The purpose for Spirit of the Island:  Manitoulin’s People - Ezhi-minidoowang Minis:  Minidoo-wining Bemaadizijig is to: i) continue language revitalization - it is written in both English and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway) within one book; ii) provide the reader with first-person stories gathered from local island people; and iii) relate academic information connected to the stories (explained below).  This book exposes the reader to critical information about the accurate history and contemporary situations of Indigenous Peoples of this specific area (Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada) as well as the dynamic between Indigenous and Settler relations at a macro level.

First-person voice is the most powerful tool to convey meaning in almost any context.  From there, the empirical and objective (i.e. academic) data adds context and details for discussion and when used as a text, for essay and research topics.  For example, there are personal stories of experiences in the Residential School System, the Treaty legacy, and living with the Indian Act.  Following each personal story are:  i) “Author’s Notes” that detail the main issues targeted in the story; and ii) a list of resources.  Additionally, first-person accounts from island Elders and students connect to those of the contributors. 

Recommendations for Spirit of the Island:  Manitoulin’s People - Ezhi-minidoowang Minis:  Minidoo-wining Bemaadizijig

“Rhonda has exquisitely captured the spirit of the island in her book. Through the biographies, personal stories, maps, poems, pictures, works of art by local artists - she paints a vivid picture of the people and their love for their home and the effects of Indian residential school experience. This is a book about the sustaining power of love.”

            Prof. D. Newhouse, Chair, Indigenous Studies, Trent University, Peterborough, ON.


"This book blends the personal experiences of the contributing writers with the academic background of the author.  Together, there is a union that brings important, crucial, data to the general public and more specifically to students who may use this book to compliment their studies. The fact that it is translated into Ojibway creates great strides to revitalizing the language."

            Dr. Linda Skilton, Dean, Fleming College, Lindsay, Ontario.

*Approved as Required Reading at Trent University*


Spirit of the Island:
Manitoulin’s People

Ezhi-minidoowang Minis:
Minidoo-wining Bemaadizijig



Dr. Rhonda L. Paulsen

Translators:  Prof. Shirley I. Williams-Pheasant and Isadore Toulouse



How I Am Thankful /   Ezhi-miigwechiwendimaa


The adage:  “Nothing exists in a vacuum” is most appropriate for the planning and development of this book.  Spirit of the Island:  Manitoulin’s People has come to fruition because of the support I have from family, friends, colleagues, and community.  There has been much encouragement given on this journey, from the early formation at the conceptual level, to receiving responses from community members of their personal contributions, to the writing and translation process along the way. 

Most significant is the participation of my dear friend and colleague Elder Shirley I. Williams-Pheasant, who generously offered to be the lead translator so that our efforts towards the revitalization of the Ojibway language can continue.  My special thanks are also extended to the Trent Symons Awards committee who supported this initiative.  To all who have patiently listened at length to my ideas and goals, to those who have assisted by way of photography (Elizabeth J. Thipphawong), banner art work (Laura L. Thipphawong), proofing (Elizabeth Patricia Paulsen and Linda Skilton), contributing personal stories (contributors are listed with their respective biographies at the conclusion of this book), and the translation team (Elder Shirley I. Williams-Pheasant with Isadore Toulouse) - I offer my most sincere appreciation. 

Thank you!  Miigwech!                                       Rhonda