A NovelBook - 2008
Abby is having trouble fitting in at Bear Creek Reserve. After having lived most of her life with her grandparents in town, it's definitely a transition moving back to the reserve. When Choom, her grandfather, falls ill, Abby must leave her best friends at school, her supportive grandparents, and her perfect pink bedroom, and adjust to living with her mom. But it's not only being back with Mom that is hard - there's a new father, John, a pesky half-brother, Blink, a schoolroom full of kids who don't know her (and don't seem to want to, either), not to mention a completely different way of life that seems so traditional, so puzzling and complicated.
But, with the help of the reserve's chief, Paulie, a puppy named Ki-Moot, and her parents' vision of a sled-dog tourist venture, Abby slowly begins to find her rhythm at Bear Creek. All she has to do is follow the dog tracks.
In Dog Tracks, Ruby Slipperjack writes the story of those who return to the reserve and rediscover their culture. The book is both a celebration of Abby's youthful determination and a series of teachings about Anishinawbe traditions, history, and culture. Woven into Abby's narrative of self-discovery, and perhaps integral to it, are the teachings of Elders and parents, knowledge of hunting, fishing, berry-picking, and living on and with the land - all drawn from Slipperjack's own knowledge of the land and her people.
Dog Tracks is a book that crosses genres: it is a tender story of an uprooted girl who finds home and self, and it is also a subtle text that gives readers a glimpse of traditional and non-traditional life on a northern Ontario reserve.