Memoir

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Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: A Memoir
Format: Paperback
, 2010
  • Theodore Fontaine lost his family and freedom just after his seventh birthday, when his parents were forced to leave him at an Indian residential school by order of the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of Canada. Twelve years later, he left school frozen at the emotional age of seven. He was confused, angry and conflicted, on a path of self-destruction. At age 29, he emerged from this blackness. By age 32, he had graduated from the Civil Engineering Program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and begun a journey of self-exploration and healing.

    In this powerful and poignant memoir, Theodore examines the impact of his psychological, emotional and sexual abuse, the loss of his language and culture, and, most important, the loss of his family and community. He goes beyond details of the abuses of Native children to relate a unique understanding of why most residential school survivors have post-traumatic stress disorders and why succeeding generations of First Nations children suffer from this dark chapter in history.

    Told as remembrances described with insights that have evolved through his healing, his story resonates with his resolve to help himself and other residential school survivors and to share his enduring belief that one can pick up the shattered pieces and use them for good.

$19.95

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It Is a Good Day
Author: Corrine Hunt
Format: Paperback
, 2013
  • Olaka Iku Da Nala (It is a Good Day) -- In this book Corrine Hunt recounts the experiences surrounding the creation of the medals and the events during and after the 2010 Winter Olympics. Paperback. 86 pages.

$15.00

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L' espace de Louis Goulet
Format: Paperback
, 1976
  • When the personal papers of Louis Goulet (1859-1936) were discovered in 1973 researchers found a wealth of observations from a prairie Metis who saw his culture on the verge of change. More than a collection of memoirs, Vanishing Spaces is a plainspoken account of a nation in transition. The title is also available in its original French version, L'Espace de Louis Goulet.

$10.95

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Letters to My Grandchildren
Author: David Suzuki
Format: Hardcover
, 2015
  • In his most important book since The Sacred Balance and his most personal ever, revered activist and thinker David Suzuki draws on the experiences and wisdom he has gained over his long life and offers advice, stories, and inspiration to his six grandchildren.


    In these inspiring letters to his grandchildren, David Suzuki speaks personally and passionately about their future. He also explains why sports, fishing, feminism, and failure are important; why it is dangerous to deny our biological nature; and why First Nations must lead a revolution. He even has something to say about fashion.


    His letters are also chockfull of stories about his own childhood and anecdotes about his children and grandchildren when they were small, providing an intimate look at Suzuki's life as a father and grandfather. Most of all, as he ponders life's deepest questions and offers up a lifetime of wisdom, Suzuki inspires us all to live with courage, conviction, and passion.

$27.95

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Life Among the Qallunaat
Format: Paperback
, 2015
  • Life Among the Qallunaat is the story of Mini Aodla Freeman’s experiences growing up in the Inuit communities of James Bay and her journey in the 1950s from her home to the strange land and stranger customs of the Qallunaat, those living south of the Arctic. Her extraordinary story, sometimes humourous and sometimes heartbreaking, illustrates an Inuit woman’s movement between worlds and ways of understanding. It also provides a clear-eyed record of the changes that swept through Inuit communities in the 1940s and 1950s.

    Mini Aodla Freeman was born in 1936 on Cape Hope Island in James Bay. At the age of sixteen, she began nurse's training at Ste. Therese School in Fort George, Quebec, and in 1957 she moved to Ottawa to work as a translator for the then Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources. Her memoir, Life Among the Qallunaat, was published in 1978 and has been translated into French, German, and Greenlandic.

    Life Among the Qallunaat is the third book in the First Voices, First Texts series, which publishes lost or under appreciated texts by Indigenous writers. This reissue of Mini Aodla Freeman’s path-breaking work includes new material, an interview with the author, and an afterword by Keavy Martin and Julie Rak, with Norma Dunning.

$24.95

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Navajos Wear Nikes: A Reservation Life
Author: Jim Kristofic
Format: Hardcover
, 2011
  • Kristofic’s memoir is an honest portrait of growing up on—and growing to love—the Reservation. The text reveals the complexity of modern life on the Navajo Reservation, a world where Anglo and Navajo coexisted in a tenuous truce.

$29.95

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On the Goose: A Labrador Metis Woman Remembers
Author: Josie Penny
Format: Paperback
, 2014
  • Josie Penny's life as part of a loving Métis family in an isolated corner of Labrador changed dramatically when she was taken away to a residential school. Abused by the students, Josie became increasingly angry and isolated from her family and community as she grew into her teens. At seventeen she left for Goose Bay to make her fortune and start her own life.

    On the Goose is the story of how Josie came to terms with her feelings of helplessness and isolation as she began to understand why she could not feel or express love. Josie Penny's memoir is an inspiring true story of how love and hard work helped one woman triumph over adversity.

$26.99

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The Reason You Walk
Author: Wab Kinew
Format: Hardcover
, 2015
  • When his father was given a diagnosis of terminal cancer, Winnipeg broadcaster and musician Wab Kinew decided to spend a year reconnecting with the accomplished but distant aboriginal man who'd raised him. The Reason You Walk spans the year 2012, chronicling painful moments in the past and celebrating renewed hopes and dreams for the future. As Kinew revisits his own childhood in Winnipeg and on a reserve in Northern Ontario, he learns more about his father's traumatic childhood at residential school. An intriguing doubleness marks The Reason You Walk, a reference to an Anishinaabe ceremonial song. Born to an Anishinaabe father and a non-native mother, he has a foot in both cultures. He is a Sundancer, an academic, a former rapper, a hereditary chief, and an urban activist. His father, Tobasonakwut, was both a beloved traditional chief and a respected elected leader who engaged directly with Ottawa. Internally divided, his father embraced both traditional native religion and Catholicism, the religion that was inculcated into him at the residential school where he was physically and sexually abused. In a grand gesture of reconciliation, Kinew's father invited the Roman Catholic bishop of Winnipeg to a Sundance ceremony in which he adopted him as his brother. Kinew writes affectingly of his own struggles in his twenties to find the right path, eventually giving up a self-destructive lifestyle to passionately pursue music and martial arts. From his unique vantage point, he offers an inside view of what it means to be an educated aboriginal living in a country that is just beginning to wake up to its aboriginal history and living presence.
    Invoking hope, healing and forgiveness, The Reason You Walk is a poignant story of a towering but damaged father and his son as they embark on a journey to repair their family bond. By turns lighthearted and solemn, Kinew gives us an inspiring vision for family and cross-cultural reconciliation, and a wider conversation about the future of aboriginal peoples.

$32.00

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The Sasquatch at Home
Author: Eden Robinson
Format: Paperback
, 2011
  • In March 2010 the Canadian Literature Centre hosted award-winning novelist and storyteller Eden Robinson at the 4th annual Henry Kreisel Lecture. Robinson shared an intimate look into the intricacies of family, culture, and place through her talk, "The Sasquatch at Home." Robinson's disarming honesty and wry irony shine through her depictions of her and her mother's trip to Graceland, the potlatch where she and her sister received their Indian names, how her parents first met in Bella Bella (Waglisla, British Columbia) and a wilderness outing where she and her father try to get a look at b'gwus, the Sasquatch. Readers of memoir, Canadian literature, Aboriginal history and culture, and fans of Robinson's delightful, poignant, sometimes quirky tales will love The Sasquatch at Home.

$10.95

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Up From These Hills: Memories of a Cherokee Boyhood
Format: Paperback
, 2011
  • Born into a storied but impoverished family on the reservation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Leonard Carson Lambert Jr.’s candid memoir is a remarkable story and an equally remarkable flouting of the stereotypes that so many tales of American Indian life have engendered.
    Up from These Hills provides a grounded, yet poignant, description of what it was like to grow up during the 1930s and 1940s in the mountains of western North Carolina and on a sharecropper’s farm in eastern Tennessee. Lambert straightforwardly describes his independent, hardworking, and stubborn parents; his colorful extended family; his eighth-grade teacher, who recognized his potential and first planted the idea that he might attend college; as well as siblings, schoolmates, and others who shaped his life. He paints a vivid picture of life on the reservation and off, documenting work, family life, education, religion, and more. Up from These Hills also tells the true story of how this family rose from depression-era poverty, a story rarely told about Indian families. With its utterly unique voice, this vivid memoir evokes an unknown yet important part of the American experience, even as it reveals the realities behind Indian experience and rural poverty in the first half of the twentieth century.

$28.50

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Washing at the Creek
Author: Frances Riviere
Format: Paperback
, 2008
  • Frances Riviere was born during the Depression and raised in rural Alberta, the daughter to a stoic mother and an itinerant Metis father. As a memoir of her early years, Washing at the Creek is both a clear-eyed document of a hardscrabble life in the 30's and 40's and a deep exploration of family tensions, great challenges and growing strength.

    The narrative speaks of endurance and the resiliency of the human spirit. The book is also a journey towards healing. And that makes it worth the read.Prairie Fire Magazine

$19.95

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You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir
Author: Sherman Alexie
Traditional Territory: Spokane
Format: Hardcover
, 2017
  • A searing, deeply moving memoir about family, love, loss, and forgiveness from the critically acclaimed, bestselling National Book Award-winning author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

    Family relationships are never simple. But Sherman Alexie's bond with his mother Lillian was more complex than most. She plunged her family into chaos with a drinking habit, but shed her addiction when it was on the brink of costing her everything. She survived a violent past, but created an elaborate facade to hide the truth. She selflessly cared for strangers, but was often incapable of showering her children with the affection that they so desperately craved. She wanted a better life for her son, but it was only by leaving her behind that he could hope to achieve it. It's these contradictions that made Lillian Alexie a beautiful, mercurial, abusive, intelligent, complicated, and very human woman.

    When she passed away, the incongruities that defined his mother shook Sherman and his remembrance of her. Grappling with the haunting ghosts of the past in the wake of loss, he responded the only way he knew how: he wrote. The result is a stunning memoir filled with raw, angry, funny, profane, tender memories of a childhood few can imagine, much less survive. An unflinching and unforgettable remembrance, YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME is a powerful, deeply felt account of a complicated relationship.

$36.50

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