“I’m waiting for what we lost that day to come back to us.”
Ashley meets her great-uncle by the old train tracks near their community in Nova Scotia. Ashley sees his sadness, and Uncle tells her of the day years ago when he and the other children from their community were told to board the train before being taken to residential school where their lives were changed forever. They weren't allowed to speak Mi'gmaq and were punished if they did. There was no one to give them love and hugs and comfort. Uncle also tells Ashley how happy she and her sister make him. They are what give him hope. Ashley promises to wait with her uncle by the train tracks, in remembrance of what was lost.
The co-winner of Second Story Press’ Indigenous Writing Contest.
An intergenerational story of healing from trauma. The little girl has agency and makes a decision to do what she can in the story, emphasizing the compassion and resilience of children.
The legacy of the abuse of North America’s Indigenous peoples is something that affects all of us, and this book is another important resource to start that conversation with young people.
The author hopes this book will be empowering for children whose families and communities have lived through trauma, as they learn about the history and learn that they are strong enough to carry that knowledge and be the change we need.
Jodie Callaghan's story for this book won the Mi'gmaq Writers' Award, a contest organized by the Mi'gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat to encourage and develop Mi'gmaq storytellers.
Promotion for Indigenous Peoples Day (June)
Large advance copy mailing of printed galleys to relevant/key media, reviewers, librarians.
Digital galleys will be available on NetGalley and Edelweiss. With advertising to support their promotion.
Ads and promotion with Indigenous media: print, radio, online.
Ads and promotion with print media, radio, and trade and library publications, as well as coordinated social media.
For more information contact
“Through Uncle's story, Callaghan (Mi'gmaq) presents a harsh topic in a gentle way. Lesley's soft color palette and expressive characters blend beautifully with the story without lifting its heaviness. Keeps a critical memory alive. ”
- Kirkus Reviews
Mi’gmaq author Jodie Callaghan has created a sensitive and flowing text that, in the course of describing a short afternoon’s encounter between a child and an elder, embodies a generation’s suffering. A touching line near the end of the story states, “I am waiting for what we lost that day to come back to us.” But the hopeful note of Uncle’s pride in his young relatives leaves us waiting for better things too.
- Ellen Heaney, CM: Canadian Review of Materials
Mi'gmaq storyteller Callaghan recounts this sad episode from Indigenous history using simple, understated text that conveys the lingering pain of this injustice.