Born January 13, 1947 in Kingston, Ontario, Brissenden is a freelance writer and editor and teacher. She formed the Living Traditions Writer's Group, with Larry Loyie, to encourage Indigenous people to write about their traditions and experiences. She is the author of numerous history and travel books and has co-authored As Long as the Rivers Flow (Groundwood Books, 2002) with Larry Loyie, illustrated by First Nations artist Heather Holmlund. Their collaboration earned the $10,000 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction. It recounts Loyie's family life and adventures as a Cree in Slave Lake, Alberta before he was deported to a residential school. See Larry Loyie entry. Brissenden also contributed the text for "The Greater Vancouver Hall of Fame"; for The Greater Vancouver Book (Linkman Press, 1997) edited by Chuck Davis. In 2007 she moved to High Prairie, Alberta, with Larry Loyie to build a log house.

The Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden Collection is the first collection of materials donated to the Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (RSHDC) at UBC. The collection highlights the work of Larry Loyie  his partner, editor Constance Brissenden. For more than 24 years, the couple researched Indigenous history, and wrote nine books together, including Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors (Indigenous Education Press). They travelled extensively, giving more than 1,600 talks together at schools and libraries across Canada. Larry Loyie passed away on April 18, 2016. Constance continues to fulfill Larry’s legacy through their archival collection. For more on Larry Loyie, visit or see his ABCBookWorld entry.


(Editor) Now in Paperback: Six Canadian Plays of the 1970s, Fineglow Plays (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1973.

(Editor) The Factory Lab Anthology (plays), Talon-books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1974.

(Editor) West Coast Plays, New Play Centre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1975.

(Editor) Carol Bolt ("Playwrights in Profile" series), Playwrights Co-op (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1976.

Info to Go: For Women on the Go, Young Women's Christian Association (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1989.

Triple-O: The White Spot Story, (Vancouver: Opus Productions, 1993)

Whistler and the Sea to Sky Country, Altitude Publishing (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1995.

A Portrait of Vancouver, Altitude Publishing (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1995, abridged edition, 1996.

(Author of text) Vancouver and the Lower Mainland from the Air, photographs by Russ Heinl, Whitecap Books (New York, NY), 1999. / Over Vancouver (Whitecap Books, 1999). With photos by Russ Heinl.

Colorguide to Vancouver and Whistler, James Lorimer, 2000.

(Editor) Vancouver and Victoria, photographs by Hamid Attie, Formac Publishing (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada), 2001.

Frommer's Portable Guide to Whistler, 2002.

Memories of a Métis Settlement: Eighty Years of East Prairie Métis Settlement (Theytus $14.89), editor

ALSO: (With Larry Loyie)

As Long as the Rivers Flow (juvenile), Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002. Illustrations by Heather D. Holmlund.

The Gathering Tree (Theytus, 2005). With Larry Loyie. Illustrations by Heather D. Holmlund. $19.95 978-1-89477-842-8

When the Spirits Dance (Theytus, 2006). $16.95 978-1-92688-602-2

Goodbye Buffalo Boy (Theytus, 2008) $16.95 978-1-89477-862-6

Portrait of Vancouver (Heritage House, 2008)

The Moon Speaks Cree: A Winter Adventure (Theytus 2014) $14.95 978-1-926886-18-3

(with Wayne K. Spear). Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors (Indigenous Education Press 2015) $34.95 978-0-9939371-0-1

Contributor to books, including The Greater Vancouver Book, Linkman Press, 1997; and DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to the Pacific Northwest, 2003. Contributor of numerous articles to magazines and newspapers, including Toronto Globe & Mail, Maclean's, Toronto Calendar, Western Living, BC Business, Personal Finance, BC Woman, Georgia Strait, and Chinese-Canadian.


Memories of a Métis Settlement: Eighty Years of East Prairie Métis Settlement by Constance Brissenden, editor

(Theytus Books $14.89)

Review by Angie Tucker

Early East Prairie settler and bachelor George Harvey was a veteran of the First World War. He lost an eye in the war and was wounded in other parts of his body; thereafter he wore a glass eye.

Harvey had a war disability pension and helped others when they were in need. In return, they looked out for him, bringing him his “bachelor bannock.”

When I first received Constance Brissenden’s Memories of a Métis Settlement: Eighty Years of East Prairie Métis Settlement, I earmarked Theresa Auger’s recipe for Bachelor Bannock. In preparation for reading, I made a batch.

Shortly after taking the bread out of the oven, I slathered butter and gooseberry jam over its warm surface, embraced a cup of hot tea, and sat down to meet the residents—both past and present—of East Prairie Métis Settlement, northwest of Edmonton.

Published by Theytus Books in Penticton, Brissenden’s latest book speaks to the beginnings and transformations of numerous families within the East Prairie Métis Settlement. Generational stories of the Bellerose, L’Hirondelle, Auger, Beaudry, Desjarlais, Dumont, Patenaude, Supernault, and Haggerty families address larger themes of resilience and collaboration, while the book also outlines the specific failures and successes of the settlement.

Clearly the land sustains Métis people—physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually—and informs our basis for natural laws. This book also brings attention to the camaraderie and connection that the residents have continued to practice over the past eighty years, not only with their human kin, but also with their non-human relations.

Community members experienced flooding, shortages of food and provisions, financial inadequacies, and a lack of roads and schools for their children. However, by living and working together as a community, the residents shared their harvested crops, meats, medicines, and labour. Despite their hardships, they worked together to create a successful and enduring community.

Over time, floorless log cabins turned into modern housing, a bridge, school and church were erected, and the road into the settlement was built. Electricity was brought into the settlement in the late 1960s. According to elder Margaret Supernault, life is now much easier but the closeness of the community has diminished now that people are losing their “old-ways” for survival.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in the Métis diaspora that now extends throughout British Columbia and western Canada. 9781926886503

Angie Tucker is Red River Métis from the Poplar Point/St. Anne’s area in Manitoba. As an Indigenous feminist and cultural anthropologist, she is currently enrolled as a Ph.D student in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2020]