Terry Birdgenaw

Terry Birdgenaw is a long-time Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology who recently took up science fiction writing. He is also a Metis of Oji-Cree, English, Scottish, Dutch, and French-Canadian heritage, whose mother’s first cousin is a long-time lead elder of the Metis Nation of Canada. However, Terry would argue that his family assimilated into European Canadian culture by moving away from the Oji-Cree territory a few generations ago. Yet, Terry has long been fascinated by the story of his ancestor, Mistigoose, the indigenous Canadian woman who was the first to welcome a European into his family line.

Mistigoose was both a tragic figure and an inspiration for this novel and series. Her tragedy was that she drowned herself while distraught over losing her first son William, whom her British husband Robert had taken permanently to England. Against her will, the author’s fifth great-grandfather wanted to ensure their son would be eligible to receive a handsome inheritance promised to his heir. Ironically, as British law prohibited Metis from owning property, William never received his rightful inheritance, so his translocation and mother’s death were both in vain.

The translation of Mistigoose, an Oji-Cree word, inspired parts of the story in The Antunites Chronicles. In English, Mistigoose means little branch or twig. The novel’s first character, Antuna, whose own mother drowned, used a twig in a selfless effort to save her newfound friend Dinomite in Antuna’s Story. The resolution of the second book in the series, The Rise and Fall of Antocracy, also depended on the insectoids’ realization that they needed tiny insects to break down little branches to generate the new soil required to rehabilitate their spent lands.

As a neuroscientist, Terry has over 150 scientific publications, yet this trilogy is his first work of fiction. His background has allowed him to research many scientific facts to present an authentic science-based fiction story. And his growing concern for social justice and climate issues reflects his Metis indigenous roots with a shared respect for the sanctity of human life and environmental stewardship.

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