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Native storyteller comes to town for National Aboriginal Day

By Ashliegh Gehl

Native playwright and novelist Drew Hayden Taylor is bringing his comedic storytelling to Belleville.

The Belleville Public Library is hosting National Aboriginal Day celebration this Thursday, an event traditionally held on June 21.

Cheryl Holland-Hughes, who works at the library, said she figured Taylor would be popular.

“Figuring Drew would be a busy person on the actual day, when I contacted him I asked if he’d be able to come at a time just a little before. So that’s why ours is on Thursday,” said Holland-Hughes.

Taylor will be reading from Motorcycles and Sweetgrass, a book nominated for the 2010 Governor General Award.

“He’s been nominated for a list of awards for his novels and his plays as long as your arm,” said Holland-Hughes. “I can’t remember them all. He’s easy to listen to, he’s funny. But despite being funny he makes people think about the real issues that native people have to deal with in this day and age. But he does it so you don’t really notice.”

Taylor is from Curve Lake First Nations in Central Ontario. He’s spent the last two decades traveling from one shoreline to the next, writing about his travels from an Aboriginal perspective.

He’s best known for his plays alterNATIVES, In a World Created by a Drunken God, and The Berlin Blues. He has also written for the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and Canadian Geographic.

Singers from the Mohawk Territory get the evening rolling. It takes place on the third floor of the Belleville Public Library at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 16. Admission is free.