A portal to the past

Photo courtesy Miriam Koerner

La Ronge author tells the story of life in the north in new book

Miriam Koerner didn’t set out to write a book about dog sledding and life in the north, she just sort of fell into it.

The La Ronge resident is holding a book launch at the John Ceulenaire Public Library Saturday for Yellow Dog, her young adult novel about life in Saskatchewan’s north.

“It’s a novel set in northern Saskatcehwan, in a fictional community, but it was inspired by my experiences living in la Ronge and the people I met, and about having sled dogs,” Koerner said when reached by phone Tuesday.

Koerner often travels by sled dog. It’s on these travels that she first started hearing an oral history of northern experiences with sled dog teams.

“There’s not many dog teams out here anymore, and quite often when we travel by dog team, we meet people on the trail, usually on skidoos, and they stop when they see us,” she said.

“They look at our dogs and say ‘ oh nice dog team you’ve got. I used to have dogs,’ and they start telling me their stories. I got curious about the dogs as working dogs before we had skidoos up here. I thought about doing a bit of research, and there wasn’t much to find in the history books, so the information really came from these stories. I made a point to seek out people who used to have dogs and find out what life was like.”

Eventually, Koerner had this large collection of stories, but she wasn’t sure what to do with it.

That’s when she started writing Yellow Dog.

For more on this story, please see the Feb. 1 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.