Helen Knott is a Dane Zaa, Nehiyaw, Métis,and mixed Euro-descent woman living in Fort St. John, British Columbia. Her bestselling debut memoir, In My Own Moccasins, wowed reviewers, award juries, and readers alike.
Helen Knott returns with a chronicle of grief, love, and legacy. When Helen loses her mother and grandmother, she must navigate fine lines between matriarchy, martyrdom, and codependency, realizing she must let go, not just of the women who raised her, but of the woman she thought she was.
Interviewed by Eileen Henry
Eileen Henry: I was deeply honored for the opportunity to talk with Helen Knott about her latest book Becoming a Matriarch. We talked via FaceTime.
Question: What inspired you to write this book?
Answer: Helen said originally she had another book proposal in mind but circumstances had changed and she decided on a new topic.
Question: How do you define yourself as a matriarch?
Answer: Helen describes herself as in the “becoming” stages of being a matriarch, a sort of “matriarch in training.” She further talked with one of her aunties about the role of matriarch not only in their family but also within communities, tribes, and clan systems in general.
Question: What are the circumstances in becoming a matriarch?
Answer: Helen found herself on a different footing and thinking about the importance of being a matriarch after the tragic losses of both her mother Shirley and grandmother Asu within a matter of months.
Question: “Healing yourself is a revolutionary act” is a quote from your first book In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience. What does that quote mean to you?
Answer: “It is about the lived experiences of trauma and oppression one has and to move through that pain and learn to connect, create, heal, and ultimately love one another.” Helen explained it’s not just about one person on their healing journey, it is the people that comeafter them an d according to Indigenous teachings the next seven generations.
Question: Are there other writers that you like?
Answer: Helen said she liked these authors:
– Eden Robinson
– Maya Angelou
– Poet Ocean Vuong
It has been a pleasure to meet and talk with Helen about her book Becoming a Matriarch.