MOON OF THE CRUSTED SNOW

WAUBGESHIG RICE

When the power goes out in a northern Anishinaabe community in early winter, its tribal leaders aren’t initially worried, it happens frequently. But then the power stays off. A food delivery from the south does not turn up. Evan and the other community leaders begin to plan for the worst.

Then an outsider, Justin Scott, arrives, towing guns and a personal supply of booze. He states that he is a survivalist and that he can help the community. He describes chaos in the south and begs to stay, but chaos trails him anyway. His influence poisons community relations, and Evan—with his partner, Nicole, and their two young children—faces the possibility that the Anishinaabe won’t make it through the winter intact. Young girls turn up dead in the snow; suicides follow. Some of the elders die. Scott has something dark and inarticulable planned, not to mention aspirations to an unearned leadership role.

Survival is the priority, as well as maintaining community traditions and knowledge. Moon of the Crusted Snow is an uncommon dystopia.