22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Caitlin Dale Nicholson

Portrait Caitlin Dale Nicholson
© Ali Ghandtschi

Caitlin Dale Nicholson grew up on a farm near Vancouver in the Canadian province of British Columbia. At age 22 she attended art school, at age 25 she went to the Yukon and Northern British Columbia to live in the Tahltan and Kaska communities. In 1991 she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria and in 1996 she earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and teaching from the University of Alberta. After the births of her two sons, at age 35 she began writing and illustrating a children’s book. At this time, she completed a master’s degree at the UNBC in Prince George, British Columbia with her thesis on »Early Readers and Decolonizing Literature« in 2005.
Her first book »Niwechihaw / I Help« (2008) is written in dual Cree and English and earned the 2010 AGHE Book Award. It tells the story of a small boy who goes to pick rosehips with his grandmother. Just like his grandmother, the boy searches, listens, plucks, prays, and eats while learning about the Cree culture’s traditions and values. For Nicholson herself, the book reinforced her relationship with the culture of the natives of North America and strengthened her advocacy for a sustainable life: »I have the belief that it is very important to see positive experiences with language and family in a contemporary setting for young readers. My own children learned on the land with the local Elder depicted in the books, as well as other Elders in community and understand the importance of interacting with the plants in respectful ways and also with their families. Many aboriginal children are learning on the land from their grandparents and the families would like to see these experiences reflected in the books they are reading.« Her second book for children between ages two and six, »Nipehon / I Wait« (2017), is also bilingual. A little girl and her mother are waiting for the nôhkom (»grandmother« in Cree) so they can search for yarrow. Three generations of women accompanied by a dog in the fields with their harvest are depicted by stylistically soft illustrations gently painted in acrylics on canvas. Attached is a recipe for a medicinally effective yarrow tea.
Caitlin Dale Nicholson works as a teacher in Prince George. For twenty years, she has actively participated in First Nations Community in events and initiatives by Indigenous peoples in Canada.