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Darrel J.

Darrel J. McLeod is a Cree writer from Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. He has worked as an educator, chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government, and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations. He was nominated for the 2021 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for Peyakow. His debut memoir, Mamaskatch, received the Governor General’s Literary Award for English-language nonfiction and was shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize. He lives in Sooke, British Columbia. 


Darrel J. McLeod, 2021 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction finalist

Award History

2021 Finalist

Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction
for Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, A Memoir

Jury Citation

Peyakow is more than a story of overcoming adversity; it is a story of personal and political reclamation that explores the pain of living in a world controlled by agendas and priorities that exploit the people and the land itself. Where McLeod finds connection, he also finds obligation. In the end, he discovers that being part of a community is not a passive act. McLeod’s vibrant prose renders the world with tenderness and skill. His profound book is full of love and trouble that you won’t soon forget.”

— 2021 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction Jury (Kevin Chong, Terese Marie Mailhot, and Adam Shoalts)

Program History

2022 Selector

Rising Stars