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Fly Away Snow Goose

a novel by Juliet Waldron and John Wisdomkeeper

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cover of Fly Away Snow Goose

They live in a vanishing Eden, their spirits close to the land and the animals upon which they rely. Captured by another tribe -- kwet'įį̀ (Stone House People/Whites )-- two teens are placed in a residential school patently designed to “kill the Indian inside,” by taking away their language and belittling their culture. Yaotl and Sascho arrive as sweetearts; in order to survive as whole beings, they absolutely must escape. 

Storytelling, at least to this writer, is a kind of trance journey on which I hope to take my reader. The way may wander through beauty or ugliness -- much like life.

My characters were born into a tribe for whom long on foot journeys were a way of life. The early 1950s in the subarctic, where Fly Away Snow Goose begins, is a land where many Tlicho still live more or less as their ancestors have for 10,000 years, following the seasonal migration of caribou. 

This is a captivity-and-escape story -- the mirror image of the ones where white children are carried off by “Indians.” Here, 1st Nation’s children are carried into European captivity when they are placed -- as the law of the land required -- in a residential school. After a daring escape, their own courage, love, endurance and their own wild knowledge will have to take them home.

These travelers create an ad hoc family. Their quest is not after new things, but after the old, as they seek to reconnect with their tribe. They carry with them not only new knowledge but a lot of pain after their encounter with the “stone house people.” In the spring, like the Snow Geese, they must go North.

~ Juliet Waldron


Book Reviews

The beauty of this story is almost beyond words. One sees the wonder of the landscape, smelling the pine trees and rivers and hearing the call of the snow geese and other animals.
. . . an enchanting, moving, and at times savage (but ironically not from the Indian side) story that reveres and celebrates the lives of the original people inhabiting a harsh but magnificent land of northern Canada. Great read for all ages; great historical fiction! Highly recommended as a simple yet deeply profound read!

~ Viviane Crystal

Fly Away Snow Goose is one of the best historical novels I have read in 2017. I travelled with the young lovers, shared their joy and sadness, their triumphs and failures, stumbled on paths with them and rejoiced when they continued. At times, I needed a handkerchief to wipe my tears away.
The authors, Juliet Waldron and John Wisdomkeeper, are to be congratulated on showing me the Snow Geese’s traditional way of life and sharing their legends. They are to be praised for the quality of their writing.
It is a pleasure to have read and reviewed this outstanding novel.

~ Rosemary Morris

This is a beautifully described story of the culture of some of Canada’s First People, full of native words and beliefs. The terrible experiences at the Indian School and the trek across the country through flood and starvation had me enthralled. Yaotl and Sascho are strong, believable characters.

~ Diane Scott Lewis

Wonderfully lyrical even as it shows the brutality and balm of nature, of humans against humans. I wanted to laugh at the beauty of the land, cry and smash my fist through the pages at the cruelty. This story ends happily and is good for all ages. A worthwhile read.

~ Katherine Pym

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