Historical Fiction

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Black Apple (PB)
Authors:
Joan Crate
Format: Paperback
A dramatic and lyrical coming-of-age novel about a young Blackfoot girl who grows up in the residential school system on the Canadian prairies.

Torn from her home and delivered to St. Mark’s Residential School for Girls by government decree, young Rose Marie finds herself in an alien universe where nothing of her previous life is tolerated, not even her Blackfoot name. For she has entered into the world of the Sisters of Brotherly Love, an order of nuns dedicated to saving the Indigenous children from damnation. Life under the sharp eye of Mother Grace, the Mother General, becomes an endless series of torments, from daily recitations and obligations to chronic sickness and inedible food. And then there are the beatings. All the feisty Rose Marie wants to do is escape from St. Mark’s. How her imagination soars as she dreams about her lost family on the Reserve, finding in her visions a healing spirit that touches her heart. But all too soon she starts to see other shapes in her dreams as well, shapes that warn her of unspoken dangers and mysteries that threaten to engulf her. And she has seen the rows of plain wooden crosses behind the school, reminding her that many students have never left here alive.

Set during the Second World War and the 1950s, Black Apple is an unforgettable, vividly rendered novel about two very different women whose worlds collide: an irrepressible young Blackfoot girl whose spirit cannot be destroyed, and an aging yet powerful nun who increasingly doubts the value of her life. It captures brilliantly the strange mix of cruelty and compassion in the residential schools, where young children are forbidden to speak their own languages and given Christian names. As Rose Marie matures, she finds increasingly that she knows only the life of the nuns, with its piety, hard work and self-denial. Why is it, then, that she is haunted by secret visions—of past crimes in the school that terrify her, of her dead mother, of the Indigenous life on the plains that has long vanished? Even the kind-hearted Sister Cilla is unable to calm her fears. And then, there is a miracle, or so Mother Grace says. Now Rose is thrust back into the outside world with only her wits to save her.

With a poet’s eye, Joan Crate creates brilliantly the many shadings of this heartbreaking novel, rendering perfectly the inner voices of Rose Marie and Mother Grace, and exploring the larger themes of belief and belonging, of faith and forgiveness.
$19.99

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Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion
Authors:
Drew Hayden Taylor
Content Territory: Anishinaabeg, Ojibway
Format: Paperback

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!

Additional Information
128 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$17.95

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Song of Batoche
Authors:
Maia Caron
Content Territory: Métis
Format: Paperback
Louis Riel arrives at Batoche in 1884 to help the Métis fight for their lands and discovers that the rebellious outsider Josette Lavoie is a granddaughter of the famous chief Big Bear, whom he needs as an ally. But Josette learns of Riel's hidden agenda - to establish a separate state with his new church at its head - and refuses to help him. Only when the great Gabriel Dumont promises her that he will not let Riel fail does she agree to join the cause. In this raw wilderness on the brink of change, the lives of seven unforgettable characters converge, each one with secrets: Louis Riel and his tortured wife Marguerite; a duplicitous Catholic priest; Gabriel Dumont and his dying wife Madeleine; a Hudson's Bay Company spy; and the enigmatic Josette Lavoie. As the Dominion Army marches on Batoche, Josette and Gabriel must manage Riel's escalating religious fanaticism and a growing attraction to each other. Song of Batoche is a timeless story that traces the borderlines of faith and reason, obsession and madness, betrayal and love.

Awards
2015 Governor General's Award for French-to-English Translation winner

Reviews
"This passionate retelling uses women's eyes to reveal the hidden history behind Riel and Gabriel Dumont. Deeply researched, and rooted in the soil of Batoche." - Marina Endicott, author of the Giller-nominated Close to Hugh

"Combining fine research and engaging storytelling, Song of Batoche is a stirring fictionalized account of events in and around the 1885 North-West Resistance. Josette Lavoie is an intriguing and memorable heroine." - Katherena Vermette, author of the The Break and winner of the Governor General's Award

"Caron weaves a tale of love, betrayal and obsession . . . a vivid and fast-paced retelling of this moment in Canadian history." - Toronto Star

"A fascinating and beautifully written account of Louis Riel and the months preceding the Battle of Batoche, as seen through the eyes of the Metis women. This is a perspective we've not seen before, and Caron handles it with compassion and depth." Lauren B. Davis, author of the Giller-nominated Our Daily Bread

Additional Information
372 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"
Authentic Canadian Content
$18.95

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The Frog Lake Massacre
Authors:
Bill Gallaher
Format: Paperback
In the spring of 1884, Jack, an adventurous young man, packs his bags in Victoria, BC, and heads for the prairies, looking for a new life and hoping to get involved in an Indian war. Instead, he lucks into an exciting job in the fur trade and meets and befriends many of the great chiefs of the Cree nation, such as Poundmaker and Big Bear, and ends up between a bullet and a target when the North-West Rebellion erupts. After witnessing the historic Frog Lake Massacre and the murder of his friends, Jack is captured by the Cree warriors and, later, guides the famous Inspector Sam Steele on the hunt for Cree Chief Big Bear.

The Frog Lake Massacre is the first book in a trilogy about a young man who is trying to forge an independent life for himself in the huge and newly established country of Canada. Along the way, he discovers that bravery and loyalty bring their own rewards.
$18.95

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The Pemmican Eaters
Content Territory: Métis
Format: Paperback

A picture of the Riel Resistance from one of Canada’s preeminent Métis poets.

With a title derived from John A. Macdonald’s moniker for the Métis, The Pemmican Eaters explores Marilyn Dumont’s sense of history as the dynamic present. Combining free verse and metered poems, her latest collection aims to recreate a palpable sense of the Riel Resistance period and evoke the geographical, linguistic/cultural, and political situation of Batoche during this time through the eyes of those who experienced the battles, as well as through the eyes of Gabriel and Madeleine Dumont and Louis Riel. 

Included in this collection are poems about the bison, seed beadwork, and the Red River Cart, and some poems employ elements of the Michif language, which, along with French and Cree, was spoken by Dumont’s ancestors. In Dumont’s The Pemmican Eaters, a multiplicity of identities is a strengthening rather than a weakening or diluting force in culture.

Awards

  • Winner of the 2016 Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry 

Reviews
“A rollicking poem about the fiddle ('the first high call of the fiddle bids us dance/baits with its first pluck and saw of the bow/reels us, feet flick — fins to its lure and line') becomes a statement of cultural pride and defiance — much like The Pemmican Eaters as a whole.” — Toronto Star 

“Dumont’s work is visual and evocative, highlighting recurring symbols and images of a natural world that will be familiar to any dweller of the Prairies . . . The Pemmican Eaters builds off the poet’s earlier work and highlights a writer who has mastered both craft and voice.” — Quill & Quire 

“Dumont honours Métis traditions in music and beadwork in a number of lyrically driven poems. The Pemmican Eaters is a statement of cultural pride and defiance, much like Marilyn herself.” — CBC News Online 

“Marilyn Dumont uses both rhythmic and free verse to provide a brilliant and insightful look at Métis and Cree people.” — Scene Magazine

Educator Information
This book would be useful for grades 9 - 12 in courses such as creative writing, English language arts, and social studies.  Also recommended for students a college/university level.

Additional Information
96 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$18.95

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Waterlily
Authors:
Ella Cara Deloria
Content Territory: Sioux
Format: Paperback
When Blue Bird and her grandmother leave their family’s camp to gather beans for the long, threatening winter, they inadvertently avoid the horrible fate that befalls the rest of the family. Luckily, the two women are adopted by a nearby Dakota community and are eventually integrated into their kinship circles. Ella Cara Deloria’s tale follows Blue Bird and her daughter, Waterlily, through the intricate kinship practices that created unity among her people.

Waterlily, published after Deloria’s death and generally viewed as the masterpiece of her career, offers a captivating glimpse into the daily life of the nineteenth-century Sioux. This new edition features an introduction by Susan Gardner and an index.
$23.95

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Winter of the Holy Iron
Authors:
Joseph M Marshall
Content Territory: Lakota, Sioux
Format: Paperback
In the winter of 1750, a holy iron (flintlock rifle) and two Frenchmen are thrust into the lives of the Sicangu Lakota. Whirlwind, a war chief, finds his people divided in their feelings about the intrusion of the holy iron into their lives and what it could mean to their future.

Additional Information
304 pages | 5.54" x 8.51"

This book is available only by special import order, meaning it may take longer than normal to receive.
$21.95

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