Autobiographies

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A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
Content Territory: Oji-Cree
Format: Paperback

A compelling, harrowing, but ultimately uplifting story of resilience and self-discovery.

A Two-Spirit Journey is Ma-Nee Chacaby’s extraordinary account of her life as an Ojibwa-Cree lesbian. From her early, often harrowing memories of life and abuse in a remote Ojibwa community riven by poverty and alcoholism, Chacaby’s story is one of enduring and ultimately overcoming the social, economic, and health legacies of colonialism.

As a child, Chacaby learned spiritual and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, hunting, and bush survival skills from her Ojibwa stepfather. She also suffered physical and sexual abuse by different adults, and in her teen years became alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay with her children to escape an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded by racism, continued, but Chacaby found supports to help herself and others. Over the following decades, she achieved sobriety; trained and worked as an alcoholism counsellor; raised her children and fostered many others; learned to live with visual impairment; and came out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the first gay pride parade in Thunder Bay.

Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from hardship grounded in faith, compassion, humour, and resilience. Her memoir provides unprecedented insights into the challenges still faced by many Indigenous people.

Reviews
“From groundbreaking and controversial AIDS awareness programs in the 1990s to the work she continues to do today, both with her own family and her extended reserve family, her life and this memoir ultimately serve as handbook of hope.”— Lara Rae, Winnipeg Free Press

"A Two-Spirit Journey is a raw and emotional story that doesn’t just show readers the author’s scars. Chacaby bares all in an honest telling of her life that includes flaws, like her struggles with substance abuse and a sometimes rocky path to sobriety. Despite the turmoil, the autobiography does have its uplifting moments and characters. Heartwarming stories of childhood friendships, and most importantly a powerful relationship between the author and her grandmother, weave feelings of optimism and hope into a life that is oftentimes surrounded by darkness.”— Scott Paradis, tbnewswatch.com

“An extraordinary account of an extraordinary life and very highly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary Biography, LGBT, and Native American Studies collections.”— Midwest Book Review

“Activist, survivor, mother, counsellor, Ma-Nee Chacaby recounts her sometimes harrowing life with a calm and steady voice, infused with resilience and compassion. Effectively designed and edited to appeal to both the general public and those engaged in Indigenous studies, A Two-Spirit Journey presents an important story, powerfully told.”— Nik Burton, Rick Walker, and Carolyn Wood, Judges, 2017 Manitoba Book Awards

“The story that Chacaby and Plummer recount is truly an extraordinary one, but it is also one that will resonate with many people whose stories have not been often told. The perspective of a lesbian Ojibwa-Cree elder is invaluable for LGBT Native youth and will be an enriching experience for many others, particularly those who have experienced abuse, disability, poverty, or the effects of colonization.”— Kai Pyle, Studies in American Indian Literatures

Educator Information
This book would be useful for courses in women's studies, social studies, and gender studies.  Recommended for students in grade 12 or at a college/university level.

Caution: discussion of physical and sexual abuse.

Additional Information
256 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

 

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$24.95

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All the Way: My Life on Ice
Authors:
Stephen Brunt
Jordin Tootoo
Format: Paperback

It seemed as though nothing could stop Jordin Tootoo on the ice. The captain of Canada’s Under-18, a fan favourite on the World Junior squad, and a WHL top prospect who could intimidate both goalies and enforcers, he was always a leader. And when Tootoo was drafted by Nashville in 2000 and made the Predators out of camp in 2003, he became a leader in another way: the first player of Inuk descent to suit up in the NHL. The stress of competition in the world’s top hockey league, the travel, the media, the homesickness—and the added pressure to hold one’s head high as a role model not only for the young people of his hometown of Rankin Inlet but for the culture that had given him the strength and the opportunities to succeed—would have been more than enough to challenge any rookie. But Tootoo faced something far more difficult: the loss of his brother in the year between his draft and his first shift for the Predators. Though he played through it, the tragedy took its inevitable toll. In 2010, Tootoo checked himself into rehab for alcohol addiction. It seemed a promising career had ended too soon. But that’s not the way Tootoo saw it and not the way it would end. As heir to a cultural legacy that included alcohol, despair, and suicide, Tootoo could also draw on a heritage that could help sustain him even thousands of miles away from Nunavut. And in a community haunted by the same hopelessness and substance abuse that so affected Tootoo’s life, it is not just his skill and fearlessness on the ice that have made him a hero, but the courage of his honesty to himself and to the world around him that he needed to rely on others to sustain him through his toughest challenge. All the Way tells the story of someone who has travelled far from home to realize a dream, someone who has known glory and cheering crowds, but also the demons of despair. It is the searing, honest tale of a young man who has risen to every challenge and nearly fallen short in the toughest game of all, while finding a way to draw strength from his community and heritage, and giving back to it as well.

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$21.00

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An Indian Remembers: My Life as a Trapper in Northern Manitoba
Authors:
Tom Boulanger
Format: Paperback
Step back in time with this story of Tom Boulanger, told in his own words, about his life in Northern Manitoba. A story of hardships and pleasures, a story not only about Tom, but about his family and the community around him.
$9.95

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Bella Coola Man
Authors:
Harvey Thommasen
Format: Paperback

When Clayton Mack was a child, his parents wrapped him in wolf skin and dumped him in water four times so he would grow up strong and fierce in the woods like a wolf. True to this Nuxalk tradition, Mack grew up to be a world-famous grizzly bear hunter and guide.
Clayton Mack''s first book of amazing tales about bears and q''umsciwas (white men), "Grizzlies and White Guys," became an instant best seller when it was published in 1993. In "Bella Coola Man," Clayton Mack continues his hair-raising stories about pulling bears out of the bushes by their legs, eating fresh bear meat with Thor Heyerdahl, finding gold nuggets in the bush, murder in the Big Ootsa country and dead men's talking beans, plus Crooked Jaw the Indian agent and where to find good fishing.
Clayton Mack was a walking encyclopedia of tribal lore, and one of the best storytellers ever born. The stories in "Bella Coola Man" are the last he told, and reflect his desire to pass on as much information about Nuxalk life and legends as he could before his death. Hear about the man-eater dance performed at River's Inlet where the dancers ate a dead woman's head, or about the last Indian war on the coast, native remedies like devil's club tea which is "good for anything," Alexander Mackenzie''s travels through Bella Coola country along the Grease Trail, how native hunters killed mountain goats by prying them off cliffs with sticks, and about forgotten villages and places, which come alive again through Clayton Mack''s words.
Clayton Mack had a deep understanding and appreciation of life on British Columbia''s rugged coast. His stories are unique lessons in history, as well as pure entertainment. Here are the stories of the legend himself, Clayton Mack.

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$24.95

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Bowman's Store: A Journey to Myself
Format: Paperback
Little "Sonny" Bruchac's childhood was full of secrets. He didn't know why he lived with his grandparents, who ran a gas station and general store, when his own parents' home was just up the road, or why his grandfather was so defensive about his dark skin. The precocious, sensitive boy knew only that his grandparents nurtured his love of books and wild things as surely as they sheltered him from dangers real and imagined. As Sonny grew up, through experiences both searing and hilarious, he would find himself drawn to all things Indian long before he knew of his grandfather's hidden Abenaki roots.

Bowman's Store gracefully weaves themes from Joseph Bruchac's intimate knowledge of Native American cultures with the scenes from the past that have shaped his life. For those who enjoy memoirs, Native American writings, and books about finding one's cultural heritage -- or just a wonderful read -- here is a consummate storyteller unfolding his most personal and poignant story of all.

Guided Reading: Y
Lexile: N/A
Interest Level: Grades 4 - 12
Reading Level: Grades 4 - College
$17.95

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Chilcotin Chronicles
Authors:
Sage Birchwater
Content Territory: Nuxalk, Tsilhqot'in, Dakelh
Format: Paperback
A compilation of stories that meld both culture and bloodlines, Chilcotin Chronicles by Sage Birchwater is set in the wild and untamed country of central British Columbia’s Chilcotin Plateau. West of the Fraser River, this high country is contained by an arc of impenetrable mountain ranges that separates it from the Pacific Coast. The first inhabitants of this region were fiercely independent, molded by the land itself. Those who came later were drawn to this landscape with its mysterious aura of freedom, where time stood still and where a person could find solace in the wilderness and never be found.

Birchwater reaches back to first European contact in British Columbia when the indigenous population spoke forty of Canada’s fifty-four languages and seventy of Canada’s one hundred dialects. The land known today as the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast was already an entity when Alexander Mackenzie arrived in 1793. Bonds of friendship, mutual support and family ties had long been established between the Dakelh, Tsilhqot’in and Nuxalk, giving cohesiveness to the region. Chilcotin Chronicles is about the men and women caught in the interface of cultures and the changing landscape. Indigenous inhabitants and white newcomers brought together by the fur brigades, then later by the gold rush, forged a path together, uncharted and unpredictable. Birchwater discovers that their stories, seemingly disconnected, are intrinsically linked together to create a human ecosystem with very deep roots. The lives of these early inhabitants give substance to the landscape. They give meaning to the people who live there today.
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$26.95

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Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit
Authors:
Lynn Gehl
Content Territory: Anishinaabeg
Format: Paperback
Denied her Indigenous status, Lynn Gehl has been fighting her entire life to reclaim mino-pimadiziwin--the good life. Exploring Anishinaabeg philosophy and Anishinaabeg conceptions of truth, Gehl shows how she came to locate her spirit and decolonize her identity, thereby becoming, in her words, "fully human." Gehl also provides a harsh critique of Canada and takes on important anti-colonial battles, including sex discrimination in the Indian Act and the destruction of sacred places.

Reviews
Gehl is at the cutting edge with her concepts and ideas... She is on a journey and documents it well.
Lorelei Anne Lambert, author of Research for Indigenous Survival

Clear, insightful, and desperately needed...
Lorraine F. Mayer, author of Cries from a Métis Heart

The discussion of the heart and mind knowledge, as well as the discussion on the Anishinaabeg Clan System of Governance, [are] major contributions to the research.
Marlyn Bennett, co-editor of Pushing the Margins

"Throughout Claiming Anishinaabe, the conversation remains rooted in the destructive effects of oppressive power on the human spirit, and an insistence that both knowledge and spirituality are key in reclaiming one’s sense of self."
Quill & Quire

Educator Information
This book would be useful for the following subject areas or courses: Indigenous Studies, Canadian History (Post-Confederation), Social Science, Autobiography/Biography Studies, Spirituality, and Law.

Additional Information
176 pages | 5.50" x 8.50" | Includes line drawings
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$24.95

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Creating Space: My Life and Work in Indigenous Education
Authors:
Verna Kirkness
Format: Paperback
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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Daylight in the Swamp: Memoirs of Selwyn Dewdney
Authors:
Selwyn Dewdney
Format: Hardcover
Daylight in the Swamp is the bush memoirs of Selwyn Dewdney, a noted Canadian artist and recorder of native rock art. His two great loves, art and the Canadian north, come together in this book. His respect for native culture and art is reflected in his own work, his insight into native rock art, and his passion for canoeing and the northern experience.

The third theme of the book is history spanning the period from 1910 through to the 1970s during which the old north largely vanished. Dewdney was there to record the images of forgotten dreams painted on rocks and cliffs throughout the Canadian Shield.
$29.99

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Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl
Format: Paperback

Anahareo (1906-1985) was a Mohawk writer, environmentalist, and activist. She was also the wife of Grey Owl, aka Archie Belaney, the internationally celebrated writer and speaker who claimed to be of Scottish and Apache descent, but whose true ancestry as a white Englishman only became known after his death.

Devil in Deerskins is Anahareo’s autobiography up to and including her marriage to Grey Owl. In vivid prose she captures their extensive travels through the bush and their work towards environmental and wildlife protection. Here we see the daily life of an extraordinary Mohawk woman whose independence, intellect and moral conviction had direct influence on Grey Owl’s conversion from trapper to conservationist. Though first published in 1972, Devil in Deerskins’s observations on indigeneity, culture, and land speak directly to contemporary audiences.

Series Information
Devil in Deerskins is the first book in the First Voices, First Texts series. This new edition includes forewords by Anahareo’s daughters, Katherine Swartile and Anne Gaskell, an afterword by Sophie McCall, and reintroduces readers to a very important but largely forgotten text by one of Canada’s most talented Aboriginal writers.

Additional Information
240 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$27.95

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Edward S. Curtis Above the Medicine Line
Authors:
Rodger D. Touchie
Format: Paperback
Edward S. Curtis Above the Medicine Line is both an introduction to the Seattle-based photographer and a tribute to a true visionary. While Curtis’s photographs will long be his legacy, his own story is likewise compelling. Curtis built his first camera at 12 and developed that interest into a large Seattle photo studio by the age of 30. Then, on an expedition to Alaska in 1899, Curtis was exposed to First Nations cultures in a way that affected him profoundly. First Nations people had been decimated due to the diseases and aggressions of white settlers. Curtis, alarmed that their traditional ways of life were in danger of disappearing forever, made an incredible effort to capture their daily routines, character and dignity through photography and audio recordings. Curtis had planned to document only the First Peoples of the United States and Alaska, but his exposure to Canada’s Blackfoot Nation spurred him to include all of North America. The visual result was The North American Indian, a 20-volume record of 75 of North America’s Native peoples. This collection of Curtis’s images includes 100 of his most striking images and a biography.
$19.95

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Franz Boas Among the Inuit of Baffin Island, 1883-1884
Authors:
Franz Boas
Content Territory: Inuit
Format: Paperback
In the summer of 1883, Franz Boas, widely regarded as one of the fathers of Inuit anthropology, sailed from Germany to Baffin Island to spend a year among the Inuit of Cumberland Sound. This was his introduction to the Arctic and to anthropological fieldwork. This book presents, for the first time, his letters and journal entries from the year that he spent among the Inuit, providing not only an insightful background to his numerous scientific articles about Inuit culture, but a comprehensive and engaging narrative as well.

Using a Scottish whaling station as his base, Boas travelled widely with the Inuit, learning their language, living in their tents and snow houses, sharing their food, and experiencing their joys and sorrows. At the same time he was taking detailed notes and surveying and mapping the landscape and coastline. Ludger Müller-Wille has transcribed his journals and his letters to his parents and fiancé and woven these texts into a sequential narrative. The result is a fascinating study of one of the earliest and most successful examples of participatory observation among the Inuit. Originally published in German in 1994, the text has been translated into English by William Barr, who has also published translations of other important works on the history of the Arctic.

Illustrated with some of Boas's own photos and with maps of his field area, Franz Boas among the Inuit of Baffin Island, 1883-1884 is a valuable addition to the historical and anthropological literature on southern Baffin Island.
$34.95

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From Bear Rock Mountain: The Life and Times of a Dene Residential School Survivor
Content Territory: Dene, First Nations, Indigenous Canadian
Format: Hardcover

In this poetic, poignant memoir, Dene artist and social activist Antoine Mountain paints an unforgettable picture of his journey from residential school to art school—and his path to healing.

In 1949, Antoine Mountain was born on the land near Radelie Koe, Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. At the tender age of seven, he was stolen away from his home and sent to a residential school—run by the Roman Catholic Church in collusion with the Government of Canada—three hundred kilometres away. Over the next twelve years, the three residential schools Mountain was forced to attend systematically worked to erase his language and culture, the very roots of his identity.

While reconnecting to that which had been taken from him, he had a disturbing and painful revelation of the bitter depths of colonialism and its legacy of cultural genocide. Canada has its own holocaust, Mountain argues.

As a celebrated artist and social activist today, Mountain shares this moving, personal story of healing and the reclamation of his Dene identity.

Additional Information
272 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$30.00

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God Don't Make No Junk
Authors:
Peggy MacTaggart
Format: Paperback
Accompany Bobbie as she traces back the path of her life; from her Ojibwa roots to her rejection of her culture following the horrific abuse she endured during her childhood. She reflects on her life with sadness and humor recalling her tumultuous marriage and divorce, her life as a single parent, her battle with drugs and alcohol and the long road back to her traditions that took decades. God don’t Make No Junk will stay in the readers mind long after they finish reading it.
$18.95

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Grey Owl
Authors:
Armand Garnet Ruffo
Format: Paperback
An Englishman with the imagination and the arrogance to pose as a North American Indian, a fur trapper who kept beaver as pets, a drunken brawling bigamist who embraced the wilderness to escape his ghosts, a compelling champion of that wilderness who travelled much of the world speaking to huge audiences about the fate of the natural world - who was the real Archie Belaney, known to many as Grey Owl?

Grey Owl, the Mystery of Archie Belaney is a unique, accessible collection of narrative poetry and journal entries which examines this dynamic, often contradictory, always fascinating man who reconstructed his identity and delivered a message of conservation to the world.
$14.95

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