Indians Don't Cry

Gaawiin Mawisiiwag Anishinaabeg

George Kenny (Author), Renate Eigenbrod (Afterword), Patricia M. Ningewance (Translator)


George Kenny is an Anishinaabe poet and playwright who learned traditional ways from his parents before being sent to residential school in 1958. When Kenny published his first book, 1982’s Indians Don’t Cry, he joined the ranks of Indigenous writers such as Maria Campbell, Basil Johnston, and Rita Joe whose work melded art and political action. Hailed as a landmark in the history of Indigenous literature in Canada, this new edition is expected to inspire a new generation of Anishinaabe writers with poems and stories that depict the challenges of Indigenous people confronting and finding ways to live within urban settler society. Indians Don’t Cry: Gaawin Mawisiiwag Anishinaabeg is the second book in the First Voices, First Texts series, which publishes lost or underappreciated texts by Indigenous artists. This new bi-lingual edition includes a translation of Kenny’s poems and stories into Anishinaabemowin by Pat Ningewance and an afterword by literary scholar Renate Eigenbrod.


“Indians Don’t Cry is a powerful text of cultural survivance and it is perhaps more relevant today than it was when it was first published. Readers interested in Aboriginal history and culture will gravitate toward this remarkable story.”

Warren Cariou, Director, Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, University of Manitoba

“Indians Don’t Cry ultimately reflects the thoughts and feelings of George Kenny, a man who has lived both on a reserve and in an urban setting – a man possessed some would say – but a man who, more than many, accurately reflects the alienation, frustration, hopes and dreams of urban natives in this small but important book.”

Nick Ternette, City Magazine

About the Authors

George Kenny is from the Lac Seul First Nations in northwestern Ontario. He is currently completing a Masters degree in Environmental Studies so that he can continue to write about the culture of Anishinaabe people of Lac Seul and the English River, the source of his creativity.

Renate Eigenbrod teaches Aboriginal Literature in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba and is co-editor of Creating Community: A Roundtable on Canadian Aboriginal Literatures.

Patricia M. Ningewance is Anishinaabe from Lac Seul First Nation. She has more than thirty years experience in language teaching, translation and media work.

Table of Contents

Translator’s Note
by Patricia Ningewance


Rain Dance

Rubbie at Central Park

Indians Don't Cry

Poor J.W.

Lost Friendship

The Bullfrogs Got Theirs

On the Shooting of a Beaver

How He Served


Death Bird

The Drowning

I Don't Know this October Stranger

Just Another Bureaucrat

Second Beauty

Summer Dawn on Loon Lake

Folk Hero: Gerald Bannatyne

Track Star

Death Is No Stranger


Broken, I Knew a Man

To: My Friend, the Painter

Sunset on Portage

Old Daniel

Kenora Bus Depot

Pine Tree

In-Family Tribal Warfare


Soft and Trembling Cry



Dirty Indian

Picture of my Father

Ojibway Girl

Think on

For Most of Thirteen Years


George Kenny – Anishinaabe, son, and writer

by Renate Eigenbrod


University of Manitoba Press is grateful for the support it receives for its publishing program from the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund; the Canada Council for the Arts; the Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage, and Tourism; the Manitoba Arts Council; and the Aid to Scholarly Publishing Programme.