Chief Mi'sel Joe and Sheila O'Neill
In 1822, William Epps Cormack sought the expertise of a guide who could lead him across Newfoundland in search of the last remaining Beothuk camps on the island. In his journals, Cormack refers to his guide only as "My Indian."
Now, almost two hundred years later, Mi'sel Joe and Sheila O'Neill reclaim the story of Sylvester Joe, the Mi'kmaq guide engaged by Cormack. In a remarkable feat of historical fiction, My Indian follows Sylvester Joe from his birth (in what is now known as Miawpukek First Nation) and early life in his community to his journey across the island with Cormack. But will Sylvester Joe lead Cormack to the Beothuk, or will he protect the Beothuk and lead his colonial explorer away?
In rewriting the narrative of Cormack's journey from the perspective of his Mi'kmaq guide, My Indian reclaims Sylvester Joe's identity.(From Breakwater Books)
Mi'sel Joe is the author of Muinji'j Becomes a Man and An Aboriginal Chief's Journey. Mi'sel Joe is considered the spiritual chief of the Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland and Labrador and has been the district traditional chief of Miawpukek First Nation since 1983, appointed by the late Grand Chief Donald Marshall.
Sheila O'Neill is an author, drum carrier and member of Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation. She is a founding member and past president of the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women's Network.