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Norma Pauline Sluman

Author Biography

photo of Norma Sluman

Norma Pauline Sluman 1924-1993

Author of three historical fiction novels Blackfoot Crossing, Poundmaker, and
The Amulet and co-author of John Tootoosis, a biography of a Cree Leader.

Norma Sluman was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Her involvement with Canadian Aboriginal issues began when she moved to Calgary with her husband Ken and the first of three children, daughter Marnie. While living in the three prairie provinces, Norma’s burning ambition to write influenced the kind of writing she wanted to do. She studied Canadian history, the prairie Indian bands, modern writers and their works.

Norma’s family, including second daughter Shirley, born in Calgary, moved back to Toronto where son Kenneth Jr., was born. Norma settled down to arrange masses of research materials into her first historical fiction novel, Blackfoot Crossing, followed by her second novel, Poundmaker, both published by Ryerson Press.

Moving again from Toronto to Winnipeg, Norma met Jean Cuthand Goodwill, while working at the Winnipeg Friendship Centre. They became lifetime friends. Over the period of six years, Norma and Jean set about to co-write John Tootoosis, a Biography of a Cree Leader. John Tootoosis was Jean’s father and his history was taped in Cree — Jean translated, and Norma wrote. First published by Golden Dog Press; three reprints were published by Pemmican Publications, Inc.

Sluman, Norma. ; Goodwill, Jean Cuthand, co-authors of John Tootoosis : a Biography of a Cree Leader. — Ottawa : Golden Dog Press, 1982. — 235 p.

The unpublished manuscript for The Amulet had been sent to daughter Marnie Sluman Somers for transcription into digital format as traditional publishing houses were no longer considering manually-typed manuscripts. Unfortunately Norma passed away before that happened, so Norma’s manuscript sat on a shelf for years. Finally heeding its plea to be published, Marnie embarked on a journey to transcribe it and self-publish the book, to honour her mother’s writing talent.

In the process, Marnie decided, with the original publisher’s permission, to turn Norma’s previous two novels into digital format so that Norma’s legacy works would also be available to current fans of Canadian historical fiction.