2017 - 2018 Selections

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Bearskin Diary
Authors:
Carol Daniels
Format: Paperback
In 2017-2018, Bearskin Diary was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

Raw and honest, Bearskin Diary gives voice to a generation of First Nations women who have always been silenced, at a time when movements like Idle No More call for a national inquiry into the missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Carol Daniels adds an important perspective to the Canadian literary landscape.

Taken from the arms of her mother as soon as she was born, Sandy was only one of over twenty thousand Aboriginal children scooped up by the federal government between the 1960s and 1980s. Sandy was adopted by a Ukrainian family and grew up as the only First Nations child in a town of white people. Ostracized by everyone around her and tired of being different, at the early age of five she tried to scrub the brown off her skin. But she was never sent back into the foster system, and for that she considers herself lucky.

From this tragic period in her personal life and in Canadian history, Sandy does not emerge unscathed, but she emerges strong--finding her way by embracing the First Nations culture that the Sixties Scoop had tried to deny. Those very roots allow Sandy to overcome the discriminations that she suffers every day from her co-workers, from strangers and sometimes even from herself.
$21.95

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Burning in this Midnight Dream
Authors:
Louise Bernice Halfe
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree;
Burning in the Midnight Dream is the latest collection of poems by Louise Bernice Halfe. Many were written in response to the grim tide of emotions, memories, dreams and nightmares that arose in her as the Truth and Reconciliation process unfolded.

In heart-wrenching detail, Halfe recalls the damage done to her parents, her family, herself. With fearlessly wrought verse, Halfe describes how the experience of the residential schools continues to haunt those who survive, and how the effects pass like a virus from one generation to the next. She asks us to consider the damage done to children taken from their families, to families mourning their children; damage done to entire communities and to ancient cultures.

Halfe's poetic voice soars in this incredibly moving collection as she digs deep to discover the root of her pain. Her images, created from the natural world, reveal the spiritual strength of her culture.
$16.95

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Celia's Song
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka);

Mink is a witness, a shape shifter, compelled to follow the story that has ensnared Celia and her village, on the West coast of Vancouver Island in Nu:Chahlnuth territory. Celia is a seer who - despite being convinced she's a little "off" - must heal her village with the assistance of her sister, her mother and father, and her nephews. While mink is visiting, a double-headed sea serpent falls off the house front during a fierce storm. The old snake, ostracized from the village decades earlier, has left his terrible influence on Amos, a residential school survivor. The occurrence signals the unfolding of an ordeal that pulls Celia out of her reveries and into the tragedy of her cousin's granddaughter. Each one of Celia's family becomes involved in creating a greater solution than merely attending to her cousin's granddaughter. Celia's Song relates one Nu:Chahlnuth family's harrowing experiences over several generations, after the brutality, interference, and neglect resulting from contact with Europeans.

Educator Information
Grade 11/12 English First Peoples resource for the unit Further Steps toward Reconciliation.

Additional Information
280 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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Authentic Indigenous Text
$20.00

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Dreamcatcher and the Seven Deceivers
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Dreamcatcher and the Seven Deceivers, the sequel to the Seven Sacred Teachings, warns of voices we can expect to hear in our dreamtime – voices that do not represent the Sacred Teachings.

These are the voices of Seven Deceivers who are spoken of by name. The allure of their whisperings is carefully spelled out in order that all might come to know what to listen for. Dreamcatcher and the Seven Deceivers is a carefully woven telling of how and why Creator sent Trickster to Turtle Island with a gift that would help us see the light and resist temptation. At a time before distant religions and churches came with their teachings, their commandmentsand their seven cardinal sins, we knew. We knew the way of the Good Red Road. We knew the right way to live; not through commandments but through Sacred Teachings – Teachings that were given to us long before their arrival. And we knew we would be tested by Seven Deceivers – what they called seven cardinal sins. We knew because we had been forewarned. And when these distant churches arrived with their teachings, their relicsand their symbols, we had our own. One was the Dreamcatcher.

Rooted in humility and honesty, the creators have tried to respect the cultures and traditions of all peoples. It is our hope that this telling will unite and thus heal divisions. Prophecies tell that this is the time for One Heart, One Mind and One Drum. We, readers and authors alike, are the ones we have been waiting for. There is nobody else who can revitalize our culture and values except ourselves.

It is our hope that this telling might move readers toward greater courage and wisdom and ultimately toward achieving and understanding what is true in life’s journey.

Additional Information
35 pages

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Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$21.95

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Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Kwantlen;

Joseph A. Dandurand is a member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River about twenty minutes east of Vancouver. He resides there with his three children Danessa, Marlysse, and Jace.

Joseph is the Heritage/Lands Officer for his people and has been performing his duties for 20 years now. He has been tasked with protecting his people’s heritage from the many destructive elements of development in the Kwantlen territory.

Joseph loves to fish. 
He loves to write plays. 
He loves to write books of poetry. 
He also loves to watch his 
daughter Danessa play soccer and hockey. 

Joseph is in love with and follows his rich culture. 
It is his and his family’s medicine 
and it carries them thru the winters 
and into the spring time 
when the fish start 
to come back into the river. 

Joseph loves to fish.

$19.95

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Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada
Format: Paperback

In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel initiates myriad conversations about the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. An advocate for Indigenous worldviews, the author discusses the fundamental issues—the terminology of relationships; culture and identity; myth-busting; state violence; and land, learning, law and treaties—along with wider social beliefs about these issues. She answers the questions that many people have on these topics to spark further conversations at home, in the classroom, and in the larger community.

$29.00

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Inuit Kinship and Naming Customs
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;
Traditionally, Inuit do not call each other by their given names. Instead, they refer to each other using a system of kinship and family terms, known as tuqurausiit (turk-thlo-raw-seet). Calling each other by kinship terms is a way to show respect and foster closeness within families. Children were named after their elders and ancestors, ensuring a long and healthy life.

As more and more Inuit refer to each other by their English first names, rather than their traditional kinship terms, the tradition of tuqurausiit is slowly disappearing. This book presents interviews with four Inuit elders from Baffin Region, Nunavut, about how names were chosen, the importance of using kinship terms, and how the practice of tuqurausiit has changed over the years. Inuit Kinship and Naming Customs helps to preserve the knowledge of this tradition for younger generations, both Inuit and non-Inuit.
$19.95

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Just Pretending
Format: Paperback

From one of Canada's most exciting new Metis voices comes a book whose recurring themes include the complexities of identity, belonging/not belonging, Aboriginal adoption, loss and abandonment, regret and insecurity.

A deadbeat dad tries to reconnect with his daughter after 22 years away. A selfish poet has been scarred by an upbringing that leaves him emotionally distant from his children and spouse. A pot-smoking middle-aged man undertakes a modest quest for meaning following a brush with mortality. A fourteen-year-old girl struggles to come to terms with her feelings of abandonment.

The characters are often fragile, sometimes unlikeable, but ultimately can be identified or sympathized with. At the centre of the stories are notions of identity and belonging, and the complex relationships between children and parents, both those who are real and those who are just pretending.

Reviews
"In Just Pretending, Saskatchewan-based Métis writer Lisa Bird-Wilson offers 24 brisk tales featuring characters asking this question. The title character in “Billy Bird” visits his Mooshum (grandfather in Cree), who is dying slowly in a rehab centre. While he is there, he reflects on his place in a never-ending circle. “His whole family is there sharing the circle with him, people he looks like, people he’s connected to, people whose traits he shares, people whose history is his own, grannies and grampas, Nehiyaw and Métis, all connected by the silky red thread.” Billy has a powerful ache to belong, to know himself through others." - Yutaka Dirks, briarpatch

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$18.95

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Kiyam: Poems
Authors:
Naomi McIlwraith
Format: Paperback
Through poems that move between the two languages, McIlwraith explores the beauty of the intersection between nêhiyawêwin, the PlainsCree language, and English, âkayâsîmowin. Written to honour her father's facility in nêhiyawêwin and her mother's beauty and generosity as an inheritor of Cree, Ojibwe, Scottish, and English, kiyâm articulates a powerful yearning for family,history, peace, and love.
$16.95

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Memory Serves and Oratories
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Coast Salish;
Memory Serves gathers together the oratories award-winning author Lee Maracle has delivered and performed over a twenty-year period. Revised for publication, the lectures hold the features and style of oratory intrinsic to the Salish people in general and the Sto: lo in particular. From her Coast Salish perspective and with great eloquence, Maracle shares her knowledge of Sto: lo history, memory, philosophy, law, spirituality, feminism and the colonial condition of her people. Powerful and inspiring, Memory Serves is an extremely timely book, not only because it is the first collection of oratories by one of the most important Indigenous authors in Canada, but also because it offers all Canadians, in Maracle's own words, "another way to be, to think, to know," a way that holds the promise of a "journey toward a common consciousness."Memory Serves: Oratories:"The topics she covers, the approaches she employs, and the strength of her language highlight the reasons the author has been a driving force in Canadian aboriginal culture for decades. Memory Serves adds to the vital canon of Canadian aboriginal literature."--Alexis Kienlen, Quill and Quire"Memory Serves is one of Maracle's greatest books. It is a read that imparts wisdom from a great writer and it will leave you feeling empowered knowing that the wisdom of Maracle's words are being shared with you."--Christine Smith (McFarlane)
$24.95

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Not My Fate: The Story of a Nisga'a Survivor
Authors:
Janet Romain
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Métis;
Josephine Caplin (Jo) was born into a world marred by maternal abandonment, alcoholism and traumatic epileptic seizures. In grade three, she was apprehended by child services and separated from her protective brother and her early caregivers, her father and uncle, who were kind men with drinking problems. Placed into many alienating and lonely foster homes, Jo would not see her family again until she was fourteen. Throughout her life Jo fought symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome, abuse by sadistic men and the collective horror of generations of ancestors forced into residential schools, causing many to believe Jo was destined to repeat a hopeless cycle. Yet she did not surrender to others' despairing expectations: against all odds, Jo fought to create her own cycle full of hope and growth.

Born of a Métis-Canadian background, author Janet Romain delicately and proudly tells the story of her heroic friend and explores the tragic aftermath of Canada's residential schools and the effects of colonization. Jo is a courageous woman who determined her own fate and reclaimed her life. NOT MY FATE: STORY OF A NISGA'A SURVIVOR is her struggle to move past a legacy of hardship toward a life of peace and forgiveness.
$24.95

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Passage
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

In her second collection of poetry, Passage, Gwen Benaway examines what it means to experience violence and speaks to the burden of survival. Traveling to Northern Ontario and across the Great Lakes, Passage is a poetic voyage through divorce, family violence, legacy of colonization, and the affirmation of a new sexuality and gender. Previously published as a man, Passage is the poet's first collection written as a transwoman. Striking and raw in sparse lines, the collection showcases a vital Two Spirited identity that transects borders of race, gender, and experience. In Passage, the poet seeks to reconcile herself to the land, the history of her ancestors, and her separation from her partner and family by invoking the beauty and power of her ancestral waterways. Building on the legacy of other ground-breaking Indigenous poets like Gregory Scofield and Queer poets like Tim Dlugos, Benaway's work is deeply personal and devastating in sharp, clear lines. Passage is a book burning with a beautiful intensity and reveals Benaway as one of the most powerful emerging poets writing in Indigenous poetics today.

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$16.00

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Price Paid
Authors:
Bev Sellars
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Xat'sull;
Untangles some of the truths and myths about First Nations and addresses misconceptions still widely believed today.
Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival untangles truth from some of the myths about First Nations at the same time that it addresses misconceptions still widely believed today.

The second book by award-winning author Bev Sellars, Price Paid is based on a popular presentation Sellars created for treaty-makers, politicians, policymakers, and educators when she discovered they did not know the historic reasons they were at the table negotiating First Nations rights.

The book begins with glimpses of foods, medicines, and cultural practices North America's indigenous peoples have contributed for worldwide benefit. It documents the dark period of regulation by racist laws during the twentieth century, and then discusses new emergence in the twenty-first century into a re-establishment of Indigenous land and resource rights. The result is a candidly told personal take on the history of a culture's fight for their rights and survival. It is Canadian history told from a First Nations point of view.

Awards and recognition for Bev Sellars's They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School
- 2014 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature
- 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Literature (third prize)
- Shortlisted for the 2014 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize (B.C. Book Prizes)
- More than 40 weeks on the B.C. bestsellers list
$24.95

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Take Us To Your Chief
Authors:
Drew Hayden Taylor
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
A forgotten Haudenosaunee social song beams into the cosmos like a homing beacon for interstellar visitors. A computer learns to feel sadness and grief from the history of atrocities committed against First Nations. A young Native man discovers the secret to time travel in ancient petroglyphs. Drawing inspiration from science fiction legends like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, Drew Hayden Taylor frames classic science-fiction tropes in an Aboriginal perspective.

The nine stories in this collection span all traditional topics of science fiction--from peaceful aliens to hostile invaders; from space travel to time travel; from government conspiracies to connections across generations. Yet Taylor's First Nations perspective draws fresh parallels, likening the cultural implications of alien contact to those of the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, or highlighting the impossibility of remaining a "good Native" in such an unnatural situation as a space mission.

Infused with Native stories and variously mysterious, magical and humorous, Take Us to Your Chief is the perfect mesh of nostalgically 1950s-esque science fiction with modern First Nations discourse.
$18.95

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The Reason You Walk
Format: Paperback

When his father was given a diagnosis of terminal cancer, Winnipeg broadcaster and musician Wab Kinew decided to spend a year reconnecting with the accomplished but distant aboriginal man who'd raised him. The Reason You Walk spans the year 2012, chronicling painful moments in the past and celebrating renewed hopes and dreams for the future. As Kinew revisits his own childhood in Winnipeg and on a reserve in Northern Ontario, he learns more about his father's traumatic childhood at residential school. An intriguing doubleness marks The Reason You Walk, a reference to an Anishinaabe ceremonial song. Born to an Anishinaabe father and a non-native mother, he has a foot in both cultures. He is a Sundancer, an academic, a former rapper, a hereditary chief, and an urban activist. His father, Tobasonakwut, was both a beloved traditional chief and a respected elected leader who engaged directly with Ottawa. Internally divided, his father embraced both traditional native religion and Catholicism, the religion that was inculcated into him at the residential school where he was physically and sexually abused. In a grand gesture of reconciliation, Kinew's father invited the Roman Catholic bishop of Winnipeg to a Sundance ceremony in which he adopted him as his brother. Kinew writes affectingly of his own struggles in his twenties to find the right path, eventually giving up a self-destructive lifestyle to passionately pursue music and martial arts. From his unique vantage point, he offers an inside view of what it means to be an educated aboriginal living in a country that is just beginning to wake up to its aboriginal history and living presence.
Invoking hope, healing and forgiveness, The Reason You Walk is a poignant story of a towering but damaged father and his son as they embark on a journey to repair their family bond. By turns lighthearted and solemn, Kinew gives us an inspiring vision for family and cross-cultural reconciliation, and a wider conversation about the future of aboriginal peoples.

$22.00

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