The Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures (CRYTC) is pleased to announce the publication of the picture book Pīsim Finds Her Miskanow. This book, written by William Dumas and illustrated by Leonard Paul, is the result of a six-year research collaboration between a group of scholars and educators from the University of Winnipeg, the Manitoba Museum, and the Government of Manitoba, and land-based members of the South Indian Lake community. The project of developing the story and collecting the additional information on Rocky Cree language and culture, archaeology and history, maps, and songs included in the book was supervised at CRYTC.
Pīsim Finds Her Miskanow is about a week in the life of Pīsim, a young Cree woman living in the late 1600s. The 1993 archaeological excavation of the remains of a woman and her belongings from Nagami Bay at South Indian Lake, Manitoba, was the inspiration for the story. In the story, Pīsim begins to both recognize her purpose for being and develop her gifts for fulfilling her purpose. On the edges of the words and pictures of the story, readers will find supplementary material — maps, diagrams, explanatory notes, Rocky Cree vocabulary — to help them to situate and to extend the meanings of the story.
Pīsim Finds Her Miskanow was published in August by Highwater Press and is available through their website (https://highwaterpress.com/shop-2/pisim-finds-her-miskanow/), McNally Robinson, Indigo, and Amazon.ca.
Reviews for Pīsim Finds Her Miskanow:
This enchanting book deserves a place in every school and library. It is a beautiful rendition of historical fiction that can give all young people a collective understanding of the power of our history in shaping who we are. Through the collaboration of many, the book has transformed a three hundred year old story of a young girl living on the shores of what is now South Indian Lake into a magical narrative that will enthrall young audiences, and I dare say many older readers as well.
— Hon. Lloyd Axworthy, President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Winnipeg
Pīsim Finds Her Miskanow is an honour song of beauty and life. Through rich story and complex detail, it brings alive the history and language of Asiniskow Ithiniwak in Manitowapow while illustrating the cultural breadth of a dynamic community. This book is a joy to read, teach, and share with my daughter.
— Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Native Studies, University of Manitoba
In imagining the life of a young Cree woman, this volume provides a wonderful evocation of the wisdom and language of Cree elders that seamlessly incorporates archaeology, ethnology, and oral traditions.
— Stephen Loring, Arctic Studies Center, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
The brilliant teamwork between archaeologists, the Cree, and an accomplished children’s book author gives us . . . a beautifully written and illustrated journey into a centuries-old world . . . [the book] promises to be a classic of Canadian history.
— Brian Fagan, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of The First North Americans
Pīsim finds her Miskanow . . . is a wonderful bringing together of archeology, anthropology, history, and Cree language to make a story that brings these disciplines to a living place in our hearts and minds. William Dumas has presented Pisim and her family in such a way that their lives will be etched into our memory. The story is complemented by the beautiful and realistic illustrations of Leonard Paul. . . . This book is wonderful!
— Joe McLellan, Author of Nanabosho