Idle No More on the steps of the Manitoba Legislature, December 12, 2012 (CBC)
The youth impressed me, the Elders impressed me and the people in thin coats and without mitts impressed me.
—Jordan Wheeler, writer
When Jordan Wheeler was approached to write a book by Ningwakwe Learning Press, he automatically said yes, since writing is what he does for a living.
The Ontario-based literacy publishing company told Wheeler they wanted a novella with a young, male character and that it should incorporate Idle No More.
They also told him he had a month to write it.
Wheeler is used to deadlines, after all. He's been writing professionally since 1982. He's written several books, including Brothers in Arms and Just A Walk. He's written for North of 60 and will return to Vancouver this fall for his third season as a writer and consulting producer on Arctic Air.
His latest, Digital Ogichida is intended for young adult Aboriginal men. The main character, Kevin Davis, is a young man who wants to blend into contemporary Canadian society. He ends up at some protests because of a girl he meets and along the way he rediscovers his First Nation roots.
SCENE asked Wheeler to set the scene for Digital Ogichida:
It may not be the most iconic of the Idle No More pictures, but I was there that day and so was Kevin Davis. It's in front of the Manitoba Legislature in the Idle No More early days and it was as cold as described in the book.
A good chunk of the protesters had been in stores the morning of, to buy toques, mitts, balaclavas, scarves, long underwear and the like. A buddy of mine ran into several at the dollar store. I ran into Chiefs and a Grand Chief at Mark's Work Warehouse.