In 1993 I was in Montreal at a place called CINAR FILMS LTD. They were filming my storytelling video called “A DRAGON TALE”. The filming involved using a live audience of kids. Two kids came early, like an hour early, and they were sitting around a very chaotic TV studio while everyone ignored them. (TV people never know what to do with real kids).
I try never to pass up an audience of kids, so I started telling stories to them. They both had on a sort of ribbon shirt with ribbons that went almost to the ground. The story “Ribbon Rescue” was made up about Jillian and her ribbon dress.
Then lots of kids came and we started filming and I lost track of Jillian.
Later I remembered the story and I wrote it down, only I didn’t know Jillian’s last name or where she lived; so I sent the story to CINAR because I figured they had brought in the storytelling audience from somewhere and they might be able to track down Jillian.
About three months later I got a letter from Jillian’s mother telling me that Jillian was a Mohawk from the Kahnawake Reserve across the river from Montreal. Her ribbon dress was a traditional Mohawk dress and was the kind of thing that Mohawk kids wear when they want to get really dressed up. Jillian sent me a drawing of herself in a ribbon dress.
Years later when I wanted to make the story into a book, I went to Kahnawake and visited Jillian’s family. I took pictures of their house and the church in Kahnawake to use in the book. Just before the book came out, Jillian sent me her grade 8 graduation picture. She was wearing a ribbon dress.
Near the end of February,1999, I went back to Kahnawake and had a book signing. Both Jillian and I signed books. Lots of the kids had Mohawk names which are often long and interesting; for example: Karahkwenha:wi and Tekahentahkhwa and Sha’teichseri:io and Kahnhehsentha and Lako’tá:rauen and Wahshokwiiosthe. It was a lot of fun.