By Sharon Weatherall
BEAUSOLEIL FIRST NATION – “Mollie Doodle” the loveable Golden Doodle of a popular children’s book series is coming to Christian Island.
A colourful and informative book about the Beausoleil First Nation (BFN) community and its way of life is now in the works.
Author/Illustrator darci-que from Creemore Ontario, has published 13 books so far in ‘The Adventures of Mollie Doodle’ series which often involve lessons for kids about sharing and caring, friendship, bullying and more. Mollie is an inspiration to children and adults alike but not really a fictional character. She is actually darci-que’s family dog and has many loveable traits which come across in her books. The upcoming book about Christian Island will be number 14 in the series and promises to be an interesting story.
Darci-que says this book will be a bit different in content and she is very excited about getting started.
“There will be no lesson in this book as I see it as an awareness book about a very special community separated from the mainstream but only by a ferry ride,” said darci-que.
The well-known author/illustrator has visited the island in the past to read her books to children at Christian Island Elementary School (CIES).
“The first time I went to the island I wanted to do a Mollie Doodle book about the people and the island. I love the people and the kiddies who each have a special purity to them. Although they live a modern life I love the elements of their culture that continues in their everyday life,” said darci-que.
darci-que and her daughter Emilie traveled to the island earlier this week to meet with CIES principal Angela Johnson who will be the connection between the community and the author as far as content for the new book. However, the school itself will be a pig part as well as aspects of island life, culture and tradition.
“This is very exciting. The book will be an opportunity to educate other people about life on the island and what it is like at school here and the up-to-date elements of learning we use such as iPods, etc. It will show the differences and similarities of life and education on Christian Island,” said Johnson.
The book will include how CIES students study Ojibway tradition, culture and the Anishinabek language as part of their regular studies.
Communications to collect research for the book will be ongoing over the next few weeks. During the recent meeting author and principal discussed the importance of such things as school and community logos – both of which will be included in the book, island services (fire, police, EMS, medical, dental, senior’s centre, recreation centre, BFN band office, etc.,), modes of transportation including skoot, snowmobile and hovercraft in winter, as well as boats and ferry during the rest of the year. Travel from island to mainland on one of two ferries is crucial for islanders to bring supplies and sustain a comfortable and normal life. Included in the book will be input from the Elders of the community. darci-que also hopes to touch on such things as island wildlife and land features including Christian Island’s two inland lakes, numerous beautiful beaches, and its lighthouse. The reservation includes two other islands – Hope and Beckwith, plus property at Cedar Point where the mainland ferry launch is located.
“I am very excited about the opportunity for our school, students and community to work with darci-que in the development of a story about Christian Island Elementary School and our students. This is an opportunity that not everyone gets to do and we are honoured,” said Johnson.
“I am looking forward to seeing our students excitement when they get to contribute to the new Mollie Doodle book and to see their ideas on paper and in a published story that they can read and enjoy. I am also looking forward to the opportunity to bring awareness to others about our beautiful school, community, and people.”
darci-que and Johnson talked about the importance of the Eagle Staff and what it means to a native community.
“The Eagle Staff represents the heart of the community,” said Johnson explaining it is carried by the community leader at events such as pow wows.
darci-que and Emilie will be attending CIES’s annual Pow Wow which takes place on Wednesday May 20th 2015. At this event each year other area schools are invited to attend Christian Island to experience and learn about native cultures and traditions including food, singing, dancing, crafts and much more.
As a character in her books, Mollie Doodle often dresses for the occasion so it will be totally appropriate for her to be wearing a traditional jingle dress in the new book – after all she will want to do some dancing at the pow wow.
Plans are in the works to have the loveable Golden Doodle actually come to the island for a visit. Mollie who suffers a bit from motion sickness wants an opportunity to meet the people and the island dogs which are plentiful in the community.
“The principal has asked for me to come if I can handle a car and the ferry! woof!,” says Mollie.
Learn more about this fluffy white canine and her friends by visiting the Face Book Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheAdventuresOfMollieDoodle