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Language and Culture (13-17)

New Métis children’s book offers connecting through storytelling

April 26, 2024

The children’s author says she wanted any Métis person reading it to see a reflection of themselves.

Image: Supplied 

APTN News: Tasha Hilderman is the author of a new children’s book Métis Like Me about being Métis that she wrote after seeing new parents online looking for resources to teach their kids about their heritage.

Hilderman says she grew up knowing her aunt was a proud member of the Métis nation, but her mother didn’t talk about being Métis. Hilderman felt disconnected from that part of her identity growing up, but she is now a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta.

“So I just started thinking about ‘Métis Like Me’, so I am Métis but I don’t know how to fiddle. Someone else may not know how to bead,” says Hilderman.

As a mother of three she became interested in her background and passing on stories to her own children.

Through research online and connecting with community through classes in southern Alberta, Hilderman noticed that many other people seemed to feel the way that she did—nervous about how to celebrate her culture.

Image from Métis Like Me showing a granddaughter sewing with her grandma
Image: Supplied

Inspired by the idea of passing along her culture, Hilderman, who also owns a greenhouse and café in Lloydminster, decided to make a book.

The book moved through a lot of Métis cultural activities like fishing, making bannock and picking berries.

 “People in Facebook groups I am a part of would be wondering if they were allowed to celebrate their culture,” says Hilderman.

“So I started writing about it and found Tundra Books [the publisher] and they were really excited about it,” says Hilderman.

The images in the book are by Risa Hugo, who is a Japanese-Canadian. Hilderman says they looked for a Métis illustrator but ended up connecting with Hugo who said she could relate to the aspect of being bi-racial.

“I really wanted all the children In the book to be of different coloured skin toes and different coloured hair,” says Hilderman. She says this reflects her own family, some of whom are pale and some who have darker skin.

“I really wanted anybody that was Métis and who was looking at these pictures to be able to see themselves.”

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