Biographies

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A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Oji-Cree;

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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$24.95

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Bowman's Store: A Journey to Myself
Format: Paperback
Little "Sonny" Bruchac's childhood was full of secrets. He didn't know why he lived with his grandparents, who ran a gas station and general store, when his own parents' home was just up the road, or why his grandfather was so defensive about his dark skin. The precocious, sensitive boy knew only that his grandparents nurtured his love of books and wild things as surely as they sheltered him from dangers real and imagined. As Sonny grew up, through experiences both searing and hilarious, he would find himself drawn to all things Indian long before he knew of his grandfather's hidden Abenaki roots.

Bowman's Store gracefully weaves themes from Joseph Bruchac's intimate knowledge of Native American cultures with the scenes from the past that have shaped his life. For those who enjoy memoirs, Native American writings, and books about finding one's cultural heritage -- or just a wonderful read -- here is a consummate storyteller unfolding his most personal and poignant story of all.

Guided Reading: Y
Lexile: N/A
Interest Level: Grades 4 - 12
Reading Level: Grades 4 - College
$17.95

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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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Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography
Authors:
Andrea Warner
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Cree;

A powerful, intimate look at the life and music of a beloved folk icon and activist.

Folk hero. Songwriter icon. Living legend. Buffy Sainte-Marie is all of these things and more. In this, Sainte-Marie’s first and only authorized biography, music critic Andrea Warner draws from more than sixty hours of exclusive interviews to offer a powerful, intimate look at the life of the beloved artist and everything that she has accomplished in her seventy-seven years (and counting).

Since her groundbreaking debut, 1964’s It’s My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate for Indigenous rights and freedoms, an innovative artist, and a disruptor of the status quo. Establishing herself among the ranks of folk greats such as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, she has released more than twenty albums, survived being blacklisted by two U.S. presidents, and received countless accolades, including the only Academy Award ever to be won by a First Nations artist. But this biography does more than celebrate Sainte-Marie’s unparalleled talent as a songwriter and entertainer; packed with insight and knowledge, it offers an unflinchingly honest, heartbreakingly real portrait of the woman herself, including the challenges she experienced on the periphery of showbiz, her healing from the trauma of childhood and intimate partner violence, her commitment to activism, and her leadership in the protest movement.

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304 pages | 6.00" x 9.00" | photographic colour insert

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$36.00

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Chilcotin Chronicles
Authors:
Sage Birchwater
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Dakelh; Nuxalk; Tsilhqot'in;
A compilation of stories that meld both culture and bloodlines, Chilcotin Chronicles by Sage Birchwater is set in the wild and untamed country of central British Columbia’s Chilcotin Plateau. West of the Fraser River, this high country is contained by an arc of impenetrable mountain ranges that separates it from the Pacific Coast. The first inhabitants of this region were fiercely independent, molded by the land itself. Those who came later were drawn to this landscape with its mysterious aura of freedom, where time stood still and where a person could find solace in the wilderness and never be found.

Birchwater reaches back to first European contact in British Columbia when the indigenous population spoke forty of Canada’s fifty-four languages and seventy of Canada’s one hundred dialects. The land known today as the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast was already an entity when Alexander Mackenzie arrived in 1793. Bonds of friendship, mutual support and family ties had long been established between the Dakelh, Tsilhqot’in and Nuxalk, giving cohesiveness to the region. Chilcotin Chronicles is about the men and women caught in the interface of cultures and the changing landscape. Indigenous inhabitants and white newcomers brought together by the fur brigades, then later by the gold rush, forged a path together, uncharted and unpredictable. Birchwater discovers that their stories, seemingly disconnected, are intrinsically linked together to create a human ecosystem with very deep roots. The lives of these early inhabitants give substance to the landscape. They give meaning to the people who live there today.
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$26.95

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Chiwid
Authors:
Sage Birchwater
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Tsilhqot'in;

Chiwid was a Tsilhqot'in woman, said to have shamanistic powers, who spent most of her adult life "living out" in the hills and forests around Williams Lake, BC. Chiwid is the story of this remarkable woman told in the vibrant voices of Chilcotin oldtimers, both native and non-native.

Reviews
"Chiwid was a Chilcotin woman who lived outside, self-sufficiently for most of her life and moving camps with the seasons. Chiwid is a collection of oral histories about the woman, her family and what life was like in the Chilcotin area of British Columbia in the early to mid-1900s." - The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2009-2010.

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128 pages | 8.00" x 9.00" 

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$16.00

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Clifford: A Memoir, A Fiction, A Fantasy, A Thought Experiment
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree;

I open my eyes in the darkness, laying on my side, half my vision is of the earth and shadows; the other is of the sky, treetops, and stars. I should write Clifford’s story. The thought emerges fully formed . . . The thought dissipates. I close my eyes and the earth and the sky disappear. The warmth of my sleeping bag wraps around me and sleep pulls me under into that half-world where reality and fantasy mingle in a place where coherent thoughts disintegrate.

When Harold Johnson returns to his childhood home in a northern Saskatchewan Indigenous community for his brother Clifford’s funeral, the first thing his eyes fall on is a chair. It stands on three legs, the fourth broken off and missing. So begins a journey through the past, a retrieval of recollections that have too long sat dormant. Moving from the old family home to the log cabin, the garden, and finally settling deep in the forest surrounding the property, his mind circles back, shifting in time and space, weaving in and out of memories of his silent, powerful Swedish father; his formidable Cree mother, an expert trapper and a source of great strength; and his brother Clifford, a precocious young boy who is drawn to the mysterious workings of the universe.

As the night unfolds, memories of Clifford surface in Harold’s mind’s eye: teaching his younger brother how to tie his shoelaces; jousting on a bicycle without rubber wheels; building a motorcycle. Memory, fiction, and fantasy collide, and Clifford comes to life as the scientist he was meant to be, culminating in his discovery of the Grand Unified Theory.

Exquisitely crafted, funny, visionary, and wholly moving, Clifford is an extraordinary work for the way it defies strict category and embraces myriad forms of storytelling. To read it is to be immersed in a home, a family, a community, the wider world, the entire cosmos.

Reviews
“Clifford is a luminous, genre-bending memoir. Heartache and hardship are no match for the disarming whimsy, the layered storytelling shot through with love. The power of land, the pull of family, the turbulence of poverty are threads woven together with explorations of reality, tackling truth with a trickster slant.” — Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster

“Clifford is a story only Harold Johnson could tell. By turns soft and harsh, intellectual and emotional, Johnson weaves truth, fiction, science, and science fiction into a tapestry that is rich with meaning and maybes. A natural storyteller, Johnson seeks imagined pasts and futurity with equal parts longing and care. This work allows readers and writers the possibility of new and ancient modes of storytelling.” — Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie

“Harold R. Johnson is a wonderful writer, and Clifford is his best work yet. For fans of Jack Finney and Richard Matheson, this terrific book is a wonderfully human tale of memory both bitter and sweet, as well as a poignant exploration of time’s hold over all of us.” — Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award–winning author of Quantum Night

“Clifford is unlike anything I’ve read — it is at once a story of science and magic, love and loss, and a case for the infinite potential of humanity. It is a book of profound wisdom — an unpacking of the deepest truths of science in an effort to transform the pain of grief and regret into healing and forgiveness.” — Patti Laboucane-Benson, author of The Outside Circle

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264 pages | 5.25" x 8.00"

 

 

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$22.95

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Crowfoot (The Canadians Series)
Authors:
Carlotta Hacker
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Siksika (Blackfoot);

When Crowfoot was born in 1830, the Blackfoot Confederacy was a powerful nation living free in the prairies. But as Crowfoot was growing up, earning a reputation for courage and wisdom, the Blackfoot way of life was disintegrating.

- Traders brought disease and liquor;
- The buffalo herds dwindled;
- Government incentives encouraged settlers to flock to the west.

Humiliated and bewildered, the Blackfoot had to accept government food rations in order to avoid starvation. Crowfoot, born to be a warrior but destined to become a peacemaker, was the Blackfoot spokesman in this time of crisis. Sensing that settlement was inevitable, and committed above all to peace, he encouraged cooperation with the government and the NWMP.

He persuaded other chiefs to sign treaty Number Seven, and refrained from supporting the Northwest Rebellion. The task of restraining a people who placed a high value on bold warfare was difficult, and Crowfoot's peaceful policies were sometimes unpopular with his own people. Nevertheless, he succeeded in preserving peace between two very different cultures. His success was due to his eloquence and diplomacy, and above all to his personal integrity.

As historian Carlotta Hacker observes in this thoughtful biography, "Crowfoot stood for courage, loyalty, patience, honesty, generosity - virtues that are as old as humankind."

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 10-13

Series Information
This book is part of The Canadians Series.

Additional Information
64 pages | 6.50" x 8.50" | Revised, 2nd Edition

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$8.95

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Environmentalists from our First Nations
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;

Like the other books in the First Nations Series for Young Readers, this books offers ten short and engaging biographies of First Nations/Native activists who advocate not only for the environment but for Native rights. Their stories are full of highs and lows, triumphs and setbacks. Environmental trailblazers, these men and women are role models for children everywhere.

The men and women profiled here are united by their work to protect the environment and to support indigenous rights. Their stories take us from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to the Black Mesa in Arizona.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo uses her passion to stop oil extraction in Alberta’s tar sands.
Winona LaDuke is a voice for reclaiming Native lands, advocating renewable energy resources, and protecting Native cultures.
Clayton Thomas-Muller is a dynamic advocate for indigenous self-determination and campaigner against tar sands extraction.
Ben Powless brings his youthful energy and skills to addressing climate change issues.
Tom Goldtooth protects sacred sites and organizes global direct-action campaigns for the environment.
Grace Thorpe is a grandmother who dedicated her retirement years to keeping Native reservations from becoming nuclear waste dumps.
Sarah James is a voice from northern Alaska defending the Porcupine caribou herd and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Enei Begaye & Evon Peter are married activists who work as a team on environmental issues and sustainable strategies for Native people.
Klee Benally uses the media to empower Native communities in their fight for environmental justice.
Teague Allston works to ensure a tribal voice is heard in Washington DC.

Reviews
"These short biographies of environmentalists are sure to engage a whole classroom of readers. From the focus on a particular environmental crisis, to a description of each person's native heritage, to the writing style and level, the stories are accessible to readers young and old."— Canadian Teacher Magazine, March 2012

Series Information
This book is part of the First Nations Series for Young Readers. Each book is a collection of ten biographies of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women and men who are leaders in their fields of work, in their art, and in their communities. For ages 9-13.

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128 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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$10.95

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Extraordinary Canadians: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont:A Penguin Lives Biography
Authors:
Joseph Boyden
Format: Paperback
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.
$22.00

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Father August Brabant
Authors:
Jim McDowell
Format: Paperback
Father August Brabant (1845–1912) was the first Roman Catholic missionary to live and work among aboriginal people on the west coast of Vancouver Island during the colonial period. He endured long periods of isolation, built a number of log churches and undertook extraordinarily difficult trips along the west coast in dugout canoes. His thirty-three-year-long effort to transform Nuu-chah-nulth culture gives us a provocative case study of the dynamics that shaped, and continue to define, the settler-colonial relationship between indigenous peoples and the state in Canada. Convinced he had a mission to save the indigenous people from being themselves, the zealous priest strove to instill alien spiritual beliefs. He served as a willing instrument for imposing colonial power by introducing new forms of justice, commerce, dress, housing, personal identity, and—most devastating of all—schooling. As the father of British Columbia's first residential school, Brabant precipitated the single institution that proved most destructive to the people he set out to rescue. Brabant's biography will be of interest to historians, anthropologists, political scientists, individuals engaged in First Nations Studies, and general readers.
$24.95

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Gabriel Dumont (The Canadians)
Authors:
George Woodcock
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Métis;

Born in St. Boniface in 1837 of French and Indian parentage, Gabriel Dumont's childhood was spent in the Saskatchewan country, where he grew accustomed to the semi-nomadic existence of the Métis. These were the proud days of the Métis nation, when its people roamed freely throughout the Prairies. The most stable social institution was the annual buffalo hunt with its rules. When Gabriel Dumont became head of the Great Saskatchewan Hunt in 1862 the end of the nomadic lifestyle was already in sight.

As the buffalo herds dwindled, the Métis began to form more permanent settlements, but were alarmed when their pleas for recognition of their land rights were ignored by Sir John A Macdonald's government. Dumont appealed to Louis Riel, leader of the Red River Rebellion.

Riel spoke up for the Saskatchewan Metis, but their petitions were ignored. In 1885, the Métis took up arms against the government forces. Dumont spurred the outnumbered rebels to several victories. After the Métis defeat, Dumont fled to the United States where he spent time with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show until an amnesty was declared and he was able to return to his home.

Educator & Series Information
This book is part of The Canadians Series.

Recommended Ages: 10-13 

Additional Information
64 pages | 6.50" x 8.50"

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$8.95

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Joseph Brant (The Canadians Series)
Authors:
Roy Petrie
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Kanyen'kehà:ka (Mohawk);

Joseph Brant, the greatest Iroquois leader, was a powerful organizer of his own people and a loyal ally of the British colonial forces. Born in 1742, Brant gained his first battle experience at the age of thirteen, in the wars against the French. His loyalty to the British continued and by 1757 he had earned a commission as captain.

It was Brant who encouraged the Six Nations Confederacy to ally with the British against the French, and then against the rebelling American colonists. With the retreat of the British after the revolution, Brant and his people were forced to emigrate to a tract of land along the Grand River in Upper Canada. Here Brant began a new struggle against colonial domination and restrictive land regulations which was to continue until his death.

The biography presents Brant's story as a focus for a broader issues of the time: the converging of two very different cultures, the expansion of settlement in the New World, and the violent struggles for colonial power.

Educator & Series Information
Recommended Ages: 10-13

This book is part of The Canadians Series.

Additional Information
64 pages | 6.50" x 8.50" 

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$8.95

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Joseph Brant and His World: 18th Century Mohawk Warrior and Statesman
Authors:
James Paxton
Format: Paperback
Joseph Brant was a promising but undistinguished Mohawk warrior living in upper New York State. He became an innovative, influential leader and spokesperson for First Nations, whose support for Britain during the American Revolution led to their resettlement in Upper Canada along the Grand River. Their descendants live today on the large Six Nations Reserve alongside the Grand, south of Brantford in southwestern Ontario.

This new, illustrated biography of Brant reflects recent research into the political, social and cultural background of his life. Author James Paxton rejects the interpretation of earlier biographers, who depicted Brant as a man who belonged neither to the "Indian" or the "white" world. Paxton shows that Brant was fully Mohawk, with Iroquoian values that stressed the interdependence of people. He stands as the product of a unique, multicultural 18th-century community in the Mohawk Valley, New York.

Using skill and diplomacy and his dense network of relationships and alliances, Brant attempted to ensure the ongoing social, economic and political autonomy of the Six Nations in their new Canadian territory.

The events of Brant's day impinge directly on our own. It would be hard to imagine the standoff at Caledonia had Brant not led the Six Nations to the Grand River area and then invited Loyalists to settle among them. Yet, in 1784, Mohawks and Loyalists envisioned a different sort of community, one bound by history, common interest and shared practices. At a time when First Nations' claims against the government promise to become more numerous and confrontational, this book encourages us to consider the inclusive and multicultural legacy of Joseph Brant.
$19.95

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Lacrosse Warrior: The Life of Mohawk Lacrosse Champion Gaylord Powless
Authors:
Wendy Lewis
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Mohawk;

Gaylord Powless was playing lacrosse by the age of three. He descended from generations of Mohawk lacrosse players and possessed great skill, but his native ancestry made him the target of brutal checking, and slashing. This is a compelling story of how this champion learned to deal with emotions.

Ideal for reluctant readers.

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 12-18.

Fry Reading Level: 4.5

Additional Information
120 pages | 4.25" x 7.00"

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$9.95

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