Startled, Mishbee gasped, frozen with horror. She was staring down the barrel of a musket and was familiar with the sound those weapons made. The young girl knew muskets meant death. At the beginning of the nineteenth century in Newfoundland, the Beothuks, a First Nations people, have been decimated by disease, and their numbers dwindle further as they are hunted and persecuted relentlessly by European settlers. Young Mishbee, her older sister Oobata, and Oobata's baby struggle courageously on Exploits Island against tuberculosis, misunderstanding, and prejudice. Mishbee tries to maintain the traditions of her people as she slowly befriends a young settler named John and attempts to bridge the deadly gulf between their two cultures. But has the friendship blossomed too late? Will Mishbee and John be able to show the settlers that the Beothuks arent a threat before they disappear completely?
Heather Down has had numerous short stories and articles published in such magazines as Canadian Owl Family, Guide, and Canadian Living. With Wintertickle Press she has published a number of books, including The Reluctant Drama Teacher series and 10 Terrific Music Projects for Intermediate Students. For 15 years Down was an award-winning schoolteacher. She lives in Barrie, Ontario.