Indigenous History

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Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Lakota; Oglala Lakota;

Told from the Native American point of view, Black Elk’s Vision provides a unique perspective on American history. From recounting the visions Black Elk had as a young boy, to his involvement in the battles of Little Big Horn and Wounded Knee, as well as his journeys to New York City and Europe with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, this biographical account of Black Elk—an Oglala-Lakota medicine man (1863–1950)—follows him from childhood through adulthood.

S. D. Nelson tells the story of Black Elk through the medicine man’s voice, bringing to life what it was like to be Native American in the mid-to-late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The Native people found their land overrun by the Wha-shi-choos, or White Man, the buffalo slaughtered for sport and to purposely eliminate their main food source, and their people gathered onto reservations. Through it all, Black Elk clung to his childhood visions that planted the seeds to help his people—and all people—understand their place in the circle of life. The book includes archival images, a timeline, a bibliography, an index, and Nelson’s signature art.

Reviews
“A fine choice for story hours, this will also find wide curricular use.” —Booklist
 
“A modern-day story in the Sioux tradition of storytelling.” —Winston-Salem Journal
 
“Splendid acrylic artwork captures the action, humor, and spirit of the tale. A solid addition to collections of Native American tales and an enjoyable read-aloud.” —School Library Journal
 
“Nelson pulls it off with his confident style as a storyteller . . . polished illustrations . . . informative, well written.” —Kirkus Reviews

Educator Information
F&P level: U
F&P genre: B

Additional Information
48 pages | 10.50" x 10.37"

Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$26.95

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Chiwid
Authors:
Sage Birchwater
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Tsilhqot'in;

Chiwid was a Tsilhqot'in woman, said to have shamanistic powers, who spent most of her adult life "living out" in the hills and forests around Williams Lake, BC. Chiwid is the story of this remarkable woman told in the vibrant voices of Chilcotin oldtimers, both native and non-native.

Reviews
"Chiwid was a Chilcotin woman who lived outside, self-sufficiently for most of her life and moving camps with the seasons. Chiwid is a collection of oral histories about the woman, her family and what life was like in the Chilcotin area of British Columbia in the early to mid-1900s." - The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2009-2010.

Additional Information
128 pages | 8.00" x 9.00" 

Authenticity Note: This book's author is not Indigenous; however, the book is listing as containing Authentic Indigenous Text because it contains stories collected by the author from Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. It is up to readers to determine if this book will work as an authentic text for their purposes.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$16.00

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Counting Coup: Becoming a Crow Chief on the Reservation and Beyond
Format: Hardcover

Picture a Crow Indian elder, his wizened eyes catching yours in the ancient flicker of firelight. His mesmerizing stories span the ages, from Custer to World War II to the 21st Century. He is the last traditional chief of his people. He is over 90 years old. Now picture that same man lecturing at colleges nationwide, and addressing the United Nations on the subject of peace.

National Geographic presents the amazing life story of Joseph Medicine Crow, the man who begins life as Winter Man. Trained as a warrior by his grandfather, Yellowtail, he bathes in icy rivers and endures the ceremony of "counting coup"—facing fierce combat with an enemy Sioux boy.

An operation at the local hospital brings the young Crow face-to-face with his worst fears: a Sioux, a ghost, and a white man. He excels at the white man's school and is raised in the Baptist faith. He translates the stories of the elder chiefs, becoming the link to the ancient traditions of the pre-reservation generation. His own dramatic and funny stories span both ages, and the ancient Crow legends are passed on in the storytelling tradition.

Joseph Medicine Crow's doctorate degree was interrupted by the call to arms of World War II. On the battlefields of Germany he earned the ancient status of War Chief by completing the four war deeds required of the Crow warrior.

In 1948 the Crow Tribal Council appointed Joseph Medicine Crow (now called High Bird) their Tribal Historian and Anthropologist.

Counting Coup is a vibrant adventure narrative, bringing Native American history and culture alive for young readers. Joseph Medicine Crow's story illuminates the challenges faced by the Crow people as hurricanes of change raged through America. His epic story and its lessons are an essential legacy for us all.

Additional Information
128 pages | 5.55" x 8.55"

Authentic Indigenous Text
$21.95

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Encounter
Authors:
Jane Yolen
Artists:
David Shannon
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Caribbean; Taíno;

When Christopher Columbus landed on the island of San Salvador in 1492, what he discovered were the Taino Indians. Told from a young Taino boys point of view, this is a story of how the boy tried to warn his people against welcoming the strangers, who seemed more interested in golden ornaments than friendship. Years later the boy, now an old man, looks back at the destruction of his people and their culture by the colonizers.

Educator Information
Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Grade Level: 1 – 4

Notes on the historical basis for the text are appended.

Additional Information
32 pages | 9.00" x 11.00"

$11.50

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Fatty Legs: A True Story
Artists:
Liz Amini-Holmes
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit; Inuvialuit;

The moving memoir of an Inuit girl who emerges from a residential school with her spirit intact. 

Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools. 

At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls -- all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school. 

In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity. 

Complemented by archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's collection and striking artwork from Liz Amini-Holmes, this inspiring first-person account of a plucky girl's determination to confront her tormentor will linger with young readers.

Awards

  • First Nation Communities Read recipient, 2011-2012

Reviews
"I highly recommend this book for the discussion it would stir with students...Makes the harrowing residential school stories accessible to youth." — Resource Links, December 2010

"Presents a unique and enlightening glimpse into the residential school experience and, most importantly, one little girl's triumph over her oppressors." — Quill & Quire, November 2010

Educator Information
Fountas and Pinnell T

Themes: biography; Inuit; Indigenous peoples; Indigenous; arctic; school; self-esteem; abuse; community; prejudice; Canadian content; courage/bravery; right vs. wrong; role reversal; secrets; society; history; bullying; memoir; character education.

Additional Information
112 pages | 6.25" x 9.00" | full-color illustrations, archival photographs, map

Authenticity Note
This illustrator of this book is not Indigenous; therefore, her artwork is not considered to be Authentic Indigenous Artwork according to Strong Nations Authenticity Guidelines. The archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's personal collection, however, are considered to be authentic, which is why the book is labelled as containing Authentic Indigenous Artwork. It is up to readers to determine whether or not the images in this work are authentic for their purposes.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$12.95

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From Time Immemorial: The First Peoples of the Northwest Coast
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

From Time Immemorial provides an honest and up-to-date survey of the history of the coastal First Nations from pre-contact to the present. The culture of the coastal people was highly complex. Although there were many similarities, there were also many differences among the groups who shared the wealth of their life-sustaining environment.

This book provides a broad overview of traditional ways common to a large number of diverse groups. It encourages readers to learn more about particular groups who, long ago, walked the shorelines and forest trails of the Pacific Northwest.

Educator Information
From Time Immemorial has been recommended by the First Nations Education Steering Committee of BC as an “authentic First Peoples text that meets provincial standards and reflects First Peoples knowledge and perspectives in a respective way.

It has also been recommended by Literacy BC: “It’s easy to see why this text, which is accessible for fundamental level students, was also awarded the British Columbia 2000 Book Award.” Jan Weiten notes, “[This] is such an ambitious project. Both Diane and Joe Silvey have honoured the spirit and history of First Nations people, and they should be proud of themselves. This is definitely an asset to any classroom.

From Time Immemorial meets or exceeds all of the Learning Standards for the new BC Grade 3 Social Studies curriculum and the First Nations content for grades 4-8: 

  • Learning about indigenous peoples nurtures multicultural awareness and respect for diversity
  • People from diverse cultures and societies share some common experiences and aspects of life.
  • Indigenous knowledge is passed down through oral history, traditions, and collective memory.
  • Indigenous societies throughout the world value the well-being of the self, the land, spirits, and ancestors.

Recommended Grades: 3-8.

A teacher's guide for this book is also available: https://www.strongnations.com/store/item_display.php?i=141

Additional Information
92 pages | colour illustrations, photos, and maps 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$24.95

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I Am Not a Number
Artists:
Gillian Newland
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;

When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns who are in charge at the school and who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene's parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. But where will they hide? And what will happen when her parents disobey the law? Based on the life of co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis’ grandmother, I Am Not a Number is a hugely necessary book that brings a terrible part of Canada’s history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to.

Reviews
"Residential and boarding school stories are hard to read, but they're vitally important... books like I Am Not a Number should be taught in schools in Canada, and the U.S., too."— Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature

"It’s important to teach children about true Canadian history, but it’s not easy to talk about it in a way that children will understand. I Am Not a Number is perfect to get the conversation about residential schools started with your children. It opens the door for them to ask questions about the subject and the story is relatable in a way they can follow."— Residential School Magazine

"[A] powerful teaching tool that brings a terrible part of Canada’s history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to. It is written in simple language and told in a way that will stimulate conversations about residential schools and the traumatic effects they have had on generations of First Nation families and communities. ... beautifully illustrated by Gillian Newland. She captures the somber mood of the school, the anguish of the children, the severity of the nuns and the desperation of the family. Students can easily empathize with Irene and her brothers as well as their parents as they try to imagine how they would feel or act in a similar situation." — Alberta Native News, December 2016

"Endless cross-curricular connections can be made using this story. But the most powerful aspect of this book is that it will open a dialogue, one that Justice Murray Sinclair spoke of as head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a dialogue that needs to take place for reconciliation to happen." — ETFO Voice

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 7-11
Guided Reading: V

Additional Information
32 pages | 8.50" x 11.00"

 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$18.95

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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"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$83.00

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Many Nations: An Alphabet of Native America
Artists:
Robert F. Goetzl
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American;

From Anishanabe artists making birch bark bowls to Zuni elders saying prayers for the day that is done, the diversity of Native American cultures is simply presented in this unique and beautiful alphabet book.

Educator Information
Grades: 1-5
Guided Reading: M

Authentic Indigenous Text
$8.99

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Meet Tom Longboat
Authors:
Elizabeth MacLeod
Artists:
Mike Deas
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Onondaga;

Meet Tom Longboat, the Onondaga runner who broke world records... on his own terms!

On April 19, 1907, a hundred thousand people lined up to watch the eighth running of the Boston Marathon. At the start of the race, more than one hundred runners surged forward, and at the end, Tom Longboat won it in a record-breaking four minutes, forty-six seconds. He became the most famous runner in the world, yet faced scrutiny and criticism of every part of his life, from his revolutionary training techniques to his Indigenous heritage.

This picture book will introduce young readers to a brave and fascinating man whose legacy as Canada’s foremost distance runner continues to be recognized to this day.  

This new biography series features accessible text, full-colour illustrations, with historical notes and timelines that provide even more information on Tom Longboat’s background and incredible accomplishments.

Educator Information
Recommended ages: 6-10.

Themes/Key Ideas: Biography, Sports, Canada, Indigenous Canadians, Social Topics, Prejudice & Racism.

Additional Information
32 pages

Authentic Canadian Content
$16.99

Coming Soon
My First Métis Lobstick
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Métis;

Leah Marie Dorion’s My First Métis Lobstick takes young readers back to Canada’s fur trade era by focusing on a Métis family’s preparations for a lobstick celebration and feast in the boreal forest. Through the eyes of a young boy, we see how important lobstick making and ceremony was to the Métis community. From the Great Lakes to the present-day Northwest Territories, lobstick poles—important cultural and geographical markers, which merged Cree, Ojibway, and French-Canadian traditions—dotted the landscape of our great northern boreal forest. This little-known aspect of Métis history vividly comes to life through Leah Marie Dorion’s crisp prose and stunning gallery-quality artwork.

Educator Information
This is a dual-language picture book delivered in English and Michif.  It includes a CD.

Additional Information 
72 pages | 10.98" x 8.54" | Michif translation by Normal Fleury

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$15.00

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Secret Path
Authors:
Jeff Lemire
Gord Downie
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Secret Path is a ten song album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago.

Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to return home. Chanie’s home was 400 miles away. He didn’t know that. He didn’t know where it was, nor how to find it, but, like so many kids—more than anyone will be able to imagine—he tried.

Chanie’s story is Canada’s story. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable. Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history—the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system—with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation. Every year as we remember Chanie Wenjack, the hope for Secret Path is that it educates all Canadians young and old on this omitted part of our history, urging our entire nation to play an active role in the preservation of Indigenous lives and culture in Canada.

The next hundred years are going to be painful as we come to know Chanie Wenjack and thousands like him—as we find out about ourselves, about all of us—but only when we do can we truly call ourselves, “Canada.”

Proceeds from Secret Path will be donated to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at The University of Manitoba.

Educator Information
Recommended resource for English First Peoples grades 10-11 for units on Childhood through the Eyes of Indigenous Writers and First Steps - Exploring Residential School and Reconciliation through Children's Literature.

Note: This resource is not considered an authentic First Peoples resource.

Additional Information
96 pages | 12.00" x 12.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
$26.99

Quantity:
Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Canada's relationship with its Indigenous people has suffered as a result of both the residential school system and the lack of understanding of the historical and current impact of those schools. Healing and repairing that relationship requires education, awareness and increased understanding of the legacy and the impacts still being felt by Survivors and their families. Guided by acclaimed Indigenous author Monique Gray Smith, readers will learn about the lives of Survivors and listen to allies who are putting the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into action.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$29.95

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Spirit Bear and Children Make History: Based on a True Story
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

"Hello! My name is Sus Zul in the Carrier language. In English, people call me Spirit Bear. I am a proud member of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. I am on my way to Ottawa, Ontario, to witness a very important human rights case. Would you join me on this journey?"

When Spirit Bear's mom tells him about an important human rights case happening in Ottawa, Ontario, he makes the LONG trip (by train, his favourite way to travel) to go and watch, and to stand up for First Nations kids.

And he isn't the only one! Lots of children come too — to listen, and to show they care. Spirit Bear knows that children can change the world because he's there to see it happen.

This is the story of how kids — kids just like you — made a difference ... with a bit of help from some bears and other animals along the way!"

Educator Information
Spirit Bear and Children Make History tells the story of a landmark human rights case for First Nations children at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Nine years after the case was filed, the Tribunal ruled that the government of Canada was racially discriminating against 165,000 First Nations children by underfunding child welfare and failing to provide equitable public services. The book contributes to the Indigenization of curriculum by centering the agency, histories and realities of First Nations children and communities. The story supports an Indigenous pedagogical approach by encouraging critical and independent thought. In keeping with Indigenous pedagogy, Spirit Bear teaches readers about Indigenous worldviews and values not through direct instruction, but through the modelling of ethical and respectful behaviour and action.

Spirit Bear and Children Make History addresses a gap in reconciliation education. There are few Canadian books for children linking reconciliation with social justice. Meaningful reconciliation in Canada requires the active engagement of children and youth. It also requires a critical and social justice approach that links the residential school system to contemporary inequities and discrimination. Educating children and families about contemporary inequities creates a foundation for change and challenges the myth that colonialism is a thing of the past.

Spirit Bear and Children Make History was written to engage a younger audience in learning about the child welfare case, and to demonstrate and affirm the powerful role of young people in the reconciliation movement. Inspired by the voices of children, and in keeping with to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, the story highlights the power of people of all ages and backgrounds to make a difference for First Nations children and families.

Recommended Grades: K-6

Additional Information
54 pages | 8.25" x 8.25"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$15.00

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The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway
Authors:
Edward Benton-Banai
Format: Paperback

For young readers, the collected wisdom and traditions of Ojibway elders.

The Ojibway is one of the largest groups of Native Americans, belonging to the Anishinabe people of what is today the northern United States and Canada. The Mishomis Book documents the history, traditions, and culture of the Ojibway people through stories and myths passed down through generations. Written by Ojibway educator and spiritual leader Edward Benton-Banai, and first published in 1988, The Mishomis Book draws from the traditional teachings of tribal elders to instruct young readers about Ojibway creation stories and legends, the origin and importance of the Ojibway family structure and clan system, the Midewiwin religion, the construction and use of the water drum and sweat lodge, and modern Ojibway history.

Written for readers from all cultures -but especially for Ojibway and Native youth- The Mishomis Book provides an introduction to Ojibway culture and an understanding of the sacred Midewiwin teachings, aiming to protect this knowledge by instilling its importance in a new generation. Encouraging the preservation of a way of life that is centered on respect for all living things, these vibrant stories about life, self, community, and relationship to nature are just as relevant to the modern reader as they were hundreds of years ago.

Reviews
"A truly significant effort—every tribe should support this kind of writing about their history and traditions." —Vine Deloria, Jr

Additional Information
114 pages | 8.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Indigenous Text
$30.50

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