***2022 ATLANTIC BOOK AWARDS: APMA BEST ATLANTIC-PUBLISHED BOOK AWARD – SHORTLIST***
***2022 BMO WINTERSET AWARD – LONGLIST***
***2022-2023 HACKMATACK AWARD: ENGLISH FICTION – SHORTLIST***
***2022 IPPY AWARDS: MULTICULTURAL FICTION: JUV/YA – SILVER***
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, Mi’sel Joe and Sheila O’Neill reclaim the story of Sylvester Joe, the Mi’kmaw 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’kmaw guide, My Indian reclaims Sylvester Joe’s identity.
About the authors
SAQAMAW MI’SEL JOE, LL. D, CM, is the author of Muinji'j Becomes a Man and An Aboriginal Chief’s Journey. He has been the District Traditional Chief of Miawpukek First Nation since 1983, appointed by the late Grand Chief Donald Marshall. Mi’sel Joe is considered the Spiritual Chief of the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Sheila O’Neill, B.A., B.Ed., is from Kippens, NL, and is a 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. She lives in St. John’s.
- Short-listed, Hackmatack Award: English Fiction
- Runner-up, IPPY Awards: Multicultural Fiction: Juv/YA
- Short-listed, Atlantic Book Awards: APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award
- Long-listed, BMO Winterset Award
“I really enjoyed visualizing their journey, and just everything written in the story. It was a very interesting little piece of history. I liked the real backstory included at the end of the story with all the facts and pictures.”
"This novel gives readers wonderful details about Newfoundland's history, topography, climate, weather, and Indigenous peoples. It is also a strong reminder of our responsibility to our environment."
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
"My Indian an essential resource on Newfoundland & Labrador Indigenous history.”