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Memoir

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Breaking Boundaries: LGBTQ2 Writers on Coming Out and Into Canada
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Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

An anthology of stories and poetry written by Canadian LGBTQ2 authors who are immigrants, refugees, or Canada-born.

“What does it mean to be LGBTQ2 in Canada? The only possible answer to that question is one given in many voices. That is exactly what this book offers. There is struggle in these stories and poems, but there is also strength and resilience, compassion and determination. Woven together these voices leave me with a sense of hopefulness: a belief that the creativity and fierce commitment of our community will carry us forward as we work to create a Canada that lives up to the dream of freedom and safety it represents to so many people around the world.” — Robin Stevenson, author of Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community

Review
The anthology pieces are diverse with authors who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and 2-Spirited. It also includes stunning artwork by LGBTQ artists and allies. — Rainbow Refugee Society

Authors & Artists
Authors in this anthology include Teryl Berg, Kyle Chen, Wendy Judith Cutler, Corrie Hope Furst, Kevin Henry, Anne Hofland, Chantal Hughes, Masaki Kidokoro, Dale Lee Kwong, Austin Lee, JL Lori, Eka Nasution (narrator), Adam Nixon, Rainer Oktovianus (narrator), Gail Marlene Schwartz, Caelan Sinclair, LS Stone, Sosania Tomlinson, E.T. Turner, and Hayley Zacks.

Artwork by Joni Danielson, Wokie Clark Fraser, Austin Lee, Trinity Lindenau, and Rainer Oktovianus.

Additional Information
146 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"
Edited by Lori Shwydky

This book contains memoirs, stories, poems, and artwork, which is why it appears in a variety of categories, such as both Fiction and Non-fiction, on our website.

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Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: A Memoir
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Sagkeeng;

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.

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Clifford: A Memoir, A Fiction, A Fantasy, A Thought Experiment
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

I open my eyes in the darkness, laying on my side, half my vision is of the earth and shadows; the other is of the sky, treetops, and stars. I should write Clifford’s story. The thought emerges fully formed . . . The thought dissipates. I close my eyes and the earth and the sky disappear. The warmth of my sleeping bag wraps around me and sleep pulls me under into that half-world where reality and fantasy mingle in a place where coherent thoughts disintegrate.

When Harold Johnson returns to his childhood home in a northern Saskatchewan Indigenous community for his brother Clifford’s funeral, the first thing his eyes fall on is a chair. It stands on three legs, the fourth broken off and missing. So begins a journey through the past, a retrieval of recollections that have too long sat dormant. Moving from the old family home to the log cabin, the garden, and finally settling deep in the forest surrounding the property, his mind circles back, shifting in time and space, weaving in and out of memories of his silent, powerful Swedish father; his formidable Cree mother, an expert trapper and a source of great strength; and his brother Clifford, a precocious young boy who is drawn to the mysterious workings of the universe.

As the night unfolds, memories of Clifford surface in Harold’s mind’s eye: teaching his younger brother how to tie his shoelaces; jousting on a bicycle without rubber wheels; building a motorcycle. Memory, fiction, and fantasy collide, and Clifford comes to life as the scientist he was meant to be, culminating in his discovery of the Grand Unified Theory.

Exquisitely crafted, funny, visionary, and wholly moving, Clifford is an extraordinary work for the way it defies strict category and embraces myriad forms of storytelling. To read it is to be immersed in a home, a family, a community, the wider world, the entire cosmos.

Reviews
“Clifford is a luminous, genre-bending memoir. Heartache and hardship are no match for the disarming whimsy, the layered storytelling shot through with love. The power of land, the pull of family, the turbulence of poverty are threads woven together with explorations of reality, tackling truth with a trickster slant.” — Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster

“Clifford is a story only Harold Johnson could tell. By turns soft and harsh, intellectual and emotional, Johnson weaves truth, fiction, science, and science fiction into a tapestry that is rich with meaning and maybes. A natural storyteller, Johnson seeks imagined pasts and futurity with equal parts longing and care. This work allows readers and writers the possibility of new and ancient modes of storytelling.” — Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie

“Harold R. Johnson is a wonderful writer, and Clifford is his best work yet. For fans of Jack Finney and Richard Matheson, this terrific book is a wonderfully human tale of memory both bitter and sweet, as well as a poignant exploration of time’s hold over all of us.” — Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award–winning author of Quantum Night

“Clifford is unlike anything I’ve read — it is at once a story of science and magic, love and loss, and a case for the infinite potential of humanity. It is a book of profound wisdom — an unpacking of the deepest truths of science in an effort to transform the pain of grief and regret into healing and forgiveness.” — Patti Laboucane-Benson, author of The Outside Circle

Educator Information
Curriculum Connections: English, Biographies, Family 

Additional Information
264 pages | 5.25" x 8.00"

 

 

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Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Australian;

This extraordinary story of courage and faith is based on the actual experiences of three girls who fled from the repressive life of Moore River Native Settlement, following along the rabbit-proof fence back to their homelands. Assimilationist policy dictated that these girls be taken from their kin and their homes in order to be made white. Settlement life was unbearable with its chains and padlocks, barred windows, hard cold beds, and horrible food. Solitary confinement was doled out as regular punishment. The girls were not even allowed to speak their language. Of all the journeys made since white people set foot on Australian soil, the journey made by these girls born of Aboriginal mothers and white fathers speaks something to everyone.

Educator Information
Grades 11-12 English First Peoples Resource.

Additional Information
160 pages | 5.00" x 7.75"

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$19.95

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Forbidden Fruit: Engaging an Indigenous Feminist Lens as an Nehinaw Iskwew
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: University/College;

Forbidden Fruit: Engaging an Indigenous Feminist Lens as an Neninaw Iskwew is a feminist based memoir acknowledging that people are measured, categorized, and placed in a hierarchal order that is deeply influenced by discourses predicated upon social processes.

Dr. McKay’s Indigenous feminism is about being aware that due to the colonial patriarchy that has seeped through Indigenous social and cultural systems, Indigenous women are positioned differently in economic, social and political structures. Marlene masterfully uses her own life experiences to assert that colonialism and Indigenous cultures obscure the role of women in a way that continues both their marginalization and the binary of the princess/squaw (p. 11).

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98 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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$23.00

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From Bear Rock Mountain: The Life and Times of a Dene Residential School Survivor
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Dene;
Grade Levels: 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

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.

Educator Information
Recommended in the Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools 2019-2020 resource list as being useful for grades 9 to 12 in the following subject areas: English Language Arts, Social Studies.

Included in this story are personal stories of residential school and addiction.

Additional Information
272 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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From Lishamie
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Dene;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

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.

Reviews
"From Lishamie focuses on the loss of language, culture, exposure to the land, and brings a stark contrast of life pre- and post-residential schools. This rich and lasting book portrays the fullness of life on the land, the seasons, travelling with the food sources, and community." - Joyce Atcheson

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284 pages | 5.50" x 8.49"

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From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.

If I can just make it to the next minute... then I might have a chance to live; I might have a chance to be something more than just a struggling crackhead.

From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis-Cree man who refused to give up.

Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, but their tough-love attitudes meant conflicts became commonplace. And the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. One day, he finally realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heartwarming and heartbreaking memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful experiences with abuse, uncovering the truth about his parents, and how he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family through education.

An eloquent exploration of what it means to live in a world surrounded by prejudice and racism and to be cast adrift, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help one find happiness despite the odds.

Reviews
From the Ashes hits you like a punch in the gut. It’s an unflinching, heartrending and beautifully written story of survival against seemingly impossible odds. But it’s also a book that should make you furious. Thistle paints a vivid portrait of a country seemingly incapable of doing right by Indigenous youth or by those struggling with homelessness, addiction and intergenerational trauma. That he survived to tell this story is truly a miracle. Still, one question haunts me after finishing this powerful and devastating book: How do we ensure that the next generation isn’t forced to navigate a broken system that takes their lives for granted and fails them at every turn? My greatest hope, then, is that From the Ashes will be the wakeup call Canada needs.” — IAN MOSBY, historian and author of Food Will Win the War

Educator Information
Caution: Deals with mature subject matter.

Additional Information
368 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"


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From the Barren Lands: Fur Trade, First Nations and a Life in Northern Canada
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

This is a story about the fur trade and First Nations, and the development of northern Canada, seen and experienced not only through Leonard Flett's eyes, but also through the eyes of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.The lives of indigenous people in remote areas of northern Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan in the 1960s and 1970s are examined in detail. Flett's successful career with both the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company provides an insight into the dying days of the fur trade and the rise of a new retail business tailored to First Nations.

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From the Tundra to the Trenches
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Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Inuit;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

“My name is Weetaltuk; Eddy Weetaltuk. My Eskimo tag name is E9-422.” So begins From the "Tundra to the Trenches." Weetaltuk means “innocent eyes” in Inuktitut, but to the Canadian government, he was known as E9-422: E for Eskimo, 9 for his community, 422 to identify Eddy.

In 1951, Eddy decided to leave James Bay. Because Inuit weren’t allowed to leave the North, he changed his name and used this new identity to enlist in the Canadian Forces: Edward Weetaltuk, E9-422, became Eddy Vital, SC-17515, and headed off to fight in the Korean War. In 1967, after fifteen years in the Canadian Forces, Eddy returned home. He worked with Inuit youth struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, and, in 1974, started writing his life’s story. This compelling memoir traces an Inuk’s experiences of world travel and military service. Looking back on his life, Weetaltuk wanted to show young Inuit that they can do and be what they choose. 

Reviews
“Endlessly interesting; an account of a traditional way of life now lost, a gripping first-hand account of a front-line soldier during the war, and an honest account of a young man’s adventures and misadventures. It is to all our benefit that it has, at last, found its way into print." — Michael Melgaard, The National Post

“Tender, honest, and often raw, Weetaltuk’s storytelling is masterful, engrossing, and deeply human. He has imbued his writing with a philosophical nuance that is characteristically Inuit: very subtle, yet profound." — Siku Allooloo, The Malahat Review

“Recounts the adventures of Inuk veteran Eddy Weetaltuk, from his early life in the North to his escape to the south under an assumed identity, to his enlistment in the Canadian Forces, which took him across the Canadian West, to Japan and Germany, and into battle in Korea. Adopting the name Eddy Vital was necessary in 1951 because the federal government restricted the movement of Inuit people. Through his alias, Weetaltuk was able to see the world; in the army, he experienced equality and respect – all the while never forgetting his true identity as an Inuk. The publication history of From the Tundra to the Trenches is itself a four-decades-long saga of many twists and turns. That it now finds English publication (after first appearing in French and German) owes to the author’s conviction that his life story be read as a work of literature with the makings of a bestseller. Eddy Weetaltuk was right.”— Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail

“For those interested in Inuit culture it offers the rare and valuable perspective of an Inuk looking out from his culture at the world rather than the world looking in. “ — P. T. Sherrill, CHOICE

Series Information
From the Tundra to the Trenches is the fourth book in the First Voices, First Texts series, which publishes lost or underappreciated texts by Indigenous writers. This new English edition of Eddy Weetaltuk’s memoir includes a foreword and appendix by Thibault Martin and an introduction by Isabelle St-Amand.

Additional Information
280 pages | 5.50" x 8.50" | 25 colour illustrations, 3 b&w photographs, bibliography

 

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Gift of Power: The Life and Teachings of a Lakota Medicine Man
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Sioux; Lakota;

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.

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Halfbreed: Restored Edition
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis;

A new, fully restored edition of the essential Canadian classic.

An unflinchingly honest memoir of her experience as a Métis woman in Canada, Maria Campbell's Halfbreed depicts the realities that she endured and, above all, overcame. Maria was born in Northern Saskatchewan, her father the grandson of a Scottish businessman and Métis woman--a niece of Gabriel Dumont whose family fought alongside Riel and Dumont in the 1885 Rebellion; her mother the daughter of a Cree woman and French-American man. This extraordinary account, originally published in 1973, bravely explores the poverty, oppression, alcoholism, addiction, and tragedy Maria endured throughout her childhood and into her early adult life, underscored by living in the margins of a country pervaded by hatred, discrimination, and mistrust. Laced with spare moments of love and joy, this is a memoir of family ties and finding an identity in a heritage that is neither wholly Indigenous or Anglo; of strength and resilience; of indominatable spirit.

This edition of Halfbreed includes a new introduction written by Indigenous (Métis) scholar Dr. Kim Anderson detailing the extraordinary work that Maria has been doing since its original publication 46 years ago, and an afterword by the author looking at what has changed, and also what has not, for Indigenous people in Canada today. Restored are the recently discovered missing pages from the original text of this groundbreaking and significant work.

Additional Information
224 pages | 5.21" x 7.99"

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Heart Berries: A Memoir
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: University/College;

Guileless and refreshingly honest, Terese Mailhot's debut memoir chronicles her struggle to balance the beauty of her Native heritage with the often desperate and chaotic reality of life on the reservation.

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in British Columbia. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar II, Terese Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot's mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father--an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist--who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Mailhot "trusts the reader to understand that memory isn't exact, but melded to imagination, pain and what we can bring ourselves to accept." Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people and to her place in the world.

176 pages | 5.30" x 7.70"

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$25.00

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In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: University/College;

Helen Knott, a highly accomplished Indigenous woman, seems to have it all. But in her memoir, she offers a different perspective. In My Own Moccasins is an unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption.

With gripping moments of withdrawal, times of spiritual awareness, and historical insights going back to the signing of Treaty 8 by her great-great grandfather, Chief Bigfoot, her journey exposes the legacy of colonialism, while reclaiming her spirit.

Reviews
"A beautiful rendering of how recovery for our peoples is inevitably about reconnecting with Indigenous identities, lands, cultural and healing practices." —Kim Anderson, author of Reconstructing Native Womenhood

"In My Own Moccasins never flinches. The story goes dark, and then darker. We live in an era where Indigenous women routinely go missing, our youth are killed and disposed of like trash, and the road to justice doesn’t seem to run through the rez. Knott’s journey is familiar, filled with the fallout of residential school, racial injustice, alcoholism, drugs, and despair. But she skillfully draws us along and opens up her life, her family, and her communities to show us a way forward. It’s the best kind of memoir: clear-eyed, generous, and glorious….Bear witness to the emergence of one of the most powerful voices of her generation." —Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster and Monkey Beach (from the foreword)

“Helen Knott speaks truth to the experience of Indigenous women living through the violence of colonized spaces and she does so with grace, beauty and a ferocity that makes me feel so proud.” —Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of This Accident of Being Lost

“Helen writes beautifully and painfully, about her own life and the lives of many of our sisters. A strong, gentle voice removing the colonial blanket and exposing truth.” —Maria Campbell, author of Halfbreed

“An incredible debut that documents how trauma and addiction can be turned into healing and love. I am in awe of Helen Knott and her courage. I am a fan for life. Wow.” —Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed

“Heartfelt, heartbreaking, triumphant and raw, In My Own Moccasinsis a must-read for anyone who's ever felt lost in their life… Actually, it's a must-read for anyone who appreciates stories of struggle, redemption and healing. Knott’s writing is confident, clear, powerful and inspiring.”—Jowita Bydlowska, author of Guy: A Novel and Drunk Mom

Additional Information
366 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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In Our Own Aboriginal Voice 2: A Collection of Indigenous Writers & Artists in Canada
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

Through our own Indigenous stories we discover our roots.

A collection of short fiction, memoirs, non-fiction, and poetry written by Indigenous writers from across Canada, plus original Indigenous artwork. This anthology contains the work of established authors such as the late Connie Fife, and up-and-coming Indigenous authors to watch out for (according to CBC Books) Joanne Arnott, Michelle Sylliboy, and Dennis Saddleman, as well as emerging writers from across Canada, who shine a light on the lives of Indigenous Peoples living in Canada.

"The time for our own stories has arrived, our own written words, our own voices. It is through our stories that we discover our roots." - Terri Mack, Strong Nations

Educator Information
The Indigenous selection committee comprised of librarians, educators, and administrators also included author Richard van Camp.

Foreword by former Chief Edmund Metatawabin, author of Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History.

Edited by Indigenous editor, Michael Calvert.

Additional Information
6.00" x 9.00"

 

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