This book offers a versified retelling of a Cree legend about the Qu'Appelle Valley and the Qu'Appelle River it follows. One lake in the area is Katepwa, which means "river that calls," and Qu'Appelle is actually a shortened version of qui appelle or "who calls?" Although author David Bouchard knew of one version of the legend written by Mohawk poet Pauline Johnson, his own retelling was inspired by the story that was passed from generation to generation and to him by word of mouth.
It tells of a boy and a girl who became close friends, even before they knew how to walk or talk. Their friendship matured into sacred love. When Ikciv left to follow his fellow warriors, Witonia could not stand being alone. Upon his return to the valley, Ikciv heard a voice calling to him and he cried "Qui appelle?" He knew it was his love calling, and he rushed back, but he was too late for Witonia — she could not live without him.
Michael Lonechild is a Cree artist who was born on the White Bear Reserve. His expansive gouache paintings depict the land of that region in various seasons and the main events of the legend.