Memoir

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Breaking Boundaries: LGBTQ2 Writers on Coming Out and Into Canada
Editors:
Lori Shwydky
Format: Paperback
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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$13.95

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Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: A Memoir
Authors:
Theodore Fontaine
Format: Paperback
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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Clifford: A Memoir, A Fiction, A Fantasy, A Thought Experiment
Content Territory: Cree
Format: Paperback

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

Additional Information
264 pages | 5.25" x 8.00"

 

 

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$22.95

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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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From the Barren Lands: Fur Trade, First Nations and a Life in Northern Canada
Authors:
Leonard Flett
Content Territory: Cree
Format: Paperback

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.

$29.95

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From the Tundra to the Trenches
Editors:
Thibault Martin
Content Territory: Inuit
Format: Paperback

“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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$24.95

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Gift of Power: The Life and Teachings of a Lakota Medicine Man
Format: Paperback
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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Heart Berries: A Memoir
Authors:
Terese Mailhot
Content Territory: Seabird Island Band
Format: Hardcover
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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It Is a Good Day
Authors:
Corrine Hunt
Format: Paperback
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
Authors:
Guillaume Charette
Format: Paperback
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
Authors:
David Suzuki
Format: Hardcover
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

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.

Series Information
Life Among the Qallunaat is the third book in the First Voices, First Texts series, which publishes lost or underappreciated 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.

Additional Information
304 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$24.95

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Listening to the Beat of Our Drum
Authors:
Various Authors
Content Territory: Various
Format: Paperback
Listening to the Beat of Our Drum: Indigenous Parenting in a Contemporary Society is a collection of stories, inspired by a wealth of experiences across space and time from a kokum, an auntie, two-spirit parents, a Metis mother, a Tlinglit/Anishnabe Métis mother and an allied feminist mother. This book is born out of the need to share experiences and story. Storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of passing on teachings and values that we have in our Indigenous communities. This book weaves personal stories to explore mothering practices and examines historical contexts and underpinnings that contribute to contemporary parenting practices. We share our stories with the hope that it will resonate with readers whether they are in the classroom or in the community. Like our contributors, we are from all walks of life, sharing diverse perspectives about mothering whether it be as a mother, auntie, kokum or other adopted role.
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$29.95

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Living in Two Worlds: A Gwich'in Women Tells Her True Story
Authors:
Therese Remy-Sawyer
Format: Paperback
The story of an aboriginal woman born on the trap line near Tsiigehtchic, Northwest Territories, 1935. See life on the land through Terry's young eyes.
Travel by dog team with her grandparents who adopted her. You will understand how she felt loved living in the remote wilderness . She lived with all that was wild and free. Never lacking anything she had fresh air,sky,hills,valleys,rivers,lakes,nature and animals. Her people were rich in traditional food, good health and freedom.

Maps,pictures illustrations legends,and stories make the north come alive The reader learns, of the values and spiritual teachings, they taught her to respect.

We learn of her sadness and losses in Residential School

Here nuns and priests were unsuccessful trying to break Terry's cultural spirit.
$48.95

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Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age
Content Territory: Cree
Format: Hardcover

A powerful story of resilience—a must-read for all Canadians.

Growing up in the tiny village of Smith, Alberta, Darrel J. McLeod was surrounded by his Cree family’s history. In shifting and unpredictable stories, his mother, Bertha, shared narratives of their culture, their family and the cruelty that she and her sisters endured in residential school. McLeod was comforted by her presence and that of his many siblings and cousins, the smells of moose stew and wild peppermint tea, and his deep love of the landscape. Bertha taught him to be fiercely proud of his heritage and to listen to the birds that would return to watch over and guide him at key junctures of his life. 

However, in a spiral of events, Darrel’s mother turned wild and unstable, and their home life became chaotic. Sweet and innocent by nature, Darrel struggled to maintain his grades and pursue an interest in music while changing homes many times, witnessing violence, caring for his younger siblings and suffering abuse at the hands of his surrogate father. Meanwhile, his sibling’s gender transition provoked Darrel to deeply question his own sexual identity. 

The fractured narrative of Mamaskatch mirrors Bertha’s attempts to reckon with the trauma and abuse she faced in her own life, and captures an intensely moving portrait of a family of strong personalities, deep ties and the shared history that both binds and haunts them. 

Beautifully written, honest and thought-provoking, Mamaskatch—named for the Cree word used as a response to dreams shared—is ultimately an uplifting account of overcoming personal and societal obstacles. In spite of the traumas of Darrel’s childhood, deep and mysterious forces handed down by his mother helped him survive and thrive: her love and strength stayed with him to build the foundation of what would come to be a very fulfilling and adventurous life.

Reviews
“Honestly stunning. McLeod’s clear writing lays bare his complicated ties to his family, his lovers and his country in a memoir that moved and haunted me. If you loved Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed, you will love Mamaskatch.” — Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster and Monkey Beach

“Reading the text was like diving into the eternity of dreams and being paralyzed by a nightmare. However, there is sunrise. Told candidly and with heartbreaking honesty, McLeod’s memoir shows how survival beckoned and he held on to the spirit of his ancestors—the love that no one can ever sever. He lives for all of us.— Louise Bernice Halfe, author of Burning in this Midnight Dream

“A compelling read that shows the heartbreaking results of imposed oppression. Darrel has identity problems of many kinds and the result is a life full of chaos. The gradual climb out of that dark place is touching.”— Bev Sellars, former councillor and chief of the Xat’sull First Nation and author of Price Paid.

“Mamaskatch is a profound and tender love song, an elegy to a wounded family, and an unsparing, exquisitely moving chronicle of growing up “Nehiyaw” (Cree). Like the birdsong his mother taught him to understand, McLeod’s voice is magical; it will lift and carry you through bone-breaking grief with grit, optimism and wry, life-saving humour. You will not leave this book unchanged.”— Denise Ryan, journalist, Vancouver Sun

"Darrel McLeod’s Mamaskatch is a heart-wrenching mîwâsin memoir full of vignettes that are so intricately woven that they guide you through with grace, sâkihiwêwin, humour, and maskihkîy. This is a narrative built through continuums that detail the lives of the McLeod family through their queer travails, trans realities, bannock and stew conversations, and a plethora of intergenerational traumas and triumphs. I can feel the warm embrace of the Three Sisters wrapping around me as I read this, that heart-drum beat resounding beneath its literary cadences, the frigidity of the Athabasca kissing my heels, and a narrator who teaches me from his very first passage in this novel that a good story is a medicine song that re-members and re-animates, in true nehiyawewin fashion, those who have paved the way for us and those who for whom we pave.  Ay-hay, Darrel, for this lovely work that lulls me back into those old-fashioned country songs that nearly every prairie kokôm raised us on. Mâmaskâc!"— Joshua Whitehead, author of Full-Metal Indigiqueer and Jonny Appleseed

Additional Information
240 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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$29.95

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