Accession A2009-026 - Marvin Francis fonds

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Marvin Francis fonds

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Reference code

CA UMASC Mss 247, Pc 250, Tc 141, El 12 (A.06-51, A.09-26)-A2009-026

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1985-2005 (Creation)
    Francis, Marvin

Physical description area

Physical description

2 books; 9 audiocassettes; 6 mini cassettes; 7 CD's; 6 VHS cassettes; 2 mini digital video cassettes; 8 floppy discs (3.5")

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Marvin Francis was an Aboriginal poet, playwright, author and visual artist based in Winnipeg. With his 2002 book, City Treaty, he established himself as a unique voice in the Manitoba arts scene, one that was abruptly silenced by his death in January 2005 from cancer.

Born and raised on the Heart Lake First Nation reserve in Northern Alberta in 1955, Francis began his working life after quitting school in 1971. He spent much of the following decade traveling across the route of the Trans Canada Highway doing odd jobs. Arriving in Winnipeg in the late 1980s, he studied at the University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba, where he earned B.A. and M.A. degrees. City Treaty, the work adapted from his M.A. thesis, earned him considerable acclaim for his experimental yet realistic approach to the writing of poetry. This was solidified in 2003 when he received the John Hirsch Award as Manitoba's most promising writer.

Francis was quick to expand his artistic horizons. He wrote and/or directed radio plays for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, such as The Sniffer and Punching Out Judy, that reflected his unique perspective on Manitoba urban life. Francis also expanded into writing short stories (such as "Pencil Beauty" in the 2005 Manitoba Aboriginal Writers Collective anthology Bone Memory), designing visual art and creating virtual Internet exhibits. He continued writing poetry, however, and was preparing a second collection for release at the time of his death. He was also active politically within the arts community of Manitoba. A founding member of the Manitoba Aboriginal Writers Collective, he was also a board member of the Urban Shaman art gallery and the Manitoba Writers Guild. In these areas as well as his art, he was a passionate supporter of Canadian Native people and the urban poor of Winnipeg.

Custodial history

The fonds was donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by Francis' partner, Cindy Singer, following Francis' death.

Scope and content

This accession consists of the audio and video collections of his poetry and plays.

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Availability of other formats

Film and sound recordings have been migrated to digital formats.

Restrictions on access

No restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

No restrictions on use.

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Created in 2009.
Quality checked by Mary Grace Golfo on 3 April 2017.

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