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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


Dreamcatcher and the Seven Deceivers
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Inuit; Métis;
Grade Levels: 5;

Dreamcatcher and the Seven Deceivers, the sequel to the Seven Sacred Teachings, warns of voices we can expect to hear in our dream time – voices that do not represent the Sacred Teachings.

These are the voices of Seven Deceivers who are spoken of by name. The allure of their whisperings is carefully spelled out in order that all might come to know what to listen for. Dreamcatcher and the Seven Deceivers is a carefully woven telling of how and why Creator sent Trickster to Turtle Island with a gift that would help us see the light and resist temptation. At a time before distant religions and churches came with their teachings, their commandments and their seven cardinal sins, we knew. We knew the way of the Good Red Road. We knew the right way to live; not through commandments but through Sacred Teachings – Teachings that were given to us long before their arrival. And we knew we would be tested by Seven Deceivers – what they called seven cardinal sins. We knew because we had been forewarned. And when these distant churches arrived with their teachings, their relics and their symbols, we had our own. One was the Dreamcatcher.

Rooted in humility and honesty, the creators have tried to respect the cultures and traditions of all peoples. It is our hope that this telling will unite and thus heal divisions. Prophecies tell that this is the time for One Heart, One Mind and One Drum. We, readers and authors alike, are the ones we have been waiting for. There is nobody else who can revitalize our culture and values except ourselves.

It is our hope that this telling might move readers toward greater courage and wisdom and ultimately toward achieving and understanding what is true in life’s journey.

The Seven Sacred Teachings are a link that ties all Native, Inuit and Métis communities together.

Additional Information
35 pages

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$21.95

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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

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$19.95

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

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

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$22.00

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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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Authentic Indigenous Text
$12.95

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Grey Owl
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Reading Level: N/A

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

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

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$14.95

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Grizzlies & White Guys: The Stories of Clayton Mack
Format: Paperback

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

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$24.95

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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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$16.00

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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

Additional Information
144 pages | 4.75" x 7.25"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$9.95

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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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$19.95

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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.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$21.95

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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"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$29.00

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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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$19.95

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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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$18.95

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Kiyam: Poems
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: University/College;

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

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$16.95

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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 Å‚e – 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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