Author Michael Hutchinson wants to educate youth on First Nations issues with mystery novels

Growing up, Michael Hutchinson read a lot of books. His father hated TV and would sometimes remove the television from the house for entire seasons.

Back then, there were not a lot of Indigenous centric books for a young person to read.

Roughly five years ago, Hutchinson started writing a Hardy-boys style series for young readers about four inseparable cousins solving mysteries on the fictional Windy Lake First Nation.

The long-time broadcaster added modern First Nations issues and experiences in the books, as well as cultural and historical elements.

“Me being in media and being in First Nations politics for a long time, I get these questions from Canadians a lot of times about First Nations and First Nations issues. So, what I wanted to do was write a book, not only for First Nations kids to see themselves but also for young Canadians to learn about the First Nations history,” says Hutchinson on the latest episode of Face to Face.

“The one thing about history is you can know it in your head but its something completely different to understanding in your heart how that affects families and how that affects kids.”

Second Story Press has just released the fifth book in the Might Muskrats Mystery series, The Case of the Pilfered Pin.

The children’s fiction books have touched on environmental rights, murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, animal rights protestors and land issues.

Hutchinson says he was once asked by a reporter if he was trying to politicize children with the books. He says he’s trying to get the kids to care about the world around.

“Canada always professes that it wants to be this beacon of light in the world, if there was a generation that I think could become that beacon of light and try to create a true Canadian First Nations partnership over these lands, I think it is these generations coming up,” says Hutchinson.

Hutchinson spent more than a decade on television screens, much of that time at APTN National News and APTN Investigates.

In addition to be a host of the APTN National News, Hutchinson also hosted face to face and The Laughing Drum.

Over the years, he has seen a lot of changes in the coverage of Indigenous issues.

Hutchinson says seeing Anishinaabe journalist Jim Compton and his braids on the news, made him think he could be a journalist.

“You didn’t see that, you didn’t see Indigenous people on TV shows, fictional TV shows, never mind being a reporter on the news. So, that was big for me. And that’s changed. And now a days, there’s always big topics that weren’t talked about when it comes to Indigenous issues and I still think those big topics aren’t talked about and we’re talking about the results of them as compared to the core issue.”

Hutchinson is returning to hosting this month, although not on television.

He is hosting six episodes of Words and Culture, an audio series that focuses on five different languages for six episodes each.

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