Indigenous Contemporary Issues

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#IdleNoMore: And the Remaking of Canada
Authors:
Ken Coates
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Idle No More bewildered many Canadians. Launched by four women in Saskatchewan in reaction to a federal omnibus budget bill, the protest became the most powerful demonstration of Aboriginal identity in Canadian history. Thousands of aboriginal people and their supporters took to the streets, shopping malls, and other venues, drumming, dancing, and singing in a collective voice.

It was a protest against generations of injustice, a rallying cry for cultural survival, and a reassertion of Aboriginal identity.

Idle No More lasted for almost a year, and then the rallies dissipated. Many observers described it as a spent force. It was anything but. Idle No More was the most profound declaration of Indigenous identity and confidence in Canadian history, sparked by Aboriginal women and their supporters, sustained by young Indigenous peoples, filled with pride and determination. When the drums slowed, a new and different Canada was left in its wake. Partially stunned by the peaceful celebrations, but perplexed by a movement that seemed to have no centre and no leaders, most Canadians missed the point.

Through Idle No More, Aboriginal people have declared that they are a vital and necessary part of Canada's future. The spirit of the drumming, singing and dancing lives on in empowered and confident young Aboriginal people who will shape the future of this country for decades to come.
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A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

“It can start with a knock on the door one morning. It is the local Indian agent, or the parish priest, or, perhaps, a Mounted Police officer… The officials have arrived and the children must go.”

So began the school experience of many Indigenous children in Canada for more than a hundred years, and so begins the history of residential schools prepared by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

Between 2008 and 2015, the TRC provided opportunities for individuals, families, and communities to share their experiences of residential schools and released several reports based on 7,000 Survivor statements and 5 million documents from government, churches, and schools, as well as a solid grounding in secondary sources.

A Knock on the Door, published in collaboration with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), gathers material from the TRC reports to present the essential history and legacy of residential schools and inform the journey to reconciliation that Canadians are now embarked upon. An afterword introduces the holdings and opportunities of the NCTR, home to the archive of recordings and documents collected by the TRC.

Survivor and former National Chief of the Assembly First Nations, Phil Fontaine, provides a Foreword, and an Afterword introduces the holdings and opportunities of the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation, home to the archive of recordings, and documents collected by the TRC.

As Aimée Craft writes in the Afterword, knowing the historical backdrop of residential schooling and its legacy is essential to the work of reconciliation. In the past, agents of the Canadian state knocked on the doors of Indigenous families to take the children to school. Now, the Survivors have shared their truths and knocked back. It is time for Canadians to open the door to mutual understanding, respect, and reconciliation.

Reviews
“The attempt to transform us failed. The true legacy of the survivors, then, will be the transformation of Canada.” – Phil Fontaine, from the Foreword

A Knock on the Door is a book that I hope every Canadian will read, and read deeply. The transformation of this country begins with acknowledging what happened after that knock on the door. Acknowledging, understanding the implications, and then resolving to do something for positive change. It’s right that the TRC Calls to Action are included, for we are all called to action.” – Shelagh Rogers, O.C., TRC Honorary Witness

"Seven volumes from a nationwide inquiry into the legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools have been condensed into a compelling book that is both accessible and well-documented. The central conclusion—that the schools were part of a deliberate cultural genocide policy aimed at the continent’s first peoples, spearheaded by the Canadian government with the support of mainline churches —is clearly supported by historical references, gut-wrenching personal stories, and a thorough analysis of a system that forcibly removed indigenous children from their families.” – Publishers Weekly 

Educator Information
This book is recommended for grade 11 and 12 students for courses in social studies and social justice (also useful for college/university students in courses of a similar nature).  This book is also a useful teacher resource.

Caution: physical and sexual abuse is discussed in this book.

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Edited and Abridged | 296 pages | 5.50" x 8.50" | 11 b&w photographs | maps | bibliography

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A Matter of Conscience
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

A novel of love and betrayal dealing with the biggest issues facing Canada’s Indigenous peoples today.

In the summer of 1972, a float plane carrying a team of child welfare officials lands on a river flowing through the Yellow Dog Indian reserve. Their mission is to seize the twin babies of an Indigenous couple as part of an illegal scheme cooked up by the federal government to adopt out tens of thousands of Native children to white families. The baby girl, Brenda, is adopted and raised by a white family in Orillia.

Meanwhile, that same summer, a baby boy named Greg is born to a white middle-class family. At the age of eighteen, Greg leaves home for the first time to earn money to help pay for his university expenses. He drinks heavily and becomes embroiled in the murder of a female student from a residential school.

The destinies of Brenda and Greg intersect in this novel of passion, confronting the murder and disappearance of Indigenous women and the infamous Sixties Scoop.

Reviews
"James Bartleman, a First Nation person himself, writes movingly … about the tragic reality of misogynistic racism and violence against Indigenous women and girls." — Sharon Stinson Henry, Chief of Chippewas of Rama First Nation

Forces us to confront uncomfortable truths as we seek a path to reconciliation. — Alan Bowker, author of A Time Such as There Never Was Before

Bartleman’s strength as a writer is his compassion. He respects each of his characters and sets the stage for real-world discussions of Canada’s past, present, and future. — Publishers Weekly

Educator Information
A Reader's Guide includes discussion of Sixties Scoop and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Candian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 10-12 English Language Arts.

Caution: Thi book could trigger some readers because of disturbing topics.

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272 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights: In Defense of Indigenous Struggles
Authors:
Peter Kulchyski
Format: Paperback
Aboriginal rights do not belong to the broader category of universal human rights because they are grounded in the particular practices of aboriginal people. So argues Peter Kulchyski in this provocative book from the front lines of indigenous people’s struggles to defend their culture from the ongoing conquest of their traditional lands. Kulchyski shows that some differences are more different than others, and he draws a border between bush culture and mall culture, between indigenous people’s mode of production and the totalizing push of state-led capitalism.

Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights provides much needed conceptual and historical analysis of aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada, and offers concrete suggestions to transform the current policy paradigm into one that supports and invigorates indigenous cultures in a contemporary context.
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All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward
Authors:
Tanya Talaga
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Every single year in Canada, one-third of all deaths among Indigenous youth are due to suicide. Studies indicate youth between the ages of ten and nineteen, living on reserve, are five to six times more likely to commit suicide than their peers in the rest of the population. Suicide is a new behaviour for First Nations people. There is no record of any suicide epidemics prior to the establishment of the 130 residential schools across Canada.

Bestselling and award-winning author Tanya Talaga argues that the aftershocks of cultural genocide have resulted in a disturbing rise in youth suicides in Indigenous communities in Canada and beyond. She examinees the tragic reality of children feeling so hopeless they want to die, of kids perishing in clusters, forming suicide pacts, or becoming romanced by the notion of dying — a phenomenon that experts call “suicidal ideation.” She also looks at the rising global crisis, as evidenced by the high suicide rates among the Inuit of Greenland and Aboriginal youth in Australia. Finally, she documents suicide prevention strategies in Nunavut, Seabird Island, and Greenland; Facebook’s development of AI software to actively link kids in crisis with mental health providers; and the push by First Nations leadership in Northern Ontario for a new national health strategy that could ultimately lead communities towards healing from the pain of suicide.

Based on her Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy series, Tanya Talaga’s 2018 Massey Lectures is a powerful call for action and justice for Indigenous communities and youth.

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320 pages | 5.00" x 8.00"

 

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Arts of Engagement: Taking Aesthetic Action In and Beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Format: Paperback
Arts of Engagement focuses on the role that music, film, visual art, and Indigenous cultural practices play in and beyond Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools. Contributors here examine the impact of aesthetic and sensory experience in residential school history, at TRC national and community events, and in artwork and exhibitions not affiliated with the TRC. Using the framework of “aesthetic action,” the essays expand the frame of aesthetics to include visual, aural, and kinetic sensory experience, and question the ways in which key components of reconciliation such as apology and witnessing have social and political effects for residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors, and settler publics.

This volume makes an important contribution to the discourse on reconciliation in Canada by examining how aesthetic and sensory interventions offer alternative forms of political action and healing. These forms of aesthetic action encompass both sensory appeals to empathize and invitations to join together in alliance and new relationships as well as refusals to follow the normative scripts of reconciliation. Such refusals are important in their assertion of new terms for conciliation, terms that resist the imperatives of reconciliation as a form of resolution.

This collection charts new ground by detailing the aesthetic grammars of reconciliation and conciliation. The authors document the efficacies of the TRC for the various Indigenous and settler publics it has addressed, and consider the future aesthetic actions that must be taken in order to move beyond what many have identified as the TRC’s political limitations.

Educator Information
This book would be useful for Art, Art & Politics, Social Science, and Indigenous Studies courses.

Additional Information
382 pages | 6.00" x 9.00" | 24 colour illustrations, 2 printed music items

Edited by Dylan Robinson and Keavy Martin
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Beyond the Indian Act
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

While land claims made by Canada's aboriginal peoples continue to attract attention and controversy, there has been almost no discussion of the ways in which First Nations lands are managed and the property rights that have been in place since the Indian Act of 1876. Beyond the Indian Act looks at these issues and questions whether present land practices have benefited Canada's aboriginal peoples. Challenging current laws and management, this illuminating work proposes the creation of a new system that would allow First Nations to choose to have full ownership of property, both individually and collectively.

The authors not only investigate the current forms of property rights on reservations but also expose the limitations of each system, showing that customary rights are insecure, certificates of possession cannot be sold outside the First Nation, and leases are temporary. As well, analysis of legislation, court decisions, and economic reports reveals that current land management has led to unnecessary economic losses. The authors propose creation of a First Nations Property Ownership Act that would make it possible for First Nations to take over full ownership of reserve lands from the Crown, arguing that permitting private property on reserves would provide increased economic advantages.

An engaging and well-reasoned book, Beyond the Indian Act is a bold argument for a new system that could improve the quality of life for First Nations people in communities across the country.

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Children of the Broken Treaty: Canada's Lost Promise and One Girl's Dream
Authors:
Charlie Angus
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Children of the Broken Treaty exposes a system of apartheid in Canada that led to the largest youth-driven human rights movement in the country’s history. The movement was inspired by Shannen Koostachin, a young Cree woman whom George Stroumboulopoulos named as one of “five teenage girls who kicked ass in history.”

All Shannen wanted was a decent education. She found an ally in Charlie Angus, who had no idea she was going to change his life and inspire others to change the country.

Based on extensive documentation assembled from Freedom of Information requests, Angus establishes a dark, unbroken line that extends from the policies of John A. Macdonald to the government of today. He provides chilling insight into how Canada--through breaches of treaties, broken promises, and callous neglect--deliberately denied First Nations children their basic human rights.

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Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit
Authors:
Lynn Gehl
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;
Denied her Indigenous status, Lynn Gehl has been fighting her entire life to reclaim mino-pimadiziwin--the good life. Exploring Anishinaabeg philosophy and Anishinaabeg conceptions of truth, Gehl shows how she came to locate her spirit and decolonize her identity, thereby becoming, in her words, "fully human." Gehl also provides a harsh critique of Canada and takes on important anti-colonial battles, including sex discrimination in the Indian Act and the destruction of sacred places.

Reviews
Gehl is at the cutting edge with her concepts and ideas... She is on a journey and documents it well.
Lorelei Anne Lambert, author of Research for Indigenous Survival

Clear, insightful, and desperately needed...
Lorraine F. Mayer, author of Cries from a Métis Heart

The discussion of the heart and mind knowledge, as well as the discussion on the Anishinaabeg Clan System of Governance, [are] major contributions to the research.
Marlyn Bennett, co-editor of Pushing the Margins

"Throughout Claiming Anishinaabe, the conversation remains rooted in the destructive effects of oppressive power on the human spirit, and an insistence that both knowledge and spirituality are key in reclaiming one’s sense of self."
Quill & Quire

Educator Information
This book would be useful for the following subject areas or courses: Indigenous Studies, Canadian History (Post-Confederation), Social Science, Autobiography/Biography Studies, Spirituality, and Law.

Additional Information
176 pages | 5.50" x 8.50" | Includes line drawings
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Colonized Classrooms
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

COLONIZED CLASSROOMS
Racism, Trauma and Resistance in Post-Secondary Education

In Colonized Classrooms, Sheila Cote-Meek discusses how Aboriginal students confront narratives of colonial violence in the post secondary classroom, while they are, at the same time, living and experiencing colonial violence on a daily basis. Basing her analysis on interviews with Aboriginal students, teachers and Elders, Cote-Meek deftly illustrates how colonization and its violence are not a distant experience, but one that is being negotiated every day in universities and colleges across Canada.


CONTENTS
Setting the Context • Conceptualizing the Impact of the Colonial Encounter • Negotiating the Culture/Colonial Divide in the Postsecondary Classroom • Negotiating Race in the Postsecondary Classroom • Trauma in the Classroom • Resisting Ongoing Racism and Colonialism in the Postsecondary Classroom • Closing the Circle: The Possibilities for Transformational Pedagogy • References

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sheila Cote-Meek is an Anishnaabe-Kwe from the Teme-Augama Anishnabai. She is Associate Vice President of Academic and Indigenous Programs as well as a professor in the School of Indigenous Relations at Laurentian University.

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Dancing on Our Turtle's Back
Authors:
Leanne Simpson
Format: Paperback
Many promote Reconciliation as a “new” way for Canada to relate to Indigenous Peoples. In Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence activist, editor, and educator Leanne Simpson asserts reconciliation must be grounded in political resurgence and must support the regeneration of Indigenous languages, oral cultures, and traditions of governance.

Simpson explores philosophies and pathways of regeneration, resurgence, and a new emergence through the Nishnaabeg language, Creation Stories, walks with Elders and children, celebrations and protests, and meditations on these experiences. She stresses the importance of illuminating Indigenous intellectual traditions to transform their relationship to the Canadian state.

Challenging and original, Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back provides a valuable new perspective on the struggles of Indigenous Peoples.
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Dancing With A Ghost
Authors:
Rupert Ross
Format: Paperback
Rupert Ross, as a crown attorney, attempts to give some definition to the cultural gap that bedevils the relationships and distorts the communication between Native peoples and the dominant white Canadian society to encourage others to begin their own respectful cross-cultural explorations. As Ross discovered, traditional perspectives have a great deal to offer modern-day Canada.
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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."

Reviews
“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.

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100 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"
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Elder Brother and the Law of the People: Contemporary Kinship and Cowessess First Nation
Authors:
Robert Alexander Innes
Format: Paperback
In the pre-reserve era, Aboriginal bands in the northern plains were relatively small multicultural communities that actively maintained fluid and inclusive membership through traditional kinship practices. These practices were governed by the Law of the People as described in the traditional stories of Wîsashkêcâhk, or Elder Brother, that outlined social interaction, marriage, adoption, and kinship roles and responsibilities.

In Elder Brother and the Law of the People, Robert Innes offers a detailed analysis of the role of Elder Brother stories in historical and contemporary kinship practices in Cowessess First Nation, located in southeastern Saskatchewan. He reveals how these tradition-inspired practices act to undermine legal and scholarly definitions of “Indian” and counter the perception that First Nations people have internalized such classifications. He presents Cowessess’s successful negotiation of the 1996 Treaty Land Agreement and their high inclusion rate of new “Bill-C31s” as evidence of the persistence of historical kinship values and their continuing role as the central unifying factor for band membership.
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Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous;

Elements of Indigenous Style offers Indigenous writers and editors—and everyone creating works about Indigenous Peoples—the first published guide to common questions and issues of style and process. Everyone working in words or other media needs to read this important new reference, and to keep it nearby while they’re working.

This guide features:

• Twenty-two succinct style principles.
• Advice on culturally appropriate publishing practices, including how to collaborate with Indigenous Peoples, when and how to seek the advice of Elders, and how to respect Indigenous Oral Traditions and Traditional Knowledge.
• Terminology to use and to avoid.
• Advice on specific editing issues, such as biased language, capitalization, and quoting from historical sources and archives.
• Case studies of projects that illustrate best practices.

Reviews
"Style is fraught with politics, especially when writing about Indigenous Peoples. Now, writers, academics, journalists, publishers, and students can breathe a sigh of relief. Reach for this essential Indigenous style guide, not only when searching for the right word, but when seeking guidance on the importance of relationships and trust." - Duncan McCue, CBC Radio Host and author of The Shoe Boy

"Elements of Indigenous Style is a beautiful beginning, a gathering place and a cultivator of both discussion and growth. Younging’s work clears the ground, drafts the blueprints and starts the framing out on the house that we need for our stories. At the same time, Younging manages to write both solid and grounded guidelines while leaving malleability in the architecture so that the ideas can grow and evolve. And we are all invited to share, discuss, add to, and cultivate this important work." - Cherie Dimaline, author and winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award

Educator Information
This book would be useful for the following courses and/or areas of studies from elementary to university: Indigenous Studies, Canadian Literature, Language Arts, English, Media Studies, Education, Journalism, Editing and Proofreading, Social Science/Ethnic Studies, and Composition and Creative Writing.

Recommended for Grades 3-12 for the following subject areas: English Language Arts, Indigenous Studies, Social Studies.  Also a useful Teacher's Resource.

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168 pages | 5.50" x 7.50"

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