Canadian Aboriginal Resource Lists - Secondary

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Do you have a provincial/territory list of approved Aboriginal resources that you would like to showcase to other provinces and territories? My goal is to see our entire country represented here with all of our favourite titles in one spot! Please contact me, Terri Mack, to make a submission.


Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights: In Defense of Indigenous Struggles
Authors:
Peter Kulchyski
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Aboriginal rights do not belong to the broader category of universal human rights because they are grounded in the particular practices of aboriginal people. So argues Peter Kulchyski in this provocative book from the front lines of indigenous people’s struggles to defend their culture from the ongoing conquest of their traditional lands. Kulchyski shows that some differences are more different than others, and he draws a border between bush culture and mall culture, between indigenous people’s mode of production and the totalizing push of state-led capitalism.

Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights provides much needed conceptual and historical analysis of aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada, and offers concrete suggestions to transform the current policy paradigm into one that supports and invigorates indigenous cultures in a contemporary context.

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$19.95

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Algonquin Sunset: An Algonquin Quest Novel
Format: Paperback

Anokì and his sister Pangì Mahingan have grown up, and now face a decision that will change their lives forever.

Twelve years after Mahingan was wounded battling for his life against the Haudenosaunee warrior known as Ö:nenhste Erhar (Corn Dog), we rejoin his family and learn what fate held for him.

Now, his children, Anokì and Pangì Mahingan, along with their twin cousins Makwa and Wàbek, are grown and have adult responsibilities. Still living with their Algonquin family, they have become a formidable fighting unit with the addition of three Mi´kmaq warriors, E´s, Jilte´g, and the fierce Elue´wiet Ga´qaquj.

However, there is danger in the land of the setting sun, and nothing is more dangerous than what the family is going to encounter from the fierce enemy of their new Anishinaabe allies: the Lakȟóta.

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 12-15.

Series Information
This novel is part of the Algonquin Quest Series, a series of young adult novels from Algonquin author Rick Revelle.

Additional Information
304 pages | 5.00" x 8.00"

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$12.99

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An Arctic Man: The classic account of sixty-five years in Canada's North
Authors:
Ernie Lyall
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Inuit;

Ernie Lyall was born in Labrador in 1910 and joined the Hudson's Bay Company at a time when it was expanding its presence in the Eastern Arctic. He spent many years as a front-line player with the company, building stores and developing trade with the local people. He became part of the Inuit community by marrying an Inuk and together with his wife Nipisha he raised a large family, some members of which play significant roles in today's Nunavut. Ernie's fluency in both Inuktitut and English made him a key interpreter and witness to many historic events in the Baffin region for over half a century, giving him insight into both sides of the cultural divide in the North and earning him respect from many quarters. In 1949 he and his family settled in Taloyoak (then known as Spence Bay) where he eventually left the HBC to become a wildlife officer with the Government of the Northwest Territories.

Ernie's story illustrates the realities of life for Inuit in the Canadian North during the last years in their camps on the land, a world that has now in large part been lost to history. His autobiography is unique in the perspective it offers and his original 1979 text is presented here with a foreword which provides new insights into Ernie's comments linking the old Inuit world with the new one in the modern Nunavut. Ernie's children reflect the cross-cultural bridging taught them by their parents and today contribute to the economic and community development of the North through a variety of roles, including leadership in the co-operative movement, land claim boards, business and government.

An Arctic Man not only tells about Inuit life as it was actually lived on the land but also illustrates how change, southern influences and the move into permanent communities impacted their society. This book offers a window onto the remarkable transition that occurred in the Canadian Eastern Arctic for much of the twentieth century with a frankness, insight and humour that was very much a part of Ernie Lyall's straightforward everyday style.

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An Honest Woman
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

 An Honest Woman by Jonina Kirton confronts us with beauty and ugliness in the wholesome riot that is sex, love, and marriage. From the perspective of a mixed-race woman, Kirton engages with Simone de Beauvoir and Donald Trump to unravel the norms of femininity and sexuality that continue to adhere today.

Kirton recalls her own upbringing, during which she was told to find a good husband who would “make an honest woman” out of her. Exploring the lives of many women, including her mother, her contemporaries, and well-known sex-crime stories such as the case of Elisabeth Fritzl, Kirton mines the personal to loosen the grip of patriarchal and colonial impositions. 

An Honest Woman explores the many ways the female body is shaped by questions that have been too political to ask: What happens when a woman decides to take her sexuality into her own hands, dismissing cultural norms and the expectations of her parents? How is a young woman’s sexuality influenced when she is perceived as an “exotic” other? Can a woman reconnect with her Indigenous community by choosing Indigenous lovers? 

Daring and tender in their honesty and wisdom, these poems challenge the perception of women’s bodies as glamorous and marketable commodities and imagine an embodied female experience that accommodates the role of creativity and a nurturing relationship with the land.

Reviews
“Jonina Kirton is courageously honest about her life experiences as a female of Indigenous and immigrant ancestry. Many poems resonate deeply, as we identify with her personal quest to figure out who she is, and the unacceptable things done to her. Her raw honesty is unsettling and uncomfortable, because it can be our truth too. Her poems depict devaluation and dehumanization, grieving, lessons learned. Her poems offer important insights as to why there are thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women.” — Senator Lillian E. Dyck

“When writing from the voice of between, writer and reader have no place to hide. Assumptions and camouflage fall away. Murdered, missing, and violated women and girl voices have been silenced. The story lethally repeats. Kirton picks over how she was raised familially and culturally like a crime scene. Too, she affirms, ‘I have been here forever and I will rise again and again.’ Tough, eloquent, revelatory, these poems are the very ones we are desperately in need of.” — Betsy Warland, author of Oscar of Between: A Memoir of Identity and Ideas

“I’m sure people have been looking at me strangely every time I gasp, but I can’t glance away from the page for even a second to notice. Some of the poems end sharply, with a punch; some deliberately leave me searching for the next line; others show the repetition of heartbreaking cycles of violence and oppression, but offer a portrayal of resilience, too.” — All Lit Up!

Educator Information
This book would be useful for Women's Studies, Creative Writing, English Language Arts, Poetry, and English courses.  Recommended for grades 11-12 and university-college students.  

Please be advised, this book contains explicit sexual references and references to sexual and physical abuse.

Additional Information
104 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

 

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$16.95

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An Illustrated History of Canada's Native People
Authors:
Arthur Ray
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Canada’s Native people have inhabited this land since the Ice Age and were already accomplished traders, artisans, farmers and marine hunters when Europeans first reached their shores. Contact between Natives and European explorers and settlers initially presented an unprecedented period of growth and opportunity. But the two vastly different cultures soon clashed. Arthur J. Ray charts the history of Canada’s Native people from first contact to current land claims. The result is a fascinating chronicle that spans 12,000 years and culminates in the headlines of today.

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$49.95

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Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America
Authors:
Nancy J. Turner
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Volume 1: The History and Practice of Indigenous Plant Knowledge
Volume 2: The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews

Nancy Turner has studied Indigenous peoples' knowledge of plants and environments in northwestern North America for over forty years. In Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge, she integrates her research into a two-volume ethnobotanical tour-de-force. Drawing on information shared by Indigenous botanical experts and collaborators, the ethnographic and historical record, and from linguistics, palaeobotany, archaeology, phytogeography, and other fields, Turner weaves together a complex understanding of the traditions of use and management of plant resources in this vast region. She follows Indigenous inhabitants over time and through space, showing how they actively participated in their environments, managed and cultivated valued plant resources, and maintained key habitats that supported their dynamic cultures for thousands of years, as well as how knowledge was passed on from generation to generation and from one community to another. To understand the values and perspectives that have guided Indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge and practices, Turner looks beyond the details of individual plant species and their uses to determine the overall patterns and processes of their development, application, and adaptation.

Volume 1 presents a historical overview of ethnobotanical knowledge in the region before and after European contact. The ways in which Indigenous peoples used and interacted with plants - for nutrition, technologies, and medicine - are examined. Drawing connections between similarities across languages, Turner compares the names of over 250 plant species in more than fifty Indigenous languages and dialects to demonstrate the prominence of certain plants in various cultures and the sharing of goods and ideas between peoples. She also examines the effects that introduced species and colonialism had on the region's Indigenous peoples and their ecologies.

Volume 2 provides a sweeping account of how Indigenous organizational systems developed to facilitate the harvesting, use, and cultivation of plants, to establish economic connections across linguistic and cultural borders, and to preserve and manage resources and habitats. Turner describes the worldviews and philosophies that emerged from the interactions between peoples and plants, and how these understandings are expressed through cultures’ stories and narratives. Finally, she explores the ways in which botanical and ecological knowledge can be and are being maintained as living, adaptive systems that promote healthy cultures, environments, and indigenous plant populations.

Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge both challenges and contributes to existing knowledge of Indigenous peoples' land stewardship while preserving information that might otherwise have been lost. Providing new and captivating insights into the anthropogenic systems of northwestern North America, it will stand as an authoritative reference work and contribute to a fuller understanding of the interactions between cultures and ecological systems.

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$125.00

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Arctic Thunder
Authors:
Robert Feagan
Format: Paperback

Mike Watson''s team has just won the Alberta Bantam Provincial box lacrosse championships. The euphoria of victory and plans for next season are short-lived when Mike''s father, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, is transferred to Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

The transition to life inside the Arctic Circle is a tough one. With temperatures of -30 Celsius, a hulking monster named Joseph Kiktorak threatening him at every turn, and not a lacrosse ball in site, Mike''s resentment at moving north escalates.

As his friendships with local youth develop, Mike is introduced to the amazing spectacle and athleticism of traditional "Arctic Sports." When his father witnesses the natural talent of Mike''s new friends, the idea of an Inuvik lacrosse team is born! With hearts full of desire, the motley group of athletes heads south to participate in the Baggataway Lacrosse Tournament, and to face Mike''s former team, The Rams.

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As Long As the Rivers Flow (PB)
Artists:
Heather D. Holmlund
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

In the 1800s, the education of First Nations children was taken on by various churches, in government-sponsored residential schools. Children were forcibly taken from their families in order to erase their traditional languages and cultures. 

As Long as the Rivers Flow is the story of Larry Loyie's last summer before entering residential school. It is a time of learning and adventure. He cares for an abandoned baby owl and watches his grandmother make winter moccasins. He helps the family prepare for a hunting and gathering trip.

Awards

  • In 2006, As Long As the Rivers Flow was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.
  • Winner of the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction 

Additional Information
48 pages | 7.25" x 10.25"

 

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Back to the Red Road
Format: Paperback

In June 1967, Norway House Indian Residential School of Manitoba closed its doors after a somewhat questionable past. In 1954, when Florence Kaefer was just nineteen, she accepted a job as a teacher at Norway House. Unaware of the difficult conditions the students were enduring, Florence and her fellow teachers nurtured a school full of lonely and homesick young children. After a few years, Florence moved to Vancouver Island with her new husband where she continued to teach, thinking often of the children of Norway House.

Many years later, after the death of her husband, Florence unexpectedly reconnected with one of her Norway House students, Edward Gamblin. Edward had been only five when he was brought to Norway House and Florence remembered him as a shy and polite young boy. Leaving the school at sixteen, Edward faced some challenges in a world that was both hostile and unfamiliar to him. But Edward found success and solace in his career as a musician, writing songs about the many political issues facing Aboriginal people in Canada. On a trip to Manitoba, Florence discovered Edward's music. She was captivated by his voice, but shocked to hear him singing about the abuse he and the other children had been subjected to at Norway House.

Motivated to apologize on behalf of the school and her colleagues, Florence contacted Edward. "Yes, I remember you and I accept your apology," Edward told her. "Reconciliation will not be one grand, finite act. It will be a multitude of small acts and gestures played out between individuals." The story of their personal reconciliation is both heartfelt and heartbreaking as Edward begins to share his painful truths with his family, Florence and the media. Three years after Edward's death in in 2010, Florence has continued to advocate for truth and reconciliation. BACK TO THE RED ROAD is more than one man's story: it is the story of our nation and how healing can begin, one friendship, one apology at a time.

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Bear Bones & Feathers
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

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.

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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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Becoming Inummarik: Men's Lives in an Inuit Community
Authors:
Peter Collings
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Inuit;
Aboriginal rights do not belong to the broader category of universal human rights because they are grounded in the particular practices of aboriginal people. So argues Peter Kulchyski in this provocative book from the front lines of indigenous people’s struggles to defend their culture from the ongoing conquest of their traditional lands. Kulchyski shows that some differences are more different than others, and he draws a border between bush culture and mall culture, between indigenous people’s mode of production and the totalizing push of state-led capitalism.

Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights provides much needed conceptual and historical analysis of aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada, and offers concrete suggestions to transform the current policy paradigm into one that supports and invigorates indigenous cultures in a contemporary context.
$32.95

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Behind Closed Doors: Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School
Authors:
Agnes Jack
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Behind Closed Doors features written testimonials from 32 individuals who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The school was one of many infamous residential schools that operated from 1893 to 1979. The storytellers remember and share with us their stolen time at the school; many stories are told through courageous tears.
$26.95

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Being Ts'elxwéyeqw: First Peoples' Voices and History from the Chilliwack-Fraser Valley, British Columbia
Editors:
David M. Schaepe
Format: Hardcover

“Our stories identify for us the land which surrounds us and tie us to our ancestors. We find ourselves inextricably linked to the past, to the land, to the river, to each other, to the future.” —Shirley Hardman, contributor

This impressive volume tells of the First Peoples of the area through vivid narratives from the past and present.

The traditional territory of the Ts’elxwéyeqw First Peoples covers over 95,000 hectares of land in Southwestern BC. It extends throughout the central Fraser Valley, encompassing the entire Chilliwack River Valley (including Chilliwack Lake, Chilliwack River, Cultus Lake and areas, and parts of the Chilliwack municipal areas). In addition to being an area of natural beauty and abundant resources, it also has a rich cultural history. The Chilliwack region gets its name from the Ts’elxwéyeqw tribe, and this volume delves into what this name means—and also what it means to be Ts’elxwéyeqw. Being Ts’elxwéyeqw portrays the people, artifacts and landscapes that are central to the Ts’elxwéyeqw people, and represents a rich oral record of an aboriginal heritage that has been kept alive—even through adversity—for thousands of years.

Lavishly illustrated with over seven hundred historic and current photos and maps, this book amalgamates a variety of voices and personal histories from elders, while providing background into eighty-five place names within the region. The book’s unique composition—with an emphasis on visual storytelling—showcases a culture with a deep connection to the surrounding land and the watershed.

Educator Information
Recommended for Grades 5-12 for the following subject areas: Geography, Social Studies, Science.  Also a useful Teacher Resource.

Note: Educators should pre-read sections of this book that they are considering using from this reference book, as reading levels vary greatly.

Additional Information
304 pages | 11.00" x 14.00"

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$94.95

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Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story
Artists:
Scott B. Henderson
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

Helen Betty Osborne, known as Betty to her closest friends and family, dreamed of becoming a teacher. She left her home to attend residential school and high school in a small town in Manitoba. On November 13, 1971, Betty was abducted and brutally murdered by four young men. Initially met with silence and indifference, her tragic murder resonates loudly today. Betty represents one of almost 1,200 Indigenous women in Canada who have been murdered or gone missing.

This book is a true account. Content may be disturbing to some readers.

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$16.00

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