Algonquin Legacy begins fifteen years after the Battle of Crow Wing River, during which the Anishinaabe allies fought the powerful Lakota nation on their home lands. During the battle, a sudden solar eclipse convinced both sides that they were witnessing a powerful omen, which led both factions to quit the battleground. After the Anishinaabe returned to their homeland, a decision was made to travel towards the western sun to live, a choice which came at a great cost to the surviving family of the late Omàmiwinini (Algonquin) leader Mahingan. His son, daughter and the great Mi´kmaq warrior, Crazy Crow, went west with the Anishinaabe, while Mahingan’s widow and her nephews, along with their wives, friends and her brother-in-law, the legendary fighter Mitigomij, travelled back to their homelands along the Kitcisìpi Kitchi (Ottawa River). Algonquin Legacy now finds the Anishinaabe people and their old trading partners, the Omashkiigoo (Cree), living in what is present day Manitoba. Now forever linked together through language, marriage, hunting and warfare, the Anishinaabe and Cree people struggle to protect their numbers against their powerful Ayaaj-inini (Blackfoot) rivals. Carrying on in the tradition of the previous three books of the series, Algonquin Legacy lets readers experience the culture, hunting practices and day-to-day struggles of survival during this unforgiving era. The stories continue to be linked by the dedication of Mahingan’s original family unit and their descendants, who manage to stay together despite all of their trials and tribulations. Death may come for some of them, but new life will always rejuvenate the family core.
About the author
Rick was born in Smiths Falls Ontario. He worked for Nortel for 30 years, retiring in 2002. He belongs to the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. His early years were spent in Wilton and Odessa Ontario. He lived for 32 years in Glenburnie Ontario and since 2019 in Napanee, Ontario. He has a Black Belt in Judo. In the 70's and early 80's he coached softball, winning two Intermediate and one Junior A Ontario Championship. He also coached at 3 Canadian Championships. Rick is in the Loyalist Township Sports Hall of Fame.
I Am Algonquin (2013), Algonquin Spring (2015), Algonquin Sunset (2017) were published by Dundurn Press. Crossfield Publishing of St Mary's Ontario is publishing the final novel of the series Algonquin Legacy that will come out sometime in 2021.The series takes place on both sides of the St Lawrence River Valley and the Great Lakes and to the Rocky Mountains during the years of 1320 to 1350's. It follows an Algonquin Native family unit as they fight to survive in the harsh climate of warfare, survival from the elements and the constant quest for food of this pre—contact era. His readers are introduced to the Algonquin, Anishinaabe, Lakota, Miï¿½kmaq, Mohawk, and Lak?ï¿½ta, languages as they are used in the vernacular in the four novels.
The books are read in Native Studies classes across Canada.
Rick is currently working on a novel called The Elk Whistle Warrior Society.
Excerpt: Algonquin Legacy: An Algonquin Quest Novel (by (author) Rick Revelle)
(after the hunt)
As we skinned and cut up the animals, I looked to the west as the sun started its descent to the earth. My stomach knotted and a bitter taste flowed up to my mouth, making me flinch. The sky was turning as black as the morning coals of a dead campfire. Below this blackness was a rolling white blizzard coming swiftly over the flat horizon. “Môso and Wâpikwan, we have to hurry. Wâpikwan, please hasten and finish skinning and butchering the animals!” Handing Môso a shoulder blade of one of the dead antelope I said, “You and I must quickly dig a hole with these and make them deep and wide enough for us and the dogs.” Luckily, the ground was soft from the fall rains and we were able to dig at a rapid pace. In no time at all, both of us were standing in a hole up to our waists. We then lengthened our makeshift shelter and, as we did this, I could hear Wâpikwan pulling the final skin off. Taking a quick glance, I watched with pride as she cut away the last hinges of meat clinging to the pelt and then hast- ily cut off the legs and head. Her mother had taught her well and I was glad that my daughter was a fast learner. Looking up out of our hole, I noticed the dogs lying in silence, staring off towards the rapidly-approaching prairie storm. The sweat of my labours had soaked through my shirt and moisture was running down my face. I could feel the temperature drop- ping, which cooled my body sweat and sent a shiver through my clammy skin. Many unprepared, roving warrior and hunting parties have lost their lives in a blizzard. They have been found frozen stiff, with an arm or a leg sticking out of a snow bank or, when the snow melts, they are discovered half-eaten by roaming animals looking for a meal. I was determined not to be that hunting party; we would survive and make our way back home in the end. My arms were starting to ache from all the digging and scraping and my hands were filthy from picking up the soil and throwing it out of the hole. I stole a look at Môso, who was doing the work of a man and easily keeping up with my labours. This was a life and death struggle to survive and, so far, we were staying ahead of death. All of this was being done in silence. None of us spoke and the only noise that broke the eerie tranquility was our breathing, digging and the sounds of a knife cutting through the meat as it was being butchered. Even the dogs were silent. Clearly, this was the calm before the storm. Just in time we managed to make the hole deep and long enough. The wind started to pick up, the air temperature dropped like a stone off of a cliff and the sweat began to freeze to my body. When my daughter said “Father!” with a worried hint in her voice, I quickly responded. “Yes, I see. It is time...in the hole! Dogs, come! Once my children were nestled in among all but the female dog, who refused to leave my side, I began to spread the animal skins over the hole. Using chunks of meat to hold down the sides, I soon had everything in place. I took four of my arrows and pierced them through the two skins to attach them in the middle. Then, holding up an end, the female animosh and I crawled into the dark hole. I pulled a flap of skin down and pushed the blade of my knife through it and into the side of the dirt hole, shutting off the opening. With all the body heat from three people and six dogs, our little shelter quickly started to warm up, to the point where you could remove some clothes if you wanted to. “Father, hold out your hand,” said Môso. He placed two things into my outstetched palm: a chunk of meat and something else that turned out to be a zhingibisiwashk (shing-ibisi-washk: turnip). “Son, where did the zhingibisiwashk come from?” “I dug them up today while waiting for Wâpikwan to send her dogs on the chase towards me,” he replied. “There was a huge area dug up by a gichi makwa where I was sitting. He must have eaten his fill, because there were still a few turnips left over. I left a bit of asemaa (a-say-ma: tobacco) there for thanks, Father, just like you taught me.” “Well done, son,” I answered. After I heard my daughter start to laugh, I joined her and pretty soon laughter was echoing through our dirt shelter. Being so close to death had created a nervous tension and the laughter released all of our stress. With meat and zhingibisiwashk, as well as buffalo bladders filled with water, I knew that we could survive this ordeal. “What’s that gnawing sound I hear?” “I gave each of the dogs a leg to keep them occupied,” replied Wâpikwan. Again, I started to laugh, “My children, you never cease to amaze me. Well, unless one of you brought a pebble game to play, I think I will have a sleep. This heat is making me drowsy!” I do not know how long I had been asleep, but I woke up in a sweat. It seems I had overachieved my goal of sealing up our shel- ter because the hole was stifling hot. We needed air to circulate, so I crawled among the sweaty occupants of our makeshift shelter and created a small opening at either end of the hole. As I laid down again beside the female animosh, I felt a pile of buffalo dung under me. “Why are the buffalo chips in here?” I asked to no-one in particular. “Well, father, after this storm is over we still have to eat and stay warm on the trail back home. Frozen buffalo chips do not burn as quickly as the thawed-out ones do,” answered my daughter. Laughingly, I replied, “What would I do without the pair of you? If I had gone out alone I might have starved or been frozen in the snow by now! I am proud of both of you and how you are always thinking ahead.” “We doubt that you would have died without us, father. You are too skilled a warrior to let yourself be caught without food or shelter,” replied Môso. The storm howled and blew all night. Every once in awhile the dogs would whimper because of the loud winds. Throughout all this we were warm and well-fed. Wakening again, I caught a glimpse of light coming through our air holes. Rising from my sleeping area on the ground, I got on my knees and swept the dirt off my clothing and stretched as best I could. I needed to relieve myself and check the weather outside. The opening of the two air holes had brought the temperature down in our hideaway and my clothes were no longer sweaty and stuck to my body. This was good because wet clothing would hasten the effects of getting a cold chill and increase the chance of getting sick. I pushed the skin covering open and climbed out, followed by the dogs. It was not long before there were yellow streaks in the snow everywhere. As I started to walk away, the canines kicked up clouds of snow around their urine paths, dousing me with a layer of fine powder. The snow was up to my knees, making it dif- ficult for the dogs to course their way through it and the air was so thick with snow pellets that I could barely see past the length of my arm. “Môso and Wâpikwan,” I yelled through the wind. “Do not stray more than five paces from the shelter. You will get lost in this white- ness and freeze to death if myself and the dogs cannot find you.” “Yes, father,” they said in unison. Taking my other knife from its sheath, I hacked away at some meat and threw the frozen chunks to the dogs. We would need them at full strength when the storm was over. I still had enough meat in my pouch to keep us nourished until a fire would be needed. I smiled to myself, thinking that the two of them prob- ably also had ample food. Grabbing a pair of fur mitts from my belt, I scooped up snow to put in one of the empty water bladders to melt. I did miss making a fire for tea, though. “Dogs,” I yelled, “come in.” With that command, both dogs and people crawled into our sheltered hole for warmth and protection. As we entered the hole, I grabbed some buffalo chips and made a small fire. I wanted tea, and was willing to suffer some smoke for a short time in order to get it. To my surprise, the winter storm gusts quickly sucked the smoke out through the exit holes. After heating some small stones in the fire, I used two sticks that I had found to pick them out and drop them into one of the water bladders, along with two or three handfuls of berries that I had. Soon we had our clay cups full of steaming berry tea, a nice treat from all the mayhem surrounding us. “Father, when will be able to head for home?” asked Môso. “My guess is that this storm will last another sun or so and then we will have a three-day walk back to the village. Even though we are only one-and-a-half suns from there, it will take twice as long to return because we did not bring any snowshoes. This return trek will not be easy. We will have to take turns breaking the trail. The skins will be frozen enough to pile the meat on, so we can hook a couple of the dogs up to each one and have them pull their loads through the snow like a sled. Without any fuel for warmth, we will have to burrow into the snow, make a snow cave, sleep with the animals and rely on our body heat to keep us from freez- ing. What buffalo dung we do have will only last long enough to make a few cooking fires.” “Sounds exciting father,” replied Wâpikwan. Again, I could not help but smile at their eagerness for the task at hand. “Will anyone come out to look for us?” Wâpikwan asked. “It depends on how many of our people were caught away from camp during the storm and who is available to search,” I answered. “Father, Crazy Crow will never leave us out here. He will come for us. I know he will,” shouted Môso above the winds. “Yes, Kitchi Manitou will guide someone to us if he thinks we are in trouble. We gave him thanks for the turnips and the ante- lope with an offering of tobacco. We have done nothing to upset him and mother Nokomis will also have Nanabozho watch over us. All will be fine, my children.” “Father, we also have each other,” said Môso. “Do not worry, Father, I will take care of you and Môso,” chirped in Wâpikwan. “Yes, I believe that, my daughter. Now, we have to cut up the dogs’ pack bags and make harnesses for them to pull the frozen skins. This will keep us occupied in the darkness. We have made these many times before, so we should be able to do it from memory and feel and not need a lot of light. If you are having trouble, just go outside once in a while to look at your work. Instead of sewing, we will make knots to connect the leather strips. When the packs are all used up, I have an extra pair of pants in my bag that we can slice up.” I paused for a moment before remembering something important. “One more thing: here are a few handfuls of cattail down. Put it in your moccasins to keep your feet dry and warm.” The next morning, I awoke to a wonderful stillness. The storm had blown itself out and wisps of snow were entering through our two air holes, reflecting the sun’s rays off their whiteness. I was in a celebratory mood as I started up a small fire, heated up water for tea and hung some meat over the modest flame. The grease from the meat dripped onto the fire, sending quick, jump- ing sparks away from its flickering flame. A couple of these hot grease projectiles landed on some dog fur, making a sizzle and a sharp, pungent smell of burning hair. The sound of the spark snapping on their hair caused the animosh to bite at the irritation. The heat of the small fire and the warmth of all the bodies created an almost unbearable swelter. ‘Enjoy it while we can’, I thought to myself, knowing full-well that the next three or four suns would bring with it intense cold and a near-death experience if we were not careful and aware of our surroundings. Survival would be a challenge.
Rick, I finished reading your novel Algonquin Legacy – I loved it and couldn’t put it down. Once again you have done a wonderful job in teaching the history of the people through story telling – the way it should be!
As before, when I read each of your previous novels, I Am Algonquin, Algonquin Spring and Algonquin Sunset I was unable to take myself away from the stories. You are talented in the way you can take the history and create a story through fictional characters. I talk about your novels when making presentations to teachers and schools. These books are a great way to share history with teachers and students and can be used as a basis for our curriculum. You have real talent for developing a story that captures the imagination. Thank you for sharing this.
Marti Ford Acting Superintendent, Area 5, Frontier School Division, Manitoba Consultant in Indigenous Education Winnipeg, Manitoba