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Drew Hayden Taylor

Drew Hayden Taylor was born on 1 July 1962 and is an Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nations. In addition to his plays and books, he has worked as a scriptwriter and documentary filmmaker. Taylor lives on the Curve Lake Reserve in Ontario.

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C'est fou comme t'as pas l'air d'en être un!
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

Cette traduction du recueil d’essais et de chroniques humoristiques de Drew Hayden Taylor, The Best of Funny, You Don’t Look Like One (2015), permet aux francophones de découvrir pour la première fois l’oeuvre unique de l’auteur ojibwe.

Après avoir fait rire (et réfléchir) de nombreux lecteurs grâce aux quatre tomes de Funny You Don’t Look Like One, Taylor a choisi de rassembler ses meilleurs textes en tant qu’observateur ojibwe aux yeux bleus. Il parvient à mettre en lumière, avec un humour intelligent et décalé, les différences entre le mode de vie des Autochtones et celui des Blancs pour briser certains stéréotypes tenaces. Esprit rusé s’il en est un, ce Trickster des temps modernes saura marquer votre imaginaire!

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Chasing Painted Horses
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Chasing Painted Horses has a magical, fable-like quality. It is the story of four unlikely friends who live in Otter Lake, a reserve north of Toronto. Ralph and his sister, Shelley, live with their parents. On the cusp of becoming teenagers, they and their friend William befriend an odd little girl, from a dysfunctional family. Danielle, a timid 10-year-old girl, draws an amazing, arresting image of a horse that draws her loose group of friends into her fantasy world. But those friends are not ready for what that horse may mean or represent. It represents everything that’s wrong in the girl’s life and everything she wished it could be. And the trio who meet her and witness the creation of the horse, are left trying to figure out what the horse means to the girl, and later to them. And how to help the shy little girl.

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6.00" x 9.00"

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Cottagers and Indians
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;
Grade Levels: University/College;

Cottagers and Indians explores the politics and issues surrounding a real-life event still occurring in the Kawartha Lakes region of Central Ontario. An Indigenous man, Arthur Copper, has taken it upon himself to repopulate the nearby lakes with wild rice, known amongst the Anishnawbe as Manoomin, much to the disapproval of the local non-Indigenous cottagers, Maureen Poole in particular. She feels the plant interferes with boating, fishing, swimming, and is generally an eyesore that brings down the property values of her cottage and those of her neighbours. Drew Hayden Taylor’s thirty-second play is a powerful dramatization of contemporary confrontations taking place between environmentalism and consumerism, Indigenous and non-Indigenous sensibilities.

Reviews
"In Cottagers and Indians, an Anishnawbe man, Arthur Copper, decides to repopulate the lakes of his home Territory with manoomin, or wild rice – much to the disapproval of the local non-Indigenous cottagers, in particular the formidable Maureen Poole. Based on real-life events in Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes region, Cottagers and Indians infuses contemporary conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous sensibilities with Drew Hayden Taylor’s characteristic warmth and humour." - Talon Books

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128 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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Crees in the Caribbean
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

A heartwarming comedy about two middle-aged First Nations seniors, Evie and Cecil, on their very first trip out of the country. Evie and Cecil reminisce and bicker as they review a lifetime together.

CECIL
So, what exactly are we going to do now that we’re here in Mexico?

EVIE
I’m so glad you asked. Supposedly there are some ancient Mayan ruins somewhere in the interior, not far from here. I thought that might be interesting.

CECIL
If you want to look at an ancient, broken-down, Indian ruin, we can go visit your cousin.


Evie and Cecil are celebrating their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. As a gift, their grown children send them on a second honeymoon – to a fabulous resort on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. The only problem is that neither have ever been out of the country, let alone off their Cree reservation. Each reacts to their new experiences differently, and something ominous seems to be bothering Cecil. Despite the sun, sand, and sea sparkling right outside the resort window, all Cecil seems to want to do is sit alone in his hotel room, idly flipping through TV channels, the curtains pulled tight. What is he worried about? Maybe there is more behind this trip than he has been told. The past, present, and future all pay the couple a visit as they acclimatize to the pleasures of Mexico –and spicy food. Mixed up in all the fun is their hotel housekeeper, Manuela. As they form a bond with this courteous young local, they help her navigate some of the troublesome situations in which she finds herself.

Cast of 1 man and 2 women.

Review
"The play is packed with wit and humour, but also packs an emotional punch. At the heart of Crees in the Caribbean is a commentary on the universality of human experiences from culture to culture; it shows that people from all parts of the world can share similar stories and experiences." — The Argus

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128 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth is the emotional story of a woman’s struggle to acknowledge her birth family. Grace, a Native girl adopted by a White family, is asked by her birth sister to return to the Reserve for their mother’s funeral. Afraid of opening old wounds, Grace must find a place where the culture of her past can feed the truth of her present. Cast  of 2 women and 2 men.

Reviews
“…this play is a very tender, engaging look at two strangers learning to be sisters…witty one-liners and snappy dialogue has crafted likeable, real characters…brings a satisfying sense of closure to the struggles of Barb and Janice/Grace. It is a welcome ending, one that reflects hope for the future – not only for these two sisters , but also for all the others who have yet to find their way home.” - Cheryl Isaacs, Aboriginal Voices.

Awards

  • James Buller Award for Playwright of the Year, 1997
  • Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, Small Theatre Division, 1996.

Educator Information
Grades 11-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the units Yes, there is Funny Stuff - Humour in First Peoples Literature and What Creates Family?

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112 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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$22.00

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Our Story: Aboriginal Voice on Canada's Past
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

A collection of original stories written by some of the country's most celebrated Aboriginal writers, and inspired by pivotal events in the country's history Asked to explore seminal moments in Canadian history from an Aboriginal perspective, these ten acclaimed authors have travelled through our country's past to discover the moments that shaped our nation and its people. Drawing on their skills as gifted storytellers and the unique perspectives their heritage affords, the contributors to this collection offer wonderfully imaginative accounts of what it's like to participate in history. From a tale of Viking raiders to a story set during the Oka crisis, the authors tackle a wide range of issues and events, taking us into the unknown, while also bringing the familiar into sharper focus. Our Story brings together an impressive array of voices Inuk, Cherokee, Ojibway, Cree, and Salish to name just a few from across the country and across the spectrum of First Nations. These are the novelists, playwrights, journalists, activists, and artists whose work is both Aboriginal and uniquely Canadian. Brought together to explore and articulate their peoples experience of our country's shared history, these authors grace, insight, and humour help all Canadians understand the forces and experiences that have made us who we are.
Maria Campbell, Tantoo Cardinal,Tomson Highway, Drew Hayden Taylor, Basil Johnston Thomas King, Brian Maracle, Lee Maracle, Jovette Marchessault, Rachel Qitsualik

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Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

An uproariously funny and sharply inquisitive new play from one of Canada’s leading Indigenous playwrights, Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion explores the possibility of reconciliation between Peoples and urgently questions past and contemporary forms of Canadian colonialism. Taylor’s twenty-seventh play, Sir John A’s characters include Canada’s infamous first Prime Minister, red-nosed and pompous, full of patriarchal contempt for those “strange and perplexing Indians,” and his contemporary accusers: two Ojibway men and a soul-searching white woman. 

Bobby Rabbit, Sir John A’s irked, Anishinaabe main character, in a fit of anger and revenge, convinces his friend Hugh to accompany him on a “sojourn of justice”: to dig up Sir John A. Macdonald’s bones and hold them for ransom. Decades before, a medicine pouch belonging to Bobby’s grandfather was taken away by the staff of the residential school where he was detained. The precious object was sent to a British Museum exhibition room for conservation – and now Bobby wants it repatriated. Along the way the pair pick up Anya, a young, bright, and opinionated woman fleeing a bad breakup, with conflicting ideas about Sir John A’s place in Canadian history. Not to be left out of the argument, Canada’s first Prime Minister, broadcasting live from nineteenth-century Ottawa, shows up with opinions of his own. 

Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion is a powerful satire, a creative debate about the past violences of colonial racism and the as yet untested potentiality of restoring harmony between Peoples in Canada. A contemporary classic by Taylor!

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128 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$17.95

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Take Us To Your Chief
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;
Grade Levels: University/College;

A forgotten Haudenosaunee social song beams into the cosmos like a homing beacon for interstellar visitors. A computer learns to feel sadness and grief from the history of atrocities committed against First Nations. A young Native man discovers the secret to time travel in ancient petroglyphs. Drawing inspiration from science fiction legends like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, Drew Hayden Taylor frames classic science-fiction tropes in an Aboriginal perspective.

The nine stories in this collection span all traditional topics of science fiction--from peaceful aliens to hostile invaders; from space travel to time travel; from government conspiracies to connections across generations. Yet Taylor's First Nations perspective draws fresh parallels, likening the cultural implications of alien contact to those of the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, or highlighting the impossibility of remaining a "good Native" in such an unnatural situation as a space mission.

Infused with Native stories and variously mysterious, magical and humorous, Take Us to Your Chief is the perfect mesh of nostalgically 1950s-esque science fiction with modern First Nations discourse.

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alterNatives
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous;

A very liberal contemporary couple, Angel, an urban Native science fiction writer, and Colleen, a "non-practising" Jewish intellectual who teaches Native literature, hosts a dinner party. The guests at this little "sitcom" soir are couples that represent what by now have become the cliche'd extremes of both societies: Angel's former radical Native activist buddies and Colleen's environmentally concerned vegetarian / veterinarian friends. The menu is, of course, the hosts, respectful attempt at shorthand for the irreconcilable cultural differences about to come to a head during the evening: moose roast and vegetarian lasagna.

Like all of Drew Hayden Taylor's work, alterNatives manages to say things about "Whites and Indians" that one is not supposed to talk about, it digs up the carefully buried, raw and pulsing nerve-endings of the unspeakable and exposes them to the hot bright lights of the stage. That he does so with a humour that the politically correct among his audiences continue to miss entirely beneath the sound and fury of their own self-righteous indignation is a measure of his immense talent as a dramatist. In the end, the play is not about cultural differences at all, but instead constitutes a full frontal attack on the personal qualities the sitcom holds most dear and pushes hardest at its audiences: Taylor actually has the temerity to suggest that neither "attitude" nor "sincerity" are enough to address basic human issues, no matter which side of the cultural fence the characters are on. And that's hard for the pushers of what is considered a globally enlightened culture to take.

Cast of 3 women and 3 men.

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Dead White Writer on the Floor
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous;

A funny yet thought-provoking play about identity politics. Cast of 4 men and 1 woman.

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$17.95

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Fearless Warriors
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Taylor's powerful, haunting and incredibly entertaining stories in Fearless Warrior are a full frontal assault on stereotypes of all kinds--an edifying affirmation of humanity unlike anything else. More than anything else, these stories shine with a wisdom, an understanding of the human condition, that is rare among writers courageous enough to take on these themes.

Internationally acclaimed as a playwright, screen-writer, comic and sardonic commentator on the endless gaffs, absurdities and the profound and painful misunderstandings that continue to characterize social interactions between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples, Taylor’s stories in Fearless Warriors are a full frontal assault on stereotypes of all kinds and an edifying affirmation of humanity unlike anything else in fiction.

Each of these stories is as remarkably different in terms of its unique narrative tone, origin and direction, as are the characters of his plays, making Taylor’s singular collection of fictions quite intentionally much more than the sum of their parts. By degrees dramatic, shocking, tender, chilling, affirmative and tragic, each story takes on a different cliché or “common sense understanding” of inter-racial and inter-cultural relations, all of them suffused with the incomparable wit, gentle and generous humour, mercilessly critical edge and profound emotional empathy of a master story-teller.

No quarter is given, nor is it taken—Native stereotypes of White culture are as fair a species of game for this writer as any other. Ultimately, each of these narratives becomes a bridge of understanding between cultures, giving its readers access to the seemingly inexplicable actions of characters at the distant edges of our imaginations—even just one of these stories, “The Boy in the Ditch,” does more to illuminate the tragedy of the pre-teen gasoline sniffing culture of Davis Inlet than any number of Royal Commissions will ever do.

Educator Information
Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the units How Do We Define Ourselves and Place Conscious Learning - Exploring Texts through Local Landscape.

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192 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

 

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God and the Indian
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

While panhandling outside a coffee shop, Johnny, a Cree woman who lives on the streets, is shocked to recognize a face from her childhood, which was spent in a residential school. Desperate to hear the man acknowledge the terrible abuse he inflicted on her and other children at the school, Johnny follows Anglican bishop George King to his office to confront him.

Inside King’s office, Johnny’s memories are fluid, shifting, and her voice cracks with raw emotion. Is the bishop actually guilty of what she claims, or has her ability to recollect been altered by poverty, abuse, and starvation experienced on the streets? Can her memories be trusted? Who is responsible for what?

At its core, God and the Indian, by celebrated Aboriginal playwright Drew Hayden Taylor, explores the complex process of healing through dialogue. Loosely based on Death and the Maiden by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman, the play identifies the ambiguities that frame past traumatic events. Against the backdrop of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which has facilitated the recent outpouring of stories from residential school survivors across the country, the play explores what is possible when the abused meets the abuser and is given a free forum for expression.

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Motorcycles and Sweetgrass
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

A story of magic, family, a mysterious stranger . . . and a band of marauding raccoons.

Otter Lake is a sleepy Anishnawbe community where little happens. Until the day a handsome stranger pulls up astride a 1953 Indian Chief motorcycle – and turns Otter Lake completely upside down. Maggie, the Reserve’s chief, is swept off her feet, but Virgil, her teenage son, is less than enchanted. Suspicious of the stranger’s intentions, he teams up with his uncle Wayne – a master of aboriginal martial arts – to drive the stranger from the Reserve. And it turns out that the raccoons are willing to lend a hand.

Reviews
“A near-perfect debut, a masterful mythic-comedy balancing contemporary issues and realities with magic and history. . . . Motorcycles & Sweetgrass is a trickster story, but it’s also a fundamentally human account of individuals and of a people struggling to find a place for themselves in the world. . . . A broad, bawdy, raucous, deeply felt and utterly involving narrative, a genuine pleasure to read. . . . Motorcycles & Sweetgrass positively crackles with life, love and magic. What more can you ask of a book?”  — Robert J. Wiersema, Edmonton Journal

“Drew Hayden Taylor’s got no qualms about poking fun at his Native roots, and that’s what makes Motorcycles & Sweetgrass such a pleasure. It’s playful yet soulful, with a narrative that keeps those pages turning. . . . A fun, rollicking book, and Taylor’s voice is fresh and unique.” — NOW (Toronto)

“Taylor brings a modern twist to ancient native folklore. Motorcycles & Sweetgrass is a charming story about the importance of balance and belief—and a little bit of magic—in everyone’s life.”— Quill & Quire

“If the great Ojibway trickster Nanabush wrote fiction, I imagine he’d write just like Drew Hayden Taylor. You will find much sadness just below the laughs, and sly humour masked by sorrow. A wisdom exists in these pages that only comes from someone who writes from his heart.” — Joseph Boyden

“Fast-paced, uproariously funny and genuinely thrilling. Drew Hayden Taylor is one of Canada’s finest and funniest writers.”— Ian Ferguson, author of Village of the Small Houses

“Funny, heartfelt, hopeful and illuminating. Motorcycles & Sweetgrass made me laugh and made me think, sometimes in the same sentence. Drew Hayden Taylor is a master storyteller.”— Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans

“Drew Hayden Taylor has woven an epic tale of magic, mystery and charm for the world to discover in Motorcycles & Sweetgrass. This is a novel to savor. A complete delight!” — Richard Van Camp, author of The Moon of Letting Go and The Lesser Blessed

Educator Information
Grades 11-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the unit What Creates Family?

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368 pages | 5.37" x 7.97"

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$22.00

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News: Postcards From The Four Directions
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous;

Exotic postcards from playwright, novelist and screenwriter Drew Hayden Taylor's globetrotting adventures, with news about aboriginal peoples around the world.

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$24.95

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Someday: A Native American Drama
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
Grade Levels: 10; 11;

Someday is a powerful new play by award-winning playwright Drew Hayden Taylor. The story in Someday, though told through fictional characters and full of Taylor''s distinctive wit and humour, is based on the real-life tragedies suffered by many Native Canadian families.

Anne Wabung's daughter was taken away by children's aid workers when the girl was only a toddler. It is Christmastime 35 years later, and Anne''s yearning to see her now-grown daughter is stronger than ever.

When the family is finally reunited, however, the dreams of neither women are fulfilled.

The setting for the play is a fictional Ojibway community, but could be any reserve in Canada, where thousands of Native children were removed from their families in what is known among Native people as the "scoop-up" of the 1950s and 1960s. Someday is an entertaining, humourous, and spirited play that packs an intense emotional wallop.

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 10-11.

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$12.95

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Viewing 1 - 15 of 20 |