My Little Ogichidaa: An Indigenous Lullaby by Métis author Willie Poll is a delightful children’s book. It’s a celebration of Indigenous love, resilience, and also about the profound hopes of a parent for their soon-to-be-born Warrior.

Inspired by Indigenous motherhood, author Willie Poll invites readers to explore the compelling dreams and hopes of an Indigenous parent for their child. My Little Ogichidaa is not just a story; it’s an immersive experience and a powerful legacy passed down through generations.

The word Ogichidaa, translating to “Warrior” in Anishinaabemowin, is not just a term; it’s a tribute to Indigenous families proudly raising their children with resilience, strength, and kindness while preserving their culture and language.

Willie Poll - Medicine Wheel Publishing - Indigenous Author - My Little Ogichidaa

About the Author…

Willie Poll (2023 Indigenous Voices Award-nominated author) is a Métis storyteller from the Robinson Huron Treaty Territory (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada) and a proud member of the Métis Nation of Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies and a Master of Arts in Archaeology. She grew up with a close relationship with her Métis grandpa who filled her with stories that connected her to her ancestors and culture.

She is also the director of the Moose Hide Campaign, an organization focused on ending violence against women and children. You can learn more here.

Willie has also worked in Indigenous education across the Nation for over 10 years. Her stories are her feelings, emotions, and her tribute to the youth in her life. Willie currently resides on Prince Edward Island as a guest on the traditional lands of the Wabanaki and Mi’kma’ki people; however, she lives a nomadic lifestyle and has had the opportunity to be a guest in many places across Turtle Island.

About the Illustrator…

Hawlii Pichette, a Mushkego Cree artist from Fort Albany FN, Treaty 9, lends her talent to the book with beautiful woodlands-style illustrations, adding a visual richness that complements Poll’s narrative.

Born and raised in the small community of Cochrane, located in northeastern Ontario, her work is deeply influenced by her culture, upbringing, and reflects the beautiful interconnections of the natural world.

Her practice includes illustrations, digital artwork, paintings and murals. She graduated from Fanshawe College’s advanced Fine Art program with Honours in 2017, receiving the Satellite Award exhibition. She is also known for a series of Indigenous colouring pages that she illustrates and shares on her website.

We wanted to learn more from Willie about this beautiful journey into children’s publishing…

How did your involvement in the Moose Hide Campaign, a grassroots movement aimed at ending violence against women and children, inspire the creation of My Little Ogichidaa?

Willie: A huge part of the inspiration for the story came from the co-founder Raven Lacerte, as well as her aunties, sister, and just the powerhouse matriarchs within their family. I recall a moment where I was watching Raven speak at Moose Hide Campaign Day She stood on stage with thousands of people watching. She stood in her power with her little one by her side and pregnant with her second. That is what decolonisation looks like – it looks like Indigenous women leading and being heard while their young ones watch and learn how to be future warriors. Up until then I had never seen a mother take their baby on stage with them, often you cannot have your child at work with you or in schools with you – we ask women to be mothers but leave no spaces for them. The only word I could think of in that moment was intergenerational power, and that is what My little Ogichidaa is all about.

As an Indigenous author, what unique perspectives and experiences do you bring to children’s literature that might not be found in other mainstream children books?

Willie: I think my stories bring in my own Métis perspective as someone who grew up with intergenerational trauma but didn’t know how to name it or explain it. My stories carry my own anger for what my family has lost and went through. My little Ogichidaa gives an insight into what the hopes and dreams are for my future ancestors but also gives a glimpse into what life has been like for many Indigenous people since colonization. I believe that everyone has a story to tell and I’m honoured to be able to share my thoughts, feelings, dreams, and essentially a part of who I am with the world.

How did you decide upon artist Hawlii Pichette for the illustrations?

Willie: I had been a long time fine of Hawlii’s work. Their illustrations are vibrant and she has a unique way of intertwining traditional woodland style with contemporary themes. I had been using her colouring pages for years with students and it was a dream to be able to work together to create My little Ogichidaa. I can honestly say that even as the writer, the artwork is my favourite part and I’m forever grateful to Hawlii.

My Little Ogichidaa is your third published children’s book with several more on the way. Do you have one piece of advice for anyone wanting to try writing children’s books?

Willie: I never in a million years thought I would have a book published, let alone 3. I think I just want everyone to know that their story deserves to be told. There is enough room for all our stories and writing it is the first step. Whether your story is rooted in social justice and change making or just a fun story about a magical unicorn – there is a place for it. Stories bring us joy, teach us empathy, give us windows into others lives, make us laugh; make us cry, and so much more. If you want to create, please create, there is a place for your art.

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We love this story and think it would be a great baby gift. Find out where you can order/purchase this beautiful book here. It is also available in French as well as an audiobook.

The month of June is dedicated to our Indigenous friends as we continue to listen to their stories and learn together. If you would like to experience beautiful ceremonies and traditions including Pow Wows that are happening across the nation, link HERE to learn what to do and how to attend with respect.