An educational and heartfelt retelling of the story of the Mi'kmaq and their traditional lands, Mi'kma'ki, for young readers, focused on the generational traumas of the Indian Residential School System.
"The story of the Mi'kmaw people is one that very few truly know, Ladybug. Even fewer understand what happened at the residential schools. It is a hard story to tell, but you must know the truth. Sit and I will tell you the story."
When seven-year-old Muinji'j comes home from school one day, her Nana and Papa can tell right away that she's upset. Her teacher has been speaking about the residential schools. Unlike most of her fellow students, Muinji'j has always known about the residential schools. But what she doesn't understand is why the schools existed and why children would have died there.
Nana and Papa take Muinji'j aside and tell her the whole story, from the beginning. They help her understand all of the decisions that were made for the Mi'kmaq, not with the Mi'kmaq, and how those decisions hurt her people. They tell her the story of her people before their traditional ways were made illegal, before they were separated and sent to reservations, before their words, their beliefs, and eventually, their children, were taken from them.
A poignant, honest, and necessary book featuring brilliant artwork from Mi'kmaw artist Zeta Paul and words inspired by Muinji'j MacEachern's true story, "Muinji'j Asks Why" will inspire conversation, understanding, and allyship for readers of all ages.
Shanika MacEachern, a Native Student Advisor with Annapolis Valley Centre for Education, is a Mi'kmaw woman devoted to learning traditional knowledge and teaching which she can to youth to empower the voices of our future.
Breighlynn MacEachern (Muinji'j), is currently a grade 3 student who has touched the hearts of many educators, friends, and family with the power and courage of her voice. Breighlynn has a strong sense of who she is as a young Mi'kmaq and has a love for gaining new traditions she can practice. Breighlynn dances traditional jingle dress as well as fancy-shawl.
Zeta Paul is a Mi'kmaw interdisciplinary artist.