By Julia Magsombol – Local Journalism Initiative 

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“There’s a lot of grief,” said Sasha Eugene — a writer and mother who will release her first poetry book series, Nínem. 

Going back to her early days, Eugene started writing in elementary school. She said that writing had been a healthy outlet for her to get out what she was feeling. Years after, Eugene said that many people in the community noticed her poetry. They suggested composing her poetry collection into books. Eugene explained how her mother’s death influenced her as well. 

“After my mom passed away, I started keeping all of my poetry, and that got me to where we are today,” Eugene explained. 

Her grandfather was also her biggest influence, prompting her to tell an incredible story from her childhood: grandfather would “get [her] a book, no matter what . . . he’d read books about Indigenous history.”

Speaking of grief, Eugene said that the poems consist of different pieces — mostly focusing on Indigenous nations who have faced loss and trauma from residential schools. 

“A lot of addiction came from those. [There were] a lot of people I have lost to addiction,” Eugene said. “So the main poems in my book would be also to my brother, Alex. To my sister, Belinda. And to my mom, to my dad. There, it touches on quite a bit of grief.” 

Eugene added that this poetry book might be emotionally heavy to some, but it’s also very relatable and comforting to people. She added that the book honours the ways of overcoming Indigenous nations’ traumas and hardships. 

Eugene stated the book also includes Secwépemctsín, the language of the Shuswap people and Siksiká, the language of the Blackfoot. Eugene said this is a great way to also tackle Indigenous languages. 

“Our culture isn’t lost. Our traditions aren’t lost.” Eugene said emphatically.

She plans to publish more books regarding this series; two more books, and all of them will touch on the theme of grief. 

She released Nínem on April 30th. 

“I’ve already got an over-pour of support from the community,” she stated. 

“I just hope it brings people some, you know, relatable moments . . . not being alone in the grief or trauma handed down to the Indigenous nation.” She added: “I hope they gain a little bit more empathy and love.” 

Eugene’s book can be found here:

If anyone is interested in connecting with her, visit her Facebook page: