Combining graphic fiction and non-fiction, this young adult graphic novel serves as a window into one of the unique dangers of being an Indigenous teen in Canada today.
The text of the book is derived from excerpts of a letter written to the Winnipeg Chief of Police by fourteen-year-old Brianna Jonnie — a letter that went viral and was also the basis of a documentary film. In her letter, Jonnie calls out the authorities for neglecting to immediately investigate missing Indigenous people and urges them to "not treat me as the Indigenous person I am proud to be," if she were to be reported missing.
Indigenous artist Neal Shannacappo provides the artwork for the book. Through his illustrations he imagines a situation in which a young Indigenous woman does disappear, portraying the reaction of her community, her friends, the police and media.
An author's note at the end of the book provides context for young readers about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada.
BRIANNA JONNIE is Ojibwe. Brianna was a member of the youth empowerment group Strong Girls, Strong World, for which she spoke to young people about healthy relationships, she continues to educate teens about youth empowerment through the Teen Talk program. Brianna has been awarded the City of Winnipeg Citizen Equity Committee's Youth Role Model Award in the advocacy category, the Lieutenant Governor's Vice-Regal award and the Make a Difference community award for her volunteer work. Brianna lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
NAHANNI SHINGOOSE is Saulteaux, originally from Roseau River First Nation, Manitoba. She is an elementary teacher and author of Indigenous content, including teacher resources, picture books, graphic novels, and fiction for teens and young adults. She is the recipient of a Golden Leaf National Publishing Award, an Indspire Indigenous Educator Award, and two Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Nahanni is also Lead Writer for the National Film Board's Indigenous Education and Reconciliation Program. She lives in Stoney Creek, Ontario.
NEAL SHANNACAPPO is Nakawe (Saulteaux) from Ditibineya-ziibiing (Rolling River First Nations). He is an artist, graphic novelist, poet and writer, and contributed to the graphic novel anthologies Sovereign Traces Volumes 1 and 2. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.
"It's a powerful text - one that should be read, and discussed, in every social studies classroom."
"A poignant spotlight onto the difficulties Indigenous women face. Every library should have a copy of this potent work."
"We should all hear the important message Brianna Jonnie shares with us in this book. I hope we respond by telling her and all Indigenous women that you do matter, we will do better and we don't want any more stolen sisters."
"Emotive writing and beautiful imagery aside, if you know anyone who has a lack of empathy for Indigenous communities, make them read this book."
A beautiful, haunting, and accurate account of a brave teenager who sought justice for her people. I will never forget this beautiful graphic novel with its equally gorgeous images.