Indigenous Narratives

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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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Calling Down the Sky
Text Content Territories: Métis; Inuit; Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

Calling Down the Sky is a poetry collection that describes deep personal experiences and post generational effects of the Canadian Aboriginal Residential School confinements in the 1950's when thousands of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were placed in these schools against their parents' wishes. Many were forbidden to speak their language and practice their own culture. The author portrays how the ongoing impact of the residential schools problem has been felt throughout generations and has contributed to social problems that continue to exist today.

Reviews
“Rosanna Deerchild’s poems roll off the tongue as easy as old country songs. With her deft hand, Deerchild finely tunes every word and weaves them together as intimately as she braids her girls’ hair. Together, these poems create a story that sings with beautiful tension, amazing resilience, and love as big as the sky." - Katherena Vermette, Metis Writer

"The poetry collection, called calling down the sky, describes personal experiences with the residential school system in the 1950s and the generational effects it had." - CBC 

"This poetry collection is fierce, raw and candid. It is also visceral, intricate and, above all, illuminating. By recounting her mother’s residential school experience in a powerfully poetic narrative, Deerchild expertly illustrates the heartbreaking trauma of that tragic saga and how it complicates relationships over generations. By beautifully and elaborately exploring those relationships and that devastating history, she finds and celebrates the resilient and hopeful spirit that many residential school survivors, like her mother, have managed to retain in the face of horror and torment. As a result, calling down the sky is an essential read in understanding the true modern history of this land and in honouring the people who survived it.” - Waubgeshig Rice

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96 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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From the Tundra to the Trenches
Editors:
Thibault Martin
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

“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.

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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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Glimpses of Oneida Life
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Oneida;

Glimpses of Oneida Life is a remarkable compilation of modern stories of community life at the Oneida Nation of the Thames Settlement and the surrounding area. With topics ranging from work experiences and Oneida customs to pranks, humorous encounters, and ghost stories, these fifty-two unscripted narrations and conversations in Oneida represent a rare collection of first-hand Iroquoian reflections on aspects of daily life and culture not found in print elsewhere.

Each text is presented in Oneida with both an interlinear, word-by-word translation and a more colloquial translation in English. The book also contains a grammatical sketch of the Oneida language by Karin Michelson, co-author of the Oneida-English/English-Oneida Dictionary, that describes how words are structured and combined into larger linguistic structures, thus allowing Glimpses to be used as a teaching text as well.

The engrossing tales in Glimpses of Oneida Life will be a valuable resource for linguists and language learners, a useful source for those studying the history and culture of Iroquois people in the twentieth-century, and an entertaining read for anyone interested in everyday First Nations life in southern Ontario.

Additional Information
472 pages | 6.97" x 10.00"

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$49.95

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Grandmother's Stories How the Earth and Sky Began
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Daniel Auger's grandmother was the greatest storyteller he ever knew. In her soft voice, she spoke of heroes and giants, of evil deeds and mysterious spirits. Born on a Canadian reserve and educated at an Indian residential school, she was intensely curious about the old ways. In her quest to find out who we are and where we came from, she collected stories from her home community and from her journeys to powwows, sweats, potlatches and family events across Canada and the Northwest US. This collection of 38 Native myths is a timeless window onto a world when the People were first created:

* Mi'kmaq--The Sun created the Earth and the people on it, but when they began to kill one another, the Sun wept until the entire world drowned. Only one woman and an old man survived, who repopulated the Earth.

* Blackfoot--Water once covered the world, and the Creator sent Muskrat to the bottom of the Ocean to see what was there. Muskrat returned with a ball of mud, which the Creator transformed in the Earth and all living things on it.

* Huron-- In a world that existed before our own, people lived in great longhouses in the sky around a beautiful celestial tree. One day a man uprooted the tree, and when his wife looked into the hole she fell down below to the world we know today.

* Algonquin--In the very beginning of time there were two brothers, Gluskap and Malsum. Gluskap created humans, and the plants and animals they needed to survive. Jealous of his brother, Malsum tried to kill Gluskap, but Gluskap used his own magic to be reborn. He then struck down his evil brother into the earth, and Malsum was reborn as a wolf.

* Haida--The trickster Raven opened a giant clamshell he found washed upon the beach, and when he opened it, out popped tiny human beings.

* Siksika--Old Man came from the south and made the world as he walked along. One day he made a man and a woman out of clay, and Old Man taught them how to survive in the world he created.

224 pages, suitable for adult readers only

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$18.95

In Re-Print
Harry Robinson: Living by Stories: A Journey of Landscape and Memory
Authors:
Harry Robinson
Editors:
Wendy Wickwire
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Okanagan;
Following on two previous collections— Write It on Your Heart: The Epic World of an Okanagan Storyteller (1989) and Nature Power: In the Spirit of an Okanagan Storyteller (2004)—Living by Stories is the third volume of oral narratives by Okanagan storyteller Harry Robinson. This third collection documents how the arrival of whites forever altered the Salish cultural landscape.

Living by Stories includes a number of classic stories set in the “mythological age” about the trickster/transformer, Coyote, and his efforts to rid the world of bad people— spatla or “monsters,” but this new volume is more important for its presentation of historical narratives set in the more recent past. As with the mythological accounts, there is much chaos and conflict in these stories, mainly due to the arrival of new quasi-monsters—“SHAmas” (Whites)—who dispossess “Indians” of their lands and rights, impose new political and legal systems, and erect roads, rail lines, mines, farms, ranches and towns on the landscape.

With permission from Harry Robinson, Wendy Wickwire began recording Robinson's oral stories in 1977. Robinson took his role as a storyteller very seriously and worried about the survival of the oral tradition and his stories. “I’m going to disappear”, he told one reporter, “and there’ll be no more telling stories.”

Review
Whenever I need to be reminded that language is magic and that stories can change the world, I go to Robinson.
- Thomas King

Additional Information
288 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

Stories from Harry Robinson
Edited and compiled by Wendy Wickwire
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$24.95

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In the Beginning, There was the First World
Authors:
Jim Gilbert
Speck. Wedlidi
Format: Paperback
This 16-page booklet has a beautifully illustrated Pacific Northwest Coast creation story and 20 designs from the four major Native Indian art style areas comparing the differences and similarities.

$10.00

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Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Inuit; Métis;

Indigenous perspectives much older than the nation itself shared through maps, artwork, history and culture.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, in partnership with Canada's national Indigenous organizations, has created a groundbreaking four-volume atlas that shares the experiences, perspectives, and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. It's an ambitious and unprecedented project inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action. Exploring themes of language, demographics, economy, environment and culture, with in-depth coverage of treaties and residential schools, these are stories of Canada's Indigenous Peoples, told in detailed maps and rich narratives.

This extraordinary project offers Canada a step on the path toward understanding.

The volumes contain more than 48 pages of reference maps, content from more than 50 Indigenous writers; hundreds of historical and contemporary photographs and a glossary of Indigenous terms, timelines, map of Indigenous languages, and frequently asked questions. All packaged together in a beautifully designed protective slipcase.

Educator Information
Recommended for ages 13+.

The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada includes a four volume print atlas, an online atlas, an app, and more!

Additional Information
322 pages | 10.50" x 12.87"

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$83.00

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Kwädąy Dän Ts’ìnchį: Teachings from Long Ago Person Found
Format: Paperback

On a late summer day, many years ago, a young man set out on a voyage through the mountains. He never reached his destination. When his remains were discovered by three British Columbia hunters, roughly three hundred years after he was caught by a storm or other accident, his story had faded from even the long memory of the region’s people, the local Champagne and Aishihik Indigenous peoples. First Nations Elders decided to call the discovery Kwädąy Dän Ts’ìnchį—Long Ago Person Found.

The discovery of the Kwädąy Dän Ts’ìnchį man raised many questions. Who was he and how did he die? Where had he come from? Where was he going, and for what purpose? What did his world look like? But his remains, preserved in glacial ice for centuries, offered answers, too—as did the traditional knowledge and experience of the Indigenous peoples in whose territories he lived and died—setting in motion a unique multidisciplinary collaboration between indigenous peoples and the scientific community based on mutual respect.

Through forensic investigation we learn that he was 18 years old, 5'8" tall, had a tapeworm, a gastric ulcer, and was in the early stages of tuberculosis. From the food sources found in his stomach, colon, and rectum, we learned he traveled 70 km in two days. We know he died in August because flowers of the beach asparagus, found in his stomach, only bloom in August, in the area he was found.

In this comprehensive and collaborative account, scientific analysis and cultural knowledge interweave to describe a life that ended just as Europeans were about to arrive in the northwest. What emerges is not only a portrait of an individual and his world, but also a model for how diverse ways of knowing, in both scholarly and oral traditions, can complement each other to provide a new understanding of our complex histories.

Educator Information
The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 10-12 for these subjects: Earth Science, English Language Arts, Geography, Social Studies, and Science.

Additional Information
688 pages | 8.50" x 11.00"

Illustrations & Content: color and black and white photographs throughout, maps, charts, appendices, references, index

Edited by Richard J. Hebda, Sheila Greer, Alexander Mackie.

Authenticity Note: Editor Sheila Greer is an adopted member of the Kajet Crow clan.  It is up to readers to determine if this resource will work as an authentic Indigenous text for their purposes.

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$49.95

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Legends of Vancouver
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Kanyen'kehà:ka (Mohawk);

Legends of Vancouver was written at the turn of the last century and first published in 1911. The written collection of legends and myths was the result of a meeting, and later the fast friendship, between a Mohawk princess and a West Coast Squamish Chief.

Before her arrival on the West Coast, Pauline Johnson had acquired notoriety as a poet and performer and as an active proponent of Mohawk culture. That she was drawn to local legends was a natural extension of an already prolific career as a writer and stage performer. Retiring from the stage when she reached Vancouver in 1909, it was only right that she continue to share her stories. These were first published separately in a local newspaper and later published in book form. Johnson’s book of native legends quickly became a classic of Vancouver’s literature.

We can still detect to this day the joy of discovery that Johnson imprinted in her writing of the legends. Whether just arrived or long time residents, readers will share with Johnson emotions of discovery when seized, through her writings, by the beauty of the surroundings, just as she was 100 years ago. This book is also a portrait of a very young Vancouver with its much loved Stanley Park, its rough and tumble gold diggers and its millennium old First Nations.

Pauline Johnson’s tomb is set in Stanley Park, near Third Beach. In 1922, almost 13 years after her death, the City of Vancouver paid tribute to this magnificent artist and her legacy by erecting a monument in her honour.

This 100th anniversary edition combines a mix of modern and archival pictures of Vancouver to provide a sense of where these legends took place and how they are incorporated in the modern city.

Educator Information
Recommended for grades 4-12 English Language Arts and Social Studies.

Caution: Use of the terms “Indian” and “Redskins”.

Additional Information
148 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$15.95

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Mind's Eye: Stories from Whapmagoostui
Authors:
Susan Marshall
Format: Paperback
Based on over two decades of extensive interviews, Mind’s Eye documents the stories told by eighteen Cree elders in Whapmagoostui, a mixed community of Cree, Inuit, and non-Natives, located on the eastern shore of Hudson Bay at the mouth of the Great Whale River in northern Quebec.

From testimonies about battles with the Inuit, raids by Cree from southern James Bay, and early contact with Europeans, to simple descriptions of playing games and making caribou-skin coats, these stories record the history of the James Bay Cree and illustrate the degree to which the presence of the supernatural was considered a normal part of daily life. More recent stories tell of challenges to the Whapmagoostui Cree community in the first half of the twentieth century—the influence of Christian missionaries, the decline of game animals, and the establishment of the military base at Great Whale River.

Recorded from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, the stories were told against the backdrop of proposed hydroelectric development on the Great Whale River and Little Whale River that would threaten the health, livelihood and culture of the Cree and Inuit communities in the region.

This evocative collection of stories from northern Quebec connects readers to the vibrant history of the Whapmagoostui Cree, and aims to maintain this community’s rich cultural traditions.

Storytellers: Sam Atchynia, Nellie Atchynia, Frankie Dick, Matthew George, Rupert George, John Kawapit, Suzanne Kawapit, William Kawapit, Noah Mamianskum, Ann Masty, Sam Masty, Samson Masty, Hannah Natachequan, Andrew Natachequan, Philip Natachequan, Joseph Rupert, Maggie Sandy, Peter Sandy, Ronnie Sheshamush
$34.95

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Napi: The Trickster
Authors:
Hugh A. Dempsey
Format: Paperback

An enthralling collection of traditional Blackfoot stories revealing the frailty of mankind and the enduring power of narrative.

Napi, the Old Man of the Blackfoot Nation, appears prominently in mythology, sometimes as a quasi-Creator, sometimes a fool, and sometimes a brutal murderer. Although Napi is given credit for creating many of the objects and creatures on Earth, and indeed the Earth itself, the Blackfoot do not consider him to be god-like. Napi stories tell of this mythical figure creating the world and everything in it, but getting into trouble when he starts tinkering with his own creation. Perhaps for this reason, anthropologists have labelled him a trickster/creator.

For thousands of years, people have gathered around the campfire and listened to stories of how Napi blundered and schemed his way through Blackfoot country. They laugh at how Napi was outwitted by a lame fox, how he tried to fly with the geese only to look down when he was told not to and fell to the earth. He makes a perfect subject for telling, listening, and enjoying—and for teaching.

Hugh Dempsey, venerable historian and strong ally of the Blackfoot Nation, has gathered together a number of Napi stories passed on through oral tradition, many recorded and analysed by outsiders, but used by permission of Blackfoot elders. These stories offer complex insight into an ancient and still-thriving culture through the figure of a flawed yet powerful creature—a mirror of humankind itself.

Reviews
"By gathering together a sizeable collection of stories passed down through oral tradition, Dempsey and Koski offer insight into a venerable and still-thriving culture, as well as a piece of history to be kept and passed on to younger generations for years to come." — Vue Weekly

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144 pages | 6.00" x 9.00" 

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$19.95

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Nature Power: In the Spirit of an Okanagan Storyteller
Authors:
Harry Robinson
Editors:
Wendy Wickwire
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Okanagan;
Many of the stories in Harry Robinson's second collection feature the shoo-MISH, or "nature helpers" that assist humans and sometimes provide them with special powers. Some tell of individuals who use these powers to heal themselves; others tell of Indian doctors who have been given the power to heal others. Still others tell of power encounters: a woman "comes alive" after death; a boy meets a singing squirrel; a voice from nowhere predicts the future.

Award
BC Book Prize Winner, 1993.

Review
Epic, mesmerizing tales by a great Okanagan storyteller that lift [one] eerily and movingly into a different world.
- Michele Landsberg, Toronto Star

Additional Information
272 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

2nd edition (First Edition published 1992)

Stories from Harry Robinson
Edited and compiled by Wendy Wickwire
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$24.95

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One Good Story, That One
Format: Paperback
Inspired by the native oral tradition, this book opens with a clever creation tale introducing the traditional native wily coyote. King blends native historical realities with contemporary life in an amusing parody of the biblical Garden of Eden story. Powerful characters, sharp dialogue and profound insights make this an unforgettable and entertaining read.

$16.95

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Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American;

Leading Native American scholar and author of the best-selling books God Is Red and Custer Died for Your Sins, Vine Deloria, Jr., addresses the conflict between mainstream scientific theory about the world and the ancestral worldview of Native Americans. Claiming that science has created a largely fictional scenario for American Indians in prehistoric North America, Deloria offers an alternative view of the continent's history as seen through the eyes and memories of Native Americans.

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$22.95

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