In Road Allowance Era, Echo’s story picks up again when she travels back in time to 1885.
The government has not fulfilled its promise of land for the Métis, and many flee to the Northwest. As part of the fallout from the Northwest Resistance, their advocate and champion Louis Riel is executed. As new legislation corrodes Métis land rights, and unscrupulous land speculators and swindlers take advantage, many Métis settle on road allowances and railway land, often on the fringes of urban centres.
For Echo, the plight of her family is apparent. Burnt out of their home in Ste. Madeleine, they make their way to Rooster Town, a shanty community on the southwest edges of Winnipeg. In this final instalment of her story, Echo is reminded of the strength and resilience of her people, forged through the loss and pain of the past, as she faces a triumphant future.
Is enthralled the correct word when describing such a dark chapter in Métis dispossession, along the road allowances in the western prairies? Or is enraging more apt? Or maybe brilliant blinding beauty? Because that's what Vermette has achieved here. Even as the graphic novel closed, I was reflecting on this staggering and respectful work. A swell in my chest, a pride in my spirit; you'll feel the strength of our people, the Free People, the Otipemisiwak, against the injustice of Canadian imperialism in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries.
Among The Globe and Mail's Spring break 2021 reading list: 15 new books for kids and young adults
This fourth volume in the A Girl Called Echo series rounds out the history of Métis dispossession from their land and subsequent social marginalization brilliantly. While dealing with the hard issues of colonialism, Vermette sensitively points to the resilience, determination, and power of Métis people. In Road Allowance Era, the stories of Ste. Madeleine and Rooster Town take their place alongside the more prominent stories of Métis nationalism situating the power of Métis family as the source of their survival.
Brilliantly mixes the portrait of a contemporary teen named Echo...with a time travelling adventure that takes her back to four key moments in the history of her people. Beautifully illustrated..., this concluding book offers a heart-wrenching look at how appallingly the Métis were treated....
Among CBC Books 22 Canadian comics to watch for in spring 2021