Women's Studies

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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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$16.95

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Gender, Power, and Representations of Cree Law
Authors:
Emily Snyder
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree;

Drawing on the insights of Indigenous feminist legal theory, Emily Snyder examines representations of Cree law and gender in books, videos, graphic novels, educational websites, online lectures, and a video game. Although these resources promote the revitalization of Cree law and the principle of miyo-wîcêhtowin (good relations), Snyder argues that they do not capture the complexities of gendered power dynamics.

The majority of the resources either erase women’s legal authority by not mentioning them, or they diminish women’s agency by portraying them primarily as mothers and nurturers. Although these latter roles are celebrated, Snyder argues that Cree laws and gender roles are represented in inflexible, aesthetically pleasing ways that overlook power imbalances and difficult questions regarding interpretations of tradition.

What happens when good relations are represented in ways that are oppressive? Grappling with this question, Snyder makes the case that educators need to critically engage with issues of gender and power in order to create inclusive resources that meaningfully address the everyday messiness of law. As with all legal orders, gendered oppression can be perpetuated through Cree law, but Cree law is also a dynamic resource for challenging gendered oppression. 

This book will appeal to students and scholars of law, Indigenous studies, gender studies, and the sociology of inequality.

Reviews
"Emily Snyder engages with one of the thorniest issues in the field of Indigenous law – that of gender and power. This respectful, thoughtful, and razor-sharp analysis of essentialist and fundamentalist representations of women in Cree law both challenges and provokes. This book will change how we see and think about Indigenous law. It is a gift to feminism, to legal scholarship, and to Indigenous feminists and communities the world over." -  Val Napoleon, Law Foundation Chair of Aboriginal Justice and Governance, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria

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248 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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$34.95

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Indigenous Women's Writing and the Cultural Study of Law
Authors:
Cheryl Suzack
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Batchewana First Nation;
In Indigenous Women’s Writing and the Cultural Study of Law, Cheryl Suzack explores Indigenous women’s writing in the post-civil rights period through close-reading analysis of major texts by Leslie Marmon Silko, Beatrice Culleton Mosionier, Louise Erdrich, and Winona LaDuke.

Working within a transnational framework that compares multiple tribal national contexts and U.S.-Canadian settler colonialism, Suzack sheds light on how these Indigenous writers use storytelling to engage in social justice activism by contesting discriminatory tribal membership codes, critiquing the dispossession of Indigenous women from their children, challenging dehumanizing blood quantum codes, and protesting colonial forms of land dispossession. Each chapter in this volume aligns a court case with a literary text to show how literature contributes to self-determination struggles. Situated at the intersections of critical race, Indigenous feminist, and social justice theories, Indigenous Women’s Writing and the Cultural Study of Law crafts an Indigenous-feminist literary model in order to demonstrate how Indigenous women respond to the narrow vision of law by recuperating other relationships–to themselves, the land, the community, and the settler-nation.
$34.95

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Inuit Stories of Being and Rebirth: Gender, Shamanism, and the Third Sex
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Inuit;

The small island of Igloolik lies between the Melville Peninsula and Baffin Island at the northern end of Hudson Bay north of the Arctic Circle. It has fascinated many in the Western world since 1824, when a London publisher printed the narratives by William Parry and his second-in-command, George Lyon, about their two years spent looking for the mythical Northwest Passage.

Nearly a hundred and fifty years later, Bernard Saladin d’Anglure arrived in Igloolik, hoping to complete the study he had been conducting for nearly six months in Arctic Quebec (present-day Nunavik). He was supposed to spend a month on Igloolik, but on his first morning there, Saladin d’Anglure met the elders Ujarak and Iqallijuq. He learned that they had been informants for Knud Rasmussen in 1922. Moreover, they had spent most of their lives in the camps and fully remembered the pre-Christian period.

Ujarak and Iqallijuq soon became Saladin d’Anglure’s friends and initiated him into the symbolism, myths, beliefs, and ancestral rules of the local Inuit. With them and their families, Saladin d’Anglure would work for thirty years, gathering the oral traditions of their people.

First published in French in 2006, Inuit Stories of Being and Rebirth contains an in-depth, paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of stories on womb memories, birth, namesaking, and reincarnation. This new English edition introduces this material to a broader audience and contains a new afterword by Saladin d’Anglure.

Contents

Ch. 1—Savviurtalik is Reincarnated
Ch. 2—Inuit Genesis and the Desire for Children
Ch. 3—‘Big Belly’
Ch. 4—Incestuous Moon Brother chases Sun Sister
Ch. 5—A Headstrong Daughter
Ch. 6—A Cheated Husband
Ch. 7—Girls Should not Play at Marriage
Ch. 8—A Battered Wife
Ch. 9—Walrus Skin, a Mistreated Orphan, Rescued by the Moon Man
Ch. 10—The Danger of Being Impregnated by a Spirit
Ch. 11—The First Woman Healer
Ch. 12—The Strange Man and His Whale
Ch. 13—Atanaarjuat, The Fast Runner, a Mythical Hero
Ch. 14—Aaguttaaluk, the Cannibal Forebear
Ch. 15—Qisaruatsiaq, Back to Her Mother’s Womb

 
Reviews
“The real strength of the book are the dialogues between d’Anglure, Iqallijuq, and Ujarak that provide insights into many of the stories provided by Kupaaq … providing one of the first Inuit commentaries on their own texts.” – Chris Trott, Etudes/Inuit/Studies
 
Additional Information
400 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"
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$31.95

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Keetsahnak / Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

In Keetsahnak / Our Murdered and Missing Indigenous Sisters, the tension between personal, political, and public action is brought home starkly as the contributors look at the roots of violence and how it diminishes life for all. Together, they create a model for anti-violence work from an Indigenous perspective. They acknowledge the destruction wrought by colonial violence, and also look at controversial topics such as lateral violence, challenges in working with “tradition,” and problematic notions involved in “helping.” Through stories of resilience, resistance, and activism, the editors give voice to powerful personal testimony and allow for the creation of knowledge. 

It’s in all of our best interests to take on gender violence as a core resurgence project, a core decolonization project, a core of Indigenous nation building, and as the backbone of any Indigenous mobilization. —Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Contributors: Kim Anderson, Stella August, Tracy Bear, Christi Belcourt, Robyn Bourgeois, Rita Bouvier, Maria Campbell, Maya Ode’amik Chacaby, Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group, Susan Gingell, Michelle Good, Laura Harjo, Sarah Hunt, Robert Alexander Innes, Beverly Jacobs, Tanya Kappo, Tara Kappo, Lyla Kinoshameg, Helen Knott, Sandra Lamouche, Jo-Anne Lawless, Debra Leo, Kelsey T. Leonard, Ann-Marie Livingston, Brenda Macdougall, Sylvia Maracle, Jenell Navarro, Darlene R. Okemaysim-Sicotte, Pahan Pte San Win, Ramona Reece, Kimberly Robertson, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Beatrice Starr, Madeleine Kétéskwew Dion Stout, Waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy, Alex Wilson

Educator Information
Useful for these subject areas: Women's Studies, Indigenous History, Sociology, Gender Studies, Social Science: Violence in Society.

Additional Information
400 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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$29.95

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Life Stages and Native Women
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree; Métis;

A rare and inspiring guide to the health and well-being of Aboriginal women and their communities.

The process of "digging up medicines" - of rediscovering the stories of the past - serves as a powerful healing force in the decolonization and recovery of Aboriginal communities. In Life Stages and Native Women, Kim Anderson shares the teachings of fourteen elders from the Canadian prairies and Ontario to illustrate how different life stages were experienced by Metis, Cree, and Anishinaabe girls and women during the mid-twentieth century. These elders relate stories about their own lives, the experiences of girls and women of their childhood communities, and customs related to pregnancy, birth, post-natal care, infant and child care, puberty rites, gender and age-specific work roles, the distinct roles of post-menopausal women, and women's roles in managing death. Through these teachings, we learn how evolving responsibilities from infancy to adulthood shaped women's identities and place within Indigenous society, and were integral to the health and well-being of their communities. By understanding how healthy communities were created in the past, Anderson explains how this traditional knowledge can be applied toward rebuilding healthy Indigenous communities today.

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$27.95

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Restoring the Balance
Format: Paperback
First Nations peoples believe the eagle flies with a female wing and a male wing, showing the importance of balance between the feminine and the masculine in all aspects of individual and community experiences. Centuries of colonization, however, have devalued the traditional roles of First Nations women, causing a great gender imbalance that limits the abilities of men, women, and their communities in achieving self-actualization.

Restoring the Balance brings to light the work First Nations women have performed, and continue to perform, in cultural continuity and community development. It illustrates the challenges and successes they have had in the areas of law, politics, education, community healing, language, and art, while suggesting significant options for sustained improvement of individual, family, and community well-being.

Written by fifteen Aboriginal scholars, activists, and community leaders, Restoring the Balance combines life histories and biographical accounts with historical and critical analyses grounded in traditional thought and approaches. It is a powerful and important book.
$27.95

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Sisters in Spirit
Authors:
Sally Roesch Wagner
Format: Paperback
Recounts, with documentation, the influence of the Iroquois model of freedom on women’s early struggle for freedom and equality in the United States. The revolutionary changes unleashed by the Iroquois-to-feminist relationship continue to shape our lives today. This book is used in many women’s studies courses at colleges and universities around the country.
$13.95

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Stolen Sisters
Authors:
Emmanuelle Walter
Format: Paperback
In 2014, the nation was rocked by the brutal violence against young Aboriginal women Loretta Saunders, Tina Fontaine and Rinelle Harper. But tragically, they were not the only Aboriginal women to suffer that year. In fact, an official report revealed that since 1980, 1,200 Canadian Aboriginal women have been murdered or have gone missing. This alarming official figure reveals a national tragedy and the systemic failure of law enforcement and of all levels of government to address the issue.

Journalist Emmanuelle Walter spent two years investigating this crisis and has crafted a moving representative account of the disappearance of two young women, Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander, teenagers from western Quebec, who have been missing since September 2008. Via personal testimonies, interviews, press clippings and official documents, Walter pieces together the disappearance and loss of these two young lives, revealing these young women to us through the voices of family members and witnesses.

Stolen Sisters is a moving and deeply shocking work of investigative journalism that makes the claim that not only is Canada failing its First Nations communities, but that a feminicide is taking place.
$26.99

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The Break
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Métis;

When Stella, a young Métis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break — a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house — she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime.

In a series of shifting narratives, people who are connected, both directly and indirectly, with the victim — police, family, and friends — tell their personal stories leading up to that fateful night. Lou, a social worker, grapples with the departure of her live-in boyfriend. Cheryl, an artist, mourns the premature death of her sister Rain. Paulina, a single mother, struggles to trust her new partner. Phoenix, a homeless teenager, is released from a youth detention centre. Officer Scott, a Métis policeman, feels caught between two worlds as he patrols the city. Through their various perspectives a larger, more comprehensive story about lives of the residents in Winnipeg’s North End is exposed.

A powerful intergenerational family saga, The Break showcases Vermette’s abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting new voice in Canadian literature.

Awards

  • 2017 Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Literature Winner
  • Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction Winner
  • McNally Robison Book of the Year Winner
  • Amazon.ca First Novel Award 

Reviews
“Vermette is a staggering talent. Reading The Break is like a revelation; stunning, heartbreaking and glorious. From her exquisitely rendered characters to her fully realized world and the ratcheting tension, I couldn’t put it down. Absolutely riveting.” — Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach

“In Vermette’s poetic prose, The Break offers a stark portrayal of the adversity that plagues First Nations women in this country — and the strength that helps them survive.” — Toronto Star

The Break doesn’t read like an impressive first novel; it reads like a masterstroke from someone who knows what they’re doing . . . Vermette is skilled at writing with a language that is conversational and comfortable and with a poetic ease that makes the hard things easier to swallow. The result is a book that is at times emotionally demanding, funny, suspenseful, and always engaging.”—The Winnipeg Review

“This is a debut novel by the Governor General's Literary Award-winning Métis poet Katherena Vermette. The story takes place in Winnipeg's North End. And it starts when Stella thinks she sees a violent assault taking place in a barren strip of land outside her window, known as The Break. Turns out, she is right. In fact, there is a threat of violence that hovers over all the women in the story, three generations of them, and the story is told in many voices. Katherena writes with empathy and understanding about people who are living with the pain of intergenerational trauma. The Winnipeg winter she evokes is cold and cruel. But there is such love, loyalty and support in this story. If you enjoy a gripping family saga, I would recommend The Break.” — Shelagh Rogers, CBC The Next Chapter

Educator Information
Grades 11-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the unit What Creates Family?

Note: This novel contains mature and challenging content, such as incidents of drug use, rape, and, violence.

Additional Information
288 pages | 5.25" x 8.00"

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$22.95

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Violence Against Indigenous Women: Literature, Activism, Resistance
Authors:
Allison Hargreaves
Format: Paperback
Violence against Indigenous women in Canada is an ongoing crisis, with roots deep in the nation’s colonial history. Despite numerous policies and programs developed to address the issue, Indigenous women continue to be targeted for violence at disproportionate rates. What insights can literature contribute where dominant anti-violence initiatives have failed? Centring the voices of contemporary Indigenous women writers, this book argues for the important role that literature and storytelling can play in response to gendered colonial violence.

Indigenous communities have been organizing against violence since newcomers first arrived, but the cases of missing and murdered women have only recently garnered broad public attention. Violence Against Indigenous Women joins the conversation by analyzing the socially interventionist work of Indigenous women poets, playwrights, filmmakers, and fiction-writers. Organized as a series of case studies that pair literary interventions with recent sites of activism and policy-critique, the book puts literature in dialogue with anti-violence debate to illuminate new pathways toward action.

With the advent of provincial and national inquiries into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, a larger public conversation is now underway. Indigenous women’s literature is a critical site of knowledge-making and critique. Violence Against Indigenous Women provides a foundation for reading this literature in the context of Indigenous feminist scholarship and activism and the ongoing intellectual history of Indigenous women’s resistance.

Reviews
“This book makes an important – indeed, urgent – contribution to knowledge about violence against Indigenous women that ought to become required reading for politicians, activists, policy-makers, scholars, writers, and artists engaged in responding to this ongoing crisis.”
— Amber Dean, McMaster University, author of Remembering Vancouver’s Disappeared Women: Settler Colonialism and the Difficulty of Inheritance

"Hargreaves ... examines how stories of individual tragedies have been memorialized in venues such as human rights reports, poems, films, and plays. She convincingly explains that statistics and research projects produced with the best intentions may serve to reinforce the very colonial power dynamics that prevent the emergence of transformative solutions in the struggle to end violence against Indigenous women. ... For those in the field of comparative narrative criticism, it’s a work sure to inspire much discussion, debate, and reflection."
Publisher's Weekly

Educator Information
This book would be useful for Indigenous Studies, Women's Studies, Literary Criticism, and Canadian Literature courses, or courses where activism is a key theme.

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296 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"
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$29.99

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Women of the First Nations: Power, Wisdom, and Strength
Format: Paperback
"From diversity comes strength and wisdom”: this was the guiding principle for selecting the articles in this collection. Because there is no single voice, identity, history, or cultural experience that represents the women of the First Nations, a realistic picture will have many facets. Accordingly, the authors in Women of the First Nations include Native and non-Native scholars, feminists, and activists from across Canada.

Their work examines various aspects of Aboriginal women’s lives from a variety of theoretical and personal perspectives. They discuss standard media representations, as well as historical and current realities. They bring new perspectives to discussions on Aboriginal art, literature, historical, and cultural contributions, and they offer diverse viewpoints on present economic, environmental, and political issues.

This collection counters the marginalization and silencing of First Nations women’s voices and reflects the power, strength, and wisdom inherent in their lives.
$24.95

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Women's Work, Women's Art: Nineteenth-Century Northern Athapaskan Clothing
Authors:
Judy Thompson
Format: Paperback
Garments made from tanned animal hides afforded Northern Athapaskans protection against a harsh northern environment, but the striking features of this clothing are also a distinctive part of the traditional culture of the Indigenous peoples of North America's western subarctic. Beautifully decorated with quillwork, fringes, and pigments, they provide a means of artistic expression signifying ethnic identity and conveying information about the physical, social, and spiritual well-being of the wearer. Women's Work, Women's Art, the culmination of over forty years of research, is the first comprehensive study of this little-known aspect of Athapaskan culture. Encompassing all Northern Athapaskan groups, it chronicles a period that saw significant change in Aboriginal culture and the persistence of ancient traditions among the women who made and adorned this clothing. Individual chapters address the various roles and functions of clothing in Athapaskan societies, the technology of clothing production and design, and characteristic regional styles. Bringing together information from the writings of traders, explorers, missionaries, Athapaskan oral traditions, and community interviews with a wealth of visual materials - from rare early sketches to twentieth century photographs - Women's Work, Women's Art is an engaging and definitive study of Athapaskan clothing and culture.
$59.95

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