A is for Anishinaabe


For the first day of my A to Z Challenge, I resisted choosing the arena for the War of 1812 – America. But first what caused the conflict? Unsettled issues between the British and the United States after the War of Independence were a factor, as was the Royal Navy attempting to press gang American sailors. However, the US also thought that American settlers in the territory that would become Canada would support their invasion across the border. Canada then consisted of the maritime colonies and parts of southern Quebec and Ontario.  But let’s start with the First Nations, who were the other major players on both sides.


A is for the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe, Odawa, Potowatomi), who were among two dozen tribal nations that were involved in the conflict.

When war was declared, there were 8,410 warriors of the Western Confederacy, who included Ojibwe, Odawa, Potowatomi, Huron, Shawnee, Mississaugas, Nipissings and Algonkians. The Anishinaabe made up 7,410 of this number, an overwhelming majority. Although the Shawnee war chief Tecumseh is most associated with the war, it was the Anishinaabe that formed the majority.

The tribes met for military and political purposes and maintained relations with fellow Anishinaabeg nations (Mississauga, Algonquin, and Nipissing) from Michilimackinac, an island between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, It’s always been revered, although opinion is divided whether it is because the island is the turtle of creation or the place of origin of the spirits now called Bgoji-anishnaabensag.

Mackinac Island, William Dashwood – A Painting Commissioned by Robert McDouall

Mackinac Island, William Dashwood – A Painting Commissioned by Robert McDouall

Major General Brock, aware that there were not enough regular forces available to defend Upper Canada, suggested that capturing Michilimackinac and Detroit, from the US, would allay the suspicions of the natives who no longer trusted the British after the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1796. The chiefs constantly recalled when the Americans overpowered the Western Confederacy and the British abandoned the retreating Anishinaabeg to massacre, by locking the gates to Fort Miami.

When Brock’s forces fought alongside the Anishinaabe to secure Fort Michilimackinac, many more of the western nations joined the British.

Throughout the war, the Anishinaabe were repeatedly told that their interests would not be forgotten when peace was made. So much so that at the conclusion of the War of 1812, the Odawa suggested that the British negotiators offer the Americans a greater quantity of Anishinaabe land on the mainland in order to keep Michilimackinac in their possession.

The possibility was there, but in the end the British meekly vacated Michilimackinac to the United States. It is totally conceivable that at least a portion of upper Michigan or Wisconsin could have been set aside as an “Indian country” as the British had promised. The mechanisms were in place but not the honour. This is why the Anishinaabeg say that “we did not lose the war but we lost the peace”.

Further reading on the Anishinaabe and the War of 1812:






A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is Good

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, we blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.


My theme is ‘The War of 1812’, a military conflict, lasting for two-and-a-half years, fought by the United States of America against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, its North American colonies, and its American Indian allies. The Memoirs of a British naval officer from the war is central to my novel “Seeking A Knife” – part of the Snowdon Shadows series.


Further reading on The War of 1812:



Myth Creation


Today, Wednesday 1st April is the moment that sees great events collide – and for some that means never believe anything – there could be a prank lurking.

For me this is the first day of the Blogging from A to Z (April 2015) Challenge, the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group post, and the day when submissions open at Crooked Cat – very relevant as I am an avid Cat reader with dozens of their books on my Kindle.

After all the valuable comments from my beta readers, and the involvement of my excellent editor, Sue Barnard, I intend to be submitting “Storms Compass”, the first part of my “Gossamer Flames” saga. Whether it is suitable remains to be seen.

LATEST NEWS ON APRIL  3rd: I have decided that I will not be submitting “Storms Compass” to Crooked Cat, as (a) it is not suitable due to the overt fantasy/shamanic aspect; (b) it still needs a stronger overarching plot-line with the distinct protagonist and antagonist appearing more; (c) it’s too short still at 45,600 words..

On to IWSG and today’s insecurity – or rather an insecurity that’s been told to wait in the garden. Many experts talk about the right arcs/stages to make a novel work – and the wrong ones. Which method do you use?

I’ve been looking at my WIPs to see if the stages are in the right place. I admit that I am a plotter, but I structure as the story unfolds in my head, then scrawl notes, and then make an outline/guideline. But I don’t use arcs or stages to work anything out – when the story reaches 25% it moves on of its own accord. No forceful persuasion.

And my first drafts, especially the most recent? They are, without consciously plotting them that way, following those prescribed arcs. Why?


I recollect that Joseph Campbell, in Hero with a Thousand Faces, mentioned the ancient story tellers and how their plots were structured. He termed it the monomyth and found it in most world mythology.

Is there something in a storyteller’s makeup that allows us to instinctively weave a plot that works? Perhaps the process matures over time, the more tales we read, watch or write. How did the writers of the classics achieve this without the guidance that we have in the 21st century? Or is that where the Muses come in?

All Nine often used to come to me, I mean the Muses:
But I ignored them: my girl was in my arms.
Now I’ve left my sweetheart: and they’ve left me,
And I roll my eyes, seeking a knife or rope.
But Heaven is full of gods: You came to aid me:
Greetings, Boredom, mother of the Muse.

Epigram 27 * Venetian Epigrams (1790)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832)

 That epigram or poetic observation had a significance for Goethe that is shared by one of my characters in “Seeking A Knife”, the second novel in the Snowdon Shadows series, and at present it is positioned before the tale begins. It could even be significant that the Venetian Epigrams were published in 1790, so available to any well-bred gentleman that fought in the War of 1812, like the naval officer whose Memoirs play such a key role in “Seeking A Knife”.

As for my A to Z Challenge post, that follows once you have recovered.


Purpose of the IWSG day: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post our thoughts on our own blog. Talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. Discuss our struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with our fellow writers – aiming for a dozen new people each time.  Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
Alex Cavanaugh’s awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG are Suzanne Furness,Tonja Drecker, Toi Thomas, Rachna Chhabria, Fundy Blue, and Donna Hole!