Moon on Crusted Snow – Book Study

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

Questions for reflection

Book study prepared by Gillian Schell on behalf of the Manitou Intentional Learning Community

  1. How did you respond to Evan, Nicole and Justin?
    1. Compare Justin’s way of living on the land with Evan’s
    2. Waub Rice has referred to Evan as a “rez everyman”. In what ways is this true and why is it important that he is portrayed this way?
    3. How has Evan been impacted by residential schools?
    4. In what ways are Justin’s actions characteristic of practices associated with residential schools?
    5. What special insights do we gain from Nicole’s portrayal?
  2. Reflect on the families and communities portrayed in the novel and compare them with your own experiences.
    1. What are some of the strengths and challenges of family life?
    2. What insights did you gain about children, gender roles and elders?
    3. Evan lives in a community where everyone knows everyone. What are the strengths and challenges of community life?
    4. What role does community play in survival?
  3. At the beginning of the novel, Evan apologizes for not being able to pray fluently in his native language. Evan and Nicole proudly give their children Anishinaabemowin names, Maiingan (wolf) and Nangohns (little star).
    1. What do we learn from the novel about the importance of indigenous languages?
    2. What are the connections between the language/s you speak and your identity?
  4. Ideas about land are central to the novel. How do you relate to the portrayal of the relationships between the land and the people and how does this relate to your own experience?
    1. Compare Evan and Justin’s way of living on the land with Evan’s.
    2. How has indigenous land-based knowledge been impacted by Treaties?
    3. In the United Church Creed, we commit to “living with respect in creation”. Reflect on this commitment in the light of this novel.
  5. Waub Rice has described the novel as a “post apocalyptic thriller”, a novel about “the end of the world as we know it.” Reflect on this aspect of the novel.
    1. What lessons did you take away from the novel? Think specifically about Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people and the Covid 19 pandemic.
    2. Aileen says to Evan that their community “has already experienced the apocalypse” (149). In what ways is this true?
    3. At this time of crisis, where do you see hope in the novel and in our relationships between settlers and indigenous people?
  6. The United Church of Canada is committed to “journeying with indigenous people towards mutuality, respect and equality. Towards reconciliation. Towards Justice.” https://www.united-church.ca/social-action/justice-initiatives/reconciliation-and-indigenous-justice. Reflect on this commitment in the light of this novel.
    1. What steps on this journey do we as individuals and communities of faith need to take?
    2. What are the barriers on this journey and how can they be overcome?

 

Additional Resources

Interview with Waubgeshig Rice on The First Chapter with Shelagh Rogers https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-67-the-next-chapter/clip/15642419-waubgeshig-rice-on-moon-of-the-crusted-snow

Waubgeshig Rice website https://www.waub.ca/

Ideas for worship, prayer and action: https://www.united-church.ca/worship-theme/indigenous

United Church of Canada – Commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People: http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf

Letter from Moderator Richard Bott on the Wet’suwet’en crisis: https://www.united-church.ca/sites/default/files/resources/letter_in_support_of_wetsuweten_feb_2020_0.pdf

Prayer for Wet’suwet’en:https://www.united-church.ca/prayers/prayer-wetsuweten-first-nation

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf

One Hundred Years of Loss: Healing the Legacy of Residential Schools http://100yearsofloss.ca/en/

First Nations Child and Family Healing Society https://fncaringsociety.com/welcome

We Are All Treaty People https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jb4JesjE1A

Treaty Kits produced by the Anishnaabek Nation along with additional resources prepared by the Manitou Intentional Learning Community, can be borrowed from St. Andrew’s United Church, Sudbury, st.andrewschurch@vianet.ca