The Windsor writer and poet, who has three works published in 2021, has been nominated for several awards and said he was overwhelmed by the recognition he is receiving following a recently announced arts grant.
Indigenous author Daniel Lockhart, who publishes under DA Lockhart, received an Ontario Arts Council Indigenous Arts Project grant earlier this month for the completion of his work Commonwealth, due for release next year.
“I am truly honored by the support that the Ontario Arts Council has provided me throughout my career,” said Lockhart. “They stepped up and really helped me and many artists, both indigenous and non-indigenous, and many within this community itself.”
Commonwealth explores Lockhart’s Aboriginal ancestry and Lenape’s migration in his homeland through poetry. Many of his works, nine of which have been published in the last decade, explore themes of decolonization and reconciliation.
“I’m working on decolonization and reconciliation among indigenous peoples, and the big problem is now saying non-indigenous because we’re all land,” Lockhart said.
“But that’s part of the healing, isn’t it? We try to bring those stories together as part of our cultural mosaic.”
The grant is for recent work, including short fiction short fiction collection Breaking Right for the 2021 Indiana Writers Awards, in addition to shortlists for several literary awards.
This award honors work written by Indiana writers in the past two years. Lockhart graduated from Indiana University and for many years he lived with his wife in Indianapolis before returning to Windsor.
“We really loved Indiana, it’s a big part of our hearts,” Lockhart said. “It’s where we became who we are now. There is a great connection between the state and the people, and much of this book reflects those people and our time in Indiana.”
The Indiana win follows other accolades for Breaking Right, including being named Miramichi Reader’s top lead of the year and a finalist in the ReLit Awards.
In 2021, we also published Go Down Odawa Way, which explores the historic and cultural lands of the Three Fires Alliance, which includes Windsor and Detroit. Shortlisted for the 2022 First Nations Community Reads Award. When Shortlisted for the 2022 Raymond Sooster Awards, the epic “Bearmen Descend upon Gimli” is set in Gimli, Manitoba.
The writing community here really exploded
Born in Chatham, raised in Windsor, and later living and working in Indiana, Lockhart said Windsor’s literary scene was brimming with talent.
“The writing community here has really exploded. There are really cool people doing really cool things,” he said.
“We have great Indigenous voices. We have great LGBTQ+ voices. We have a lot of very strong female voices in our community.
“I think we are heading into some really exciting times in this community.”
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Lockhart said recent accolades have far exceeded his expectations, especially over the past two years and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I didn’t expect anything of this level,” he said. “This has been spectacular. It’s an incredible blessing. Beyond the possibilities I could have dreamed of.”
Search online for more of Lockhart’s published work at wazhashkpoetry.com.