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Stories of Inspiration

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Fatty Legs: A True Story
Artists:
Liz Amini-Holmes
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

The moving memoir of an Inuit girl who emerges from a residential school with her spirit intact. 

Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools. 

At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls -- all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school. 

In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity. 

Complemented by archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's collection and striking artwork from Liz Amini-Holmes, this inspiring first-person account of a plucky girl's determination to confront her tormentor will linger with young readers.

Awards

  • First Nation Communities Read recipient, 2011-2012

Reviews
"I highly recommend this book for the discussion it would stir with students...Makes the harrowing residential school stories accessible to youth." — Resource Links, December 2010

"Presents a unique and enlightening glimpse into the residential school experience and, most importantly, one little girl's triumph over her oppressors." — Quill & Quire, November 2010

Educator Information
Fountas and Pinnell T

Themes: biography; Inuit; Indigenous peoples; Indigenous; arctic; school; self-esteem; abuse; community; prejudice; Canadian content; courage/bravery; right vs. wrong; role reversal; secrets; society; history; bullying; memoir; character education.

Additional Information
112 pages | 6.25" x 9.00" | full-color illustrations, archival photographs, map

Authenticity Note
This illustrator of this book is not Indigenous; therefore, her artwork is not considered to be Authentic Indigenous Artwork according to Strong Nations Authenticity Guidelines. The archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's personal collection, however, are considered to be authentic, which is why the book is labelled as containing Authentic Indigenous Artwork. It is up to readers to determine whether or not the images in this work are authentic for their purposes.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$12.95

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From Lishamie
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Dene;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

With astonishing detail, Albert Canadien fondly recounts his boyhood years in Lishamie, a traditional Dene camp north of the Mackenzie River, and reflects on the devastating and long-lasting impact residential schooling had on him, his family and his people. Separated at a young age from his parents and forced to attend a strict Catholic boarding school, the author, and many like him, was robbed of his language, community and traditional way of living. From Lishamie is a candid memoir of loss and of the journey back.

Reviews
"From Lishamie focuses on the loss of language, culture, exposure to the land, and brings a stark contrast of life pre- and post-residential schools. This rich and lasting book portrays the fullness of life on the land, the seasons, travelling with the food sources, and community." - Joyce Atcheson

Additional Information
284 pages | 5.50" x 8.49"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$22.95

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Masculindians: Conversations about Indigenous Manhood
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous;

What does it mean to be an Indigenous man today? Between October 2010 and May 2013, Sam McKegney conducted interviews with leading Indigenous artists, critics, activists, and elders on the subject of Indigenous manhood. In offices, kitchens, and coffee shops, and once in a car driving down the 401, McKegney and his participants tackled crucial questions about masculine self-worth and how to foster balanced and empowered gender relations. Masculindians captures twenty of these conversations in a volume that is intensely personal, yet speaks across generations, geography, and gender boundaries. As varied as their speakers, the discussions range from culture, history, and world view to gender theory, artistic representations, and activist interventions. They speak of possibility and strength, of beauty and vulnerability. They speak of sensuality, eroticism, and warriorhood, and of the corrosive influence of shame, racism, and violence. Firmly grounding Indigenous continuance in sacred landscapes, interpersonal reciprocity, and relations with other-than-human kin, these conversations honour and embolden the generative potential of healthy Indigenous masculinities.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$29.95

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Men of Courage from Our First Nations
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8;

The stories of these men are tales of courage, determination and honesty, often in the face of racism and adversity. Read about Larry Merculieff, who helped bring a once oppressed Aleutian people to a position of power and self-sufficiency, Frank Abraham, an Ojibwe Chief whose wisdom and honesty helped his tribe to rise from near financial failure, Raymond Cross, a Coyote leader who won a victory of compensation for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people, and Stanley Vollant, an Aboriginal surgeon who fulfilled a 100-year-old Innu tribal prophecy.

This is an inspiring collection of biographies for young readers about men who have enriched the lives of many in their roles as doctors, chiefs, firemen, teachers, and community leaders.

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

Additional Information 
122 pages | 6.04" x 8.98"

Authentic Indigenous Text
$10.95

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Morningstar: A Warrior's Spirit
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 12;

A powerful and moving story of one woman''s victory over abuse, poverty, and discrimination to recover her life, her self-esteem and the love of her son. Morningstar Mercredi was born and lived in the north - Fort Chipewayan and Fort McMurray in Alberta, Uranium City in Saskatchewan, and a number of small communities. Sexually abused from an early age, by family members and the boyfriends she turned to for consolation, she was promiscuous, alcoholic and a drug user by the time she was thirteen. She married when she was sixteen and had a son two years later. Everything was a struggle. Days and weeks of sobriety were followed by weeks and months of drinking and self-abuse. Then, when her son was four, things began to change. Morningstar found support, from the community, from her son, and from within herself, to be a good mother, find employment, keep relationships and reconnect with her family. Today, she is a strong and creative member of her community, and eager to tell her story of defeat and ultimate triumph. Sadly, the first part of this story is all too common, while the second is all too rare. But Morningstar is a shining example that it can be done. She is honest and self-critical in her descriptions of many attempts and repeated failures. She gives enormous credit to her son, for his constant love, his determination to be honest with her, and his unfailing confidence in her ability to succeed.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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Potlatch at Gitsegukla: William Beynon's 1945 Field Notebooks
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

William Beynon was born in 1888 in Victoria to a Welsh father and a Tsimshian mother. He was an accomplished ethnographer and had a long career documenting the traditions of the Tsimshian, Nisga'a, and Gitksan. In 1945 he attended and actively participated in five days of potlatches and totem pole raisings at Gitksan village of Gitsegukla. There he compiled four notebooks containing detailed and often verbatim information about the events he witnessed. For over 50 years these notebooks have seen limited circulation among specialists, who have long recognized them as the most perceptive and complete account of potlatching ever recorded. In Potlatch at Gitsegukla the almost 200 pages of the notebooks are published for the first time. Sketches and a selection of photographs taken by Beynon are also included (augmented by photographs taken by Wilson Duff in 1952). In addition to meticulously transcribing and annotating the text of the notebooks, Margaret Anderson and Marjorie Halpin provide a comprehensive introduction that puts Beynon's account into a Gitskan cultural perspective, as well as extensive appendices listing names, places, and Gitskan terms in the notebooks. There is also an excellent timeline of key events in Gitskan history by James McDonald and Jennifer Joseph. William Beynon's notebooks are among the most significant written records of Northwest coast potlatching and are an unsurpassed resource documenting these activities among the Gitskan. This rare, first-hand, ethnographic account of a potlatch reveals the wonderful complexities of the events that took place in Gitsegukla in 1945.

Authentic Canadian Content
$39.95

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The Hollow Tree Fighting Addiction with Traditional Native Healing
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 10; 11;

Before discovering native healing methods, Herb Nabigon could not imagine a life without alcohol. His powerful autobiography, The Hollow Tree, tells the story of his struggle to overcome addiction with the help of the spiritual teachings and brotherly love of his elders.

Nabigon had spent much of his life wrestling with self-destructive impulses, feelings of inferiority and resentment, and alcohol abuse when Eddie Bellerose, an Elder, introduced him to the ancient Cree teachings. With the help of healing methods drawn from the Four Sacred Directions, the refuge and revitalization offered by the sweat lodge, and native cultural practices such as the use of the pipe Nabigon was able to find sobriety.

The Hollow Tree is one person's testament to the power of indigenous culture to heal. Herb Nabigon's healing journey guided him to a life of kindness, honesty, courage, and humility.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$17.95

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