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Children's Nonfiction Native Canadian

Nutaui's Cap

by (author) Bob Bartel

illustrated by Mary Ann Penashue

Running the Goat
Initial publish date
Nov 2019
Native Canadian, Diversity & Multicultural, Social Activism & Volunteering
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2019
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


A moving story of protest and determination, Nutau's Cap tells of a young Innu girl, Nanas. The low-level flying of NATO supersonic jets disrupts her family's traditional way of life, and endangers both them and the wildlife they depend upon, so Nanas' father and the other members of the Sheshatshiu community decide to protest by occupying the military's runways. Nanas is proud and eager to join in the social action, but then her father is arrested. Nanas has little to comfort her except his well-worn ball cap, and the promise of the land itself that the resilience, wisdom, and strength of the Innu people will one day triumph.

This true account of one small moment in the years-long struggle of the Innu people against NATO and the Canadian government brings to light the on-going fight for Innu rights on their own unceded land. Author Bob Bartel, an activist and volunteer, participated in the efforts to stop those NATO practice flights; he learned Nanas's story from her aunt and has Nanas's permission to tell the story. Bartel writes with care, simplicity, and deep awareness; he portrays with both power and subtlety the struggle as seen from a child's perspective.

Illustrations by acclaimed Innu artist Mary Ann Penashue capture the gentle relationship between Nanas and her father, and highlight the beauty and dignity of her people's culture. Her blending of traditional imagery with modern technique offers a visually rich and compelling accompaniment to Bartel's text.

Nutau's Cap has been translated into two dialects of Innu-aimun, both of which appear alongside the English. Some Innu-aimun words are also integrated into the English text; a glossary is provided. A map of the locations and a historical afterword, offering further context, are included as well.

This book is a co-publication with Mamu Tshishkutamashutau Innu Education.

About the authors

Bob Bartel was raised in the small town of Waldheim, Saskatchewan. He twice uprooted his family to spend three-year terms with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) - a global relief, development, and justice organization—in Jamaica and Labrador.

From 1986-89, Bob's family resided in Happy Valley, Labrador as regional coordinator for MCC. Happy Valley, the adjoining NATO air force base of Goose Bay, and the nearby Innu community of Sheshatshiu formed a diverse and uneasy trio of cultural outposts on Canada's remote eastern coast. All are part of Nitassinan, the traditional homeland and unceded territory of the Innu people.

While in Happy Valley, Bob and his family supported the Innu struggle against the destructive effects of NATO supersonic flight training. There are many personal stories associated with this historic time of protest, but perhaps none as poignant as that of the young Innu girl Nanas' response to her father's arrest. Bob and his family remain forever indebted to the Innu for their friendship, trust, and teachings about life under Canadian colonization.

Bob now lives, writes, and gardens in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with his wife Dorothy.

Bob Bartel's profile page

Mary Ann Penashue is an Innu artist born in 1964 in Birch Island near Goose Bay, NL. Raised by her grandparents in a small village called Mud Lake, Mary Ann learned from them Innu culture and traditions. She began painting in her early 30s; her original commitment to communicate her culture and people through her art has never wavered. Her art has been celebrated for its combination of modern technique and colour to portray traditional Innu cultural images.

In 2007 Mary Ann was named "Emerging Artist of the Year" by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. In 2011, she was accepted into the Ottawa School of Art's Fine Art Diploma program, and graduated in 2016.

Mary Ann has been commissioned by several Aboriginal organizations throughout Labrador and Quebec to paint images of Tshenut (Elders), and has immortalized their faces in approximately 500 pieces. Her work has been exhibited throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Ontario and she has been show-cased at the Northern Lights Show in Ottawa, Canada's capital city.

With her work in Nutau's Cap, she is bringing her artistic talents to children's book illustration for the first time.

She resides with her husband, peter Penashue, their children and grandchildren in Sheshatshiu, Labrador.

Mary Ann Penashue's profile page


  • Short-listed, Saskatchewan Book Awards - First Book Award
  • Nominated, Next Generation Indie Book Awards - Children's Picture Book (Non - Fiction All Ages)

Other titles by Mary Ann Penashue

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