It was 650 years ago, on the shores of Sewitakan Zaaga´igan (see—wit—akan saw—ga—e—kan: Salt Lake) now known as Big Quill Lake in central Saskatchewan, east of Saskatoon, a group of young Anishinaabe and Cree teenagers made a life—changing decision.
The two young women, who went by the names Wâpikwan (wah—pi—kwan: Flower) and Gidagizi Gidagaakoons (ged a gay zay Ged ah ga cones: Spotted Fawn), decided to start a warrior group led by females who would look after and defend the women and children of their bands with the aid of selected male warriors.
That night on the shores of the Salt Lake they tattooed their bodies. The boys with two crossed feathers on their left calves, the girls with the same feathers on their right shoulders. The feathers signified the strength of the sexes held together and led by women.
They named their group in the Ani—shi—na—abe language Omashkooz Gwiishkoshim Ogichidaa (o mush koos gwish ko shim o gich e dah) and in Cree they were called Wâwâskêsiw Kwêskosîwin Nôtinkêwiýiniw. In the gichi—mookomaan (white man's) tongue they are known as the Elk Whistle Warrior Society.
This is contemporary story with historic roots. It takes place in modern times.
Rick has highlighted the education and skills required to be part of the Elk Whistle Warrior Society. He shows youth the opportunities that education can provide them. Characters who have made not so great choices in their life but were given an opportunity to change, come back to their roots and become strong role models in their community. This story dates back to the original series (Algonquin Quest), but at the same time, it can be read and enjoyed even if you do not have the history of the other books.
Readers see these characters as "superheroes" who have the powers of education and martial arts used for the good of their community. Strong, educated indigenous role models. Our kids need positive role models who look like them and come from places where they come from. This book incorporates many Indigenous people of North America.