Daniel David Moses | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Daniel David Moses

Daniel David Moses, playwright, poet (born on 18 February 1952 in Ohsweken, ON; died 13 July 2020 in ON). Daniel David Moses’s literary works often explored Indigenous issues, including the impacts of colonization. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2016 and was appointed professor emeritus at Queen’s University in 2019.

Daniel David Moses

Early Life and Education

Daniel David Moses was raised on the Six Nations reserve near Brantford, Ontario. He was educated at York University and the University of British Columbia.

Literary Work

Dissatisfied with the tragic nature of many depictions of Indigenous people in literature, Daniel David Moses portrayed instead an organic, living culture in his plays. His city plays, Coyote City (1988), Big Buck City (1991) and Kyotopolis (1992), which follow the adventures of an ever-expanding circle of characters, dramatize the processes through which Indigenous people can begin to heal wounds created by the impacts of colonization.

To subvert the legacy of the tragic Indigenous person in Almighty Voice and His Wife(1991), Moses sharply divides the play: in the first act he recounts the history of a 19th-century Saskatchewan  Cree folk hero, and abruptly shifts in the second to a grotesque vaudeville show performing a mixture of racial slurs, romantic clichés and puns. (See also Almighty Voice).

Moses was founder of the Committee to Re-establish the Trickster. (See also Trickster.) In the course of 30 years, Moses wrote more than 12 plays and four books of poetry: Delicate Bodies (1980),The White Line (1990), Sixteen Jesuses (2000) and A Small Essay on the Largeness of Light and Other Poems (2012). He also co-edited An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English (1992).

Awards and Honours

Among other awards and honours, Daniel David Moses won the Harbourfront Festival Prize and a Harold Award in 2001, and the Chalmers Arts Fellowship in 2003.

Indigenous Peoples Collection

Indigenous Perspectives Education Guide