Elizabeth Quocksister

Keeper of History

By (author): Haley Healey
Illustrated by: Kimiko Fraser
ISBN 9781772034844
Hardcover | Publication Date: May 14, 2024
Book Dimensions: 9 in. x 9 in.
32 Pages
$19.95 CAD
E-Book Price: $9.99 CAD

About the Book

The uplifting true story of Elizabeth Quocksister, a strong Indigenous woman and community leader, who dedicated her life to protecting her language and cultural traditions.

Elizabeth Quocksister (1925–81) had many roles in her life. She was a cultural teacher, a community leader, a dancer, a nurse, a photographer, a residential school survivor, and a mother of ten. Born on the Da’naxda’xw Nation on Knight Inlet on the central coast of British Columbia, Elizabeth spoke fluent Kwak’wala and proudly celebrated her Kwakwaka’wakw culture at a time when the Canadian government actively discouraged Indigenous traditions and the speaking of Indigenous languages. She cared for community members in need and saved many children from the horrors of residential school. She chronicled the daily lives, important events, and changing times of her community through photography—preserving her people’s history and culture for future generations.

Elizabeth Quocksister: Keeper of History is an inspiring picture book and beautiful tribute to a proud Indigenous woman whose name deserves to be well-known throughout her community and beyond.

About the Author(s)

Haley Healey is a high school counsellor, registered clinical counsellor, and the bestselling author of of books for all ages about extraordinary historical women. Her books include the Trailblazing Canadians series; Her Courage Rises (a finalist for the 2023 Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize); On Their Own Terms: True Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island; and Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island. A self-proclaimed trailblazing woman herself, she enjoys exploring Vancouver Island’s trails, waters, and wilderness. She has an avid interest in wild places and lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Kimiko Fraser is an illustrator and historian-in-training. She grew up constantly making—drawing, painting, knitting, sculpting, bookbinding, etc.—and has never learned how to stop. She is the illustrator of Her Courage Rises: 50 Trailblazing Women of British Columbia and the Yukon and the Trailblazing Canadians Series. She holds a bachelor of arts (honours History, major Visual Arts) from the University of Victoria. She works with many mediums to create her illustrations, including watercolour, digital, ink, and tea. Most of her work is inspired by her interest in plants, history, and folktales.

Tsahaukuse, George Quocksister Jr. is a Hereditary Chief of the Laichkwiltach Nation and the son of Elizabeth and George Quocksister. He is a passionate advocate for the protection of wild salmon as a crucial part of his culture and the food security of his people, and is working to ban the practice of salmon farming on the west coast. He lives in Campbell River, BC. Photo credit: Emilee Gilpin

Reviews

“Elizabeth’s story is one of beauty and persistence, one that humanizes our lived experiences as Indigenous people. Her dedication to Kwakwaka'wakw culture and language, and her affinity for photographing the early days of our community shows us where we come from and how we adapted to life under the Indian Act.”
—Sonny Assu (Ligwiłda’xw of the Kwakwaka'wakw Nations), artist, author of Sonny Assu: A Selective History
“This book, conveyed through beautiful imagery, is a powerful tribute to the legacy of Elizabeth Quocksister. It is a must-read primer for anyone looking to understand the traditional role of Indigenous women as 'keepers of history'."
—Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament and Leader of the Green Party of Canada
“An important celebration of knowledge-keeper, photographic documentarian, and heroic Kwakwaka’wakw matriarch, Elizabeth Quocksister. Quocksister’s lifetime of vital contributions to cultural and community preservation, revitalization, and practice receives its due recognition in this reverent and inspiring story.”
—Christy Jordan-Fenton, award-winning co-author of Fatty Legs
“A glimpse into a history of a people through the lens of one of our own relatives is an inspiration. Elizabeth Quocksister: Keeper of History is beautifully written by Haley Healy and the delightful illustrations by Kimiko Fraser show the reader this small glimpse into the life of an amazing Indigenous woman, wife, and mother.”
—Simon Daniel James aka WINADZI, Indigenous artist and co-creator of "Raven Tales"