Katherena Vermette on Writing About Annie Bannatyne in This Place: 150 Years Retold

K_Vermette_2016 Katherena Vermette is the author of “Annie of Red River” in the graphic novel anthology This Place: 150 Years Retold. The story features artwork created by Scott B. Henderson and was coloured by Donovan Yaciuk. In her author statement below, Katherena shares insights into the woman behind her story.

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Annie Bannatyne was a formidable woman. Little-known outside of Winnipeg and Métis communities, not even known to me until I was an adult, Mrs. Bannatyne is an inspiration who deserves more recognition. Born and raised in Red River, in what is now Winnipeg’s Exchange District, she was the daughter of Andrew McDermot, a wealthy store owner, and Sarah McNab, a Métis-Saulteaux woman. As an adult, Annie married Andrew Bannatyne, another successful store owner. Mrs. Bannatyne was well-educated and community-minded. In addition to running her store and raising her family, she spearheaded many charitable initiatives, and was instrumental in the fundraising and founding of the Winnipeg General Hospital, the first hospital in the region. Mrs. Bannatyne was not the kind of woman to mess with. So, when Charles Mair wrote disparaging things about Métis women in the Toronto Daily Globe, Mrs. Bannatyne didn’t just get mad, she got even.

Later that month, Montreal’s Le Nouveau Monde published an editorial by the mysterious “L.R.” that also criticized Mair’s remarks. Most historians think this was none other than Louis Riel in his first act of written revolt, inspired by the actions of Mrs. Bannatyne. As one historian notes, “In 1869, Annie stepped outside her gender role and committed a single act of resistance that fired the imagination of a young Louis Riel.”[1]

– Katherena Vermette


[1] Todd Lamirande, “Annie McDermot (Bannatyne) (c.1830-1908),” 2008: http://www.metismuseum.ca/media/db/07426.

This Place-25

Annie Bannatyne also has connections to the names of two Winnipeg streets – McDermot Avenue was named after her father, Andrew McDermot, and Bannatyne Avenue was named after her husband, Andrew Bannatyne.

Want to read more from Katherena Vermette? Explore more Métis history by following 13-year-old Echo Desjardins in the graphic novel series A Girl Called Echo, where you’ll be transported back in time during the North American Fur Trade in Pemmican Wars, and walk alongside Louis Riel and the rest of the Métis provisional government in Red River Resistance.


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, Ryan Howe, Andrew Lodwick, and Jen Storm

Colour By: Scott A. Ford and Donovan Yaciuk


CCA_NewChapter_logo_transparent-eThis 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.


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