Author D.A. Lockhart to speak at literary festival

Knowledge is all about bearing a global perspective, according to keynote speaker of the People’s Literary Festival and Canadian Indigenous author, Daniel Lockhart.

Lockhart, best known by his author name of D.A. Lockhart, has authored seven books so far, comprising both short fiction and poetry, mostly focusing on the overarching theme of preserving the traditions of Indigenous peoples.

Along with his work, Lockhart has also been nominated for and received numerous literary awards, including the Raymond Souster Award, Indiana Author’s Awards, First Nations Communities READ Award, and was a finalist for the ReLit Award.

“A good chunk of it is keeping the traditions alive, but also more than that because what we’re trying to do is bring life back into our language,” said Lockhart.

As a member of the Lenape (or Delaware) tribe himself, Lockhart grew up in Canada knowing he was Indigenous, yet not fully understanding the true meaning of it.

“When we were growing up, we spent a lot of time with family and relatives, and unless you’re told that you’re Native, you just assume they’re relatives,” Lockhart said as he went on to explain that embracing Native ties isn’t necessarily a smiled-upon custom in Canada.

“There was always that idea that you shouldn’t be too public with being Indigenous; especially in Canada, it can be a very violent thing.”

As Lockhart put it, the true curiosity of his heritage didn’t truly happen until much later in his life, as he further pursued his education.

“There was an awakening that happened to me in the ’90s, which was tied to when I went to Trent University to get my digital studies degree.”

Ultimately, this awakening led Lockhart to explore the realm of his ancestry.

“So learning that positioning has helped because it has strengthened our family conditions back to the reservation, and I’ve helped become one of the expanders of our mythologies, languages, stories, etc.”

A personal discovery that also led Lockhart to realize his tribal roots run much deeper throughout our contemporary world than many might think.

“One of my close friends is a professor at Lake Forest College, and he’s originally from Pennsylvania,” Lockhart said, revealing this as the birthplace of his ancestors before they met colonization.

“He always says to me, ‘You know how much of America’s systems are built on Lenape?’ Because there are all these sorts of name places in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey that still carry our name.”

Forgotten cultural significance Lockhart reveals he is trying to preserve through his writing as well.

“Basically, so much as to say that we haven’t gone away, we’re still here today.”

As part of his Literary Festival presentation, Lockhart will come ready to share his cultural writings with the crowd but also to carry a deeper message.

“That in order for you to write you need to move,” Lockhart said.

“You should be out moving, across the continent, seeing other places, talking to people, know that you’re free and that freedom helps you learn those different histories, those different mythologies, even those different landscapes.”

Lockhart describes this as a deeper wisdom, one needed to keep up with the contemporary conversation of the literary world.

“Writing is a community and a conversation, so if you keep that in your heart you’ll get to the right place.”

When: Thursday, February 22, 3 p.m.

Where: DMC Heritage Campus, room 119

About: Readings will be from Lockhart’s North of Middle Island, epic poem titled Piper, along with attention paid to traditional Lenape language/stories and the importance of form poetics.

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