How the Cougar Came to be Called the Ghost Cat/Ta’n Petalu Telui’tut Skite’kmujewe

By Michael James Isaac  Illustrated by Dozay (Arlene) Christmas  

Paperback $12.95

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The human need to belong is very powerful, so much so that we often sacrifice parts of who we are in order to be accepted. This is the tale of a young cougar, Ajig, who makes this sacrifice – and pays dearly. A curious and adventurous cougar, Ajig decides to build a new home in a strange forest. When he finds that all of the animals in the forest are afraid of him, Ajig agrees to stop behaving like a cougar so that he can make friends. But when Ajig tries to return to his birthplace, he learns that he is no longer welcome. Lost between two worlds, the young cougar becomes a “ghost cat.” This beautifully illustrated book, written in both Mi’kmaw and English, reflects the experiences of First Nations peoples’ assimilation into the Euro-Canadian school system, but speaks to everyone who is marginalized or at risk.


  • Michael James Isaac

    Michael J. Isaac is Mi’kmaw from the Listuguj First Nation. Michael began his career as a law enforcement officer, serving his community for ten years and later four communities in Cape Breton for an additional three years. After leaving law enforcement, Michael attended university, obtaining a B.A. from Cape Breton University as well as a B.Ed. and M.Ed. from St. Francis Xavier University. Michael also worked for various federal departments in Ottawa including as an analysist for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). He was a grade five teacher for the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board for seven years and a consultant for the Department of Education in Nova Scotia for two years. Michael is an advocate for Indigenizing curriculum within the public and First Nation school systems. He has instructed university courses at Acadia, Cape Breton University and McGill. Michael is presently principal of New Richmond High School within the Eastern Shores School Board, Quebec. He is the author of two books published in English and Mi’kmaw which speak to the importance of identity, acceptance and experiences of Indigenous peoples — How the Cougar Came to be Called the Ghost Cat / Ta’n Petalu Telui’tut Skite’kmujewey and The Lost Teachings / Panuijkatasikl Kina’masuti’l. Both books are also published in French and Mi’kmaw as Comment le Puma a fini par être appelé le Chat Fantôme / Ta’n Petalu Telui’tut Skite’kmujewey and Les Savoirs Perdus / Panuijkatasikl Kina’masuti’l. The Anglophone and Francophone school boards within Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have embraced the books, which provide many lessons and have included them as resources for their curriculum.

  • Dozay (Arlene) Christmas

    Dozay (Arlene) Christmas has spent much of her life cultivating her passion for art. Growing up in western New Brunswick on the Tobique Reserve, Dozay is the middle child of a large family. At eighteen, she left the banks of the Tobique to pursue formal education at NSCAD, and although she had always displayed an interest in art, her intention had initially been to pursue a career in education. It wasn’t until her third year at NSCAD, with encouragement from several important individuals, that Dozay decided to switch to the fine arts program and pursue a full-time career as an artist. Since making that decision, Dozay has created and displayed her artwork at galleries and exhibits across the Maritimes, Ontario and the United States.

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