Stories of Inspiration

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#IdleNoMore: And the Remaking of Canada
Author: Ken Coates
Format: Paperback
, 2015
  • Idle No More bewildered many Canadians. Launched by four women in Saskatchewan in reaction to a federal omnibus budget bill, the protest became the most powerful demonstration of Aboriginal identity in Canadian history. Thousands of aboriginal people and their supporters took to the streets, shopping malls, and other venues, drumming, dancing, and singing in a collective voice.

    It was a protest against generations of injustice, a rallying cry for cultural survival, and a reassertion of Aboriginal identity.

    Idle No More lasted for almost a year, and then the rallies dissipated. Many observers described it as a spent force. It was anything but. Idle No More was the most profound declaration of Indigenous identity and confidence in Canadian history, sparked by Aboriginal women and their supporters, sustained by young Indigenous peoples, filled with pride and determination. When the drums slowed, a new and different Canada was left in its wake. Partially stunned by the peaceful celebrations, but perplexed by a movement that seemed to have no centre and no leaders, most Canadians missed the point.

    Through Idle No More, Aboriginal people have declared that they are a vital and necessary part of Canada's future. The spirit of the drumming, singing and dancing lives on in empowered and confident young Aboriginal people who will shape the future of this country for decades to come.

$27.95

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Aboriginal Oral Traditions
Author:
Format: Paperback
, 2008
  • Oral traditions are a distinct way of knowing and the means by which knowledge is reproduced, preserved and transferred from generation to generation. The conference from which these essays were selected created an opportunity for people to come together and exchange information and experiences over three days. The scholarship may be grouped into three broad areas: oral traditions and knowledge of the environment, economy, education and/or health of communities; oral traditions and continuance of language and culture; and the effects of intellectual property rights, electronic media and public discourse on oral traditions.

$27.95

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Akaitsinikssiistsi: Blackfoot Stories of Old
Format: Paperback
, 2014
  • This collection of eight stories represents an introduction to Niits'powahsini, the Blackfoot language, and includes a pronunciation guide and Blackfoot-to-English glossary.

    In these stories Ikkinainihki, "Gentle Singer," recalls events from childhood and tells of her Elders, the cold weather of the Plains, a crying spirit, rattlesnakes, and more. This collection opens with a prayer and a small essay on the importance of preserving Niitsi'powahsini.

    Blackfoot Stories of Old will be of great value to native speakers, new learners, linguists, and those looking for insights into the Blackfoot people, who live in present-day Alberta and Montana.

$24.95

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Angel Wing Splash Pattern
Format: Paperback
, 2004
  • Richard Van Camp is one of the "most promising" young writers in Canada. In this first collection of short stories, Richard demonstrates the range of his talent and the pursuit of excellence in his craft as a writer and storyteller. Honoring his Dogrib ancestry and celebrating life in northern Canada, the stories in Angel Wing Splash Pattern are playful, moving, and starkly honest in their portrayal of contemporary Native life. Angel Wing Splash Pattern also explores the healing going on in Indian country. There is pain in these stories and there is loss. there is death, but there is also rebirth, and there is always the search from each of the narrators for personal truth. Readers will recognize Larry Sole from The Lesser Blessed in his story "How I Saved Christmas", but there are new voices here, new secrets, from new characters in communities across the north and the south, yet they are all linked by themes of hope, the spirit of friendship, and hunger.

$17.95

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Bearskin Diary
Author: Carol Daniels
Format: Paperback
, 2015
  • Raw and honest, Bearskin Diary gives voice to a generation of First Nations women who have always been silenced, at a time when movements like Idle No More call for a national inquiry into the missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Carol Daniels adds an important perspective to the Canadian literary landscape.


    Taken from the arms of her mother as soon as she was born, Sandy was only one of over twenty thousand Aboriginal children scooped up by the federal government between the 1960s and 1980s. Sandy was adopted by a Ukrainian family and grew up as the only First Nations child in a town of white people. Ostracized by everyone around her and tired of being different, at the early age of five she tried to scrub the brown off her skin. But she was never sent back into the foster system, and for that she considers herself lucky.


    From this tragic period in her personal life and in Canadian history, Sandy does not emerge unscathed, but she emerges strong--finding her way by embracing the First Nations culture that the Sixties Scoop had tried to deny. Those very roots allow Sandy to overcome the discriminations that she suffers every day from her co-workers, from strangers and sometimes even from herself.

$21.95

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Carrying on "Irregardless"
Format: Paperback
, 2013
  • Carrying on "Irregardless" is a handsomely illustrated paperback based on the first exhibition to focus on humour in Northwest Coast First Nations art. The show, mounted by the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver is titled after one of Bill Reid's favourite deliberate grammatical blunders that were part of the sense of humour that, as Martine J. Reid says in her introduction, "was perhaps a part of his survival kit, as it often seems to be for First Nations people."

    Within this book are the photographed artworks of twenty-eight prominent Northwest Coast artists, including such varied approaches to humour as a rare prehistoric Coast Salish bowl featuring a smiling face carved from stone, a 1990s etching depicting Raven and the First Men Overlooking Wreck Beach (to catch a glimpse at all the nudists, of course!) and a pair of red and yellow cedar bark high heels titled Too Haida. Collected here are artworks that act as political weapons, bold challenges to stereotypes, and nods to the Trickster. They satirize, ridicule and play. And, above all, they make us laugh, and think, and laugh again.

    Accompanying the work are descriptions, quips and jokes from the artists themselves. And preceding it stands three impassioned contextualizing essays that range from the poetic to the academic to the anecdotal, by Tahltan artist, stand-up comedian and co-curator, Peter Morin; Director of Content and Research for the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art and co-curator, Martine J. Reid; and CEO of the Bill Reid Trust and Director for the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, Mike Robinson.

$24.95

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Cedar Child: Hear the Teachings
Author: Annie Ashamock
Format: Paperback
, 2007
  • Annie Ashamock has written this stong, moving story about an Aboriginal woman’s life experiences. It is a story with a unifying theme that is shared throughout the different Aboriginal cultures of Turtle Island.

    The traditional oral teachings and method of storytelling is recreated in the accompanying bonus CD-Rom that tells the same story in two different Aboriginal languages, Cree and Ojibwe. The reader can follow along and hear the story being told in the different languages.

$24.95

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Creating Space: My Life and Work in Indigenous Education
Author: Verna Kirkness
Format: Paperback
, 2013
  • Verna J. Kirkness grew up on the Fisher River Indian reserve in Manitoba. Her childhood dream to be a teacher set her on a lifelong journey in education as a teacher, counsellor, consultant, and professor.

    As the œfirst cross-cultural consultant for the Manitoba Department of Education Curriculum Branch she made Cree and Ojibway the languages of instruction in several Manitoba schools. In the early 1970s she became the œfirst Education Director for the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs) and then Education Director for the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations). She played a pivotal role in developing the education sections of Wahbung: Our Tomorrows, which transformed Manitoba education, and the landmark 1972 national policy of Indian Control of Indian Education. These two major works have shaped First Nations education in Canada for more than 40 years.

    In the 1980s she became an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia where she was appointed Director of the Native Teacher Education Program, founded the Ts’‘Kel Graduate Program, and was a driving force behind the creation of the First Nations House of Learning. Honoured by community and country, Kirkness is a visionary who has inspired, and been inspired by, generations of students.

    Like a long conversation between friends, Creating Space reveals the challenges and misgivings, the burning questions, the successes and failures that have shaped the life of this extraordinary woman and the history of Aboriginal education in Canada.

$34.95

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Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations
Traditional Territory: Ojibway
Format: Paperback
, 2016
  • "Life sometimes is hard. There are challenges. There are difficulties. There is pain. As a younger man I sought to avoid them and only ever caused myself more of the same. These days I choose to face life head on--and I have become a comet. I arc across the sky of my life and the harder times are the friction that lets the worn and tired bits drop away. It's a good way to travel; eventually I will wear away all resistance until all there is left of me is light. I can live towards that end."

    --Richard Wagamese, Embers

    In this carefully curated selection of everyday reflections, Richard Wagamese finds lessons in both the mundane and sublime as he muses on the universe, drawing inspiration from working in the bush--sawing and cutting and stacking wood for winter as well as the smudge ceremony to bring him closer to the Creator. Embers is perhaps Richard Wagamese's most personal volume to date. Honest, evocative and articulate, he explores the various manifestations of grief, joy, recovery, beauty, gratitude, physicality and spirituality--concepts many find hard to express. But for Wagamese, spirituality is multifaceted. Within these pages, readers will find hard-won and concrete wisdom on how to feel the joy in the everyday things. Wagamese does not seek to be a teacher or guru, but these observations made along his own journey to become, as he says, "a spiritual bad-ass," make inspiring reading.

$18.95

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Every Day is a Good Day, Memorial edition: Reflections By Contemporary Indigenous Women
Author: Wilma Mankiller
Format: Paperback
, 2011
  • In this unique collection, twenty indigenous female leaders-educators, healers, attorneys, artists, elders, and activists-come together to discuss issues facing modern Native communities. Over a period of several years, Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010), first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, engaged Native women in conversation about spirituality, traditions and culture, tribal governance, female role models, love, and community. Their common life experiences, patterns of thought, and shared values gave them the freedom to be frank and open and a place of community from which to explore powerful influences on Native life.

$22.95

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Feathers and Fools
Author: Mem Fox
Format: Paperback
, 2000
  • Feathers and Fools is an allegory about how wars can begin with a simple fear of others based on misconceptions. For some time the swans and peacocks have lived peacefully by a pond. One day the peacocks begin to contemplate the differences between themselves and their neighbours. This then leads to the fear that the swans may one day change the peacock's way of life. With this fear fully ingrained in their minds, they begin to build arms against their neighbours. "We shall hurl these arrows at their throats and slaughter everyone should they ever try to change our way of life."

    Upon hearing this, the swans began to build arms against the peacocks in fear that they would be attacked. The fear grew as each group acquired more and more arms against each other. The peacocks soon mistook the action of a swan as an act of aggression and thus, a war began. "Soon cries filled the sir and blood darkened the earth." When all the feathers had settled, there were no birds to be found, both swans and peacocks had been destroyed.

    Foxs antiwar story touches on a common issue many nations face and how humans handle the concept of war. As history has revealed, humans have begun wars often times with very little knowledge of their opponents on the battlefield. The author artfully displays how mankind, although similar in many ways can decimate each other because of our lack of knowledge of the similarities amongst all groups. At the end of the story, Fox gives us a hopeful ending with the hatching of a lone peacock and a lone swan. These young birds meet and notice how similar they are and soon become friends. "So off they went together, in peace and unafraid, to face the day and share the world." Fox recognizes that present and future generations hold the keys to ending war.

    The main characters, swans and peacocks are interchangeable with any nation, country, or people who have endured wars and their aftermaths. The book also emphasizes the importance of learning from history and not repeating it. Illustrator Nicholas Wiltons paintings bring out the beauty of the worlds of the peacock and swan. With acrylic jewel tone paints, he captures the beauty of the peacocks bright feathers and the swans graceful profile. As the story progresses, you can see the changes of the birds body language and actions helping bring emphasis on how the building toward war changes reactions and opinions of the two sides. The paintings were created to evoke the feeling of a folktale or fable with its aged looks and block style borders. Feathers and Fools is a wonderful book that could open the possibility for the discussion of topics such as war, the arms race, and similarities amongst people and their ways of lives. This book could be used at all levels for discussion.

$11.99

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From Bombs to Books: The Remarkable Stories of Refugee Children and Their Families at an Exceptional Canadian School
Author: David Starr
Format: Paperback
, 2011
  • David Starr is the principal of one of the most diverse elementary schools in Canada. The students at Edmonds Community School in Burnaby, BC come from all over the world. Their parents are often refugees who have fled some of the most dangerous places on earth -- places like Sudan, the Congo, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Afghanistan, and Iraq. And like their parents, these children have often witnessed harrowing events before finding safety in Canada.

    In From Bombs to Books, David Starr shares the deeply moving stories of his students, their parents, and the staff at Edmonds. He describes the upheavals many of these families have undergone. He tells us about the teachers and other support workers who have embraced them and dedicated themselves to making a different in their lives. And he introduces his students, who are surprisingly hopeful and resilient, despite the many traumas they have faced.

    Sometimes funny, sometimes touching and inspirational, From Bombs to Books shares the remarkable stories of the children, the families, and the staff at an exceptional Canadian school.

$22.95

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From Lishamie
Author: Albert Canadien
Traditional Territory: Dene
Format: Paperback
, 2010
  • With astonishing detail, Albert Canadien fondly recounts his boyhood years in Lishamie, a traditional Dene camp north of the Mackenzie River, and reflects on the devastating and long-lasting impact residential schooling had on him, his family and his people. Separated at a young age from his parents and forced to attend a strict Catholic boarding school, the author—and many like him—was robbed of his language, community and traditional way of living. From Lishamie is a candid memoir of loss and of the journey back.

$22.95

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Gift of Power: The Life and Teachings of a Lakota Medicine Man
Format: Paperback
, 1992
  • With surprising candor, Archie Fire Lame Deer describes the magic and power of the Native American spirit life. Archie's compelling narrative recaptures his boyhood years under the tutelage of his medicine-man grandfather on a South Dakota farm. We follow him from Catholic school runaway to Army misfit, from bartender to boozer, from Hollywood stuntman to chief rattlesnake catcher of the state of South Dakota. And we exult with him when he comes home to the world of spirit.

$24.95

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God is Red: A Native View of Religion, 30th Anniversary Edition
Format: Paperback
, 2003
  • First published in 1972, Vine Deloria Jr.'s God Is Red remains the seminal work on Native religious views, asking new questions about our species and our ultimate fate. Celebrating 3 decades in publication with a special 30th-anniversary edition, this classic work reminds us to learn "that we are a part of nature, not a transcendent species with no responsibilities to the natural world." It is time again to listen to Vine Deloria Jr.'s powerful voice, telling us about religious life that is independent from Christianity and that reveres the interconnectedness of all living things.

$24.50

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