Today, on all about canadian books we find out
how Mi'kmaq guide Sylvester Joe’s identity is reclaimed almost 200 years later...
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher. If you are new to the program Welcome! And, if you’re returning Welcome Back! This week, I have two very special guests Chief Mi’sel Joe and Sheila O’Neill.
Saqamaw Mi’sel Joe is an author. He has been the District Traditional Chief of Miawpukek First Nation since 1983 and is considered the Spiritual Chief of the Mi’kmaq Newfoundland and Labrador.
Sheila O'Neill is an author, Drum Carrier and carries many teachings passed down by respected Elders and a member of Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation. She is a founding member and past president of the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women's Network and, has been part of a grassroots movement of empowerment of Indigenous women within the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador.
We discussed My Indian which was published by Breakwater Books. In 1822, William Epps Cormack sought the expertise of a guide who could lead him across Newfoundland in search of the last remaining Beothuk camps on the island. In his journals, Cormack refers to his guide only as “My Indian.”
Now, almost two hundred years later, Saqamaw 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 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?
For the stories behind the book you can watch our interview below. Also featured is Shelia reading an excerpt from My Indian. And, determination, patience, if you have a story you need to tell--tell it...is the advice these authors have for writers.
Wela'lioq, Saqamaw Mi’sel Joe and Sheila O’Neill.
My Indian touched me. It filled me with an array of emotions and appreciation for the beautiful friendship Indigenous peoples have with the land and all her creatures.