In the dark days after the North West Rebellion of 1885, Métis settled on Crown land. These were the so-called 'Road Allowance People' who did their best to eke out an existence.
"It brings them solace." - Wilfred Burton
This was a period of upheaval for the Métis as they were forced from their new homes to make way for roads, and it is the backdrop for a new children's book called Road Allowance Kitten, written by Saskatoon author Wilfred Burton.
Burton said that he was inspired by the stories of Métis elders, many of which included a kitten.
"I got the idea, maybe that's how children can access the story is through an animal, because children like animals."
Author finds hope in story of kitten
Through the use of an animal, Burton hopes children will become engaged in the history of the Métis, and come away with a new understanding of that important era. He had to put his own twist on that real life version of the story, however, because in the oral histories, there is no happy ending for the feline characters.
"I want something hopeful at the end and so I tried to bring that story of the kitten and hope with them and so they do smuggle a kitten in with a quilt and it brings them solace."
The story has just rolled off the presses and so Burton, a retired teacher, hasn't yet had much of an opportunity to read it to children.
"The ones that I read it to seem really interested and have lots of questions."