Where Is the Voice Coming From? Summary (Rudy Wiebe)

Rudy Wiebe


(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“Where Is the Voice Coming From?” raises the question of how an author can make a story tell the truth when basing his or her work on so-called facts that do not agree. The story is written in the narrator’s voice, which may well be taken as the author’s own voice, as he ponders the various historical traces of an event that occurred more than one hundred years ago.

A young Cree Indian, Jean-Baptiste, best known as Almighty Voice, is arrested for stealing and killing a stray cow owned by the U.S. government. He is held in the police guardroom at Duck Lake, Saskatchewan Territory, in the charge of Constable R. C. Dickson. Somehow he manages to escape. Dickson is later cited for negligence and punished.

While being pursued, Almighty Voice shoots and kills Sergeant Colin Campbell near Prince Albert, after warning him three times not to advance. Almighty Voice becomes a much-wanted fugitive. Although a reward of five hundred dollars is offered for his capture, he succeeds in eluding his pursuers for more than eighteen months.

The escape ends in a standoff on May 27, 1897. On a poplar bluff near the Minnechinas Hills in the Prince Albert District, Almighty Voice and two friends face an armed force of more than one hundred police officers, civilians, and Prince Albert volunteers. With two Winchester rifles between them, the three fugitives manage to kill two police officers and one civilian volunteer, while, incredibly, holding...

(The entire section is 531 words.)