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A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Oji-Cree;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

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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Doug Knockwood, Mi'kmaw Elder: Stories, Memories, Reflections
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Mi'kmaq;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Freeman Douglas Knockwood is a highly respected Elder in Mi’kmaw Territory and one of Canada’s premier addictions recovery counsellors. The story of his life is one of unimaginable colonial trauma, recovery and hope.

At age 6, Knockwood was placed in the Shubenacadie Residential School, where he remained for a year and a half. Like hundreds of other Mi’kmaw and Maliseet children, he suffered horrible abuse. By the time he reached his twenties, he was an alcoholic. He contracted tuberculosis in the 1940s, had one lung and several ribs removed.

Having hit rock bottom, Knockwood, gained sobriety in his thirties through Alcoholics Anonymous. He went on to become a much sought after drug and alcohol rehabilitation counsellor in Canada. Many of Doug’s initiatives have been implemented across Canada and used by thousands of people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Looking back now, says Doug, “I realize I wasn’t only helping them. They were helping me to gather strength in my presentations, in feeding them the knowledge I received, the same as it was fed to me. That helped me to gain confidence in myself; doing all these things that I didn’t know I could yet do”.

This book is an in-depth look at Doug Knockwood’s life that also casts a wide and critical glance at the forces that worked to undermine his existence and the indomitable spirit of a man who recovered from, yet still struggles to overcome, those forces.

Educator Information
The 2018-2019 Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 10-12 for these subjects: English Language Arts, Social Justice, Social Studies.

Additional Information
128 pages | 6.00" x 9.00" | Written by Doug Knockwood and Friends

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$21.00

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Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People (and Yours)
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: University/College;

A passionate call to action, Firewater examines alcohol—its history, the myths surrounding it, and its devastating impact on Indigenous people.

Drawing on his years of experience as a Crown Prosecutor in Treaty 6 territory, Harold Johnson challenges readers to change the story we tell ourselves about the drink that goes by many names—booze, hooch, spirits, sauce, and the evocative “firewater.” Confronting the harmful stereotype of the “lazy, drunken Indian,” and rejecting medical, social, and psychological explanations of the roots of alcoholism, Johnson cries out for solutions, not diagnoses, and shows how alcohol continues to kill so many. Provocative, irreverent, and keenly aware of the power of stories, Firewater calls for people to make decisions about their communities and their lives on their own terms.

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$16.95

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From the Ashes: My Story of Being Metis, 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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$24.99

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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 Moccasinsnever 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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$24.95

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Legacy: Trauma, Story, and Indigenous Healing
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

Exploring intergenerational trauma in Indigenous communities — and strategies for healing — with provocative prose and an empathetic approach

Indigenous peoples have shockingly higher rates of addiction, depression, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions than other North Americans. According to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, these are a result of intergenerational trauma: the unresolved terror, anger, fear, and grief created in Indigenous communities by the painful experiences of colonialism, passed down from generation to generation.

How are we to turn this desperate tide? With passionate argumentation and chillingly clear prose, author and educator Suzanne Methot uses her own and others’ stories to trace the roots of colonial trauma and the mechanisms by which trauma has become intergenerational, and she explores the Indigenous ways of knowing that can lead us toward change.

Reviews
“This book is accessible, relatable, and full of storytelling about real people. It deeply resonates with me as a traditional counsellor, educator, and Indigenous person. Suzanne Methot, a brave Nehiyaw writer and community helper, takes up the challenges of logically explaining a child’s traumatized brain and body and how these impacts continue into adulthood. Methot also explores Indigenous health-care models, proving that Indigenous values provide solutions. This book uncovers the critical need for legislation that moves from creating ‘a renewed relationship’ with Indigenous peoples to creating real structural change.” — Dr. Cyndy Baskin, Mi’kmaq Nation, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Ryerson University

Additional Information
368 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$24.95

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Resolve: The Story of the Chelsea Family and a First Nation Community's Will to Heal
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: University/College;

Andy and Phyllis Chelsea met during their years spent at the St. Joseph’s Mission School in Williams Lake, BC. Like the thousands of others forced into the church-run residential school system, Andy and Phyllis are no strangers to the ongoing difficulties experienced by most Indigenous peoples in Canada. The couple married in 1964 but brought the trauma of their mission school years into their marriage. The Chelseas’ struggle with alcohol came to an abrupt halt in 1971 when their daughter, Ivy, then aged seven, stated that she and her brothers did not want to live with their parents because of the drinking, that they would stay with their Grandmother, their Kye7e. Andy and Phyllis chose sobriety to preserve their family. This decision sparked a lifetime of activism for the couple, which included overcoming the challenges caused by Canada’s disregard for their community. Throughout the twenty-seven years Andy was Chief of the Alkali Lake Esk’et First Nation, the Chelseas worked to eradicate alcoholism and took steps to overcome the rampant intergenerational trauma that existed for the people of Alkali Lake. Their efforts, their story and the perseverance of the members of their village have inspired Indigenous groups facing similar struggles throughout the world.

Resolve: The Chelsea Story and a First Nation Community’s Will to Heal explores the harrowing, personal journey of the Chelseas. By combining personal interviews and historical records, biographer Carolyn Parks Mintz shares the Chelseas’ transition from residential schools to state-sanctioned reservations to international recognition of their activism in the face of ongoing repression. A simultaneous celebration of strength and a condemnation of systemic racism, Resolve is a personal and deeply moving story that calls for a closer look at the status of Canada’s reconciliation efforts from the Chelseas’ perspective.

Additional Information
240 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

 

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sitting by the rapids
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

Poetry is the raging rapids and it is the little fish which doesn’t give up until the turbulent waters are behind it. Poetry is purpose, renewal and rebirth. sitting by the rapids is all of this and offers insight into the mind of an Indigenous man who lives with severe chronic pain and who found the strength through spirituality and poetry to put a life of alcohol abuse behind him forever.

Albert Dumont writes of sitting by the rapids: “The ancestors, living at the time of European contact had a way with words. Poetry spilled effortlessly from their lips because the spirit of the land guided their words. I take seriously my belief that medicine of extraordinary healing power is found in the verses of a poet who puts words together for the purpose of bringing peace and serenity to people in want of it. The counsels and poetry of a person living with pain are special and more meaningful to an individual in the throes of heartache.”

Reviews
"These gentle words full of love and powerful energy are like Albert himself. They encourage and guide the way for all who read them and are prepared to move on." —Maria Campbell, author of Halfbreed.

"Reading sitting by the rapids is a literary experience much like Indigenous poet Albert Dumont’s title for his collection. His reflective lines of personal spirituality and salvation flow over the hidden rocks of his life with a raw grace, and his evolving relationship with Nature and the Great Spirit washes powerfully over the reader, who may well see their reflection in it." —Phil Jenkins, author of An Acre of Time.

Additional Information
65 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$15.00

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The Hollow Tree Fighting Addiction with Traditional Native Healing
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 10; 11;

Before discovering native healing methods, Herb Nabigon could not imagine a life without alcohol. His powerful autobiography, The Hollow Tree, tells the story of his struggle to overcome addiction with the help of the spiritual teachings and brotherly love of his elders.

Nabigon had spent much of his life wrestling with self-destructive impulses, feelings of inferiority and resentment, and alcohol abuse when Eddie Bellerose, an Elder, introduced him to the ancient Cree teachings. With the help of healing methods drawn from the Four Sacred Directions, the refuge and revitalization offered by the sweat lodge, and native cultural practices such as the use of the pipe Nabigon was able to find sobriety.

The Hollow Tree is one person's testament to the power of indigenous culture to heal. Herb Nabigon's healing journey guided him to a life of kindness, honesty, courage, and humility.

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$17.95

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The Rumour
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

The Rumour is a collection of poetry that exposes many important issues of Indigenous discrimination, poverty, drug abuse, brutal violence, love, family, and complex human relationships. As a skilled painter, Joseph A. Dandurand portrays the essence of strong connections with rich Indigenous history, culture, traditions, and family values with broad but precise strokes. The poems come from author's lifetime experience living on the Kwantlen First Nation reserve and give a true picture of the resilience and the struggles Indigenous people experience in everyday life.

Series Information
This book is part of the Modern Indigenous Voices series.

Additional Information
96 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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The Sacred Tree
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Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;

Bestselling Native American title exploring Native North American spiritual teachings.

The Sacred Tree was created by the Four Worlds Development Project, a native American inter-tribal group, as a handbook of Native Spirituality for indigenous peoples all over the Americas and the world. This handbook is being used by the Four Worlds Development Project to eliminate widespread drug and alcohol abuse in tribal communities. It is now being shared for the first time with all members of the human family desiring personal growth.

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Where the Pavement Ends: Canada's Aboriginal Recovery Movement and the Urgent Need for Reconciliation
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Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Inuit; Métis;

The acclaimed book that has exhorted Canadians to make social healing in Aboriginal communities an immediate national priority, now available in paperback.

Over the past fifteen years, Canada's Aboriginal healing community has emerged as a vital and visible force. Creative recovery programs have been established across the country, and international initiatives such as the "Healing Our Spirit Worldwide" gatherings have originated here. The Canadian government has thrown millions of dollars at the issue of addictions, yet alcoholism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, drug abuse and gambling are epidemic today in the lives of Aboriginal people.

Where the Pavement Ends is filled with inspiring stories gathered from journalist Marie Wadden's discussions with activists across Canada who are involved in the Aboriginal healing movement. But the book is also a passionate wake-up call aimed at all Canadians. Existing government policies, Wadden argues, perpetuate the problems that are tearing Aboriginal families and communities apart. We must make social healing in Aboriginal communities an immediate national priority. We must also demand public policy that guarantees First Nations, Inuit and MÈtis people the right to live as full and equal citizens. In these ways, we can offer true support to these marginalized communities.

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you are enough: love poems for the end of the world
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

In his debut poetry collection you are enough: love poems for the end of the world, Smokii Sumac has curated a selection of works from two years of a near daily poetry practice. What began as a sort of daily online poetry journal using the hashtag #haikuaday, has since transformed into a brilliant collection of storytelling drawing upon Indigenous literary practice, and inspired by works like Billy Ray Belcourt's This Wound is a World, and Tenille Campbell's #IndianLovePoems.

The poems follow the haiku format, often stringing together three lines to tell a story. With sections dealing with recovery from addiction and depression, coming home through ceremony, and of course, as the title suggests, on falling in and out of love, Sumac brings the reader through two years of life as a Ktunaxa Two-Spirit person. This collection will move you as Sumac addresses the grief of being an Indigenous person in Canada, shares timely (and sometimes hilarious) musings on consent, sex, and gender, introduces readers to people and places he has loved and learned from, and through it all, helps us all come to know that we are enough, just as we are.

Awards

  • 2019 Indigenous Voices Awards Winner for Published Poetry in English

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108 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

 

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$15.00

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