My Indian (FNCR 2022)

SKU: 9781550818789

Sheila O'Neill, Misel Joe
Grade Levels:
Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve
Book Type:
Breakwater Books
Copyright Date:

Sale price$16.95


My Indian is written by Saqamaw Mi'sel Joe and Sheila O'Neill. Mi'sel Joe LL. D, CM, who has been the District Traditional Chief of Miawpukek First Nation since 1983, and was appointed by the late Grand Chief Donald Marshall. Mi’sel Joe is considered the Spiritual Chief of the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland and Labrador. The second author is Sheila O'Neill, B.A., B.Ed., from Kippens, NL, and member of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. Sheila is a Drum Carrier and carries many teachings passed down by respected Elders. As a founding member and past president of the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network (NAWN), she has been part of a grassroots movement of empowerment of Indigenous women within the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador. My Indian is based on William Epps Cormack journal from 1822 when he sought the expertise of a guide, who could lead him across Newfoundland in search of Beothuk camps on the island. In his journals, Cormack refers to his guide only as “My Indian.” Now, almost two hundred years later, Mi’sel Joe and Sheila O’Neill reclaim the story of Sylvester Joe, the Mi’kmaq guide engaged by Cormack. In a remarkable feat of historical fiction, My Indian follows Sylvester Joe from his birth (in what is now known as Miawpukek First Nation) and early life in his community to his journey across the island with Cormack. But will Sylvester Joe lead Cormack to the Beothuk, or will he protect the Beothuk and lead his colonial explorer away? In rewriting the narrative of Cormack’s journey from the perspective of his Mi’kmaq guide, My Indian reclaims Sulieway's/Sylvester Joe’s identity. There is also a speculative re-telling chapter about William Cormack's journey and about his journal, Narrative Of A Journey Across the Island of Newfoundland in 1822. There are photographs from the museums that Mi'sel Joe travelled to in writing this story. Book Club questions and references are also included.

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