Algonquin-Mohawk logging industry heiress, Jessie Nij’Kizis pulls her fishing gear out of her Jeep near the largest grove of Birdseye maple trees she has ever discovered. She leaves a note on the windshield advising her father and brother that she is throwing a line in the river to catch lunch while she waits for them.
“If you two slow pokes ever get here,” she adds.
When the earth gently sways under her feet, and Cree warriors emerge from the Northern Lights, little does she know that she will be plunged into a primitive world. Little does her captor know that she will turn his life upside down within weeks.
With minimal survival supplies and tools, she leaves the Cree camp. Winter Sun, the medicine man, is angry with his chief.
“That you would exile such a young woman, who was severely injured and is still healing, to fend for herself in a forest she does not know is unbearable, Chief.”
Standing Eagle crosses his arms with a grin.
“I did not exile her, and she will return before nightfall.”
Winter Sun looks at him sternly.
“She will not, and her death will be on your hands.”
That night, alone in the forest, Jessie remembers her youth’s platforms in Pine trees, forty feet above ground to defend her territory against her Mohawk cousins with her sling shot and cement-coated pinecone buds. By the end of the summer, her cousins did not need warpaint; they were colourful enough.
“By the time I’m done with you, Raven man, you too, will be black and blue.”
Despite her bravery and having been raised “in the bush” Jessie soon realizes that she will need more than grit to survive in the deep recesses of early 19th century Northern Ontario’s forest.
White Feather ~ Jessie Wàbigwàn
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