Literary Studies

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A Short History of Indians in Canada: Stories
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Acclaimed author Thomas King is in fabulous, fantastical form in this bestselling short story collection. From the surreal migrations of the title story to the misadventures of Coyote in the modern world and the chaos of a baby's unexpected arrival by airmail, King's tales are deft, hilarious and provocative. 

Reviews
"The stories in this volume cover a lot of ground. King touches on the history of displacement, racism and stereotyping, oppressive government policy, marriage and relationships, and Aboriginal-white relations, among other topics." - Dragonfly Consulting Services Canada

Educator Information
Grade 10/11 English First Peoples resource used in the unit The Trickster - A Recurring Presence.

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256 pages | 5.31" x 8.00"

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A Story as Sharp as a Knife
Authors:
Robert Bringhurst
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Haida;

A seminal collection of Haida myths and legends; now in a gorgeous new package.

The linguist and ethnographer John Swanton took dictation from the last great Haida-speaking storytellers, poets and historians from the fall of 1900 through the summer of 1901. Together they created a great treasury of Haida oral literature in written form.

Having worked for many years with these century-old manuscripts, linguist and poet Robert Bringhurst brings both rigorous scholarship and a literary voice to the English translation of John Swanton's careful work. He sets the stories in a rich context that reaches out to dozens of native oral literatures and to myth-telling traditions around the globe.

Attractively redesigned, this collection of First Nations oral literature is an important cultural record for future generations of Haida, scholars and other interested readers. It won the Edward Sapir Prize, awarded by the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, and it was chosen as the Literary Editor's Book of the Year by the Times of London.

Bringhurst brings these works to life in the English language and sets them in a context just as rich as the stories themselves one that reaches out to dozens of Native American oral literatures, and to mythtelling traditions around the world.

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Aboriginality: The Literary Origins of British Columbia, Vol. 2
Authors:
Alan Twigg
Format: Paperback
Following the success of First Invaders, Alan Twigg turns his attention to First Nations writers, unearthing more than 300 books by more than 170 mostly unheralded aboriginal authors.

Taking the reader from residential schools to art galleries, this lively and unprecedented panorama of British Columbia includes trailblazer Pauline Johnson, political organizer George Manuel, Haida carver Bill Reid, indigenous rights activist Jeannette Armstrong, pioneering novelist Mourning Dove, actor Chief Dan George, painters George Clutesi and Norval Morrisseau (living in Nanaimo), politician Len Marchand, playwright Marie Clements and Haisla novelist Eden Robinson.

Equally important, Aboriginality sheds new light on fascinating, lesser-known figures such as Chief William Sepass, Howard Adams, Domanic Charlie, Earl Maquinna George, George Hunt, Chief Charlie Nowell, Henry Pennier, Harry Robinson, Gordon Robinson (Eden Robinson's uncle), James Sewid and Michael Nicoll Yagulanaas-to name only a few. Nearly half the author profiles are women, including Marilyn Dumont, Lizette Hall, Heather Harris, Beverly Hungry Wolf, Mary John, Vera Manuel, Lee Maracle, Gloria Nahanee, Daphne Odjig, Bernadette Rosetti, Shirley Sterling, Gloria Cranmer Webster, Ellen White, Annabel Cropped Eared Wolf and Annie Zetco York.

Each author is presented in historical and chronological context, along with background material on aboriginal history, as well as rare photos, illustrations and a comprehensive bibliography.
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Activating the Heart: Storytelling, Knowledge Sharing, and Relationships
Format: Paperback

Activating the Heart is an exploration of storytelling as a tool for knowledge production and sharing to build new connections between people and their histories, environments, and cultural geographies. The collection pays particular attention to the significance of storytelling in Indigenous knowledge frameworks and extends into other ways of knowing in works where scholars have embraced narrative and story as a part of their research approach.

In the first section, Storytelling to Understand, authors draw on both theoretical and empirical work to examine storytelling as a way of knowing. In the second section, Storytelling to Share, authors demonstrate the power of stories to share knowledge and convey significant lessons, as well as to engage different audiences in knowledge exchange. The third section, Storytelling to Create, contains three poems and a short story that engage with storytelling as a means to produce or create knowledge, particularly through explorations of relationship to place.

The result is an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural dialogue that yields important insights in terms of qualitative research methods, language and literacy, policy-making, human–environment relationships, and healing. This book is intended for scholars, artists, activists, policymakers, and practitioners who are interested in storytelling as a method for teaching, cross-cultural understanding, community engagement, and knowledge exchange.

Educator Information
This book would be useful for the following subjects: Indigenous Studies, Literary Criticism, Creative Writing, and Social Science.

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220 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

Edited by Julia Christensen, Christopher Cox and Lisa Szabo-Jones.

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An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature 4th Edition
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

This collection presents writing in English by Canadian Native authors featuring prose selections, traditional songs, short stories, plays, poems and essays, showing a complexity and rich wealth of this culture.

Twenty years after the publication of its groundbreaking first edition, this collection continues to provide the most comprehensive coverage of Canadian Native literature available in one volume. Emphasizing the importance of the oral tradition, the anthology offers a diverse selection of songs, short stories, poems, plays, letters, and essays crafted by exceptional writers from First Nation, Inuit, and Metis communities across Canada.

Reviews
"This textbook is indispensable to teachers and students of Native literature in Canada." --Allison Hargreaves, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus

"This text is very much the gold standard of anthologies of contemporary Indigenous literatures in Canada. . . .Excellent new introduction by Armand Garnet Ruffo - the highlight of the new edition." --Daniel Heath Justice, University of Toronto

Educator Information
Grades 10/11 English First Peoples resource for various units.

Note: Some works in this anthology contain mature and challenging material that may not be suitable for all students.  Only specific works identified in English First Peoples units are recommended for classroom use.

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688 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

Please NoteThis item could take 2-3 weeks for delivery, as it is a special order item.

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An Honest Woman
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

 An Honest Woman by Jonina Kirton confronts us with beauty and ugliness in the wholesome riot that is sex, love, and marriage. From the perspective of a mixed-race woman, Kirton engages with Simone de Beauvoir and Donald Trump to unravel the norms of femininity and sexuality that continue to adhere today.

Kirton recalls her own upbringing, during which she was told to find a good husband who would “make an honest woman” out of her. Exploring the lives of many women, including her mother, her contemporaries, and well-known sex-crime stories such as the case of Elisabeth Fritzl, Kirton mines the personal to loosen the grip of patriarchal and colonial impositions. 

An Honest Woman explores the many ways the female body is shaped by questions that have been too political to ask: What happens when a woman decides to take her sexuality into her own hands, dismissing cultural norms and the expectations of her parents? How is a young woman’s sexuality influenced when she is perceived as an “exotic” other? Can a woman reconnect with her Indigenous community by choosing Indigenous lovers? 

Daring and tender in their honesty and wisdom, these poems challenge the perception of women’s bodies as glamorous and marketable commodities and imagine an embodied female experience that accommodates the role of creativity and a nurturing relationship with the land.

Reviews
“Jonina Kirton is courageously honest about her life experiences as a female of Indigenous and immigrant ancestry. Many poems resonate deeply, as we identify with her personal quest to figure out who she is, and the unacceptable things done to her. Her raw honesty is unsettling and uncomfortable, because it can be our truth too. Her poems depict devaluation and dehumanization, grieving, lessons learned. Her poems offer important insights as to why there are thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women.” — Senator Lillian E. Dyck

“When writing from the voice of between, writer and reader have no place to hide. Assumptions and camouflage fall away. Murdered, missing, and violated women and girl voices have been silenced. The story lethally repeats. Kirton picks over how she was raised familially and culturally like a crime scene. Too, she affirms, ‘I have been here forever and I will rise again and again.’ Tough, eloquent, revelatory, these poems are the very ones we are desperately in need of.” — Betsy Warland, author of Oscar of Between: A Memoir of Identity and Ideas

“I’m sure people have been looking at me strangely every time I gasp, but I can’t glance away from the page for even a second to notice. Some of the poems end sharply, with a punch; some deliberately leave me searching for the next line; others show the repetition of heartbreaking cycles of violence and oppression, but offer a portrayal of resilience, too.” — All Lit Up!

Educator Information
This book would be useful for Women's Studies, Creative Writing, English Language Arts, Poetry, and English courses.  Recommended for grades 11-12 and university-college students.  

Please be advised, this book contains explicit sexual references and references to sexual and physical abuse.

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104 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

 

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Annie Muktuk and Other Stories
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

I woke up with Moses Henry’s boot holding open my jaw and my right eye was looking into his gun barrel. I heard the slow words, “Take. It. Back.” I know one thing about Moses Henry; he means business when he means business. I took it back and for the last eight months I have not uttered Annie Mukluk’s name.

In strolls Annie Mukluk in all her mukiness glory. Tonight she has gone traditional. Her long black hair is wrapped in intu’dlit braids. Only my mom still does that. She’s got mukluks, real mukluks on and she’s wearing the old-style caribou parka. It must be something her grandma gave her. No one makes that anymore. She’s got the faint black eyeliner showing off those brown eyes and to top off her face she’s put pretend face tattooing on. We all know it’ll wash out tomorrow. — from "Annie Muktuk"

When Sedna feels the urge, she reaches out from the Land of the Dead to where Kakoot waits in hospital to depart from the Land of the Living. What ensues is a struggle for life and death and identity. In “Kakoot” and throughout this audacious collection of short stories, Norma Dunning makes the interplay between contemporary realities and experiences and Inuit cosmology seem deceptively easy. The stories are raucous and funny and resonate with raw honesty. Each eye-opening narrative twist in Annie Muktuk and Other Stories challenges readers’ perceptions of who Inuit people are.

Awards

  • 2017-2018 Danuta Gleed Literary Award Winner
  • 2018 INDIEFAB Book of the Year (Short Stories)
  • 2018 Howard O'Hagan Award for Short Story

Reviews
"Dunning’s stories, nuanced and deeply felt, reach deep into the heart of what it means to be Inuit, into the sacred place where the songs of the north are still sung, visions are still seen, and the spirits still speak. From this place, it is possible to laugh at those who come to destroy. From this place, dignity is maintained and the connection to the turning of the seasons is unbroken. Together with grief for what has been lost, there is power and light in these stories." — Kristine Morris, Foreword Magazine, June 2017

"When I read the article, 'What inspired her was getting mad,' about the story behind Norma Dunning’s debut collection, Annie Mukluk and Other Stories, I was not surprised. Acts of justice and revenge factor throughout the book, propelling the stories so terrifically. Dunning wrote her stories in response to ethnographic representations of Inuit people that neglected to show them as actual people, and the result is a book that’s really extraordinary. Because her people are so real, people who laugh, and joke, and drink, and have sex (and they have a lot of sex)." — Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This, August 2017

"Although [Dunning] deals with serious contemporary realities for Inuit people, she manages to work in moments of humour that flesh out her characters, making them fully realized and complex.”— Matthew Stepanic, Where.ca, September 2017

"A successful short story takes us to unfamiliar places, and the 16 stories in this collection certainly fill that bill. It’s a journey deep into Inuit life, with tales of Inuk of all shapes, genders and ages. The title story is at turns funny, violent and cunning: Jimmy tries to convince best friend Moses to stay away from the glorious Annie Muktuk, an arnaluk (naughty woman, according to the glossary) who will cause him grief." — Sarah Murdoch, Toronto Star, November 2017

"This whole collection is fantastic, but the story with the bad trip is 'Husky', inspired by the life of trapper and HBC Factor "Husky" Harris whose visit to Winnipeg with his three Inuit wives, Tetuk, Alaq and Keenaq, is written about in history books. In the story, naturally, the group and their children make an impression at their hotel, and the racism of hotel staff leads to a fight that lands Husky in the hospital. The violence doesn't end there and the women are further victimized—but then they enact the most beautiful justice." — Kerry Clare, 49th Shelf, August 2017

"Inuk writer Norma Dunning’s debut collection passed under the radar of the big awards despite being the year’s best short fiction collection. The stories infuse Inuit myth with reality, explore the effects of colonialism, and delve into settler-writer portrayals of Inuit, all told with heart and humour that is infectious." — Michael Melgaard, National Post, December 2017

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198 pages | 5.25" x 9.00"

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Bad Endings
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Carleigh Baker likes to make light in the dark. Whether plumbing family ties, the end of a marriage, or death itself, she never lets go of the witty, the ironic, and perhaps most notably, the awkward. Despite the title, the resolution in these stories isn't always tragic, but it's often uncomfortable, unexpected, or just plain strange. Character digressions, bad decisions, and misconceptions abound.

While steadfastly local in her choice of setting, Baker's deep appreciation for nature takes a lot of these stories out of Vancouver and into the wild. Salmon and bees play reoccurring roles in these tales, as do rivers. Occasionally, characters blend with their animal counterparts, adding a touch of magic realism. Nature is a place of escape and attempted convalescence for characters suffering from urban burnout. Even if things get weird along the way, as Hunter S. Thompson said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

In Bad Endings, Baker takes troubled characters to a moment of realization or self-revelation, but the results aren't always pretty.

Reviews
“In Bad Endings, Carleigh Baker has created a skillfully woven tapestry of stories, centred on strong, contemporary female characters battling for agency over their own lives. … These stories are not about happy endings—they are about powerful endings, and we found them nothing short of electrifying.” — 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury

“The dichotomies of bad news and good news, reality and fantasy, the banal and the sublime, are in Baker’s debut a patchwork quilt of intermingling patterns. It takes a brave voice to, for example, pair the stylistic pyrotechnics of “Postcards in a Gonzo Journalist Voice” with the anti-climactic, but weirdly satisfying, “Moosehide,” where the expected epiphany of urban-dwellers exploring nature turns that skewed mirror of Baker’s to her readers. There never seem to be any answers in the stories in Bad Endings; rather, the questions Baker poses are of such quiet magnitude that we don’t need them.”— Matrix Magazine

Bad Endings is a deft and humorous portrayal of twenty-first-century humans’ lack of connection with nature, our authentic selves, and each other.” — The Malahat Review

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160 pages | 6.89" x 8.51"

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Calling Down the Sky
Text Content Territories: Métis; Inuit; Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

Calling Down the Sky is a poetry collection that describes deep personal experiences and post generational effects of the Canadian Aboriginal Residential School confinements in the 1950's when thousands of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were placed in these schools against their parents' wishes. Many were forbidden to speak their language and practice their own culture. The author portrays how the ongoing impact of the residential schools problem has been felt throughout generations and has contributed to social problems that continue to exist today.

Reviews
“Rosanna Deerchild’s poems roll off the tongue as easy as old country songs. With her deft hand, Deerchild finely tunes every word and weaves them together as intimately as she braids her girls’ hair. Together, these poems create a story that sings with beautiful tension, amazing resilience, and love as big as the sky." - Katherena Vermette, Metis Writer

"The poetry collection, called calling down the sky, describes personal experiences with the residential school system in the 1950s and the generational effects it had." - CBC 

"This poetry collection is fierce, raw and candid. It is also visceral, intricate and, above all, illuminating. By recounting her mother’s residential school experience in a powerfully poetic narrative, Deerchild expertly illustrates the heartbreaking trauma of that tragic saga and how it complicates relationships over generations. By beautifully and elaborately exploring those relationships and that devastating history, she finds and celebrates the resilient and hopeful spirit that many residential school survivors, like her mother, have managed to retain in the face of horror and torment. As a result, calling down the sky is an essential read in understanding the true modern history of this land and in honouring the people who survived it.” - Waubgeshig Rice

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96 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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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.

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280 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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Clifford: A Memoir, A Fiction, A Fantasy, A Thought Experiment
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree;

I open my eyes in the darkness, laying on my side, half my vision is of the earth and shadows; the other is of the sky, treetops, and stars. I should write Clifford’s story. The thought emerges fully formed . . . The thought dissipates. I close my eyes and the earth and the sky disappear. The warmth of my sleeping bag wraps around me and sleep pulls me under into that half-world where reality and fantasy mingle in a place where coherent thoughts disintegrate.

When Harold Johnson returns to his childhood home in a northern Saskatchewan Indigenous community for his brother Clifford’s funeral, the first thing his eyes fall on is a chair. It stands on three legs, the fourth broken off and missing. So begins a journey through the past, a retrieval of recollections that have too long sat dormant. Moving from the old family home to the log cabin, the garden, and finally settling deep in the forest surrounding the property, his mind circles back, shifting in time and space, weaving in and out of memories of his silent, powerful Swedish father; his formidable Cree mother, an expert trapper and a source of great strength; and his brother Clifford, a precocious young boy who is drawn to the mysterious workings of the universe.

As the night unfolds, memories of Clifford surface in Harold’s mind’s eye: teaching his younger brother how to tie his shoelaces; jousting on a bicycle without rubber wheels; building a motorcycle. Memory, fiction, and fantasy collide, and Clifford comes to life as the scientist he was meant to be, culminating in his discovery of the Grand Unified Theory.

Exquisitely crafted, funny, visionary, and wholly moving, Clifford is an extraordinary work for the way it defies strict category and embraces myriad forms of storytelling. To read it is to be immersed in a home, a family, a community, the wider world, the entire cosmos.

Reviews
“Clifford is a luminous, genre-bending memoir. Heartache and hardship are no match for the disarming whimsy, the layered storytelling shot through with love. The power of land, the pull of family, the turbulence of poverty are threads woven together with explorations of reality, tackling truth with a trickster slant.” — Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster

“Clifford is a story only Harold Johnson could tell. By turns soft and harsh, intellectual and emotional, Johnson weaves truth, fiction, science, and science fiction into a tapestry that is rich with meaning and maybes. A natural storyteller, Johnson seeks imagined pasts and futurity with equal parts longing and care. This work allows readers and writers the possibility of new and ancient modes of storytelling.” — Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie

“Harold R. Johnson is a wonderful writer, and Clifford is his best work yet. For fans of Jack Finney and Richard Matheson, this terrific book is a wonderfully human tale of memory both bitter and sweet, as well as a poignant exploration of time’s hold over all of us.” — Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award–winning author of Quantum Night

“Clifford is unlike anything I’ve read — it is at once a story of science and magic, love and loss, and a case for the infinite potential of humanity. It is a book of profound wisdom — an unpacking of the deepest truths of science in an effort to transform the pain of grief and regret into healing and forgiveness.” — Patti Laboucane-Benson, author of The Outside Circle

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264 pages | 5.25" x 8.00"

 

 

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Coyote and Raven Go Canoeing: Coming Home to the Village
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

A lyrical, epic narrative about Aboriginal knowledge and education.

we are narrators narratives voices interlocutors of our own knowings 
we can determine for ourselves what our educational needs are 
before the coming of churches residential schools prisons 
before we knew how we knew we knew

In a gesture toward traditional First Nations orality, Peter Cole blends poetic and dramatic voices with storytelling. A conversation between two tricksters, Coyote and Raven, and the colonized and the colonizers, his narrative takes the form of a canoe journey. Cole draws on traditional Aboriginal knowledge to move away from the western genres that have long contained, shaped, and determined ab/originality. Written in free verse, Coyote and Raven Go Canoeing is meant to be read aloud and breaks new ground by making orality the foundation of its scholarship.

Cole moves beyond the rhetoric and presumption of white academic (de/re)colonizers to aboriginal spaces recreated by aboriginal peoples. Rather than employing the traditional western practice of gathering information about exoticized other, demonized other, contained other, Coyote and Raven Go Canoeing is a celebration of aboriginal thought, spirituality, and practice, a sharing of lived experience as First Peoples.

Reviews

"One of the clearest and most thorough pictures of an aboriginal view of the consequences of colonization that I have ever read."— Olive Dickason, emeritus, York University
"In the tradition of Gayatri Spivak, Homi Bhabha, Edward Said, Trinh Min-Ha, and other radically original intellectuals, Cole risks a new language to talk about the unthinkable."— Mary Bryson, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, University of British Columbia

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352 pages | 7.00" x 9.50"

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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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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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From Oral to Written: A Celebration of Indigenous Literature in Canada, 1980-2010
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree;
Aboriginal Canadians tell their own stories, about their own people, in their own voice, from their own perspective.

If as recently as forty years ago there was no recognizable body of work by Canadian writers, as recently as thirty years ago there was no Native literature in this country. Perhaps a few books had made a dent on the national consciousness: The Unjust Society by Harold Cardinal, Halfbreed by Maria Campbell, and the poetry of Pauline Johnson and even Louis Riel. Now, three decades later, Native people have a literature that paints them in colours that are psychologically complex and sophisticated. They have a literature that validates their existence, that gives them dignity, that tells them that they and their culture, their ideas, their languages, are important if not downright essential to the long-term survival of the planet.

Tomson Highway’s From Oral to Written is a study of Native literature published in Canada between 1980 and 2010, a catalogue of amazing books that sparked the embers of a dormant voice. In the early 1980s, that voice rose up to overcome the major obstacle Native people have as writers: they are not able to write in their own Native languages, but have to write in the languages of the colonizer, languages that simply cannot capture the magic of Native mythology, the wild insanity of Trickster thinking. From Oral to Written is the story of the Native literary tradition, written – in multiple Aboriginal languages, in French, and in English – by a brave, committed, hard-working, and inspired community of exceptional individuals – from the Haida Nation on Haida Gwaii to the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island.

Leading Aboriginal author Tomson Highway surveys the first wave of Native writers published in Canada, highlighting the most gifted authors and the best stories they have told, offering non-Native readers access to reconciliation and understanding, and at the same time engendering among Native readers pride in a stellar body of work.

QUOTES OF NOTE

“We gratefully acknowledge the work of those artists who have come before, and those that continue, building bridges across our cultures through their authentic words. Tomson Highway’s readings each demonstrate that within our stories, we pass along our teachings and we build upon the strength inside each one of us. We are arriving. Back to our lands, back to our stories, back to our truths, unwrapping old words and sharing wisdom. We, are coming home.”
—Terri Mack, Strong Nations

“A rich compilation of Indigenous literature that will be a gift for Canadian school curriculums, also well suited for those Canadians in search of understanding and reconciliation. More importantly this book is what Indigenous people need because, like me, they will discover their lives in the many stories. If I had this as a teenager, I would have understood that I was not alone in the darkness I lived. I would have seen that others found a way out. Bravo, Tomson Highway!”
―Bev Sellars, author of They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School and Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival

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