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Indigenous Stories / Narratives

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A Matter of Conscience
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

A novel of love and betrayal dealing with the biggest issues facing Canada’s Indigenous peoples today.

In the summer of 1972, a float plane carrying a team of child welfare officials lands on a river flowing through the Yellow Dog Indian reserve. Their mission is to seize the twin babies of an Indigenous couple as part of an illegal scheme cooked up by the federal government to adopt out tens of thousands of Native children to white families. The baby girl, Brenda, is adopted and raised by a white family in Orillia.

Meanwhile, that same summer, a baby boy named Greg is born to a white middle-class family. At the age of eighteen, Greg leaves home for the first time to earn money to help pay for his university expenses. He drinks heavily and becomes embroiled in the murder of a female student from a residential school.

The destinies of Brenda and Greg intersect in this novel of passion, confronting the murder and disappearance of Indigenous women and the infamous Sixties Scoop.

Reviews
"James Bartleman, a First Nation person himself, writes movingly … about the tragic reality of misogynistic racism and violence against Indigenous women and girls." — Sharon Stinson Henry, Chief of Chippewas of Rama First Nation

Forces us to confront uncomfortable truths as we seek a path to reconciliation. — Alan Bowker, author of A Time Such as There Never Was Before

Bartleman’s strength as a writer is his compassion. He respects each of his characters and sets the stage for real-world discussions of Canada’s past, present, and future. — Publishers Weekly

Educator Information
A Reader's Guide includes discussion of Sixties Scoop and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Candian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 10-12 English Language Arts.

Caution: Thi book could trigger some readers because of disturbing topics.

Additional Information
272 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$24.99

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A Short History of Indians in Canada: Stories
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

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.

Additional Information
256 pages | 5.31" x 8.00"

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$18.95

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A Tale of Two Shamans: A Haida Manga
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Haida;
Grade Levels: 9; 10; 11; University/College;

The brilliant follow-up to War of Blink and RED: A Haida Manga — another stunningly inventive retelling of an ancient Haida tale.

Notes on a Tale of Two Shamans - ga Sraagaa sdang from the author: 

"The work that you are about to read is old, much older than any of us still living. It is probably older than anything one could even call Canadian. It precedes us all. Obviously I am not the primary creator of such a narrative, but as a Haida citizen, it is an ancestral experience. The strength of owning a thing is often expressed as a right to share it. In this retelling we the illustrators, editors, linguists, curators and indeed the community of living Haidas and friend invite you to join with us. Come as a respected guest. Sit at the table and be nourished by our living culture. This story is a blend of accounts recorded at the turn of the nineteenth century in three of the once numerous dialects of the Haida language. I have combined elements from these accounts into a newly constructed whole. Be cautioned that these images are interpretations informed by my own cultural composition and life experiences. This is a contemporary rendering of a worldview first expressed in different times and probably for different reasons. I am not stepping forward to join that dais filled with authorities claiming to represent those distant times. I am a Haida whose life experiences are probably very similar to [that of] your own. In many respects that greater distance between the first tellers of ga Sraagaa sdang and ourselves, makes us both readers. The first part of my telling of ga Sraagaa sdang comes from Sk’a.aaws. This is an ancient town site located along the eastern border of a forested region called Duu Guusd. Duu Guusd is part of Haida Gwaii, an archipelago still held until recently in its colonial embrace as the Queen Charlotte Islands. The other old source of telling is Skedans. This old town is located in the Gwaii Haanas Haida Heritage Site, an area also currently reserved as a Canadian National Park. I have restrained from writing an extensive opinion, instead limiting my retelling to a brief text and illustrations. This should suffice to give the engaged reader a hint of the amazing concepts which ripple through this shamanic tale and remain a substantial element of that dynamic living society of indigenous peoples called Haida." - Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

Reviews
“This Haida manga intriguingly blends graphic storytelling with a fine art sensibility… Yahgulanaas communicates via an arresting series of images evoking the traditional visual arts of the Haida people.” —Publisher’s Weekly

Educator Information
Recommended for ages 14+ 

May contain mature content.

Additional Information
72 pages | 7.00" x 8.50" 

 

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Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$24.95

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As I Remember It
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

Taken from her Native birth mother as a baby. Removed from her adoptive parents’ home at 5 and caught shoplifting at 11. On the streets prostituting herself at 14. This is the stark childhood and adolescence of Tara Lee, the protagonist of As I Remember It. But she triumphs over rejection and abuse, thanks to her indomitable spirit and the efforts of a pair of unique foster parents.

Breakdowns in the fostering system make the headlines, but what is day-to-day life really like for foster children and teens? What struggles do they face, and what resources do they draw on? Why are kids in care more liable to get involved in crime?

As I Remember It yields first-person insight into these issues, but beyond that, it will draw you in with its unblinking portrait of a young girl who discovers that she possesses a core of strength equal to that of her storybook heroines.

Awards

  • 2013 Burt Award - Second Place Winner
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$18.95

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As Long as the Rivers Flow: A Novel
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;

From the accomplished memoirist and former Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario comes a first novel of incredible heart and spirit for every Canadian.

The novel follows one girl, Martha, from the Cat Lake First Nation in Northern Ontario who is "stolen" from her family at the age of six and flown far away to residential school. She doesn't speak English but is punished for speaking her native language; most terrifying and bewildering, she is also "fed" to the school's attendant priest with an attraction to little girls.

Ten long years later, Martha finds her way home again, barely able to speak her native tongue. The memories of abuse at the residential school are so strong that she tries to drown her feelings in drink, and when she gives birth to her beloved son, Spider, he is taken away by Children's Aid to Toronto. In time, she has a baby girl, Raven, whom she decides to leave in the care of her mother while she braves the bewildering strangeness of the big city to find her son and bring him home.

Awards

  • 2013 Burt Award - Third Place Winner
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$19.95

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Bearskin Diary
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

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.

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$21.95

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Bella Coola Man
Format: Paperback

When Clayton Mack was a child, his parents wrapped him in wolf skin and dumped him in water four times so he would grow up strong and fierce in the woods like a wolf. True to this Nuxalk tradition, Mack grew up to be a world-famous grizzly bear hunter and guide.
Clayton Mack''s first book of amazing tales about bears and q''umsciwas (white men), "Grizzlies and White Guys," became an instant best seller when it was published in 1993. In "Bella Coola Man," Clayton Mack continues his hair-raising stories about pulling bears out of the bushes by their legs, eating fresh bear meat with Thor Heyerdahl, finding gold nuggets in the bush, murder in the Big Ootsa country and dead men's talking beans, plus Crooked Jaw the Indian agent and where to find good fishing.
Clayton Mack was a walking encyclopedia of tribal lore, and one of the best storytellers ever born. The stories in "Bella Coola Man" are the last he told, and reflect his desire to pass on as much information about Nuxalk life and legends as he could before his death. Hear about the man-eater dance performed at River's Inlet where the dancers ate a dead woman's head, or about the last Indian war on the coast, native remedies like devil's club tea which is "good for anything," Alexander Mackenzie''s travels through Bella Coola country along the Grease Trail, how native hunters killed mountain goats by prying them off cliffs with sticks, and about forgotten villages and places, which come alive again through Clayton Mack''s words.
Clayton Mack had a deep understanding and appreciation of life on British Columbia''s rugged coast. His stories are unique lessons in history, as well as pure entertainment. Here are the stories of the legend himself, Clayton Mack.

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$24.95

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Birdie
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

Birdie is a darkly comic and moving first novel about the universal experience of recovering from wounds of the past, informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions. Bernice Meetoos, a Cree woman, leaves her home in Northern Alberta following tragedy and travels to Gibsons, BC. She is on something of a vision quest, seeking to understand the messages from The Frugal Gourmet (one of the only television shows available on CBC North) that come to her in her dreams. She is also driven by the leftover teenaged desire to meet Pat Johns, who played Jesse on The Beachcombers, because he is, as she says, a working, healthy Indian man. Bernice heads for Molly’s Reach to find answers but they are not the ones she expected.

With the arrival in Gibsons of her Auntie Val and her cousin Skinny Freda, Bernice finds the strength to face the past and draw the lessons from her dreams that she was never fully taught in life. Part road trip, dream quest and travelogue, the novel touches on the universality of women's experience, regardless of culture or race.

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$22.99

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Born With a Tooth
Authors:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 10; 11;

Almost a decade after its original publication, award winner and Governor General Literary Award nominee Joseph Boyden's classic book of short stories is finally being reissued. Born With A Tooth, Boyden's debut work of fiction, is a collection of thirteen beautifully written stories about aboriginal life in Ontario. They are stories of love, unexpected triumph, and a passionate belief in dreams. They are also stories of anger and longing, of struggling to adapt, of searching but remaining unfulfilled. The collection includes 'Bearwalker', a story that introduces a character who appears again in Boyden's novel Three Day Road. By taking on a new voice in each story, Joseph Boyden explores aboriginal stereotypes and traditions in a most unexpected way. Whether told by a woman trying to forget her past or by a drunken man trying to preserve his culture, each story paints an unforgettable and varied image of modern aboriginal culture in Ontario. An extraordinary first book, Born With A Tooth reveals why Joseph Boyden is a writer worth reading.

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 10-11

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$22.00

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Daughters Are Forever
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Salish;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

This powerful novel about a woman's self-discovery reinforces Lee Maracle's stature as one of the most important First Nations writers in North America. The novel incorporates an innovative structure - one based on Salish Nation storytelling - to depict the transformation of Marilyn, a First Nations woman who is alienated from her culture, her family, and herself. By discovering her own culture's ways and listening to the natural world, Marilyn begins to heal her deep-rooted hurt and gradually becomes reconciled with her estranged daughters. Here is a moving work about First Nations people in the modern world, and the importance of courage, truth, and reconciliation.

Additional Information
206 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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$19.95

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Green Grass, Running Water
Format: Paperback

Strong, sassy women and hard-luck, hard-headed men, all searching for the middle ground between Native American tradition and the modern world, perform an elaborate dance of approach and avoidance in this magical, rollicking tale by award-winning author Thomas King. Alberta, Eli, Lionel and others are coming to the Blackfoot reservation for the Sun Dance. There they will encounter four Indian elders and their companion, the trickster Coyote—and nothing in the small town of Blossom will be the same again...

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$19.95

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When the Whales Leave
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Siberian; Chukchi (Chukchee);
Grade Levels: University/College;

“Arguably the foremost writer to emerge from the minority peoples of Russia’s far north.” —New York Review of Books

Nau cannot remember a time when she was not one with the world around her: with the fast breeze, the green grass, the high clouds, and the endless blue sky above the Shingled Spit. But her greatest joy is to visit the sea, where whales gather every morning to gaily spout rainbows.

Then, one day, she finds a man in the mist where a whale should be: Reu, who has taken human form out of his Great Love for her. Together these first humans become parents to two whales, and then to mankind. Even after Reu dies, Nau continues on, sharing her story of brotherhood between the two species. But as these origins grow more distant, the old woman’s tales are subsumed into myth—and her descendants turn increasingly bent on parading their dominance over the natural world.

Buoyantly translated into English for the first time by Ilona Yazhbin Chavasse, this new entry in the Seedbank series is at once a vibrant retelling of the origin story of the Chukchi, a timely parable about the destructive power of human ego—and another unforgettable work of fiction from Yuri Rytkheu, “arguably the foremost writer to emerge from the minority peoples of Russia’s far north” (New York Review of Books).

Reviews
“We have so little intimate information about these Arctic people, and the writer’s deep emotional attachment to this landscape of ice (today melting away under global warming forces) makes every sentence seem a poetic revelation.”—Annie Proulx

“Rytkheu immerses his readers in the fantastical landscapes of the Arctic circle, and does so without breaking a sweat. . . . His elegant, unforced descriptive writing can whip us across leagues of tundra and thread the jagged icebergs studding hyperborean seas, but when the blizzards hit and the characters are trapped in their huts, we’re snowbound there with them under the whale-oil lamp, chewing walrus and hoping for respite.”—Bookslut

“Thousands of books have been written about the Arctic aborigines by intruders from the south. Rytkheu has turned the skin inside out and written about the way the Arctic people view outsiders. A Chukchi himself, [he] writes with passion, strength, and beauty of a world we others have never understood.”—Farley Mowat

Additional Information
136 pages | 5.50" x 8.50" | Translated by Ilona Yazhbin Chavasse

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$23.95

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