Song of Batoche
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This historical novel reimagines the North-West resistance of 1885 through the Métis women of Batoche, and in particular the rebellious outsider, Josette Lavoie. When Riel arrives from Montana, he discovers that Josette is the granddaughter of Chief Big Bear, whom he needs as an ally, but Josette resists becoming his disciple when she learns that he considers the Métis a lost tribe of Israel and himself the prophet who will lead them to the Promised Land. As General Middleton’s army crosses the country to put down the “savage half-breeds,” both Josette and Gabriel Dumont draw ever closer in their struggle to manage Riel, who is determined that he will meet Middleton only in Batoche, the City of God. The subversive role of the priests, Riel’s growing religious fervour, Dumont’s guerrilla tactics, and the part played by the women as they realize that Riel endangers their people are explored in vivid detail. In a year when Canada 150 celebrates our iconic heroes, this story of the Métis, from an Indigenous author, is at the very heart of Canadian identity.