Red River Resistance by Katherena Vermette, Scott B Henderson (Illustrations) & Donovan Yaciuk (Illustrations)

This graphic novel continues the story of Echo, a young Métis girl living in a foster home. In this sequel, Echo has made some connections to other students at school and gotten involved in the indigenous leadership program. While still missing her mother, she is in a positive, supportive, foster family. 

I appreciate how Canadian history is taught through Echo’s eyes. She travels back in time to 1869 and 1870 in the Red River when the Métis were trying to keep their land. The Canadian government wanted it for white settlers. To avoid this, the Métis, under the leadership of Louis Riel, set up their own government in hopes of negotiating with Canada. In spite of their best efforts, they lost. The reality is that the Canadian government has never dealt fairly with indigenous peoples and reading this novel makes it all very clear. 

The story of Métis resistance is one of many dark chapters in our history. Even though I know this story, it seems more profound in a graphic novel format. Perhaps it’s because I am invested in Echo and these are her ancestors. 

The back matter includes a timeline full of important dates. A map shows where the Red River settlement is. There is also a list of rights that was a foundational document for the Métis government.

The realistic art has a gritty feel to it. There is one page that filled me with dread. It’s a joyful picture of Echo with Benjamin, her friend from the past, celebrating what they think will be a successful negotiation between the Métis and the government of Canada.

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