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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 young adult and adult selections, visit:

First Nation Communities Read - Children's Selections

First Nation Communities Read - Young Adult Selections


Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths delves into the life and the healing of an lnnininew woman from the ancestral lands of the Moshkekowok, now called Northern Ontario. It is through the process of writing broken poetry--visual poetry rooted in the haunting memories of her childhood--that she provides the reader a glimpse into the mind of child survivor who was saved by her ancestors. This thought provoking poetry sheds light on a personal account of how she comes to terms with intergenerational trauma inflicted by the residential school system.

To unearth our secrets means we must face our past, and in doing so, we will find our voice. Unearthing Secrets: Gathering Truths explores the heartfelt and evocative fragmented experiences through the eyes of an Indigenous woman. Through the honesty of her words, she embraces the spirit world, the resilience of her foremothers, the integral healing powers of disassociation as a survival mechanism, and the richness of her mitewin - dreams, which reconnects her to herself. Through her poetry, she has found the courage to face her difficult past, and now as a mother, she is gathering the truths of her family to help in the healing process.

Additional Information
97 pages | 6.50" x 10.00" | 8 illustrations

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$18.00

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Moon of the Crusted Snow: A Novel
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

A daring post-apocalyptic novel from a powerful rising literary voice.

With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow. 

The community leadership loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader named Evan Whitesky, they endeavor to restore order while grappling with a grave decision. 

Blending action and allegory, Moon of the Crusted Snow upends our expectations. Out of catastrophe comes resilience. And as one society collapses, another is reborn.

Reviews
“This slow-burning thriller is also a powerful story of survival and will leave readers breathless.” — Publishers Weekly

"Rice seamlessly injects Anishinaabe language into the dialogue and creates a beautiful rendering of the natural world. . . This title will appeal to fans of literary science fiction akin to Cormac McCarthy as well as to readers looking for a fresh voice in indigenous fiction.” — Booklist

“Perfect for those who read Iain Reid's Foe this summer and are looking for something in the same vein.” — The Globe and Mail

“The creeping tension and vividly drawn landscapes make Waubgeshig Rice’s characters choices all the more real.” — Toronto Star

Moon of the Crusted Snow asks how do we live in a good way during the collapse of the infrastructure that supports modern life? For Evan Whitesky, the answer lies in rekindling Ojibwe, the old ways, language and culture. For other characters, when the food runs out, all options are on the table, no matter how gruesome. As the tensions between those surviving the end of modern civilization build to a harrowing conclusion, Rice deftly weaves tender family moments with his brutal survival scenes in the unforgiving northern Ontario winter. Chilling in the best way possible.” — Eden Robinson, award-winning author of Monkey Beach and Son of a Trickster

Educator Information
Recommended in the Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools 2019-2020 resource list as being useful for grades 10 to 12 for English Language Arts.

Contains strong language and mature subject matter relating to violence and death.

Additional Information
224 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
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$17.95

In Re-Print
Tilly and the Crazy Eights
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

An unexpected journey can be powerful medicine.

When Tilly receives an invitation to help drive eight elders on their ultimate bucket list road trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, she impulsively says yes. Before she knows it, Tilly has said goodbye to her family and is behind the wheel—ready to embark on an adventure that will transform her in ways she could not predict, just as it will for each and every one of the seniors on the trip, who soon dub themselves “the Crazy Eights.”

Tilly and the Crazy Eights each choose a stop to make along the way—somewhere they’ve always wanted to go or something they’ve wanted to experience. This takes them on a route to Las Vegas and Sedona, with a final goal of reaching the Redwood Forest. Each stop becomes the inspiration for secrets and stories to be revealed. The trip proves to be powerful medicine as they laugh, heal, argue, and reveal hopes and dreams along the way. With friendships forged, love found, hearts broken and mended, Tilly and the Crazy Eights feel ready for anything by the time their bus rolls to a stop in New Mexico. But are they?

Educator Information
This is a fictional novel for adults from the author of the groundbreaking children's books Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation and My Heart Fills with Happiness.

Reviews
"Tilly and the Crazy Eights, [is] a sequel of sorts to Smith’s first book [Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience].... In Smith’s first novel, Tilly was coming of age and into sobriety; now the reader finds her at mid-life, a married mother of two who’s at a crossroads. The opportunity to spend two weeks with Elders and receive the gifts of their teachings is the medicine she needs. Ideas of medicine recur throughout the text – laughter is medicine, and so are tears and words. For everyone, this will be a journey about healing..... Most powerfully, Smith infuses her novel with joy, love, and laughter and suggests that these could be what determine the future after all."— Quill & Quire, September 2018

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

Additional Information
230 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$19.95

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Otter's Journey through Indigenous Language and Law
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: University/College;

Otter’s Journey employs the Anishinaabe tradition of storytelling to explore how Indigenous language revitalization can inform the emerging field of Indigenous legal revitalization. Indigenous languages and laws need bodies to live in. Learning an endangered language and a suppressed legal system are similar experiences. When we bring language back to life, it becomes a medium for developing human relationships. Likewise, when laws are written on people’s hearts, true revitalization has occurred.

Storytelling has the capacity to address feelings and demonstrate themes – to illuminate beyond argument and theoretical exposition. In Otter’s Journey, Lindsay Keegitah Borrows follows Otter, a dodem (clan) relation from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, on a journey across Anishinaabe, Inuit, Māori, Coast Salish, and Abenaki territories, through a narrative of Indigenous resurgence. While Otter’s Journey is guided by a literal truth, it also splices and recombines real-world events and characters.

Through her engaging protagonist, Borrows reveals that the processes, philosophies, and practices flowing from Indigenous languages and laws can emerge from under the layers of colonial laws, policies, and languages to become guiding principles in people’s contemporary lives. We need the best of all people’s teachings to lead us into the future.

Students and scholars in a wide range of subfields within Indigenous studies will find this book of considerable appeal, as will scholars and students of law, literature, education, and language studies, and those with an interest in Indigenous methodologies.

Reviews
"Otter’s Journey holds the potential to change the way people think about and, in turn, talk about Indigenous laws and Indigenous language acquisition and reacquisition ... The elemental way in which legal storytelling is embedded in the text makes Indigenous laws and language normative, not as things to be justified or even accommodated. Eloquent, poetic, and lyrical, this book marks a rare and even generational shift in the dialogue by and about Indigenous peoples." - Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie, and professor of law and University Research Chair in Indigenous Laws, Legal Orders and Traditions at the University of Ottawa


"Otter's Journey offers a vibrant account of the possibilities and importance of Indigenous language revitalization. Weaving oral narrative, prose fiction, and autobiography, Lindsay Borrows models a scholarly practice grounded in family, community, and storytelling. This is an important academic contribution – and also a new work of Indigenous literature by an emerging writer of considerable skill." - Keavy Martin, author of Stories in a New Skin: Approaches to Inuit Literature, and associate professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta

Additional Information
236 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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$32.95

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Indian Horse (Special Edition)
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Saul Indian Horse has hit bottom. His last binge almost killed him, and now he’s a reluctant resident in a treatment centre for alcoholics, surrounded by people he’s sure will never understand him. But Saul wants peace, and he grudgingly comes to see that he’ll find it only through telling his story. With him, readers embark on a journey back through the life he’s led as a northern Ojibway, with all its joys and sorrows. 

With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he’s sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement. Indian Horse unfolds against the bleak loveliness of northern Ontario, all rock, marsh, bog and cedar. Wagamese writes with a spare beauty, penetrating the heart of a remarkable Ojibway man.

Awards

  • 2013 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature
  • 2013 First Nation Communities Read Award

Reviews
"Richard Wagamese is a master storyteller, who blends the throb of life with spiritual links to the land, hard work, and culture to find success, his words take you into the soul of Indian Horse, to experience his pain, his growing resentments, his depression, and his fear which has to be faced if he is to regain the joy of life. This book is meant for youth, adults, and elders, to be shared, to be lived, and to be treasured for the clear message of hope and the need to go the distance." — Wawatay News

“…The hockey chapters are compelling; they evoke Sherman Alexie’s fiction that examines contemporary life on American Indian reservations through the lens of basketball. But it is as a story of reconciliation that this novel reveals Wagamese’s masterful subtly…In a single image, Wagamese complicates in blinding ways the entire narrative; in a single page, Indian Horse deepens from an enjoyable read to a gripping critique of Canada.” — Kyle Carsten Wyatt, The Walrus, 2012

Educator Information
Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples resource for units on Lost People, Reconciliation, and Place-Conscious Learning.

Additional Information
232 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

This special edition of Richard Wagamese’s novel Indian Horse has been released to coincide with the release of the film Indian Horse in the spring of 2018.

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$21.95

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Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology
Editors:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time is a collection of indigenous science fiction and urban fantasy focusing on LGBT and two-spirit characters. These stories range from a transgender woman undergoing an experimental transition process to young lovers separated through decades and meeting in their own far future. These are stories of machines and magic, love and self-love.

Artists and Stories
- Grace Dillon – A foreword about Indigenous LGBT sci-fi.
- Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair – A research essay on two-spirit history.
- Richard Van Camp – Aliens – a story about a new romantic relationship on a reserve, set against the backdrop of benevolent interspatial visitors.
- Cherie Dimaline – Legends are Made not Born – a story of the power of family, blood and made alike. Auntie Dave teaches a young boy about the responsibility and power of his two-spirit identity.
- David Robertson – Perfectly You – a story about young love and indecision – and time travel.
- Daniel Heath Justice – The Boys Who Became the Butterflies – a new traditional story about the beautiful people that make life worth living and inspire others to live their true selves.
- Darcie Little Badger – Né łe – an astronaut and the in-house vet face challenges as chihuahuas in outer space run amok.
- Gwen Benaway – Transitions – a young office worker tries an experimental new medication designed to fast-track transition.
- Mari Kurisato – Imposter Syndrome – A story set in the far future of transition and cyborgs.
- Nathan Adler – Valediction at the Star View Motel – A story about the literal magic of sudden physical attraction as a rockabilly girl with spider magic woos her crush.
- Cleo Keahna – Parallax – a poem on the perpetual journey of transition.
- Jeffrey Veregge – cover

Awards
- 2013 On the Same Page winner

Reviews
"I'd like every single person working in literature, as a writer, an editor, or a reviewer, to get a copy and see what Native voice is like." - Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature

Educator Information
Audience: Primarily published for adults, but recommended for ages 14 to adult.

The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 8-12 for English Language Arts.

Note: Stories have romantic elements and deal with mature subjects and themes, such as sexual references. Includes teen characters. Reading levels vary across the collection.

Additional Information
120 pages | 6.35" x 8.91" | Edited by Hope Nicholson.

Authenticity Note: This anthology of Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi contains works from Indigenous contributors; therefore, it has received the Authentic Indigenous Text label.

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$15.00

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Fire Song
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 9; 10; 11; 12;

How can Shane reconcile his feelings for David with his desire for a better life?

Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny. How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she’s too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort. What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves—his friend, David.

Things go from bad to worse as Shane’s dream of going to university is shattered and his grieving mother withdraws from the world. Worst of all, he and David have to hide their relationship from everyone. Shane feels that his only chance of a better life is moving to Toronto, but David refuses to join him. When yet another tragedy strikes, the two boys have to make difficult choices about their future together.

With deep insight into the life of Indigenous people on the reserve, this book masterfully portrays how a community looks to the past for guidance and comfort while fearing a future of poverty and shame. Shane’s rocky road to finding himself takes many twists and turns, but ultimately ends with him on a path that doesn’t always offer easy answers, but one that leaves the reader optimistic about his fate.

Reviews
“Complex, vulnerable emotion is embedded within the specificity of the writing in this dramatic prose debut. Jones avoids clichés of reservation life, humanizing the stories of how his people reconcile the trauma of suicide, missing family members, same-sex relationships, and the isolation of a community left to fend for itself. A touching story that has been a long time coming for the Indigenous community.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This complex, well-written debut will resonate with young people . . . A great coming-out novel with Native American protagonists; recommended for all teen collections.”
Jill Baetiong, School Library Journal

“A powerful, challenging book that is full of deeply meaningful turns as it boldly encourages living life to the best of one’s abilities.”
Foreword Reviews

"A stunning debut. If you loved the movie Fire Song, get ready to swoon over this movie-to-novel adaptation. The tension, beauty, desperation, hunger for someone, hunger for yourself, a family at the crossroads and a highway that's calling--it's all here. Completely riveting. Completely compelling. Adam Garnet Jones, I would follow you and your characters anywhere. Bravo! A literary and unforgettable masterpiece."
Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed

Educator Information
Recommended for Ages 14+ / Grades 9+

Novel Themes: LGBTQ, family relationships, suicide, friendships, acceptance, sexuality, secrets, stereotyping, siblings, diversity, teens, multigenerational, Indigenous.

The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 10-12 for English Language Arts and Physical and Health Education.

Additional Information
232 pages | 5.50" x 8.25"

A hardcover copy of this book is also available on the Strong Nations website.

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$12.95

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The Reconciliation Manifesto: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

In this book Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson challenge virtually everything that non-Indigenous Canadians believe about their relationship with Indigenous Peoples and the steps that are needed to place this relationship on a healthy and honourable footing.

Manuel and Derrickson show how governments are attempting to reconcile with Indigenous Peoples without touching the basic colonial structures that dominate and distort the relationship. They review the current state of land claims. They tackle the persistence of racism among non-Indigenous people and institutions. They celebrate Indigenous Rights Movements while decrying the role of government-funded organizations like the Assembly of First Nations. They document the federal government's disregard for the substance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples while claiming to implement it. These circumstances amount to what they see as a false reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.

Instead, Manuel and Derrickson offer an illuminating vision of what Canada and Canadians need for true reconciliation.

In this book, which Arthur Manuel and Ron Derrickson completed in the months before Manuel's death in January 2017, readers will recognize their profound understanding of the country, of its past, present, and potential future.

Expressed with quiet but firm resolve, humour, and piercing intellect The Reconciliation Manifesto will appeal to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who are open and willing to look at the real problems and find real solutions.

Educator Information
Recommended in the Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools 2019-2020 resource list for grades 9 to 12 for these subjects: English Language Arts, Law, Political Science, Social Justice, and Social Studies.

Additional Information

312 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

 

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$22.95

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A Girl Called Echo, Vol 1: Pemmican Wars
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Echo Desjardins, a 13-year-old Métis girl adjusting to a new home and school, is struggling with loneliness while separated from her mother. Then an ordinary day in Mr. Bee’s history class turns extraordinary, and Echo’s life will never be the same. During Mr. Bee’s lecture, Echo finds herself transported to another time and place—a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie—and back again to the present. In the following weeks, Echo slips back and forth in time. She visits a Métis camp, travels the old fur-trade routes, and experiences the perilous and bygone era of the Pemmican Wars.

Educator & Series Information
Pemmican Wars is the first graphic novel in the A Girl Called Echo series.

The Canadian Indigenous Books for School list recommends this for Grades 5-12 for these subject areas: Arts Education, English Language Arts, Social Studies.

Additional Information
48 pages | 6.50" x 10.00"

 

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$18.95

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Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

In 2018-2019, Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City was an award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

In 1966, twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack froze to death on the railway tracks after running away from residential school. An inquest was called and four recommendations were made to prevent another tragedy. None of those recommendations were applied.

More than a quarter of a century later, from 2000 to 2011, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred Indigenous site. Jordan Wabasse, a gentle boy and star hockey player, disappeared into the minus twenty degrees Celsius night. The body of celebrated artist Norval Morrisseau’s grandson, Kyle, was pulled from a river, as was Curran Strang’s. Robyn Harper died in her boarding-house hallway and Paul Panacheese inexplicably collapsed on his kitchen floor. Reggie Bushie’s death finally prompted an inquest, seven years after the discovery of Jethro Anderson, the first boy whose body was found in the water.

Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.

A portion of each sale of Seven Fallen Feathers will go to the Dennis Franklin Cromarty Memorial Fund, set up in 1994 to financially assist Nishnawbe Aski Nation students’ studies in Thunder Bay and at post-secondary institutions.

Awards
- 2018-2019 First Nation Communities Read
- 2018 RBC Taylor Prize

Reviews
“Talaga has written Canada’s J’Accuse, an open letter to the rest of us about the many ways we contribute — through act or inaction — to suicides and damaged existences in Canada’s Indigenous communities. Tanya Talaga’s account of teen lives and deaths in and near Thunder Bay is detailed, balanced and heart-rending. Talaga describes gaps in the system large enough for beloved children and adults to fall through, endemic indifference, casual racism and a persistent lack of resources. It is impossible to read this book and come away unchanged.” — RBC Taylor Prize Jury Citation

“In Seven Fallen Feathers, Tanya Talaga delves into the lives of seven Indigenous students who died while attending high school in Thunder Bay over the first eleven years of this century. With a narrative voice encompassing lyrical creation myth, razor-sharp reporting, and a searing critique of Canada’s ongoing colonial legacy, Talaga binds these tragedies — and the ambivalent response from police and government — into a compelling tapestry. This vivid, wrenching book shatters the air of abstraction that so often permeates news of the injustices Indigenous communities face every day. It is impossible to read Seven Fallen Feathers and not care about the lives lost, the families thrust into purgatory, while the rest of society looks away.” — Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction Jury Citation

“[A]n urgent and unshakable portrait of the horrors faced by Indigenous teens going to school in Thunder Bay, Ontario, far from their homes and families. . . . Talaga’s incisive research and breathtaking storytelling could bring this community one step closer to the healing it deserves.” — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Seven Fallen Feathers may prove to be the most important book published in Canada in 2017. Tanya Talaga offers well-researched, difficult truths that expose the systemic racism, poverty, and powerlessness that contribute to the ongoing issues facing Indigenous youth, their families, and their communities. It is a call to action that deeply honours the lives of the seven young people; our entire nation should feel their loss profoundly.” — Patti LaBoucane-Benson, author of The Outside Circle

“[W]here Seven Fallen Feathers truly shines is in Talaga’s intimate retellings of what families experience when a loved one goes missing, from filing a missing-persons report with police, to the long and brutal investigation process, to the final visit in the coroner’s office. It’s a heartbreaking portrait of an indifferent and often callous system . . . Seven Fallen Feathers is a must-read for all Canadians. It shows us where we came from, where we’re at, and what we need to do to make the country a better place for us all.” — The Walrus

Educator Information
The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grade 12 English Language Arts and Social Studies.

Curriculum Connections: Indigenous Studies, History, Health

Additional Information
376 pages | 5.50" x 8.50" | 8-page colour insert and maps

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$22.95

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Strangers: The Reckoner, Book 1
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

When Cole Harper is compelled to return to Wounded Sky First Nation, he finds his community in chaos: a series of shocking murders, a mysterious illness ravaging the residents, and reemerging questions about Cole’s role in the tragedy that drove him away 10 years ago. With the aid of an unhelpful spirit, a disfigured ghost, and his two oldest friends, Cole tries to figure out his purpose, and unravel the mysteries he left behind a decade ago. Will he find the answers in time to save his community?

Reviews
"Within the very opening pages of Strangers, Cole Harper had already burrowed his way deep into my heart. I raced through the chapters, fearing for this young hero, his friends, and his wider community. David Robertson has written a riveting story of a young man burdened with adult responsibilities. Robertson’s true skill, though, comes in the way he balances the intense peril with humour and magic and love and resilience. Teachers, get this novel into your classrooms. I want everyone to read Strangers." — Angie Abdou, author of In Case I Go 

 
"Strangers has it all - vivid and imaginatively crafted characters, a propulsive and energetic plot, brilliant dialogue, and a series of mysteries that make us think in a new way about the world we inhabit. The story skillfully unfolds, and the characters - the spirit beings and the human ones - are utterly convincing. This book is a page-turner and lingers in the memory. Strangers will resonate with and enthrall everyone, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous readers." —Warren Cariou, Canada Research Chair and Director, Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, University of Manitoba

Educator & Series Information
Strangers is the first novel in The Reckoner trilogy.

The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 9-12 English Language Arts.

Additional Information
233 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$19.95

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Rez Rebel
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Floyd Twofeathers has always trusted his mom, a traditional healer, and his dad, hereditary chief of their band, to take care of the people on their reserve. But a lack of educational and career opportunities, medical support and counselling has left young people feeling that they have no future. As suicides pile up, Floyd finds that his friends and kids he knows are taking their own lives because they feel that they have no future — but his father refuses to listen to Floyd's attempts to find a realistic solution. When Floyd's father is overwhelmed by the situation and succumbs to alcohol and depression, it is up to Floyd to turn around his community's descent into crisis before it's too late.

Set in a situation of suicide contagion among young people in Aboriginal communities, this novel follows one teenager's determined efforts to help his friends and his community find solutions.

Reviews
"This was an incredibly moving book about the hardships Indigenous people and the increasing amount of suicides happening on reservations."— Amanda Wood,, NetGalley Reviewer, June 2017

"The voice she uses, that of a determined young man who refuses to accept the status quo is believable, direct and engaging."— Chris Benjamin,, Atlantic Books Today, June 2017

"A good opening into Native American reservations and their issues that the federal government needs to address."— Mai Khanh Nguyen,, Educator, NetGalley Reviewer, June 2017

"This is a look at life that few people who don't live it ever get to see. A raw, unapologetic look. It's brilliantly written and heartbreaking, knowing how hopeless these kids feel. "— Liliyana Shadowlyn, Reviewer, NetGalley, October 2017

Educator Information
Recommended in the Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools 2019-2020 resource list for grades 8 to 12 for English Language Arts.

Strong language and discussion of suicide within this work may trigger some readers.

Additional Information
176 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$12.95

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#NotYourPrincess
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Native women demand to be heard in this stunning anthology.

Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous girls and women across North America resound in this book. In the same visual style as the bestselling Dreaming in Indian, #NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, intergenerational trauma, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women demanding change and realizing their dreams. Sometimes outraged, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have had their history hidden and whose modern lives have been virtually invisible.

Reviews
“A stunning anthology of creative writing and art . . . All YA collections will want this."— Alicia Abdul, School Library Journal

Educator Information
Themes: First Nations; Native Peoples; Indigenous; girls and women; biography; multicultural; stereotyping; acceptance; community; prejudice; self-esteem; tolerance

Interest Age 14+ | Grade 9+

The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 8-12 for these subjects: English Language Arts, Social Justice, Social Studies.

Additional Information
8.5 x 11 | 112 Pages

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$14.95

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Turtle Island: The Story of North America's First People
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

Unlike most books that chronicle the history of Native peoples beginning with the arrival of Europeans in 1492, this book goes back to the Ice Age to give young readers a glimpse of what life was like pre-contact. The title, Turtle Island, refers to a Native myth that explains how North and Central America were formed on the back of a turtle. Based on archeological finds and scientific research, we now have a clearer picture of how the Indigenous people lived. Using that knowledge, the authors take the reader back as far as 14,000 years ago to imagine moments in time. A wide variety of topics are featured, from the animals that came and disappeared over time, to what people ate, how they expressed themselves through art, and how they adapted to their surroundings. The importance of story-telling among the Native peoples is always present to shed light on how they explained their world. The end of the book takes us to modern times when the story of the Native peoples is both tragic and hopeful.

Educator Information
The Canadian Indigenous Books for School list recommends this resource for Grades 6-9 for Social Studies.  It is also listed as a Teacher Resource.

Additional Information
Paperback: 116 pages
Physical Dimensions: 7.50" x 9.30"

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My Conversations with Canadians
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: University/College;

Hearkening back to her first book tour at the age of 26 (for the autobiographical novel Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel), and touching down upon a multitude of experiences she's had as a Canadian, a First Nations leader, a woman and mother and grandmother over the course of her life, Lee Maracle's My Conversations with Canadians presents a tour de force exploration into the writer's own history and a re-imagining of the future of our nation.

In this latest addition to BookThug's Essays Series (edited by poet Julie Joosten), Maracle's writing works to engage readers in thinking about the threads that keep Canadians tied together as a nation--and also, at times, threaten to pull us apart--so that the sense of sovereignty and nationhood that she feels may be understood and even embraced by Canadians.

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Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8;

Canada's relationship with its Indigenous people has suffered as a result of both the residential school system and the lack of understanding of the historical and current impact of those schools. Healing and repairing that relationship requires education, awareness and increased understanding of the legacy and the impacts still being felt by Survivors and their families. Guided by acclaimed Indigenous author Monique Gray Smith, readers will learn about the lives of Survivors and listen to allies who are putting the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into action.

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Algonquin Sunset: An Algonquin Quest Novel
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10;

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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The Marrow Thieves
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden - but what they don't know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

Awards

  • Winner of 2017 Governor General's Literary Award
  • Winner of 2017 Kirkus Prize
  • Winner of the 2018 Burt Literary Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature.  

Reviews
“Miigwans is a true hero; in him Dimaline creates a character of tremendous emotional depth and tenderness, connecting readers with the complexity and compassion of Indigenous people. A dystopian world that is all too real and that has much to say about our own.”— Kirkus Reviews

"There's a quality in Dimaline's writing that reached from the page, into my being ... That's a specific reference to the residential schools of the past, where so much was taken from Native children. It is one of many points in The Marrow Thieves where - painfully or with exquisite beauty - Dimaline's story resonates with me. It will resonate with other Native readers, too, especially those who are Anishinabe. Several tribal nations are mentioned in here, too ... There's so much more to say ... about Miggs and Isaac, about Ri, about Minerva, about French. But I'll stop and let you be with these achingly dear characters. I highly recommend The Marrow Thieves." — Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature

"In The Marrow Thieves, Cherie Dimaline creates a near-future world which distinctly echoes our own, current and past traumas that have come back to repeat themselves, fiction with a basis in reality that gives the narrative a sheen of hard truths, following the trials and tribulations of a relatable cast of characters and their struggles to survive, and live their lives with the love and safety denied to them. The high-stakes tension of each scene pulls the reader along through the story, with a core message about our dreams and culture, which despite losses, has the potential to heal, and the power to restore." — Trillium Book Award Jury Citation, June 2018

"[The Marrow Thieves] brilliantly connects the legacy of residential schools to a dystopian post-climate-change future where only Indigenous people are able to dream. Dimaline’s novel reminds us of the power of storytelling and the importance of community, reinforced for the disenfranchised children by the wisdom of the heroic elder, Miigwans. The writing is painful yet beautiful, bleak but ultimately hopeful. In this era of reconciliation, Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves is a work of speculative fiction that resonates and stays with the reader long past the last page." — Sunburst Award Jury Citation, October 2018

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 13+ 

Recommended English First Peoples resource for grades 11-12.

The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 9-12 English Language Arts.

Caution: This book touches on physical and sexual violence.

Additional Information
180 pages | 5.00" x 8.00"

 

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Burning in this Midnight Dream
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: University/College;

Burning in the Midnight Dream is the latest collection of poems by Louise Bernice Halfe. Many were written in response to the grim tide of emotions, memories, dreams and nightmares that arose in her as the Truth and Reconciliation process unfolded.

In heart-wrenching detail, Halfe recalls the damage done to her parents, her family, herself. With fearlessly wrought verse, Halfe describes how the experience of the residential schools continues to haunt those who survive, and how the effects pass like a virus from one generation to the next. She asks us to consider the damage done to children taken from their families, to families mourning their children; damage done to entire communities and to ancient cultures.

Halfe's poetic voice soars in this incredibly moving collection as she digs deep to discover the root of her pain. Her images, created from the natural world, reveal the spiritual strength of her culture.

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Moonshot Vol. 2
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

The much anticipated Volume 2 of the award-winning MOONSHOT The Indigenous Comics Collection is here!

MOONSHOT The Indigenous Comics Collection Volume 2 brings you even more original comic book and graphic novel stories, written by Indigenous authors from across North America. Gorgeously illustrated by a mix of award-winning artists, Volume 2 will take you on a stunning journey through this world and to worlds beyond!

Each of the short stories included in this Volume will be based on a tradition from the author’s own tribe/community. These stories highlight present-day traditions, and diversity, in indigenous peoples today.

Educator Information
Grades 10-11 English First Peoples Resource.

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Not My Fate: The Story of a Nisga'a Survivor
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Nisga'a;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

Josephine Caplin (Jo) was born into a world marred by maternal abandonment, alcoholism and traumatic epileptic seizures. In grade three, she was apprehended by child services and separated from her protective brother and her early caregivers, her father and uncle, who were kind men with drinking problems. Placed into many alienating and lonely foster homes, Jo would not see her family again until she was fourteen. Throughout her life Jo fought symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome, abuse by sadistic men and the collective horror of generations of ancestors forced into residential schools, causing many to believe Jo was destined to repeat a hopeless cycle. Yet she did not surrender to others' despairing expectations: against all odds, Jo fought to create her own cycle full of hope and growth.

Born of a Métis-Canadian background, author Janet Romain delicately and proudly tells the story of her heroic friend and explores the tragic aftermath of Canada's residential schools and the effects of colonization. Jo is a courageous woman who determined her own fate and reclaimed her life. NOT MY FATE: STORY OF A NISGA'A SURVIVOR is her struggle to move past a legacy of hardship toward a life of peace and forgiveness.

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Memory Serves and Oratories
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: University/College;

Memory Serves gathers together the oratories award-winning author Lee Maracle has delivered and performed over a twenty-year period. Revised for publication, the lectures hold the features and style of oratory intrinsic to the Salish people in general and the Sto: lo in particular. From her Coast Salish perspective and with great eloquence, Maracle shares her knowledge of Sto: lo history, memory, philosophy, law, spirituality, feminism and the colonial condition of her people. Powerful and inspiring, Memory Serves is an extremely timely book, not only because it is the first collection of oratories by one of the most important Indigenous authors in Canada, but also because it offers all Canadians, in Maracle's own words, "another way to be, to think, to know," a way that holds the promise of a "journey toward a common consciousness."Memory Serves: Oratories:"The topics she covers, the approaches she employs, and the strength of her language highlight the reasons the author has been a driving force in Canadian aboriginal culture for decades. Memory Serves adds to the vital canon of Canadian aboriginal literature."--Alexis Kienlen, Quill and Quire"Memory Serves is one of Maracle's greatest books. It is a read that imparts wisdom from a great writer and it will leave you feeling empowered knowing that the wisdom of Maracle's words are being shared with you."--Christine Smith (McFarlane)

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Price Paid
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;
Grade Levels: University/College;

Untangles some of the truths and myths about First Nations and addresses misconceptions still widely believed today.
Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival untangles truth from some of the myths about First Nations at the same time that it addresses misconceptions still widely believed today.

The second book by award-winning author Bev Sellars, Price Paid is based on a popular presentation Sellars created for treaty-makers, politicians, policymakers, and educators when she discovered they did not know the historic reasons they were at the table negotiating First Nations rights.

The book begins with glimpses of foods, medicines, and cultural practices North America's indigenous peoples have contributed for worldwide benefit. It documents the dark period of regulation by racist laws during the twentieth century, and then discusses new emergence in the twenty-first century into a re-establishment of Indigenous land and resource rights. The result is a candidly told personal take on the history of a culture's fight for their rights and survival. It is Canadian history told from a First Nations point of view.

Awards and recognition for Bev Sellars's They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School
- 2014 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature
- 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature (third prize)
- Shortlisted for the 2014 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize (B.C. Book Prizes)
- More than 40 weeks on the B.C. bestsellers list

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Take Us To Your Chief
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;
Grade Levels: University/College;

A forgotten Haudenosaunee social song beams into the cosmos like a homing beacon for interstellar visitors. A computer learns to feel sadness and grief from the history of atrocities committed against First Nations. A young Native man discovers the secret to time travel in ancient petroglyphs. Drawing inspiration from science fiction legends like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, Drew Hayden Taylor frames classic science-fiction tropes in an Aboriginal perspective.

The nine stories in this collection span all traditional topics of science fiction--from peaceful aliens to hostile invaders; from space travel to time travel; from government conspiracies to connections across generations. Yet Taylor's First Nations perspective draws fresh parallels, likening the cultural implications of alien contact to those of the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, or highlighting the impossibility of remaining a "good Native" in such an unnatural situation as a space mission.

Infused with Native stories and variously mysterious, magical and humorous, Take Us to Your Chief is the perfect mesh of nostalgically 1950s-esque science fiction with modern First Nations discourse.

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Passage
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

In her second collection of poetry, Passage, Gwen Benaway examines what it means to experience violence and speaks to the burden of survival. Traveling to Northern Ontario and across the Great Lakes, Passage is a poetic voyage through divorce, family violence, legacy of colonization, and the affirmation of a new sexuality and gender. Previously published as a man, Passage is the poet's first collection written as a transwoman. Striking and raw in sparse lines, the collection showcases a vital Two Spirited identity that transects borders of race, gender, and experience. In Passage, the poet seeks to reconcile herself to the land, the history of her ancestors, and her separation from her partner and family by invoking the beauty and power of her ancestral waterways. Building on the legacy of other ground-breaking Indigenous poets like Gregory Scofield and Queer poets like Tim Dlugos, Benaway's work is deeply personal and devastating in sharp, clear lines. Passage is a book burning with a beautiful intensity and reveals Benaway as one of the most powerful emerging poets writing in Indigenous poetics today.

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The Stone Collection
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;
Grade Levels: University/College;

In these 14 unique stories, Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm takes on complex and dangerous emotions, exploring the gamut of modern Anishinaabe experience. Through unforgettable characters, these stories—about love and lust, suicide and survival, illness and wholeness—illuminate the strange workings of the human heart.

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Those Who Run in the Sky
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Inuit;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

This teen novel, written by Iqaluit-based Inuit author Aviaq Johnston, is a coming-of-age story that follows a young shaman named Pitu as he learns to use his powers and ultimately finds himself lost in the world of the spirits. After a strange and violent blizzard leaves Pitu stranded on the sea ice, without his dog team or any weapons to defend himself, he soon realizes that he is no longer in the world that he once knew. The storm has carried him into the world of the spirits, a world populated with terrifying creatures---black wolves with red eyes, ravenous and constantly stalking him; water-dwelling creatures that want nothing more than to snatch him and pull him into the frigid ocean through an ice crack. As well as beings less frightening, but equally as incredible, such as a lone giant who can carry Pitu in the palm of her hand and keeps caribou and polar bears as pets. After stumbling upon a fellow shaman who has been trapped in the spirit world for many years, Pitu must master all of his shamanic powers to make his way back to the world of the living, to his family, and to the girl that he loves.

Award

  • 2018 Winner of Indigenous Voices Award for Most Significant Work of Prose in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

Educator Information
Recommended in the Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools 2019-2020 resource list for grades 7 to 10 for English Language Arts.

Additional Information
208 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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He Who Dreams
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

Juggling soccer, school, friends and family leaves John with little time for anything else. But one day at the local community center, following the sound of drums, he stumbles into an Indigenous dance class. Before he knows what's happening, John finds himself stumbling through beginner classes with a bunch of little girls, skipping soccer practice and letting his other responsibilities slide. When he attends a pow wow and witnesses a powerful performance, he realizes that he wants to be a dancer more than anything. But the nearest class for boys is at the Native Cultural Center in the city, and he still hasn't told his family or friends about his new passion. If he wants to dance, he will have to stop hiding. Between the mocking of his teammates and the hostility of the boys in his dance class, John must find a way to balance and embrace both the Irish and Cree sides of his heritage.

Reviews
"Florence effortlessly creates a very real and loving biracial family for her thoroughly modern protagonist. John's fast-paced tale twines universal teen concerns with specific cultural issues. This novel allows young readers to embrace their own heritages and realize they stand on the shoulders of all their ancestors." — Kirkus Reviews, December 2016

"The author...reinforces that she is capable of writing engaging stories about Indigenous subjects in any genre...John is an appealing character...Scenes between him and his parents and energetic younger sister, Jen, are especially well drawn...He Who Dreams offers readers a fast-paced story with realistic Indigenous content connecting the book to contemporary discussions about Indigenous issues in Canada." — Quill & Quire, January 2017

"Through realistic dialogue and concise, yet entertaining, chapters, He Who Dreams takes readers from a soccer field to the Grand Entry of a powwow with ease…Powerful and smart, He Who Dreams brims with valuable lessons, allowing young readers to access important issues in a highly engaging way. " — Canadian Children's Book News, April 2017

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144 pages | 4.75" x 7.25"

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Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Inuit; Métis;
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

Delgamuukw. Sixties Scoop. Bill C-31. Blood quantum. Appropriation. Two-Spirit. Tsilhqot’in. Status. TRC. RCAP. FNPOA. Pass and permit. Numbered Treaties. Terra nullius. The Great Peace…

Are you familiar with the terms listed above? In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel, legal scholar, teacher, and intellectual, opens an important dialogue about these (and more) concepts and the wider social beliefs associated with the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. In 31 essays, Chelsea explores the Indigenous experience from the time of contact to the present, through five categories – Terminology of Relationships; Culture and Identity; Myth-Busting; State Violence; and Land, Learning, Law, and Treaties. She answers the questions that many people have on these topics to spark further conversations at home, in the classroom, and in the larger community.

Reviews
"Chelsea attacks issues head on, with humour and wit, sarcasm and cynicism and clear, concise and well-organized information. She makes further research easy, as every chapter includes copious endnotes with links to her curated resources. She explains the terminology of identity — status, non-status, registered, membership, Métis, Inuit, cultural appropriation and two-spiritedness." —Nancy Adams-Kramp

"While subtitled A Guide to First Nations, Métis and Inuit Issues in Canada, it would be a mistake to see Indigenous Writes as a book primarily about Indigenous people. Instead, it is much more about all of us — our relationship as non-Indigenous and Indigenous Canadians, and how it has been shaped (and misshaped) by the historic and contemporary governance of these issues.

For any Canadian who wishes to have an informed opinion about the country that we share — or, more to the point, publicly share that opinion — Indigenous Writes is essential reading."—Michael Dudley

Educator & Series Information
This book is part of the Debwe Series.

For all teachers.

Approved for Manitoba classrooms.  

ERAC approved.

Additional Information
291 pages | 7.00" x 9.00"

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The Reason You Walk
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;

When his father was given a diagnosis of terminal cancer, Winnipeg broadcaster and musician Wab Kinew decided to spend a year reconnecting with the accomplished but distant aboriginal man who'd raised him. The Reason You Walk spans the year 2012, chronicling painful moments in the past and celebrating renewed hopes and dreams for the future. As Kinew revisits his own childhood in Winnipeg and on a reserve in Northern Ontario, he learns more about his father's traumatic childhood at residential school. An intriguing doubleness marks The Reason You Walk, a reference to an Anishinaabe ceremonial song. Born to an Anishinaabe father and a non-native mother, he has a foot in both cultures. He is a Sundancer, an academic, a former rapper, a hereditary chief, and an urban activist. His father, Tobasonakwut, was both a beloved traditional chief and a respected elected leader who engaged directly with Ottawa. Internally divided, his father embraced both traditional native religion and Catholicism, the religion that was inculcated into him at the residential school where he was physically and sexually abused. In a grand gesture of reconciliation, Kinew's father invited the Roman Catholic bishop of Winnipeg to a Sundance ceremony in which he adopted him as his brother. Kinew writes affectingly of his own struggles in his twenties to find the right path, eventually giving up a self-destructive lifestyle to passionately pursue music and martial arts. From his unique vantage point, he offers an inside view of what it means to be an educated aboriginal living in a country that is just beginning to wake up to its aboriginal history and living presence.
Invoking hope, healing and forgiveness, The Reason You Walk is a poignant story of a towering but damaged father and his son as they embark on a journey to repair their family bond. By turns lighthearted and solemn, Kinew gives us an inspiring vision for family and cross-cultural reconciliation, and a wider conversation about the future of aboriginal peoples.

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Me Funny
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

An irreverent, insightful take on our First Nations' great gift to Canada, delivered by a stellar cast of contributors. Humour has always been an essential part of North American Aboriginal culture. This fact remained unnoticed by most settlers, however, since non-Aboriginals just didn't get the joke. Indians, it was believed, never laughed. But Indians themselves always knew better. As an award-winning playwright, columnist and comedy-sketch creator, Drew Hayden Taylor has spent fifteen years writing and researching Aboriginal humour. For this book, he asked a leading group of writers from a variety of fields -- among them such celebrated wordsmiths as Thomas King, Lee Maracle and Tomson Highway -- to take a look at what makes Aboriginal humour tick. Their challenging, informative and hilarious contributions examine the use of humour in areas as diverse as stand-up comedy, fiction, visual art, drama, performance, poetry, traditional storytelling and education. As Me Funny makes clear, there is no single definition of Aboriginal humour. But the contributors do agree on some common ground: Native humour pushes the envelope. With this collection, readers will have the unforgettable opportunity to appreciate that for themselves.

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Medicine Walk (Wagamese) PB
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

By the celebrated author of Canada Reads Finalist Indian Horse, a stunning new novel that has all the timeless qualities of a classic, as it tells the universal story of a father/son struggle in a fresh, utterly memorable way, set in dramatic landscape of the BC Interior. For male and female readers equally, for readers of Joseph Boyden, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas King, Russell Banks and general literary.

Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, Eldon. He's sixteen years old and has had the most fleeting of relationships with the man. The rare moments they've shared haunt and trouble Frank, but he answers the call, a son's duty to a father. He finds Eldon decimated after years of drinking, dying of liver failure in a small town flophouse. Eldon asks his son to take him into the mountains, so he may be buried in the traditional Ojibway manner.

What ensues is a journey through the rugged and beautiful backcountry, and a journey into the past, as the two men push forward to Eldon's end. From a poverty-stricken childhood, to the Korean War, and later the derelict houses of mill towns, Eldon relates both the desolate moments of his life and a time of redemption and love and in doing so offers Frank a history he has never known, the father he has never had, and a connection to himself he never expected.

A novel about love, friendship, courage, and the idea that the land has within it powers of healing, Medicine Walk reveals the ultimate goodness of its characters and offers a deeply moving and redemptive conclusion.

Wagamese's writing soars and his insight and compassion are matched by his gift of communicating these to the reader.

Reviews
"A masterpiece, a work of art that explores human interconnectedness with a level of artistry so superb that the personal becomes eternal."— National Post

"Wagamese balances the novel's spiritual and political subtexts with sly humour, sharp, believable dialogue and superb storytelling skills. Medicine Walk is a major accomplishment from an author who has become one of Canada's best novelists."—Toronto Star

This is very much a novel about the role of stories in our lives, those we tell ourselves about ourselves and those we agree to live by.... Medicine Walk is also testament to the redemptive power of love and compassion."—The Globe and Mail

Educator Information
Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples resource for units on Childhood, Place-Conscious Learning, and Family.

Additional Information
256 pages | 5.21" x 7.99"

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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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The Country of Wolves (PB)
Authors:
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Inuit;

Now available in paperback!

Based on the acclaimed animated film Amaqqut Nunaat, this visually stunning graphic novel takes readers on a mysterious adventure with two brothers who are lost at sea. It begins as an average hunting trip for two young men. But when they find themselves adrift at sea, the only safe haven to be found for miles—a mysterious village filled with the sounds of drum dancing and revelry—turns out to be even more dangerous than the frigid ocean.

Educator Information
Recommended ages: 12+

Additional Information
88 pages | 9.00" x 7.00"

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I Want
Format: Paperback

Joseph A. Dandurand is a member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River about twenty minutes east of Vancouver. He resides there with his three children Danessa, Marlysse, and Jace.

Joseph is the Heritage/Lands Officer for his people and has been performing his duties for 20 years now. He has been tasked with protecting his people’s heritage from the many destructive elements of development in the Kwantlen territory.

Joseph loves to fish. 
He loves to write plays. 
He loves to write books of poetry. 
He also loves to watch his 
daughter Danessa play soccer and hockey. 

Joseph is in love with and follows his rich culture. 
It is his and his family’s medicine 
and it carries them thru the winters 
and into the spring time 
when the fish start 
to come back into the river. 

Joseph loves to fish.

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Celia's Song
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

Mink is a witness, a shape shifter, compelled to follow the story that has ensnared Celia and her village, on the West coast of Vancouver Island in Nu:Chahlnuth territory. Celia is a seer who - despite being convinced she's a little "off" - must heal her village with the assistance of her sister, her mother and father, and her nephews. While mink is visiting, a double-headed sea serpent falls off the house front during a fierce storm. The old snake, ostracized from the village decades earlier, has left his terrible influence on Amos, a residential school survivor. The occurrence signals the unfolding of an ordeal that pulls Celia out of her reveries and into the tragedy of her cousin's granddaughter. Each one of Celia's family becomes involved in creating a greater solution than merely attending to her cousin's granddaughter. Celia's Song relates one Nu:Chahlnuth family's harrowing experiences over several generations, after the brutality, interference, and neglect resulting from contact with Europeans.

Educator Information
Grade 11/12 English First Peoples resource for the unit Further Steps toward Reconciliation.

Additional Information
280 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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Halfling Spring: An Internet Romance
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis;

In Halfling Spring , a series of notes unfolds the dance of desire versus trust through a long season of actual and metaphorical springtime.

Joanne Arnott is a Métis/mixed blood mother of six, and in this collection she continues her explorations of love, intimacy, and family, with a focus on electronic connections (internet love). Transiting Canada from Victoria to Iqaluit, and transitioning from virtual to real (fantasy to reality), she inspects the realms of miscegenation and love in a class conscious and cross-cultural context, revealing en route the many ways that our deepest connections unveil the depths of old pain.

Optimistic and playful, romantic and mythic, affirming embodiment, this process of poetic revelation shows all the dirty tricks of love.

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A Moon Made of Copper
Format: Paperback

A moon made of Copper is a collection of non-fiction poems that look at the continual maturing and growth of a human being.

The poems were written while touring across Canada, and they capture Bose’s experiences meeting people, wandering different cities, and getting into adventures and mis-adventures. This is Bose’s second book since Stone the Crow.

Bose reveals "what it takes as a First Nations person to survive the unrelenting human conditions of Aboriginals in this country. His poetic expression untangles the pain, loss, and recovery expressed bodly through this volume of poetry. To read this, is to know that journey." Garry Gottfriedson.

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Peace Pipe Dreams
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis; Inuit; First Nations;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

In 2015-2016, Peace Pipe Dreams was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

Darrell Dennis is a stereotype-busting, politically incorrect Native American/Aboriginal/Shuswap (Only he's allowed to call himself an "Indian." Maybe. Under some circumstances). With a large dose of humour and irreverence, he untangles some of the truths and myths about First Nations: Why do people think Natives get free trucks, and why didn't he ever get one? Why does the length of your hair determine whether you’re good or bad? By what ratio does the amount of rain in a year depend on the amount of cactus liquor you consume?

In addition to answering these burning questions, Dennis tackles some tougher subjects. He looks at European-Native interactions in North America from the moment of first contact, discussing the fur trade, treaty-signing and the implementation of residential schools. Addressing misconceptions still widely believed today, Dennis explains why Native people aren't genetically any more predisposed to become alcoholics than Caucasians; that Native religion doesn't consist of worshipping rocks, disappearing into thin air, or conversing with animals; and that tax exemptions are so limited and confusing that many people don't even bother.

Employing pop culture examples, personal anecdote and a cutting wit, Darrell Dennis deftly weaves history with current events to entertain, inform and provide a convincing, readable overview of First Nations issues and why they matter today.

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Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);


A powerful, raw yet eloquent memoir from a residential school survivor and former First Nations Chief, Up Ghost River is a necessary step toward our collective healing.

In the 1950s, 7-year-old Edmund Metatawabin was separated from his family and placed in one of Canada’s worst residential schools. St. Anne’s, in north­ern Ontario, is an institution now notorious for the range of punishments that staff and teachers inflicted on students. Even as Metatawabin built the trappings of a successful life—wife, kids, career—he was tormented by horrific memories. Fuelled by alcohol, the trauma from his past caught up with him, and his family and work lives imploded.

In seeking healing, Metatawabin travelled to southern Alberta. There he learned from elders, par­ticipated in native cultural training workshops that emphasize the holistic approach to personhood at the heart of Cree culture, and finally faced his alcoholism and PTSD. Metatawabin has since worked tirelessly to expose the wrongdoings of St. Anne’s, culminating in a recent court case demanding that the school records be released to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Now Metatawabin’s mission is to help the next generation of residential school survivors. His story is part of the indigenous resurgence that is happening across Canada and worldwide: after years of oppression, he and others are healing themselves by rediscovering their culture and sharing their knowledge.

Coming full circle, Metatawabin’s haunting and brave narrative offers profound lessons on the impor­tance of bearing witness, and the ability to become whole once again.

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Inuit Kinship and Naming Customs
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; 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.

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Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

A powerful and visually stunning anthology from some of the most groundbreaking Native artists working in North America today.

Truly universal in its themes, Dreaming In Indian will shatter commonly held stereotypes and challenge readers to rethink their own place in the world. Divided into four sections, ‘Roots,’ ‘Battles,’ ‘Medicines,’ and ‘Dreamcatchers,’ this book offers readers a unique insight into a community often misunderstood and misrepresented by the mainstream media.

Emerging and established Native artists, including acclaimed author Joseph Boyden, renowned visual artist Bunky Echo Hawk, and stand-up comedian Ryan McMahon, contribute thoughtful and heartfelt pieces on their experiences growing up Indigenous, expressing them through such mediums as art, food, the written word, sport, dance, and fashion. Renowned chef Aaron Bear Robe, for example, explains how he introduces restaurant customers to his culture by reinventing traditional dishes. And in a dramatic photo spread, model Ashley Callingbull and photographer Thosh Collins reappropriate the trend of wearing ‘Native’ clothing.

Whether addressing the effects of residential schools, calling out bullies through personal manifestos, or simply citing hopes for the future, Dreaming In Indian refuses to shy away from difficult topics. Insightful, thought-provoking, and beautifully honest, this book will to appeal to young adult readers. An innovative and captivating design enhances each contribution and makes for a truly unique reading experience.

Reviews
“It’s hard to imagine a middle- or high-school classroom that wouldn’t benefit from having this.” —Booklist, 02/15

“Belongs in every middle school, high school and public library.” —CM Reviews, 05/22/15

"For some time now, I've been waiting for Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices... It was getting buzz in Native networks on social media. I've read it, now, and highly recommend it... Dreaming in Indian has a vibrancy I've not seen in anything else. A vibrancy that, perhaps, is characteristic of a generation at ease with technology and its tools... I want to pore over the art, studying it, thinking about it, marveling at it. I can imagine a lot of people dismissing this work because it doesn't conform to their stereotypical ideas of dead or stoic Indians. But I can also imagine a lot of others holding it dear because it reflects who we are... You'll also have a solid introduction to the artists and writers, their lives, what drives them... Gritty and real, their live stories are inspiring... There's a lot to ponder in Dreaming In Indian. It'll challenge readers, in good ways, and that is a good thing. Check it out." — Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature, September 2014

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 11-18

Themes: First Nations; native peoples; Indigenous; biography; multicultural; stereotyping; acceptance; community; prejudice; self-esteem; tolerance.

Fountas & Pinnell Reading Level: Z+

Authentic First Peoples resource K-9.

Recommended English First Peoples resource.

Additional Information
128 pages | 8.50" x 11.00" | full-color illustrations and photographs throughout, foreword, introduction

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The Evolution of Alice
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

This haunting, emotionally resonant story delivers us into the world of Alice, a single mother raising her three young daughters on the rez where she grew up. Alice has never had an easy life, but has managed to get by with the support of her best friend, Gideon, and her family. When an unthinkable loss occurs, Alice is forced onto a different path, one that will challenge her belief in herself and the world she thought she knew. The Evolution of Alice is the kaleidoscopic story of one woman’s place within the web of community. Peopled with unforgettable characters and told from multiple points of view, this is a novel where spirits are alive, forgiveness is possible, and love is the only thing that matters.

Reviews
"So many Manitobans have, like a character in an early chapter, only sped by reserves on the highway. Inviting us into a rich community of characters, which stretches deeper than the headlines most of us associate with reserve life, Robertson is doing a service to everyone who calls Manitoba home. And crafting an engaging story of one family’s recovery from loss — at a time when indigenous peoples are increasingly flexing political, economic and cultural muscle in this country — is a gift for everyone hoping for a better future for our divided country…" - Matthew TenBruggencate, CTV Winnipeg

"Pulsing at the heart of this novel are the warmly rendered inflections of storytelling voices like Gideon’s, at once reflective, vivid, and vernacular. And at the novel’s core, the broken but ultimately healing rhythms of Alice’s 'evolution' – her cycles of loving and suffering, of her family’s living, dying, and ultimately hoping to live anew — bring contemporary experience on the reservation and in the big city achingly, joyfully, and always pungently alive." - Neil Besner, Professor of English, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, The University of Winnipeg

Educator Information
Grades 10-12 English First Peoples.

Additional Information
216 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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Walking with Aalasi: An Introduction to Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Inuit;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

"How can we know who we are", Aalasi Joamie asks, "if we don't know about where we live?" Having learned from her mother, Aalasi observed and harvested plants as a little girl in Pangnirtung in the 1940s and later as a mother in Niaqunngut (Apex) from the 1960s to today. In this introductory guide to traditional plant use, Aalasi shares her life learning and memories of eighteen plants commonly found around Pangnirtung, Niaqunnguuq, and across Nunavut.

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Extraordinary Canadians: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont:A Penguin Lives Biography
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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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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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A Short History of Indians in Canada: Stories
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Acclaimed author Thomas King is in fabulous, fantastical form in this bestselling short story collection. From the surreal migrations of the title story to the misadventures of Coyote in the modern world and the chaos of a baby's unexpected arrival by airmail, King's tales are deft, hilarious and provocative. 

Reviews
"The stories in this volume cover a lot of ground. King touches on the history of displacement, racism and stereotyping, oppressive government policy, marriage and relationships, and Aboriginal-white relations, among other topics." - Dragonfly Consulting Services Canada

Educator Information
Grade 10/11 English First Peoples resource used in the unit The Trickster - A Recurring Presence.

Additional Information
256 pages | 5.31" x 8.00"

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Buffy Sainte-Marie: It's My Way
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

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.

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The Inconvenient Indian
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;

Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, The Inconvenient Indian distills the insights gleaned from Thomas King's critical and personal meditation on what it means to be "Indian" in North America, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.
This is a book both timeless and timely, burnished with anger but tempered by wit, and ultimately a hard-won offering of hope--a sometimes inconvenient but nonetheless indispensable account for all of us, Indian and non-Indian alike, seeking to understand how we might tell a new story for the future.

Awards

  • 2014 Burt Award Second Place Winner
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Just Pretending
Format: Paperback

From one of Canada's most exciting new Métis 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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