Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair on What Inspired “Warrior Nation”

Sinclair, Niigaan_ThisPlaceRetoldNiigaanwewidam James Sinclair is the author of “Warrior Nation,” a story in the anthology This Place: 150 Years Retold. The story features illustrations and colour art by Andrew Lodwick. In his author statement below, Niigaanwewidam shares his connection to the Oka Crisis, and explains how they helped to shape both himself and “Warrior Nation”.

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The years 1990-2005 were the most formative for me as an Anishinaabe and an inini, a man. It was these years when I learned much of what makes me today – particularly my fierce belief in the power of story. It is this spirit I hope to instill in Warrior Nation.

I was 14 when Elijah Harper bravely said “no” to Meech Lake, and Ellen Gabriel and my Kanien’kehá:ka relations stood their ground at Oka – a time when a boy realizes he is a part of something bigger than him. It should be no surprise that parts of me are inside Washashk (from ignorance to maturation), but Raven is a conglomeration of so many who helped me along my journey who humbled, helped, and taught me along the way. I walk in their footsteps now. This is also the reason why I ended the story hopefully.

While the Kelowna Accord was an abject failure, the resistance and unity Indigenous communities forged during this time is the ultimate story that needs to be told. It is this “warrior spirit” that I believe carried us into the world of today. I want to take this opportunity to thank Ellen Gabriel, who profoundly influenced me with the details of the Oka resistance and helped me re-frame the entire story due to her advice and direction. Miigwech Ellen and to all who helped me along this path and into the future.

– Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair


Want to learn more about the event that inspired “Warrior Nation”? Click here to watch Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, an award-winning documentary directed by Alanis Obomsawin that chronicles the events of the 1990 Oka Crisis.

Read “Warrior Nation” in This Place: 150 Years Retold.


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

Canada Council New Chapter LogoThis 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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