Loon Rock — Pkwimu Wkuntem


24 pages
ISBN 0-920336-84-1
DDC jC813'.54




Illustrations by Dozay Christmas
Translated by Helen Sylliboy
Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


Set many years ago, this story begins as a young First Nations male
prepares to take his place as an adult member in his community. But
before his people will accept him as a full-fledged warrior, he must
first prove his maturity by spending several days in solitude and
meditation. One night, while sleeping alone on a beach, the boy dreams
of a loon calling to him over the waters. In the morning, the boy paints
the loon’s image on a nearby rock face. For generations afterward,
people of his nation see the loon and remember the young warrior who
painted it.

This tale by award-winning author Maxine Trottier is a rather
sophisticated prose poem. Although the text is presented in both English
and Mi’kmaq, the story is not specifically about the Mi’kmaq people
but presents a more general example of First Nations spirituality.
Because these initiation rites are considered deeply personal, Trottier
refrains from intruding very far even into her character’s experience.
Therefore, instead of telling the reader exactly what the loon means to
the young man, Trottier writes “[w]ho can say what he saw in his heart
or what he heard as he lay in the sand, but he painted the rock high
overhead to leave a sign for the years.” Black-and-white illustrations
by Dozay Christmas lend a timeless, dreamlike quality to the story.


Trottier, Maxine., “Loon Rock — Pkwimu Wkuntem,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/19680.