Children’s book about Manitoba discovery wins archeology award
University of Winnipeg
Illustration by LEONARD PAUL
The Canadian Archeological Association has awarded Pisim Finds Her Miskanow its 2014 Public Communications Award, which recognizes outstanding books, articles, documentaries or other forms of communication that promote the understanding and awareness of archeology in Canada. The result of a seven-year collaborative effort, the children’s book was inspired by the 1993 discovery of the 350-year old remains of a young Cree woman at South Indian Lake in northern Manitoba.
CAA’s Public Awards Committee commented on the book’s attractive design, and the large pool of collaborators involved in its creation. To realize Pisim Finds Her Miskinow, author William Dumas and illustrator Leonard Paul worked with members of the Aboriginal community, and representatives of the Manitoba Museum and The University of Winnipeg from a variety of disciplines. Dr. Mavis Reimer, UWinnipeg’s Dean of Graduate Studies, Professor of English, and Canada Research Chair in Young People’s Texts and Cultures, was among the collaborators.
“The collaborative project that resulted in this book was a seven-year journey,” says Dr. Reimer. “As a group, we needed to figure out how to tell the story of Pīsim, we needed to find times when we could sit together and listen to one another, and we needed to learn to trust one another. An award like this is important because it tells us that our readers recognize the care we took in our work.”
CAA’s committee “found this book to represent an extremely unique and creatively engaging manner of presenting archaeological information to the public.” It traces one week in the life of a young Cree woman living in the late 1600s, Pisim, as she discovers how she can fulfill her life’s journey, her miskanow.
This summer brings an exciting opportunity to take a deeper look at the wider significance of the book during the Summer Institute on Aboriginal Education in Early and Middle Years Classrooms, held by UWinnipeg’s Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures (CRYPTC). To find out more about the institute and the book, visit the CRYPTC website.