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This Place

150 Years Retold

By Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley, Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, Chelsea Vowel
Illustrated by Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, Andrew Lodwick, Scott A. Ford, Donovan Yaciuk, and Ryan Howe
Foreword by Alicia Elliott
Categories: Young Adult Fiction, Aboriginal & Indigenous, Historical, Politics & Government, Canada, Prejudice & Racism
Imprint: HighWater Press

Interest Age: 15–18
Grade: 9–12
Reading Level: Lexile HL700L
Paperback : 9781553797586, 296 pages, April 2019
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781553797821, 296 pages, May 2019
Ebook (PDF) : 9781553797838, 296 pages, May 2019
Ebook (MobiPocket) : 9781553798729, 296 pages, May 2019
Ebook (MobiPocket) - Unavailable


I have never liked the phrase, “History is written by the victors. ” I understand the idea behind it – that those in power will tell and retell stories in whatever ways flatter them best, until those stories harden into something called “history. ” But just because stories are unwritten for a time, doesn’t mean they’ll be unwritten forever. And just because stories don’t get written down, doesn’t mean they’re ever lost. We carry them in our minds, our hearts, our very bones. We honour them by passing them on, letting them live on in others, too.

That’s exactly what this anthology does. It takes stories our people have been forced to pass on quietly, to whisper behind hands like secrets, and retells them loudly and unapologetically for our people today. It finally puts our people front and centre on our own lands. Inside these pages are the incredible, hilarious heroics of Annie Bannatyne, who refused to let settlers disrespect Metis women in Red River. There’s the heartbreaking, necessary tale of Nimkii and Teddy, heroic youth in care who fight trauma and colonialism as hard as they possibly can in impossible circumstances. And there are many more—all important, all enlightening. All of these stories deserve to be retold, remembered and held close.

As I was reading, I thought a lot about the idea of apocalypse, or the end of the world as we know it. Indigenous writers have pointed out that, as Indigenous people, we all live in a post-apocalyptic world. The world as we knew it ended the moment colonialism started to creep across these lands. But we have continued to tell our stories, we have continued to adapt. Despite everything, we have survived.

Every Indigenous person’s story is, in a way, a tale of overcoming apocalypse. The Canadian laws and policies outlined at the beginning of each story have tried their hardest to beat us down, to force us to assimilate and give up our culture, yet here we are. We have survived the apocalypse. When you think about it that way, every Indigenous person is a hero simply for existing. The people named in these stories are all heroes, inspired by love of their people and culture to do amazing, brave things—but so are the unnamed people who raised them, who taught them, who supported them and stood with them. Our communities are full of heroes.

That’s why this anthology is so beautiful and so important. It tells tales of resistance, of leadership, of wonder and pain, of pasts we must remember and futures we must keep striving towards, planting each story like a seed deep inside of us. It’s our responsibility as readers to carry and nourish those seeds, letting them grow inside as we go on to create our own stories, live our own lives, and become our own heroes. As you read, consider: how are you a hero already? And what will your story be?

—Alicia Elliott

Table of contents

v Foreword
Alicia Elliott

2 Annie of Red River
Katherena Vermette
Illustration: Scott B. Henderson
Colours: Donovan Yaciuk

28 Tilted Ground
Sonny Assu
Illustration: Kyle Charles
Colours: Scott A. Ford

54 Red Clouds
Jen Storm
Illustration & Colours: Natasha Donovan

82 Peggy
David A. Robertson
Illustration & Colours: Natasha Donovan

110 Rosie
Rachel & Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley
Illustration & Colours: GMB Chomichuk

138 Nimkii
Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm
Illustration: Ryan Howe & Jen Storm
Colours: Donovan Yaciuk

166 Like a Razor Slash
Richard Van Camp
Illustration: Scott B. Henderson
Colours: Scott A. Ford

192 Migwite’tmeg: We Remember It
Brandon Mitchell
Illustration: Tara Audibert
Colours: Donovan Yaciuk

220 Warrior Nation
Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair
Illustration & Colours: Andrew Lodwick

246 kitaskînaw 2350
Chelsea Vowel
Illustration: Tara Audibert
Colours: Donovan Yaciuk

278 Notes
281 Select Bibliography
284 About the Contributors

In graphic novel format, Indigenous writers explore the untold stories of the past, present, and future in what is now Canada.


Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

Each story includes a timeline of related historical events and a personal note from the author. Find cited sources and a select bibliography for further reading in the back of the book. The accompanying teacher guide includes  curriculum charts and 12 lesson plans  to help educators use the book with their students.

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter initiative. With this $35M initiative, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.


  • Winner, McNally Robinson Book of the Year 2020
  • Winner, Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher 2020
  • Winner, Cybils Award, Young Adult Graphic Novels 2019
  • Winner, Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award, Graphic Novel 2021
  • Nominated, Doug Wright Award for Best Book 2020
  • Nominated, Gene Day Award for Anthology Collections 2020


Ambitious in scope and strong in execution, this collection succeeds in prompting readers to remember (or learn) Indigenous history 

- Elisa Gall

Selected for AICL's Best Books of 2019

- Debbie Reese

Selected for School Library Journal's Best Books 2019, Best Graphic Novels

- School Library Journal

This Place is the graphic novel I’ve waited for my whole life, and the graphic novel Canada has needed for 150 years.

The stories contained within its pages are both beautifully rendered and vitally necessary. They represent a history not only largely untold and unknown, but one obscured, hidden from sight, so that other stories may occupy a privileged place in defining a national story. Their importance is exquisitely captured on these pages, told by some of the leading artists working today. This is an essential book, for comic fans, teachers, and anyone who wants to learn the stories of this place we now share.

- Jesse Wente, broadcaster and film critic

An illuminating, self-assured graphic novel anthology in which every panel reads like a radical act.

- Kirkus Reviews

[A] breathtaking comics anthology. ..this mix of powerful storytelling and memorable illustrations is a place to begin a dialogue with Indigenous peoples in Canada.

- Jeffrey Canton

this collection provides invaluable opportunity to hear voices that are featured all too rarely in literature and is a worthwhile addition to collections.

- Summer Hayes

a solid addition to. ...curriculum. it specifically addresses social, political, economic and cultural challenges in Indigenous communities. Most importantly, the collection points Indigenous students toward seeing themselves, hearing their own voices and stories, and reading about the perspectives of their ancestors and their communities.

- Jennifer Wyatt

This is the power of storytelling. It's going deeper and truer than the history books and the newspaper accounts. It's bringing the stories to the people for the people and doing it for the right reasons: to teach and to illuminate.  This Place: 150 Years Retold is the dawn to a new storytelling tradition that doesn't need to be held back. It should be shouted forward from now on.

- Helen Kubiw