Secwepemc (Shuswap)

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Deaf Heaven
Format: Paperback
Poetry that takes us inside present-day First Nations reality to reveal the wounds of history and the possible healing to come.

As the title suggests, this new collection of poetry from Garry Gottfriedson of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation deals with the ways in which the world is deaf to the problems First Nations people face in Canada today.

Follow Garry Gottfriedson in this new collection of combative poems as he compels us and Heaven to listen to the challenges facing First Nation communities today. Employing many of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) images and stories, Gottfriedson takes us inside the rez and into the rooming houses in the city cores, but always drawing new strength from the land and the people who have moved upon it. He speaks of “the smell of grandmothers and grandfathers / breathing the stories into our blood” so as to “wrap our newborn in freshly made Star Quilts.”

Gottfriedson examines such issues as the Truth and Reconciliation movements as well as the missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The poems focus not only on postcolonial issues but also on First Nations internal problems. Although the book speaks of age-old themes, it explores them through fresh modern eyes offering thought-provoking and engaging prespectives. Eloquent and witty, these poems are power-packed with imagery that uncovers the raw politics of race. There is nothing polite about them. While frequently offering a bleak view of present-day First Nation conditions, the poems also provide a sense of optimism: "the hope/that the coldest day in winter/will promise serenity in spring."

“Gottfriedson’s poetry is built to endure and it will remain with you long after this book is closed.” – Alexander MacLeod, author of Light Lifting, finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

“Garry Gottfriedson rides double, calling out the violence and corruption he’s seen, while reminding us that grounded strength comes from staying connected to grandmothers, grandfathers, horses, and the land.” – Rita Wong, author of Forage, winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

“Gottfriedson writes us the sound of his blood, the splatter of ink on wood, and the dripping sweat and tears of prayer — all of it telling us who we are and chanting, as if in chorus, ‘survival is brilliant.’ Will we be wise or strong enough to listen?” – Shane Rhodes, author of X: Poems & Anti-Poems

Educator Information
This book of poetry would be useful for Indigenous Studies courses or literature courses such as Indigenous Literatures, Canadian Literature, and Creative Writing.

Additional Information
100 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"
Authentic Canadian Content

Secwepemc People, Land, and Laws: Yeri7 re Stsq'ey's-kucw
Marianne Ignace
Ronald E Ignace
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Secwepemc (Shuswap);
Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws is a journey through the 10,000-year history of the Interior Plateau nation in British Columbia. Told through the lens of past and present Indigenous storytellers, this volume detail how a homeland has shaped Secwépemc existence while the Secwépemc have in turn shaped their homeland. Marianne Ignace and Ronald Ignace, with contributions from ethnobotanist Nancy Turner, archaeologist Mike Rousseau, and geographer Ken Favrholdt, compellingly weave together Secwépemc narratives about ancestors’ deeds. They demonstrate how these stories are the manifestation of Indigenous laws (stsq'ey') for social and moral conduct among humans and all sentient beings on the land, and for social and political relations within the nation and with outsiders. Breathing new life into stories about past transformations, the authors place these narratives in dialogue with written historical sources and knowledge from archaeology, ethnography, linguistics, earth science, and ethnobiology. In addition to a wealth of detail about Secwépemc land stewardship, the social and political order, and spiritual concepts and relations embedded in the Indigenous language, the book shows how between the mid-1800s and 1920s the Secwépemc people resisted devastating oppression and the theft of their land, and fought to retain political autonomy while tenaciously maintaining a connection with their homeland, ancestors, and laws. An exemplary work in collaboration, Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws points to the ways in which Indigenous laws and traditions can guide present and future social and political process among the Secwépemc and with settler society.

They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School
Bev Sellars
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Xat'sull; Secwepemc (Shuswap);

Like thousands of Aboriginal children in Canada, and elsewhere in the colonized world, Xatsu'll chief Bev Sellars spent part of her childhood as a student in a church-run residential school.

These institutions endeavored to "civilize" Native children through Christian teachings; forced separation from family, language, and culture; and strict discipline. Perhaps the most symbolically potent strategy used to alienate residential school children was addressing them by assigned numbers only-not by the names with which they knew and understood themselves.

In this frank and poignant memoir of her years at St. Joseph's Mission, Sellars breaks her silence about the residential school's lasting effects on her and her family-from substance abuse to suicide attempts-and eloquently articulates her own path to healing. 'Number One' comes at a time of recognition-by governments and society at large-that only through knowing the truth about these past injustices can we begin to redress them.


  • 2014 Burt Award Third Place Winner

Educator Information
Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the unit Place-Conscious Learning - Exploring Text through Local Landscape.

Additional Information
256 pages | 5.67" x 8.20"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text

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