Children’s Book Looks at the Tłı̨chǫ’s Self-Govt Agreement

Children’s Book Looks Back at the Tłı̨chǫ Nation’s Historic Self-Government Agreement

Heritage House is pleased to announce the release this fall of Journal of a Travelling Girl, by Nadine Neema and illustrator Archie Beaverho.

Set in the Tłı̨chǫ territory of Northwest Territories, the book tells the story of an eleven-year-old girl’s journey by canoe to attend the ceremony marking the effective date of the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement in August 2005.

As a visitor adopted into the community, Jules is at first reluctant to go on the canoe trip and fearful of being in the wilderness. Over the course of the journey, however, she becomes transformed by her interactions with her Tłı̨chǫ friends and Elders.

At the gathering in Behchokò at the end of the trip, she experiences feelings of deep respect for the Tłı̨chǫ People and a sense of awe toward the historic event she is a witness to.

The story unfolds in the form of daily diary entries that track Jules’ progress from timid passenger to productive member of the canoe party.

Author Nadine Neema says the book arose from her experiences working as the band manager for the Dechi Laot’i First Nation in Wekweètì, NWT, in the late 1990s/early 2000’s, and later as part of the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council team formed to prepare for the transition to self-government.

“I arrived in Wekweètì at a time when the negotiations for the Tlicho Agreement were underway,” Neema says. “Every summer, people were travelling to the annual gathering by canoe. There were youth, Elders, and invited people on these trips. I always wanted to go but couldn’t because I was part of the workforce.”

Years later, after returning to Montreal and beginning a professional career as a singer-songwriter, Neema had the chance to take part in Tłı̨chǫ canoe trips in 2012 and again in 2013.

“Paddling into the community where I had lived for several years was like a dream to me,” Neema says. But what inspired her most were the young people. “I watched the young ones who were taking the trip for the first time and tried to see it all through their eyes”

The trips led Neema, with encouragement from former Chief Negotiator John B. Zoe, to write a story about this important period in Canada’s history, as seem from a child’s point of view.

“I feel honoured to have been trusted with these stories and given the blessing to bring them forth. I hope I have done well by them,” Neema says.

In collaboration with Heritage House and the Book Cellar in Yellowknife, Neema will host a Northern Book Launch for Journal of Travelling Girl via Facebook Live on Tuesday, November 24, at 7:00 pm MT.  The launch will include readings, book giveaways, and a conversation with Tłı̨chǫ cultural leader Tammy Steinwand. It will be live streamed through Neema’s FB page, as well as Heritage House, The YK Book Cellar and the Tłı̨chǫ page.  

Please view the EDIA KIT for information about this book. High-res versions of Neema’s photos are available upon request. For inquiries regarding media interviews or to request a review copy of the book, please contact Leslie Kenny. For more information about Nadine Neema visit neema.ca.

 

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Media Contact:
Leslie Kenny | leslie@heritagehouse.ca | 250-360-0829+103 | heritagehouse.ca 

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