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Stories of Inspiration

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Journeys of the Spirit IV - ON SALE
Editors:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

This book contains more stories of brave and courageous Aboriginal adult literacy students from all over Canada. The selected individuals have created positive changes not only in their lives but also in the lives of their friends, family and First Nation communities.

We hope this collection will continue to enhance and promote a greater understanding of the issues facing Canada's Indigenous people.

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#IdleNoMore: And the Remaking of Canada
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Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

Idle No More bewildered many Canadians. Launched by four women in Saskatchewan in reaction to a federal omnibus budget bill, the protest became the most powerful demonstration of Aboriginal identity in Canadian history. Thousands of aboriginal people and their supporters took to the streets, shopping malls, and other venues, drumming, dancing, and singing in a collective voice.

It was a protest against generations of injustice, a rallying cry for cultural survival, and a reassertion of Aboriginal identity.

Idle No More lasted for almost a year, and then the rallies dissipated. Many observers described it as a spent force. It was anything but. Idle No More was the most profound declaration of Indigenous identity and confidence in Canadian history, sparked by Aboriginal women and their supporters, sustained by young Indigenous peoples, filled with pride and determination. When the drums slowed, a new and different Canada was left in its wake. Partially stunned by the peaceful celebrations, but perplexed by a movement that seemed to have no centre and no leaders, most Canadians missed the point.

Through Idle No More, Aboriginal people have declared that they are a vital and necessary part of Canada's future. The spirit of the drumming, singing and dancing lives on in empowered and confident young Aboriginal people who will shape the future of this country for decades to come.

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A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Oji-Cree;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

A compelling, harrowing, but ultimately uplifting story of resilience and self-discovery.

A Two-Spirit Journey is Ma-Nee Chacaby’s extraordinary account of her life as an Ojibwa-Cree lesbian. From her early, often harrowing memories of life and abuse in a remote Ojibwa community riven by poverty and alcoholism, Chacaby’s story is one of enduring and ultimately overcoming the social, economic, and health legacies of colonialism.

As a child, Chacaby learned spiritual and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, hunting, and bush survival skills from her Ojibwa stepfather. She also suffered physical and sexual abuse by different adults, and in her teen years became alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay with her children to escape an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded by racism, continued, but Chacaby found supports to help herself and others. Over the following decades, she achieved sobriety; trained and worked as an alcoholism counsellor; raised her children and fostered many others; learned to live with visual impairment; and came out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the first gay pride parade in Thunder Bay.

Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from hardship grounded in faith, compassion, humour, and resilience. Her memoir provides unprecedented insights into the challenges still faced by many Indigenous people.

Reviews
“From groundbreaking and controversial AIDS awareness programs in the 1990s to the work she continues to do today, both with her own family and her extended reserve family, her life and this memoir ultimately serve as handbook of hope.”— Lara Rae, Winnipeg Free Press

"A Two-Spirit Journey is a raw and emotional story that doesn’t just show readers the author’s scars. Chacaby bares all in an honest telling of her life that includes flaws, like her struggles with substance abuse and a sometimes rocky path to sobriety. Despite the turmoil, the autobiography does have its uplifting moments and characters. Heartwarming stories of childhood friendships, and most importantly a powerful relationship between the author and her grandmother, weave feelings of optimism and hope into a life that is oftentimes surrounded by darkness.”— Scott Paradis, tbnewswatch.com

“An extraordinary account of an extraordinary life and very highly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary Biography, LGBT, and Native American Studies collections.”— Midwest Book Review

“Activist, survivor, mother, counsellor, Ma-Nee Chacaby recounts her sometimes harrowing life with a calm and steady voice, infused with resilience and compassion. Effectively designed and edited to appeal to both the general public and those engaged in Indigenous studies, A Two-Spirit Journey presents an important story, powerfully told.”— Nik Burton, Rick Walker, and Carolyn Wood, Judges, 2017 Manitoba Book Awards

“The story that Chacaby and Plummer recount is truly an extraordinary one, but it is also one that will resonate with many people whose stories have not been often told. The perspective of a lesbian Ojibwa-Cree elder is invaluable for LGBT Native youth and will be an enriching experience for many others, particularly those who have experienced abuse, disability, poverty, or the effects of colonization.”— Kai Pyle, Studies in American Indian Literatures

Educator Information
This book would be useful for courses in women's studies, social studies, and gender studies.  Recommended for students in grade 12 or at a college/university level.

Caution: discussion of physical and sexual abuse.

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256 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

 

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Aboriginal Oral Traditions
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Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous;

Oral traditions are a distinct way of knowing and the means by which knowledge is reproduced, preserved and transferred from generation to generation. The conference from which these essays were selected created an opportunity for people to come together and exchange information and experiences over three days. The scholarship may be grouped into three broad areas: oral traditions and knowledge of the environment, economy, education and/or health of communities; oral traditions and continuance of language and culture; and the effects of intellectual property rights, electronic media and public discourse on oral traditions.

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Akaitsinikssiistsi: Blackfoot Stories of Old
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: University/College;

This collection of eight stories represents an introduction to Niits'powahsini, the Blackfoot language, and includes a pronunciation guide and Blackfoot-to-English glossary.

In these stories Ikkinainihki, "Gentle Singer," recalls events from childhood and tells of her Elders, the cold weather of the Plains, a crying spirit, rattlesnakes, and more. This collection opens with a prayer and a small essay on the importance of preserving Niitsi'powahsini.

Blackfoot Stories of Old will be of great value to native speakers, new learners, linguists, and those looking for insights into the Blackfoot people, who live in present-day Alberta and Montana.

Educator Information
The third volume in the First Nations Language Readers series--meant for language learners and language users--this collection presents eight Blackfoot stories told by Lena Russell, a fluent speaker of Blackfoot from the Kainai (Blood) reserve in southern Alberta.

In contract with other Algonquian languages, such as Cree and Saulteaux (Ojibwe), Blackfoot is not usually written in syllabics, so these stories are presented in the Blackfoot language using the Roman alphabet, together with the English translation. The spelling system is based on the conventions of the International Phonetic Alphabet, and should be transparent for native speakers of Blackfoot as well as for linguists. The Reader includes a Blackfoot-to-English glossary containing all the nouns, verbs, adjuncts, etc., found in the texts, as well as stress or pitch accents over the vowel or vowels which bear the accent.

Series Information
Akaitsinikssiistsi: Blackfoot Stories of Old is part of the First Nations Language Readers series. With a mix of traditional and new stories, each First Nations Language Reader introduces an Indigenous language and demonstrates how each language is used today. The University of Regina Press’s long-term goal is to publish all 60+ Indigenous languages of Canada.

Additional Information
96 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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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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Carrying on
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

Carrying on "Irregardless" is a handsomely illustrated paperback based on the first exhibition to focus on humour in Northwest Coast First Nations art. The show, mounted by the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver is titled after one of Bill Reid's favourite deliberate grammatical blunders that were part of the sense of humour that, as Martine J. Reid says in her introduction, "was perhaps a part of his survival kit, as it often seems to be for First Nations people."

Within this book are the photographed artworks of twenty-eight prominent Northwest Coast artists, including such varied approaches to humour as a rare prehistoric Coast Salish bowl featuring a smiling face carved from stone, a 1990s etching depicting Raven and the First Men Overlooking Wreck Beach (to catch a glimpse at all the nudists, of course!) and a pair of red and yellow cedar bark high heels titled Too Haida. Collected here are artworks that act as political weapons, bold challenges to stereotypes, and nods to the Trickster. They satirize, ridicule and play. And, above all, they make us laugh, and think, and laugh again.

Accompanying the work are descriptions, quips and jokes from the artists themselves. And preceding it stands three impassioned contextualizing essays that range from the poetic to the academic to the anecdotal, by Tahltan artist, stand-up comedian and co-curator, Peter Morin; Director of Content and Research for the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art and co-curator, Martine J. Reid; and CEO of the Bill Reid Trust and Director for the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, Mike Robinson.

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Cedar Child: Hear the Teachings
Format: Paperback

Annie Ashamock has written this stong, moving story about an Aboriginal woman’s life experiences. It is a story with a unifying theme that is shared throughout the different Aboriginal cultures of Turtle Island.

The traditional oral teachings and method of storytelling is recreated in the accompanying bonus CD-Rom that tells the same story in two different Aboriginal languages, Cree and Ojibwe. The reader can follow along and hear the story being told in the different languages.

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Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

Denied her Indigenous status, Lynn Gehl has been fighting her entire life to reclaim mino-pimadiziwin--the good life. Exploring Anishinaabeg philosophy and Anishinaabeg conceptions of truth, Gehl shows how she came to locate her spirit and decolonize her identity, thereby becoming, in her words, "fully human." Gehl also provides a harsh critique of Canada and takes on important anti-colonial battles, including sex discrimination in the Indian Act and the destruction of sacred places.

Reviews
Gehl is at the cutting edge with her concepts and ideas... She is on a journey and documents it well. — Lorelei Anne Lambert, author of Research for Indigenous Survival

Clear, insightful, and desperately needed... — Lorraine F. Mayer, author of Cries from a Métis Heart

The discussion of the heart and mind knowledge, as well as the discussion on the Anishinaabeg Clan System of Governance, [are] major contributions to the research. — Marlyn Bennett, co-editor of Pushing the Margins

"Throughout Claiming Anishinaabe, the conversation remains rooted in the destructive effects of oppressive power on the human spirit, and an insistence that both knowledge and spirituality are key in reclaiming one’s sense of self." — Quill & Quire

Educator Information
This book would be useful for the following subject areas or courses: Indigenous Studies, Canadian History (Post-Confederation), Social Science, Autobiography/Biography Studies, Spirituality, and Law.

Additional Information
176 pages | 5.50" x 8.50" | Includes line drawings

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Clouds
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

In this brave first book, Lucy Haché transports the reader with intimate revelations on self-awareness and identity by exploring both her personal and ancestral relationship to the sea, forest and sky. Through skilled restraint and beautifully astute description, Haché's prose reaches past her own contemplation to connect us all. Masterfully illustrated by artist Michael Joyal, his stunning and meteorologically accurate cloud drawings contribute to the overall sensory and transcendent experience.

Reviews
“Lucy Haché pulls universal truths from her very personal observations that will resonate long after the reader has put aside this jewel of a book. I loved each word, and every one of Michael Joyal’s perfect illustrations.” —Charles de Lint, author of Moonheart and The Onion Girl

Series Information
This book is part of the Overhead Series.

Additional Information
62 pages | 5.50" x 8.50" | 20 illustrations | Fiction

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Creating Space: My Life and Work in Indigenous Education
Format: Paperback

Verna J. Kirkness grew up on the Fisher River Indian reserve in Manitoba. Her childhood dream to be a teacher set her on a lifelong journey in education as a teacher, counsellor, consultant, and professor.

As the œfirst cross-cultural consultant for the Manitoba Department of Education Curriculum Branch she made Cree and Ojibway the languages of instruction in several Manitoba schools. In the early 1970s she became the œfirst Education Director for the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs) and then Education Director for the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations). She played a pivotal role in developing the education sections of Wahbung: Our Tomorrows, which transformed Manitoba education, and the landmark 1972 national policy of Indian Control of Indian Education. These two major works have shaped First Nations education in Canada for more than 40 years.

In the 1980s she became an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia where she was appointed Director of the Native Teacher Education Program, founded the Ts’‘Kel Graduate Program, and was a driving force behind the creation of the First Nations House of Learning. Honoured by community and country, Kirkness is a visionary who has inspired, and been inspired by, generations of students.

Like a long conversation between friends, Creating Space reveals the challenges and misgivings, the burning questions, the successes and failures that have shaped the life of this extraordinary woman and the history of Aboriginal education in Canada.

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$34.95

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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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Doug Knockwood, Mi'kmaw Elder: Stories, Memories, Reflections
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Mi'kmaq;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Freeman Douglas Knockwood is a highly respected Elder in Mi’kmaw Territory and one of Canada’s premier addictions recovery counsellors. The story of his life is one of unimaginable colonial trauma, recovery and hope.

At age 6, Knockwood was placed in the Shubenacadie Residential School, where he remained for a year and a half. Like hundreds of other Mi’kmaw and Maliseet children, he suffered horrible abuse. By the time he reached his twenties, he was an alcoholic. He contracted tuberculosis in the 1940s, had one lung and several ribs removed.

Having hit rock bottom, Knockwood, gained sobriety in his thirties through Alcoholics Anonymous. He went on to become a much sought after drug and alcohol rehabilitation counsellor in Canada. Many of Doug’s initiatives have been implemented across Canada and used by thousands of people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Looking back now, says Doug, “I realize I wasn’t only helping them. They were helping me to gather strength in my presentations, in feeding them the knowledge I received, the same as it was fed to me. That helped me to gain confidence in myself; doing all these things that I didn’t know I could yet do”.

This book is an in-depth look at Doug Knockwood’s life that also casts a wide and critical glance at the forces that worked to undermine his existence and the indomitable spirit of a man who recovered from, yet still struggles to overcome, those forces.

Educator Information
The 2018-2019 Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 10-12 for these subjects: English Language Arts, Social Justice, Social Studies.

Additional Information
128 pages | 6.00" x 9.00" | Written by Doug Knockwood and Friends

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$21.00

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Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

"Life sometimes is hard. There are challenges. There are difficulties. There is pain. As a younger man I sought to avoid them and only ever caused myself more of the same. These days I choose to face life head on--and I have become a comet. I arc across the sky of my life and the harder times are the friction that lets the worn and tired bits drop away. It's a good way to travel; eventually, I will wear away all resistance until all there is left of me is light. I can live towards that end." - Richard Wagamese, Embers

In this carefully curated selection of everyday reflections, Richard Wagamese finds lessons in both the mundane and sublime as he muses on the universe, drawing inspiration from working in the bush--sawing and cutting and stacking wood for winter as well as the smudge ceremony to bring him closer to the Creator. Embers is perhaps Richard Wagamese's most personal volume to date. Honest, evocative and articulate, he explores the various manifestations of grief, joy, recovery, beauty, gratitude, physicality and spirituality--concepts many find hard to express. But for Wagamese, spirituality is multifaceted. Within these pages, readers will find hard-won and concrete wisdom on how to feel the joy in the everyday things. Wagamese does not seek to be a teacher or guru, but these observations made along his own journey to become, as he says, "a spiritual bad-ass," make inspiring reading.

Additional Information
140 pages | 6.00" x 8.00"

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Every Day is a Good Day, Memorial edition: Reflections By Contemporary Indigenous Women
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American;

In this unique collection, twenty indigenous female leaders-educators, healers, attorneys, artists, elders, and activists-come together to discuss issues facing modern Native communities. Over a period of several years, Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010), first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, engaged Native women in conversation about spirituality, traditions and culture, tribal governance, female role models, love, and community. Their common life experiences, patterns of thought, and shared values gave them the freedom to be frank and open and a place of community from which to explore powerful influences on Native life.

Contributors include: Linda Aranaydo, Muscogee Creek (physician) Mary and Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone (traditionalists) Angela Gonzales, Hopi (professor) Joy Harjo, Muscogee Creek/Cherokee (poet/musician) LaDonna Harris, Comanche (warrior) Sarah James, Nee'Tsaii Gwich'in (human rights activist) Debra LaFountaine, Ojibway (environmentalist) Rosalie Little Thunder, Lakota (Lakota linguist/artist) Lurline Wailana McGregor, Native Hawaiian (television producer) Beatrice Medicine, Lakota (anthropologist) Ella Mulford, Navajo (biologist) Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Salish Flathead (artist) Audrey Shenandoah, Onondaga (Clan Mother) Joanne Shenandoah, Oneida (musician) Gail Small (Head Chief Woman), Northern Cheyenne (environmental activist) Faith Smith, Ojibway (educator) Florence Soap, Cherokee (grandmother) Octaviana Valenzuela Trujillo, Pascua Yaqui (educator)

 

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