Brandon Mitchell is the author of “Migwite’tmeg: We Remember It” in the anthology This Place: 150 Years Retold, which features artwork by Tara Audibert and coloured by Donovan Yaciuk. Below are Brandon’s thoughts on writing the story, which gives an insider’s perspective of the salmon raids of the 70s and 80s in his home community.
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Listuguj is my home. My earliest memories are of rod-fishing on the river banks at sunrise with my father and younger brother. My father would talk to us about our right to fish, and our responsibility to respect the cycle. We fish to feed ourselves and to share with those who can’t.
The raids of 1981 were rarely mentioned growing up. As I grew older, when I told people from other First Nation communities that I was from Listuguj, I was surprised at how many replied with, “I remember being there in ’81…”. They shared vivid stories about the roles they played supporting us during the raids.
When the opportunity came to share this story, I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t want to cover the same ground as Alanis Obomsawin’s compelling documentary, Incident at Restigouche. I mentioned the project to my mother-in-law; she wanted me to start with the 1980 raid. I was confused—“There was an earlier raid?” I began researching, and found stories on the “salmon wars” of the 1970s. I discovered that there were many smaller raids that took place in Listuguj and other Indigenous communities in Quebec in the lead-up to 1981, including one larger raid in 1980. I found my direction.
This story is dedicated to everyone who shared their stories of the Raids with me.
~ Brandon Mitchell
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Watch Alanis Obomsawin’s compelling documentary, Incident at Restigouche (1984), on the National Film Board website:
Click here to order your copy of This Place: 150 Years Retold.
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Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are a wild ride through magic realism, serial killings, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.
Featuring Stories By: Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, and Chelsea Vowel
Illustrated By: Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, and Andrew Lodwick
Colour By: Scott A. Ford and Donovan Yaciuk
This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.