Charlottetown publisher releases bilingual book about Mi'kmaq's P.E.I. creation story

Charlottetown-based Acorn Press has just published its first bilingual book in English and Mi'kmaq.

Minegoo tells story through illustrations and text in Mi'kmaq and English

A detail of a watercolour from Minegoo is shown. The bilingual and illustrated book about the Mi'kmaq creation story of the Island has just been published by Acorn Press. (Sandra Dodge/Facebook)

Charlottetown-based Acorn Press has just published its first bilingual book in English and Mi'kmaq. 

Minegoo tells the Mi'kmaq creation story of P.E.I. in text and watercolours.

Author and illustrator Sandra Dodge told CBC Radio's Mainstreet P.E.I. that she first had the idea during the opening of the Confederation Bridge in 1997.

"There was marvellous little museum down in Gateway Village in Borden-Carleton, which was Borden back then," she said. "Marvellous little museum, and in the museum was the Mi'kmaq creation story."

Dodge, who was an art teacher for 10 years, searched for a children's picture book of the story but couldn't find one. 

"I started reading every version of the creation story that I could get a hold of and doing some research and that's where it started," she said.

Dodge, who grew up in New England but married an Islander and summers on P.E.I., said she has some Indigenous heritage.

Drawings shown to Mi'kmaq beforehand

She gives credit to Island actor and author Julie Pellissier-Lush, who she said was both encouraging and an enormous help.

Sandra Dodge's studio is shown in August last year as she worked on Minegoo. (Sandra Dodge/Facebook)

"I made contact with her a couple of years ago, and she was able to see the rough drawings and then really pass them around to the Mi'kmaq community and make sure that it was appropriate and that it met with their understanding of the story and to get their approval, really, and their blessing," Dodge said.

It was the book's publisher, Terrilee Bulger, who had the idea to have the book translated into Mi'kmaq. It was completed by Georgina Francis, Aboriginal education consultant for Abegweit First Nation. 

The book is launching at the Confederation Centre Public Library at 1 p.m. Saturday. 

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.