Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools 8 - 12 2015-2016

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Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story
Artists:
Scott B. Henderson
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree;
Helen Betty Osborne, known as Betty to her closest friends and family, dreamed of becoming a teacher. She left her home to attend residential school and high school in a small town in Manitoba. On November 13, 1971, Betty was abducted and brutally murdered by four young men. Initially met with silence and indifference, her tragic murder resonates loudly today. Betty represents one of almost 1,200 Indigenous women in Canada who have been murdered or gone missing.

This book is a true account. Content may be disturbing to some readers.
$16.00

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Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;

A powerful and visually stunning anthology from some of the most groundbreaking Native artists working in North America today.

Truly universal in its themes, Dreaming In Indian will shatter commonly held stereotypes and challenge readers to rethink their own place in the world. Divided into four sections, ‘Roots,’ ‘Battles,’ ‘Medicines,’ and ‘Dreamcatchers,’ this book offers readers a unique insight into a community often misunderstood and misrepresented by the mainstream media.

Emerging and established Native artists, including acclaimed author Joseph Boyden, renowned visual artist Bunky Echo Hawk, and stand-up comedian Ryan McMahon, contribute thoughtful and heartfelt pieces on their experiences growing up Indigenous, expressing them through such mediums as art, food, the written word, sport, dance, and fashion. Renowned chef Aaron Bear Robe, for example, explains how he introduces restaurant customers to his culture by reinventing traditional dishes. And in a dramatic photo spread, model Ashley Callingbull and photographer Thosh Collins reappropriate the trend of wearing ‘Native’ clothing.

Whether addressing the effects of residential schools, calling out bullies through personal manifestos, or simply citing hopes for the future, Dreaming In Indian refuses to shy away from difficult topics. Insightful, thought-provoking, and beautifully honest, this book will to appeal to young adult readers. An innovative and captivating design enhances each contribution and makes for a truly unique reading experience.

Reviews
“It’s hard to imagine a middle- or high-school classroom that wouldn’t benefit from having this.” —Booklist, 02/15

“Belongs in every middle school, high school and public library.” —CM Reviews, 05/22/15

"For some time now, I've been waiting for Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices... It was getting buzz in Native networks on social media. I've read it, now, and highly recommend it... Dreaming in Indian has a vibrancy I've not seen in anything else. A vibrancy that, perhaps, is characteristic of a generation at ease with technology and its tools... I want to pore over the art, studying it, thinking about it, marveling at it. I can imagine a lot of people dismissing this work because it doesn't conform to their stereotypical ideas of dead or stoic Indians. But I can also imagine a lot of others holding it dear because it reflects who we are... You'll also have a solid introduction to the artists and writers, their lives, what drives them... Gritty and real, their live stories are inspiring... There's a lot to ponder in Dreaming In Indian. It'll challenge readers, in good ways, and that is a good thing. Check it out." — Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature, September 2014

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 11-18

Themes: First Nations; native peoples; Indigenous; biography; multicultural; stereotyping; acceptance; community; prejudice; self-esteem; tolerance.

Fountas & Pinnell Reading Level: Z+

Authentic First Peoples resource K-9.

Recommended English First Peoples resource.

Additional Information
128 pages | 8.50" x 11.00" | full-color illustrations and photographs throughout, foreword, introduction

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$19.95

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Grey Eyes A Novel
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

In a world without time and steeped in ceremony and magic, walks a chosen few who hold an ancient power: the Grey Eyes. True stewards of the land, the Grey Eyes use their magic to maintain harmony and keep evil at bay. With only one elderly Grey-Eye left in the village of the Nehiyawak, the birth of a new Grey-Eyed boy promises a renewed line of defence against their only foe: the menacing Red-Eyes, whose name is rarely spoken but whose presence is ever felt. While the birth of the Grey-Eyed boy offers the clan much-needed protection, it also initiates a struggle for power that threatens to rip the clan apart, leaving them defenceless against the their sworn ememy. The responsibility of restoring balance and harmony, the only way to keep the Nehiyawak safe, is thrust upon a boy’s slender shoulders. What powers will he have, and can he protect the clan from the evil of the Red Eyes?

Awards

  • 2015 Burd Award - Second Place Winner
Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$20.95

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Legends of Vancouver
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Kanyen'kehà:ka (Mohawk);

Legends of Vancouver was written at the turn of the last century and first published in 1911. The written collection of legends and myths was the result of a meeting, and later the fast friendship, between a Mohawk princess and a West Coast Squamish Chief.

Before her arrival on the West Coast, Pauline Johnson had acquired notoriety as a poet and performer and as an active proponent of Mohawk culture. That she was drawn to local legends was a natural extension of an already prolific career as a writer and stage performer. Retiring from the stage when she reached Vancouver in 1909, it was only right that she continue to share her stories. These were first published separately in a local newspaper and later published in book form. Johnson’s book of native legends quickly became a classic of Vancouver’s literature.

We can still detect to this day the joy of discovery that Johnson imprinted in her writing of the legends. Whether just arrived or long time residents, readers will share with Johnson emotions of discovery when seized, through her writings, by the beauty of the surroundings, just as she was 100 years ago. This book is also a portrait of a very young Vancouver with its much loved Stanley Park, its rough and tumble gold diggers and its millennium old First Nations.

Pauline Johnson’s tomb is set in Stanley Park, near Third Beach. In 1922, almost 13 years after her death, the City of Vancouver paid tribute to this magnificent artist and her legacy by erecting a monument in her honour.

This 100th anniversary edition combines a mix of modern and archival pictures of Vancouver to provide a sense of where these legends took place and how they are incorporated in the modern city.

Educator Information
Recommended for grades 4-12 English Language Arts and Social Studies.

Caution: Use of the terms “Indian” and “Redskins”.

Additional Information
148 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$15.95

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Me Artsy
Authors:
Drew Hayden Taylor
Format: Paperback
While First Nations cultural practice still honours traditional forms, contemporary indigenous artists have diversified into many areas. The fourteen contributors whose essays make up Me Artsy pursue such varied disciplines as film making, gourmet cuisine, blues piano, fashion design, acting, writing and painting as well as traditional drumming and storytelling. Their concerns include the eternal ones that occupy artists everywhere—how does one get started, where do you find inspiration, how does one make a living. What makes Me Artsy special is that all these concerns are always overlaid with an awareness of First Nations identity.

The essays explore many common themes around the role of art in First Nations communities, including the importance of art for creating social change, the role of art in representing Native culture and the fusion of traditional and contemporary techniques. On a more personal level, the essays describe the significance of art in the lives of the contributors, along with their sometimes unlikely journeys to success, stories that are often touched with humour and humility.

Chef David Wolfman describes grueling years in the kitchens of the exclusive National Club; filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk discusses leaping into his first feature film without knowing how to finance it; and playwright Drew Hayden Taylor tells the story of putting a bullet through his first play and burying it in his yard.

Other contributors include actor/playwright Monique Mojica, painter Marianne Nicolson, fashion designer Kim Picard, painter Maxine Noel, blues pianist Murray Porter, scholar Karyn Recollet, dancer/choreographer Santee Smith, director/actor Rose Stella, traditional drummer Steve Teekens, writer and storyteller Richard Van Camp and manga artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas.
Authentic Canadian Content
$22.95

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One Story, One Song
Format: Hardcover
A new collection of warm, wise and inspiring stories from the author of the bestselling One Native Life.

Since its publication in 2008, readers and reviewers have embraced Richard Wagamese's One Native Life. In quiet tones and luminous language,wrote the Winnipeg Free Press,Wagamese shares his hurts and joys, inviting readers to find the ways in which they are joined to him and to consider how they might be joined to others.

In this new book, Richard Wagamese again invites readers to accompany him on his travels. This time, his focus is on stories: how they shape us, how they empower us, how they change our lives. Ancient and contemporary, cultural and spiritual, funny and sad, the tales are grouped according to the four Ojibway storytelling principles: balance, harmony, knowledge and intuition.

Whether the topic is learning from his grade five teacher about Martin Luther King, gleaning understanding from a wolf track, lighting a fire for the first time without matches or finding the universe in an eagle feather, these stories exhibit the warmth, wisdom and generosity that made One Native Life so popular. As always, in these pages, the land serves as Wagamese' guide. And as always, he finds that true home means not only community but conversation good, straight-hearted talk about important things. We all need to tell our stories, he says. Every voice matters.


$29.95

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Orca Chief
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Tsimshian (Ts'msyen);

Thousands of years ago in the village of Kitkatla, four hunters leave home in the spring to harvest seaweed and sockeye. When they arrive at their fishing grounds, exhaustion makes them lazy and they throw their anchor overboard without care for the damage it might do to marine life or the sea floor.

When Orca Chief discovers what the hunters have done, he sends his most powerful orca warriors to bring the men and their boat to his house. The men beg forgiveness for their ignorance and lack of respect, and Orca Chief compassionately sends them out with his pod to show them how to sustainably harvest the ocean’s resources.

Accompanied by almost exclusively new illustrations by Roy Henry Vickers, this next installment of the Northwest Coast Legends will captivate readers young and old with its vivid imagery and remarkable storytelling.

Series Information
Orca Chief is the third in a series of Northwest Coast legends by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd.

Additional Information
40 pages | 12.00" x 8.25"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$19.95

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Page As Bone Ink As Blood
Text Content Territories: Métis;
Death, desire, and divination are the threads running through Jonina Kirton's debut collection of poems and lyric prose. Delicate and dark, the pieces are like whispers in the night - a haunted, quiet telling of truths the mind has locked away but the body remembers. Loosely autobiographical, these are the weavings of a wagon-goddess who ventures into the double-world existence as a mixed-race woman. In her struggle for footing in this in-between space, she moves from the disco days oftrance dance to contemplations in her dream kitchen as a mother and wife.

With this collection, Kirton adds her voice to the call for the kind of fierce honesty referred to by Muriel Rukeyser when she asked, What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open. Kirton tells her truth with gentleness and patience, splitting the world open one line at a time.
$16.95

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Peace Pipe Dreams
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis; Inuit; First Nations;

In 2015-2016, Peace Pipe Dreams was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

Darrell Dennis is a stereotype-busting, politically incorrect Native American/Aboriginal/Shuswap (Only he's allowed to call himself an "Indian." Maybe. Under some circumstances). With a large dose of humour and irreverence, he untangles some of the truths and myths about First Nations: Why do people think Natives get free trucks, and why didn't he ever get one? Why does the length of your hair determine whether you’re good or bad? By what ratio does the amount of rain in a year depend on the amount of cactus liquor you consume?

In addition to answering these burning questions, Dennis tackles some tougher subjects. He looks at European-Native interactions in North America from the moment of first contact, discussing the fur trade, treaty-signing and the implementation of residential schools. Addressing misconceptions still widely believed today, Dennis explains why Native people aren't genetically any more predisposed to become alcoholics than Caucasians; that Native religion doesn't consist of worshipping rocks, disappearing into thin air, or conversing with animals; and that tax exemptions are so limited and confusing that many people don't even bother.

Employing pop culture examples, personal anecdote and a cutting wit, Darrell Dennis deftly weaves history with current events to entertain, inform and provide a convincing, readable overview of First Nations issues and why they matter today.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$22.95

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Shore to Shore: The Art of Ts'uts'umutl Luke Marston
Authors:
Suzanne Fournier
Format: Paperback
Stanley Park, Vancouver, September 2014. A fourteen-foot bronze-cast cedar sculpture is being erected. Dignitaries from all levels of government are present, including leaders of the Coast Salish First Nations and representatives from Portugal's Azores Islands. Luke Marston, carver/artist, supervises as his three-year project is revealed to the world.

The sculpture--titled Shore to Shore--depicts Luke's great-great-grandparents, Portuguese Joe Silvey, one of BC's most colourful pioneers, and Kwatleematt (Lucy), a Sechelt First Nation matriarch and Silvey's second wife. Silvey and Kwatleematt are flanked by Khaltinaht, Silvey's first wife, a noblewoman from the Musqueam and Squamish First Nations. The trio are surrounded by the tools of Silvey's trade: seine nets, whaling harpoons, and the Pacific coast salmon that helped the family thrive in the early industries of BC. The sculpture references the multicultural relationships that are at the foundation of BC, while also showcasing the talents of one of Canada's finest contemporary First Nations carvers.

Combining interviews, research and creative non-fiction narration, author Suzanne Fournier recounts Marston's career, from his early beginnings carving totems for the public at the Royal BC Museum, to his study under Haida artist Robert Davidson and jewellery master Valentin Yotkov, to his visits to both his ancestral homes: Reid Island and the Portuguese Azores island of Pico--journeys which provided inspiration for the Shore to Shore statue.
$26.95

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The Debwe Series: Three Feathers
Artists:
K. Mateus
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Three young men—Flinch, Bryce, and Rupert—have vandalized their community and are sent by its Elders to live nine months on the land as part of the circle sentencing process. There, the young men learn to take responsibility for their actions and acquire the humility required to return home. But, when they do return, will they be forgiven for what they’ve done?

Three Feathers explores the power and grace of restorative justice in one Northern community and the cultural legacy that can empower future generations.

Three Feathers is the third title in The Debwe Series. Created in the spirit of the Anishinaabe concept debwe (to speak the truth), The Debwe Series is a collection of exceptional Aboriginal writings from across Canada.

Reviews
"Three Feathers is a graphic novel illustrated by stark, black and white images. Many of the frames have no captioning, inviting the reader to intuit the narrative. K. Mateus, the illustrator, makes imaginative use of Aboriginal symbols and motifs in this 48 page book; when Gabe is attacked, demonic figures shadow the background, and when Bryce rails at the members of the community sentencing circle, the image of an angry wildcat snarls behind him." - CM Magazine

Educator Information
Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples Resource for units on Childhood and Place-Conscious Learning.

Additional Information
48 pages | 6.50" x 10.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$16.95

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The Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel
Authors:
Patti LaBoucane-Benson
Artists:
Kelly Mellings
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Métis;

In this important graphic novel, two Aboriginal brothers surrounded by poverty, drug abuse, and gang violence, try to overcome centuries of historic trauma in very different ways to bring about positive change in their lives.

Pete, a young Aboriginal man wrapped up in gang violence, lives with his younger brother, Joey, and his mother who is a heroin addict. One night, Pete and his mother’s boyfriend, Dennis, get into a big fight, which sends Dennis to the morgue and Pete to jail. Initially, Pete keeps up ties to his crew, until a jail brawl forces him to realize the negative influence he has become on Joey, which encourages him to begin a process of rehabilitation that includes traditional Aboriginal healing circles and ceremonies.

Powerful, courageous, and deeply moving, The Outside Circle is drawn from the author’s twenty years of work and research on healing and reconciliation of gang-affiliated or incarcerated Aboriginal men.

$19.95

In Re-Print
Un/inhabited
Text Content Territories: Nisga'a;

Award-winning Nisga’a poet Jordan Abel’s second collection of poetry, Un/inhabited, maps the terrain of the public domain to create a layered investigation of the interconnections between language and land.

Abel constructed the book’s source text by compiling in their entirety ninety-one western novels found on the website Project Gutenberg, an online archive of works whose copyright has expired. Using his word processor’s Ctrl-F function, he searched the compilation for words that relate to the political and social aspects of land, territory, and ownership. Each search query represents a study in context (How was this word deployed? What surrounded it? What is left over once that word is removed?) accumulating toward a representation of the public domain as a discoverable and inhabitable body of land.

Featuring a text by independent curator Kathleen Ritter – the first piece of scholarship on Abel’s work – Un/inhabited reminds us of the power of language as material and invites us to reflect on what is present in the empty space when we see nothing.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$24.95

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Where I Belong
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Mohawk;

This moving tale of self-discovery takes place during the Oka uprising in the summer of 1990. Adopted as an infant, Carrie has always felt somehow out of place. Recurring dreams haut her, warning her that someone close to her is in danger...

When she discovers that her birth family is Mohawk living in Quebec, she makes the long journey and finally achieves the sense of home and belonging that had always eluded her.

Educator Information
Recommended ages: 12 - 15. 

$12.95

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