First Nation Communities Read

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First Nation Communities Read is an annual reading program launched in 2003 by the First Nations public library community in Ontario. First Nation Communities Read selected and other recommended titles:

- encourage family literacy, intergenerational storytelling, and intergenerational information sharing;

- are written and/or illustrated by, or otherwise involve the participation of a First Nation, Métis, or Inuit creator;

- contain First Nation, Métis, or Inuit content produced with the support of First Nation, Métis, or Inuit advisers/consultants or First Nation, Métis, or Inuit endorsement.

To view the children's and young adult selections, visit:

First Nation Communities Read - Children's Selections

First Nation Communities Read - Young Adult Selections


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.

Additional Information
256 pages | 5.31" x 8.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$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
Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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Askiwina: A Cree World
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

In his trademark direct prose style, Cree journalist and filmmaker Doug Cuthand articulates the past, present, and future of Saskatchewan's Aboriginal people. Through his newspaper columns and features, as well as his internationally-known film and video work, Doug Cuthand has become a respected voice in the aboriginal community.

In Askiwina: A Cree World, he offers fresh insights and straight talk over platitudes and dogma, providing readers with a bridge to understanding Aboriginal philosophy, history, culture, and society. He explores the basics of Aboriginal spirituality - the four directions, the trickster Wesakechak, creation stories, coming-of-age rituals, the Sundance, and sacred places on the prairies. He describes Saskatchewan history from an Aboriginal point of view, a perspective from which familiar events like the Battle of Cutknife Hill, the siege of Battleford, and the establishment of Prince Albert look profoundly different.

He delves into the worlds of past leaders and thinkers like Canon Edward Ahenakew, Anahareo, Poundmaker, and Sweetgrass, and cultural and religious traditions like the powwow and the Ghost Dance. He portrays the impact Aboriginal peoples have had on this province - including their critical role in the fur trade, place names of the province, settlement patterns, and even Canadian-American relations - and projects the impact they will have on its future. He also presents a seasoned observer's view of economic and political issues facing Aboriginal peoples in Saskatchewan, including such topics as gaming, self-government, and land claims.

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Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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Bear Bones & Feathers
Authors:
Louise Bernice Halfe
Format: Paperback
In this powerful book of poetry, First Nations Cree writer Louise Bernice Halfe sets out to heal the past.

Employing Native spiritualism, black comedy and the memories of her own childhood as healing arts, she finds an irrepressible source of strength and dignity in her people. Bear Bones and Feathers is rooted in Louise Bernice Halfe's own life. She offers moving portraits of her grandmother (a medicine woman whose life straddled old and new worlds), her parents (both trapped in a cycle of jealousy and abuse), and the people whose pain she witnessed on the reserve and at residential school.
$12.95

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Bella Coola Man
Authors:
Harvey Thommasen
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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Authentic Indigenous Text
$24.95

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Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: A Memoir
Authors:
Theodore Fontaine
Format: Paperback
Theodore Fontaine lost his family and freedom just after his seventh birthday, when his parents were forced to leave him at an Indian residential school by order of the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of Canada. Twelve years later, he left school frozen at the emotional age of seven. He was confused, angry and conflicted, on a path of self-destruction. At age 29, he emerged from this blackness. By age 32, he had graduated from the Civil Engineering Program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and begun a journey of self-exploration and healing.

In this powerful and poignant memoir, Theodore examines the impact of his psychological, emotional and sexual abuse, the loss of his language and culture, and, most important, the loss of his family and community. He goes beyond details of the abuses of Native children to relate a unique understanding of why most residential school survivors have post-traumatic stress disorders and why succeeding generations of First Nations children suffer from this dark chapter in history.

Told as remembrances described with insights that have evolved through his healing, his story resonates with his resolve to help himself and other residential school survivors and to share his enduring belief that one can pick up the shattered pieces and use them for good.
$19.95

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Buffy Sainte-Marie: It's My Way
Authors:
Blair Stonechild
Format: Paperback

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a symbol of the free expression movement of the 1960s and her powerful songs inspired countless people seeking hope and change. Her life has been one of transitions; from songwriter to famous intellectually-oriented folk and protest singer, to country and western and rock and roll musician, to social activist, mother, script-writer, actress, digital artist, philanthropist, children's educator, and "medicine woman." Within all these roles, and throughout her incredibly diverse and engaging, though private, life, Buffy Sainte-Marie has cultivated her unique vision for achieving collective beauty and purpose in an often lonely world.

In this ambitious biography of an international cultural icon, Blair Stonechild seeks to bring together the many facets of a remarkable life, and to develop a sense of the woman behind it all. In doing so, Stonechild also traces some of the tumultuous history of the Cree people, and offers a fascinating, and challenging, view into the impoverished Saskatchewan reserve where Sainte-Marie was born, and an exploration of the story and context of a Native culture, which Buffy continues to inspire today.

Blair Stonechild is a member of the Muscowpetung First Nation in Saskatchewan. He obtained his B.A. from McGill, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Regina, and in 1976 was the first academic hired by the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC). Blair is currently Professor of Indigenous Studies and has served as Dean of Academics and Executive Director of Development for the First Nations University of Canada (formerly Saskatchewan Indian Federated College). He co-authored with Dr. Bill Waiser, Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion, which won the Saskatchewan Book Award and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1997. Dr. Stonechild’s book on First Nations post-secondary policy, The New Buffalo: Aboriginal Post-secondary Policy in Canada (2006), was a finalist for the Saskatchewan Book Award. Blair was a Trustee of the Canadian Museum of Civilization from 1990 to 1998. He has done extensive consulting on Aboriginal education. Blair is married to Sylvia and is father to Michael, Rachel, and Gabrielle.

$24.95

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Discovery Passages
Authors:
Garry Thomas Morse
Format: Paperback
With breathtaking virtuosity, Garry Thomas Morse sets out to recover the appropriated, stolen and scattered world of his ancestral people from Alert Bay to Quadra Island to Vancouver, retracing Captain Vancouver's original sailing route. These poems draw upon both written history and oral tradition to reflect all of the respective stories of the community, which vocally weave in and out of the dialogics of the text.

A dramatic symphony of many voices, Discovery Passages uncovers the political, commercial, intellectual and cultural subtexts of the Native ­language ban, the potlatch ban and the confiscation and sale of Aboriginal artifacts to museums by Indian agents, and how these actions affected the lives of both Native and non-Native inhabitants of the region. This displacement of language and artifacts reverberated as a profound cultural disjuncture on a personal level for the author's ­people, the Kwakwaka'wakw, as their family and tribal possessions became at once both museum artifacts and a continuation of the ­tradition of memory through another language. Morse's continuous poetic dialogue of "discovery" and "recovery" reaches as far as the Lenape, the original Native inhabitants of Mannahatta in what is now known as New York, and on across the Atlantic in pursuit of the European roots of the "Voyages of Discovery" in the works of Sappho, Socrates, Virgil and Frazer's The Golden Bough, only to reappear on the American continent to find their psychotic apotheosis in the poetry of Duncan Campbell Scott.

With tales of Chiefs Billy Assu, Harry Assu and James Sewid; the ­family story "The Young Healer"; and transformed passages from Whitman, Pound, Williams and Bowering, Discovery Passages links Kwakwaka'wakw traditions of the past with contemporary poetic ­tradition in B.C. that encompasses the entire scope of ­relations between oral and vocal ­tradition, ancient ritual, historical ­contextuality and our continuing rites.
$17.95

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Extraordinary Canadians: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont:A Penguin Lives Biography
Authors:
Joseph Boyden
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis;

Louis Riel is regarded by some as a hero and visionary, by others as a madman and misguided religious zealot. The Métis leader who fought for the rights of his people against an encroaching tide of white settlers helped establish the province of Manitoba before escaping to the United States. Gabriel Dumont was a successful hunter and Métis chief, a man tested by warfare, a pragmatist who differed from the devout Riel. Giller Prize—winning novelist Joseph Boyden argues that Dumont, part of a delegation that had sought out Riel in exile, may not have foreseen the impact on the Métis cause of bringing Riel home. While making rational demands of Sir John A. Macdonald's government, Riel seemed increasingly overtaken by a messianic mission. His execution in 1885 by the Canadian government still reverberates today. Boyden provides fresh, controversial insight into these two seminal Canadian figures and how they shaped the country.

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$22.00

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Grey Owl
Authors:
Armand Garnet Ruffo
Format: Paperback
An Englishman with the imagination and the arrogance to pose as a North American Indian, a fur trapper who kept beaver as pets, a drunken brawling bigamist who embraced the wilderness to escape his ghosts, a compelling champion of that wilderness who travelled much of the world speaking to huge audiences about the fate of the natural world - who was the real Archie Belaney, known to many as Grey Owl?

Grey Owl, the Mystery of Archie Belaney is a unique, accessible collection of narrative poetry and journal entries which examines this dynamic, often contradictory, always fascinating man who reconstructed his identity and delivered a message of conservation to the world.
$14.95

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Grizzlies & White Guys: The Stories of Clayton Mack
Authors:
Clayton Mack
Format: Paperback
The extraordinary life story of Clayton Mack (1910-1993), a legendary hunting guide from the Nuxalk Nation (Bella Coola), is told in his own words. To Clayton Mack, who loved the wilderness and whose most precious memories were of the days when people got around without roads, told time without watches, and took planks from giant cedars without axes, the two most mysterious creatures on earth were grizzly bears and "Q''umsciwas" (white men) - from Crooked Jaw the Indian Agent to the rich and famous men who hired him to guide them on their trophy hunts.
"The tales are told by a natural storyteller, who as a child was carried as a prop in Native ceremonial dances, and who later found himself dining in Hollywood restaurants with California''s most powerful people. His stories are wild and bawdy and funny and tragic, and they reach back through history. They are like native ritual dances, in that it''s impossible to separate the magic from the realism: at the end, you will wonder what was real and what was dream. The arnazing thing is, it''s all true. It''s all true."
-Mark Hume, journalist for the "Vancouver Sun," "National Post" and author of "The Run of the River"
$24.95

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

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

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Just Pretending
Format: Paperback

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

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

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

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

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Authentic Indigenous Text
$18.95

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

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Mi'sel Joe: An Aboriginal Chief's Journey
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Mi’kmaw;
Mi'sel Joe: An Aboriginal Chief's Journey chronicles both the life of an individual and that of his people. Mi'sel Joe is the traditional and administrative chief of Newfoundland's Conne River Mi'kmaq Reserve. Through a series of taped interviews with Raoul Andersen and John Crellin, Mi'sel Joe tells his life story, including his unorthodox education through the many migratory jobs that took him as far west as Alberta.

Mi'sel Joe also speaks of a community fighting for the right to determine its own future. He tells of the struggle to revitalize traditional values in the face of racial prejudice. He reveals the steps being taken by aboriginal leaders, both in this province and elsewhere, to help their people gain respect in a white man's world without losing their own identity. Mi'sel Joe's story is his own, but it is also a window into Mi'kmaq history, culture, and traditions.

Suggested Grades: 8-12
ABPBC
$19.95

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