Today, I am a guest blogger on Vivian MacKade’s blog through my blog tour for Harvest Moon with the Coffeepot Book Club. Here is an excerpt from my post:
I set Harvest Moon during a changing time—the 1860’s through the 80’s—for native populations in Canada and the US and highlighted the historical aspects of reservation life, enforced education, religious missions, and traditional parts of the Ojibwe (pronounced: Oh-jib-way) culture like ricing, medicine, and music.
Reservation Life and Enforced Education:
In Ontario before The Indian Act, reservations were mainly set up on a treaty basis, allowing some freedoms of First Nation Peoples (how Canada refers to native, Métis, or Inuit persons) but were prone to defraudment and removal of titles and rights.
Both my main characters, Maang-ikwe, “Loon Woman”, and Niin-mawin, “She Cries for Him”, must learn from white teachers instead of their own tribal leaders and teachers. Maang-ikwe attends a Jesuit mission school located on the reservation and is able to stay with her family, but in 1876 Canada set into law The Indian Act.
Niin-mawin, who attends school after this date is removed physically and geographically from his family and must learn to survive boarding school life. Historically many of the First Nation children were neglected or ill-treated at such facilities, as my character experiences.
The Indian Act, which is defined on The Canadian Encyclopedia as “a number of colonial laws that aimed to eliminate First Nations culture in favor of assimilation into Euro-Canadian society.” Part of implementing this law was removing native children from their homes, where they would be taught the traditions of their people, and establishing them in boarding schools to teach them “white” ways and eradicate their culture.
These circumstances became a sad and difficult part of the characters’ stories in Harvest Moon, but not one without hope.
To read the full post on my research and history of the time period, click on the button below.
The full cover reveal for In a Grove of Maples is approaching on April 1st! Stay tuned for more about this first book in my new series: Sheltering Trees.
This is from one review I received back so far: