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My Indian

by (author) Mi'sel Joe & Sheila O'Neill

Breakwater Books Ltd.
Initial publish date
Apr 2021
History, Social Studies
Grade Levels
9 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

Where to buy it

Descriptive Review

My Indian is written by Chief Mi’sel Joe and Sheila O’Neill, both Mi’kmaq authors, with the purpose of retelling the story of William Epps Cormack’s expedition across Newfoundland from the perspective of his Mi’kmaq guide, Sylvester Joe (Suliewey), with the oral history of Miawpukek First Nation. Throughout Cormack and Suliewey’s journey, the authors touch upon various important topics such as the impact of historical exchanges of ideas of Indigenous Peoples with non-Indigenous peoples in the 1800s, while also challenging Cormack’s colonial view of the First Nations people of that time, through the eyes of Suliewey. Overall, this book is a welcome addition to any unit looking at Canadian history through the eyes of the First Peoples who lived it. This book also includes book club questions at the end that invite students to think critically about what they have read.

176 pp., 5.25 × 8", b&w photographs • Bibliography • Index

Chief Mi’sel Joe (District Traditional Chief of Miawpukek First Nation, considered the Spiritual Chief of the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland and Labrador) and Sheila O’Neill (Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation)

Source: Association of Book Publishers of BC - Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools (2021-2022)

About the authors

SAQAMAW MI’SEL JOE, LL. D, CM, is the author of Muinji'j Becomes a Man and An Aboriginal Chief’s Journey. He has been the District Traditional Chief of Miawpukek First Nation since 1983, appointed by the late Grand Chief Donald Marshall. Mi’sel Joe is considered the Spiritual Chief of the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland and Labrador.


Mi'sel Joe's profile page

Sheila O’Neill is from Kippens, NL, and is a member of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. Sheila is a mother and grandmother and has a solid background in Indigenous issues and post-secondary education. Sheila is a Drum Carrier and carries many teachings passed down by respected Elders. As a founding member and past President of the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network (NAWN), she has been part of a grassroots movement of empowerment of Indigenous women within the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador. An experienced educator, Sheila has worked as a communications instructor with College of the North Atlantic (CNA) in both Newfoundland and Labrador and Doha, Qatar. Sheila holds a BA and BEd, both from Memorial University. She lives in St. John’s.

Sheila O'Neill's profile page


  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Award: English Fiction
  • Short-listed, Atlantic Book Awards: APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award
  • Runner-up, IPPY Awards: Multicultural Fiction: Juv/YA
  • Long-listed, BMO Winterset Award

Editorial Reviews

"This novel gives readers wonderful details about Newfoundland's history, topography, climate, weather, and Indigenous peoples. It is also a strong reminder of our responsibility to our environment."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“I really enjoyed visualizing their journey, and just everything written in the story. It was a very interesting little piece of history. I liked the real backstory included at the end of the story with all the facts and pictures.”

Digitally Lit

"My Indian an essential resource on Newfoundland & Labrador Indigenous history.”

The Telegram