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A Girl Called Echo:

A Graphic Novel
“Echo Desjardins, a 13-year-old Métis girl, is struggling with her
feelings of loneliness while separated from her mom and
adjusting to a new school. Then an ordinary day in Mr. Bee’s
history class turns extraordinary, and Echo’s life will never be the
same. During Mr. Bee’s lecture, Echo finds herself transported to
another time and place—a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan
prairie—and back again to the present. In the following weeks,
Echo slips back and forth in time. She visits a Métis camp, travels
the old fur-trade routes, and experiences the perilous and
bygone era of the Pemmican Wars” (Portage & Main Press,

Figure 1. Cover of Pemmican Wars (Vermette, 2018).

Katherena Vermette
● Metis
● From Treaty 1 territory
● Vocal about Indigenous issues
● Chosen for Awards

Content reviewed by Fred Shore

● Dept. of Native Studies at
University of Manitoba

Publisher -
● Promotes and supports Indigenous
Figure 2. Katherena Vermette Bio Image (Vermette, 2018).
● Timeline of the Pemmican Wars

● Depicts Metis culture in a

respectful and honest manner

● Vibrant Images. Few dialogues.

● Pemmican recipe

Figure 3. An image from Katherena Vermette's graphic novel,

Pemmican Wars. (Portage and Main Press, 2018).

Figure 4. Echo walking in a school hallway (Portage and Main

Press, 2018).

Figure 5. Metis culture (Portage and Main Press, 2018).

Grade 4 Specific Classroom applications
Social Studies

4.2.2 - assess, critically, how the cultural and 4.2.1 - appreciate how an understanding of Alberta's
linguistic heritage and diversity of Alberta has history, peoples and stories contributes to their own
evolved over time by exploring and reflecting upon sense of belonging and identity (Alberta Program of
Studies, 2006)
the following:
● Students to look into their own identity and
How did the Métis Nation and Métis settlements research what factors contributed to who they are
contribute to Alberta's identity (i.e., languages, today
accomplishments)? (Alberta Program of Studies,

● Engaging way to introduce Metis culture and

how they contributed to Alberta’s identity
● Powerful pictures allow students to engage and
understand material at a deeper level
Aboriginal Studies 20 Specific classroom Applications
● Alberta Education Program Rationale (2002)states “The Métis: Conflict and
Cultural Change” as one of the four major themes for Aboriginal Studies 20

● This book is great way to introduce the Pemmican wars and Metis culture

● Students can then use the Pemmican Wars as a case study to investigate
how this conflict impacted Metis culture
● Accurate illustration of Metis culture
● Through this resource we can teach ● Culturally authentic - represents their values
students about Battle of Seven Oaks (Rise and ways of knowing
of the Metis-Metis supporters of the ● Key moments in Metis history
Northwest Company fought with the
settlers of Red River) and Pemmican (a
special paste made from dry meat and
melted fat by Metis people)

● Information about Pemmican trading - fur


Figure 6. An image from Katherena Vermette's graphic novel,

Pemmican Wars. (Portage and Main Press, 2018).
Connection to Program of Studies Science
Grade 5 Social Studies
● an opportunity for students to ● Indigenous knowledge and cultural
understand the dynamics, cultures, issues perspectives- lessons to support science
and events that are integral to Canada’s 10
history and contemporary society (Alberta ● Climate changes, studies on lands,
Program of Study, 2007). ecosystem, animals, and rocks
● Mother earth- A lesson to support Science
Aboriginal Studies 10 10
● connects to the themes 1 and 2 of the ● Machines used for hunting and fur
general outcomes in Aboriginal 10. trading preservatives used (natural or
chemical) for pemmican preservation.
Alberta Education. (2007). Social studies kindergarten to grade 12. Retrieved from

Alberta Education. (2002). Aboriginal Studies 10-20-30. Retrieved from

Alberta Education. (2006). Program of Study Social Studies Kindergarten to Grade 12. Retrieved from:

Portage and Main Press (2018). An image from Katherena Vermette's graphic novel, Pemmican Wars.

Portage and Main Press (2018). Pemmican Wars. Retrieved from

Vermette, K. (2018). Bio Image. Retrieved from

Vermette, K. (2018). Cover of Pemmican Wars. Retrieved from

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