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Obituary: First Nations author Diane Silvey

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B.C. author Diane Silvey, a member of the Sechelt Indian Band (Coast Salish), died in Victoria on March 3.

Silvey, a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Native Indian Teacher Education program, was an educator for 23 years, as well as the author of numerous children’s titles on aboriginal subjects. In 2005, Kids Can Press released her The Kids Book of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, illustrated by John Mantha and shortlisted for the 2006 Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Book Prize. Silvey was known for her retellings of Salish legend in Spirit Quest and Time of the Thunderbird (both published by Dundurn Press), as well as for her other books for young people: YA novel Raven’s Flight, picture books Little Bear’s Vision Quest and Whale Girl, and non-fiction work From Time Immemorial: The First Peoples of the Northwest Coast.

Val Wyatt, one of Silvey’s editors, said in a statement: “I admired Diane so much. She overcame many hardships in life to become a teacher and was an advocate for her students and for First Nations people all her life. She also had a wicked sense of humour and we would laugh our way through lunches together, the last one being only three weeks ago. I will miss her unique and wonderful self.