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Children's Fiction Native Canadian

Pisim Finds Her Miskanaw

by (author) William Dumas

illustrated by Leonard Paul

Portage & Main Press
Initial publish date
May 2020
Native Canadian, Girls & Women, Business, Careers, Occupations, Pre-Confederation (to 1867)
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2020
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 6


NOW REVISED! This edition features updated Rocky Cree translations and an expanded glossary, augmented with new maps to give a more detailed look at Pīsim’s journey. These enhancements make this book a great tool for teachers and a great addition to any library.

Out of an important archaeological discovery came this unique story about a week in the life of Pīsim, a young Cree woman, who lived in the mid 1600s. In the story, created by renowned storyteller William Dumas, Pīsim begins to recognize her miskanaw – the path for her life – and to develop her gifts for fulfilling that path. The story is brought to life by the rich imagery of Mi’kmaw artist Leonard Paul, and is accompanied by sidebars on Cree language and culture, archaeology and history, maps, songs, and more.

Great ideas for using this book in your classroom can be found in the Teacher’s Guide for Pīsim Finds Her Miskanaw. A printable eBook of the guide is available for download.

Pīsim Finds Her Miskanaw is book one in The Six Seasons of the Asiniskow Īthiniwak series about the Asiniskow Īthiniwak (Rocky Cree) of Northern Manitoba. Corresponding to the six seasons of sīkwan (spring), nīpin (summer), takwakin (fall), mikiskow (freeze-up), pipon (winter), and mithoskamin (break-up), the books explore the language, culture, knowledge, territory, and history of the 17th century Rocky Cree people through story and images. The groundbreaking series centres Indigenous ways of knowing and includes insights from a wide range of disciplines – cross-cultural education, history, archaeology, anthropology, linguistics, literature, oral culture and storytelling, experiential and community-based learning, and art.

To find more information about The Six Seasons project and the Picture Book App: Pisim Finds Her Miskanaw visit

About the authors

William Dumas, a Rocky Cree Storyteller, was born in South Indian Lake, Manitoba. For 25 years, he has been an educator and administrator; his passion for Cree language and culture are well aligned with his current position as Cree Language and Culture Coordinator for the Nisichawayasihk (Nelson House) Education Authority. As the author of The Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak series, William knows first-hand the power storytelling has to teach Indigenous youth about where they come from and where they are going.

William Dumas' profile page

Known internationally for his exquisitely detailed portrayals of nature and its creatures, Leonard Paul, a First Nation Mi’kmaq visual artist, was born in Halifax in 1953. Leonard has had numerous solo art exhibitions, national and international exposure since he started painting for the public in 1976, the year his daughter Tayla was born. He is a master watercolorist and a consummate technician in mediums: drawing, oils and airbrushing. His artwork has been described as high-realism where careful attention is focused on art applications and arduous details. Leonard is a full-time professional artist, although he spent time as acting Director of Indian Brook R.O.C.K.S., an arts/cultural program in Indian Brook First Nation, dedicated to promoting cultural arts among youth.

Leonard Paul's profile page


  • Joint winner, Manitowapow Award

Editorial Reviews

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 Institute, Washington DC

This rich story ... 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

Shortlisted for the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration

The Atlantic Book Awards Society

Winner of the Public Communications Awards, Writer Category

Canadian Archaeological Association

The brilliant teamwork between archaeologists, the Cree, and an accomplished storyteller gives us... a beautiful written and illustrated journey into a centuries-old world... the books 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

This enchanting book deserves a place in every school.... 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.

Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, UWinnipeg President and Vice-Chancellor

Other titles by William Dumas

Other titles by Leonard Paul