalent of these being my relationships with other people. I struggled trusting other people, and sometimes I still do. Most people start out by giving their trust to others until they give them a reason to lose it. For myself, I work a little differently. You have to earn my trust, but it’s a catch 22. I discovered that once I loved someone, I no longer trusted them. It was a backwards way that I was loving, and it showed in my relationships, bigtime. Dear You, is an exploration of these toxic, unhealthy, and warped experiences I was having in love. So, Dear You, began with my father, but it trickled down into every other man I ever loved. This first book, which is the first in my trilogy, The Love Letter Series, dives deep into these abusive relationships and the impact it had on not just me, but on my partners too. The next book allows the reader to follow along my journey with me. My journey on discovering and nurturing self love and confidence within myself.”
  • Why is it important to you to write about your culture and speak up about your experiences?
    • “The journey of Indigenous peoples is such a complicated one. It’s complicated for each of us Indigenous folk on a personal level, and then the way we are perceived from outsiders, and then you have the complications of us as a group within the country. It’s very multi-dimensional, which is why it is so important for each one of us to share our perspective, so we can rebuild ourselves as this mosaic. We are a brilliant mosaic of peoples and I want to see that reflected in Canada. I want to see the vibrancy, the representation, and the respect. I want our legacies honored and revered and celebrated. For a long time it was other people, the white man, defining us. It was through a Eurocentric lens that we were defined, and with that comes the problem of misrepresentation, maltreatment. I do not want us to be misrepresented, which is why I believe it is my duty as a Metis, Cree, and Salish woman to share my story and help build this mosaic of Turtle Island, Kanata, and the legacy of our people.”
  • What have your experiences been as an Indigenous person in Canada?
    • “This question warrants a whole memoir, which is actually in the works. It will be the body of work I work on throughout my MFA degree with the aim of publication in 2023. It is too complicated of an answer for this space, but if you want to know more, then I encourage you to listen to the podcast I did on the Mitchell Report Unleashed, which you will find linked above in the PRESS section.”
  • How did you get involved with the University of Alberta Prison Project?
    • “Dr. Sandra Bucerius invited me onto the project in 2019 after I had taken one of her classes. It was a class in Cortona, Italy that compared prisons in Italy to those in Canada. It was one of the most enlightening classes I have ever taken in University, and I instinctively felt compelled to join the project. As someone whose father was in and out of prison my whole childhood, it felt so intrinsically like where I should be. I saw firsthand the way intergenerational trauma impacted my father, and how he passed that down to his children, and I wanted to be a part of a team who was shedding light on these issues, especially seeing the high population and overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples within our prison system. I want to be part of the change.”
  • What was it like growing up as a granddaughter of the first Metis woman senator of Canada, Thelma Chalifoux?
    • “You know, my grandmother was a force of woman. It’s hard to sum up in a few short words, because you google her name and you will find articles and articles about all of her life’s achievement. She taught me to never be afraid of my voice, and to never back-down from sharing my opinion, even if its an un-popular one. She also loved to tell me, ‘never get into a piss fight with a skunk.’ And that is still some of the most invaluable advice I have ever received, haha. It’s about recognizing who is showing up to the conversation just to get a rise out of you, and who is showing up for a good debate with the intention of learning and growing from that conversation. I’ve gotten good at noticing the differences and knowing how to respond to both types of people. I talk more about her in the podcast I mentioned earlier, and she will definitely show up in my memoir, as well. But growing up with her as one of my influences, was one of the best things that could’ve ever happened to me. I like to think that myself, along with my cousins, sisters, mother, aunts, and uncles and the whole tribe, carry her torch with different aspects of her in each of us.”
  • What type of writing and work can we expect to see from you in the future?
    • “I touched on my memoir, which I am aiming for publication in 2023. This memoir is my catharsis and will be the bulk of in-depth experiences that I’ve had including childhood abuse, sexual assault, drug abuse, racism, self-harm, and how I clawed, fought, and healed my way out of that and got to where I am today. It’s important to me to share that story, help build the mosaic, shed light to these intrinsically Indigenous issues that largely resulted from the Residential School System and displacement. But its also important in helping other people who are facing similar battles. It’s important to share how I got to this place of healing. And then in terms of poetry, you will see the second book in my poetry trilogy, I Used to Love You, launch September 1st, 2021. The second book moves along these relationships into slightly healthier versions of love, but still not ready to trust, which is essential in healthy relationships. I still wasn’t in the mind-place to be loving other people, because I hadn’t yet learned to love myself. The third book, When I Needed to Love Myself, solely focusses on that self-love-single journey I went on to get to where I am now. A healthy, happy, loving person, who in many ways will still continually be learning, but has applied all of the lessons that have come before. It was important to me to have a separate poetry collection for each of these books, but still have it fall under the same umbrella, hence the choice to do a trilogy. When you put all three books next to each other, it will read: Dear You, I Used to Love You, When I Needed to Love Myself.
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