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.