Sonderbooks Book Review of

If I Go Missing

by Brianna Jonnie with Nahanni Shingoose

art by Nshannacappo

If I Go Missing

by Brianna Jonnie with Nahanni Shingoose
art by Nshannacappo

Review posted October 29, 2021.
James Lorimer & Company, Toronto. First published in Canada in 2019. Published in the United States in 2020. 64 pages.
Review written October 7, 2020, from a library book
Starred Review

This book takes a letter written by the author to her local police station when she was 14 years old and illustrates it in graphic novel format. She noticed that Indigenous women who go missing do not get searched for as quickly or as effectively as white people who go missing.

Here’s a powerful part, with sinister pictures of men shown in the background:

I am more likely than my friends to be murdered by a person unknown to me.

I am more likely to be raped, assaulted or sexually violated.

I cannot take public transit or go for a walk without being approached or ogled at by men I do not know, even in a safe part of the city; even during the daytime.

She points out that treating Indigenous people who go missing differently than white people who go missing teaches everyone that Indigenous lives are not as valuable.

And she concludes with instructions to the police if she should go missing. It would not be from running away or by her own choice.

Provide details that humanize me, not just the colour of my hair, my height and my ethnicity.

Tell them that I have goals, dreams and aspirations and a future I want to be part of.

Do not treat me as the Indigenous person I am proud to be.

This book will haunt you. It draws your attention to an important human rights issue in a powerful way.