When 11-year-old Julia begrudgingly joins a canoe trip through Canada’s Northwest Territory (NWT) to witness the signing of the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement of 2005—a self-governing agreement that granted NWT Indigenous communities autonomy over an area roughly the size of Switzerland—she knows the journey is important but is afraid of leaving the comforts of home. She also feels disconnected from the historic and cultural significance of the event for her First Nations community. But with the warmth and enthusiasm of her friends Layla and Alice, and the kindness and wise guidance of Layla’s grandparents, Julia slowly grows more confident in her purpose and in her skills and begins to thrive in the outdoors and with her community. By the time the canoe caravan arrives at the ceremony, the full joy and weight of the event resonates with the youngsters and with listeners. This brief but significant book was written to teach youth about this watershed moment, and Neema’s narration adds a relatable and immersive element. Sounds of canoe paddles, rushing water, songs, laughter, and the vibrant voices of celebration enhance the author’s casual, storyteller-like approach without overwhelming. This is a recording of significance that makes contemporary Indigenous issues relevant to listeners young and old.
— Heather Booth
See their review here