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Canadian Aboriginal Resource Lists - Secondary

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

#IdleNoMore: And the Remaking of Canada
Authors:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

Idle No More bewildered many Canadians. Launched by four women in Saskatchewan in reaction to a federal omnibus budget bill, the protest became the most powerful demonstration of Aboriginal identity in Canadian history. Thousands of aboriginal people and their supporters took to the streets, shopping malls, and other venues, drumming, dancing, and singing in a collective voice.

It was a protest against generations of injustice, a rallying cry for cultural survival, and a reassertion of Aboriginal identity.

Idle No More lasted for almost a year, and then the rallies dissipated. Many observers described it as a spent force. It was anything but. Idle No More was the most profound declaration of Indigenous identity and confidence in Canadian history, sparked by Aboriginal women and their supporters, sustained by young Indigenous peoples, filled with pride and determination. When the drums slowed, a new and different Canada was left in its wake. Partially stunned by the peaceful celebrations, but perplexed by a movement that seemed to have no centre and no leaders, most Canadians missed the point.

Through Idle No More, Aboriginal people have declared that they are a vital and necessary part of Canada's future. The spirit of the drumming, singing and dancing lives on in empowered and confident young Aboriginal people who will shape the future of this country for decades to come.

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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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100 Days of Cree
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

As an Elder once said, "Learn one Cree word a day for 100 days, and emerge a different person."

In 100 Days of Cree, Neal McLeod offers us a portal into another way of understanding the universe--and our place within it--while demonstrating why this funny, vibrant, and sometimes salacious language is "the sexiest of them all" (according to Tomson Highway).

Based on a series of Facebook posts, the 100 short chapters or "days" in the book present a chain of related words, some dealing with the traditional--the buffalo hunt, the seasons--and others cheekily capturing the detritus of modern life--from Internet slang to Johnny Cash songs to Viagra.

The result is both an introduction to the most widely spoken Indigenous language in Canada and the opportunity to see the world, and ourselves, in another way.

Reviews
"The nonfiction book is divided into 100 themes and offers Cree words and English explanations for everything from traditional subjects such as powwows and medicine to modern subjects such as Facebook and Star Wars. It also includes a guide to pronunciation written by Arok Wolvengrey, a linguist and the author of a Cree-English dictionary. 'When we think about indigenous languages, there’s a part of us that thinks they’re dying languages, ' URP publisher Bruce Walsh said. 'And then this manuscript comes in that demonstrates a living, vital language.' McLeod said that he and Wolvengrey worked to keep a balance between traditional usage and modern adaptations. 'To revitalize our languages, we have to do two things: we have to document the classical terminology, because within that terminology are all of our metaphors and idioms; but we also have to think of how to put old words together, to coin words, to describe the contemporary world.'" — Laura Godfrey, Publishers Weekly

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325 pages | 5.50" x 7.00"

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21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

Based on a viral article, 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act is the essential guide to understanding the legal document and its repercussion on generations of Indigenous Peoples, written by a leading cultural sensitivity trainer.

Since its creation in 1876, the Indian Act has shaped, controlled, and constrained the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Peoples, and is at the root of many enduring stereotypes. Bob Joseph’s book comes at a key time in the reconciliation process, when awareness from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities is at a crescendo. Joseph explains how Indigenous Peoples can step out from under the Indian Act and return to self-government, self-determination, and self-reliance—and why doing so would result in a better country for every Canadian. He dissects the complex issues around truth and reconciliation, and clearly demonstrates why learning about the Indian Act’s cruel, enduring legacy is essential for the country to move toward true reconciliation.

Reviews
"Increasing Canadians' knowledge about the terrible foundation this country has been built on is a critical part of reconciliation. Bob Joseph has highlighted some of the unbelievable provisions of the Indian Act and how they have impacted First Nations in Canada and gives a brief overview of what we may replace it with going forward. His book provides helpful context to the dialogue that needs to take place in Canada." — Kim Baird, O.C., O. B. C.; Owner, Kim Baird Strategic Consulting; Member of the Tsawwassen First Nation; Negotiator of the Tsawwassen First Nation Treaty

"From declaring cultural ceremonies illegal, to prohibiting pool hall owners from granting Indigenous people entrance, from forbidding the speaking of Indigenous languages, to the devastating policy that created residential schools, Bob Joseph reveals the hold this paternalistic act, with its roots in the 1800s, still has on the lives of Indigenous people in Canada in the 21st century. This straightforward book is an invaluable resource. There is much for non-Indigenous people to learn and to do. But equally important, there is much to unlearn and to undo. The time is right for this book. Thank you, Bob Joseph. Gilakasla." — Shelagh Rogers, O.C.; Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Honourary Witness

"Bob’s ability to navigate the complex history of the Indian Act is a wonder to behold. He provides depth and knowledge for Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars alike. Whether you are an Indigenous scholar or a neophyte, his articulate, insightful and comprehensive analysis on the history of the Indian Act provides a sound understanding on the present narrative of Indigenous peoples in Canada. By way of the Indian Act, this book provides an excellent analysis of the ongoing relationship and predicament between provincial and federal governments and Indigenous peoples in the 21st century." — JP Gladu, President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Educator Information
Recommended in the Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools 2019-2020 resource list as being useful for grades 4-12 and as a teacher resource in these subject areas: English Language Arts and Social Studies.

Additional Information
160 pages | 5.22" x 8.05"

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$19.95

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7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

The 7 Generations series is available in one book, and the illustrations are in vivid colour. 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga includes the four graphic novels: Stone, Scars, Ends/Begins, and The Pact.

Edwin is facing an uncertain future. Only by learning about his family's past—as warriors, survivors of a smallpox epidemic, casualties of a residential school—will he be able to face the present and embrace the future.

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A Day With Yayah
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: Preschool; Kindergarten; 1; 2;

Set in the Okanagon, BC, a First Nations family goes on an outing to forage for herbs and mushrooms. Grandmother passes down her knowledge of plant life to her young grandchildren.

Educator Information
Recommended for grades K-2 for the following subjects: Art Education, English Language Arts, Social Studies.

This resource offers a glimpse into the Nłeʔkepmx of the Nicola Valley in BC's Interior.  A glossary of Nłeʔkepmxcin words appears at the back of the book.

Additional Information
32 pages | 9.25" x 10.25" | colour illustrations

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A Difficult Beauty
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

David Groulx’s latest collection offers his readers a handful of poems as cutting and brilliant as glass shards, offering glimpses of the anger, pain and lost beauties of his ancestors. These poems cut deep with their clear-eyed honesty, their stripped away pain and suffering. A subtle weaving of black humour and fleeting touches of beauty, as well at the careful craftsmanship of the writing make these poems iconic. This is a collection that should not be missed.

Reviews
"This collection of poetry is a passionate snapshot of poignant aspects of life on the rez depicted in simple scenes that are propelled forward with a sparse economy of language. It is little wonder that Groulx has won awards for his poetry and it has appeared globally in over one hundred periodicals." - Canadian Literature

 

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A Feast for All Seasons: Traditional Native Peoples' Cuisine
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

Traditional North American Native peoples' cuisine has existed for centuries, but its central tenet of respecting nature and its bounty have never been as timely as they are now. Andrew George, of the Wet'suwet'en Nation in Canada, is a well-respected aboriginal chef and instructor who has spent the last twenty-five years promoting the traditions of First Nations food. In A Feast for All Seasons, written with Robert Gairns, he has compiled aboriginal recipes that feature ingredients from the land, sea, and sky, elements of an enduring cuisine that illustrate respect for the environment and its creatures, and acknowledgment of the spiritual power that food can have in our lives. The 120 recipes include delectable, make-at home dishes such as Salmon and Fiddlehead Stirfry, Stuffed Wild Duck, Barbecued Oysters, Pan-fried Rabbit with Wild Cranberry Glaze, Clam Fritters, and Wild Blueberry Cookies. The book also features recipes with exotic ingredients that provide a fascinating glimpse into the history of Native cuisine: Moose Chili, Boiled Porcupine, Smoked Beaver Meat, and Braised Bear. This unique cookbook pays homage to an enduring food culture?grounded in tradition and the power of nature?that transcends the test of time.

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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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A Girl Called Echo, Vol 2: Red River Resistance
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis;
Grade Levels: 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Echo Desjardins is adjusting to her new home, finding friends, and learning about Métis history. She just can’t stop slipping back and forth in time. One ordinary afternoon in class, Echo finds herself transported to the banks of the Red River in the summer of 1869. All is not well in the territory as Canadian surveyors have arrived to change the face of territory, and Métis families, who have lived there for generations, are losing access to their land. As the Resistance takes hold, Echo fears for her friends and the future of her people in the Red River Valley.

Educator & Series Information
Recommended for grades 5 to 9.

Red River Resistance is volume two in the graphic novel series, A Girl Called Echo, by Katherena Vermette.

Recommended in the Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools 2019-2020 resource list as being useful for grades 5-12 with regard to these subjects: English Language Arts, Art Education, Social Studies.

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47 pages | 6.50" x 10.00"

 

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A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

“It can start with a knock on the door one morning. It is the local Indian agent, or the parish priest, or, perhaps, a Mounted Police officer… The officials have arrived and the children must go.”

So began the school experience of many Indigenous children in Canada for more than a hundred years, and so begins the history of residential schools prepared by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

Between 2008 and 2015, the TRC provided opportunities for individuals, families, and communities to share their experiences of residential schools and released several reports based on 7,000 Survivor statements and 5 million documents from government, churches, and schools, as well as a solid grounding in secondary sources.

A Knock on the Door, published in collaboration with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), gathers material from the TRC reports to present the essential history and legacy of residential schools and inform the journey to reconciliation that Canadians are now embarked upon. An afterword introduces the holdings and opportunities of the NCTR, home to the archive of recordings and documents collected by the TRC.

Survivor and former National Chief of the Assembly First Nations, Phil Fontaine, provides a Foreword, and an Afterword introduces the holdings and opportunities of the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation, home to the archive of recordings, and documents collected by the TRC.

As Aimée Craft writes in the Afterword, knowing the historical backdrop of residential schooling and its legacy is essential to the work of reconciliation. In the past, agents of the Canadian state knocked on the doors of Indigenous families to take the children to school. Now, the Survivors have shared their truths and knocked back. It is time for Canadians to open the door to mutual understanding, respect, and reconciliation.

Reviews
“The attempt to transform us failed. The true legacy of the survivors, then, will be the transformation of Canada.” – Phil Fontaine, from the Foreword

A Knock on the Door is a book that I hope every Canadian will read, and read deeply. The transformation of this country begins with acknowledging what happened after that knock on the door. Acknowledging, understanding the implications, and then resolving to do something for positive change. It’s right that the TRC Calls to Action are included, for we are all called to action.” – Shelagh Rogers, O.C., TRC Honorary Witness

"Seven volumes from a nationwide inquiry into the legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools have been condensed into a compelling book that is both accessible and well-documented. The central conclusion—that the schools were part of a deliberate cultural genocide policy aimed at the continent’s first peoples, spearheaded by the Canadian government with the support of mainline churches —is clearly supported by historical references, gut-wrenching personal stories, and a thorough analysis of a system that forcibly removed indigenous children from their families.” – Publishers Weekly 

Educator Information
This book is recommended for grade 11 and 12 students for courses in social studies and social justice (also useful for college/university students in courses of a similar nature).  This book is also a useful teacher resource.

Caution: physical and sexual abuse is discussed in this book.

Additional Information
Edited and Abridged | 296 pages | 5.50" x 8.50" | 11 b&w photographs | maps | bibliography

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A Matter of Conscience
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

A novel of love and betrayal dealing with the biggest issues facing Canada’s Indigenous peoples today.

In the summer of 1972, a float plane carrying a team of child welfare officials lands on a river flowing through the Yellow Dog Indian reserve. Their mission is to seize the twin babies of an Indigenous couple as part of an illegal scheme cooked up by the federal government to adopt out tens of thousands of Native children to white families. The baby girl, Brenda, is adopted and raised by a white family in Orillia.

Meanwhile, that same summer, a baby boy named Greg is born to a white middle-class family. At the age of eighteen, Greg leaves home for the first time to earn money to help pay for his university expenses. He drinks heavily and becomes embroiled in the murder of a female student from a residential school.

The destinies of Brenda and Greg intersect in this novel of passion, confronting the murder and disappearance of Indigenous women and the infamous Sixties Scoop.

Reviews
"James Bartleman, a First Nation person himself, writes movingly … about the tragic reality of misogynistic racism and violence against Indigenous women and girls." — Sharon Stinson Henry, Chief of Chippewas of Rama First Nation

Forces us to confront uncomfortable truths as we seek a path to reconciliation. — Alan Bowker, author of A Time Such as There Never Was Before

Bartleman’s strength as a writer is his compassion. He respects each of his characters and sets the stage for real-world discussions of Canada’s past, present, and future. — Publishers Weekly

Educator Information
A Reader's Guide includes discussion of Sixties Scoop and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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

Caution: Thi book could trigger some readers because of disturbing topics.

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272 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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$24.99

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A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System
Authors:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: University/College;

“I am going to tell you how we are treated. I am always hungry.” — Edward B., a student at Onion Lake School (1923)

“[I]f I were appointed by the Dominion Government for the express purpose of spreading tuberculosis, there is nothing finer in existence than the average Indian residential school.” — N. Walker, Indian Affairs Superintendent (1948)

For over 100 years, thousands of Aboriginal children passed through the Canadian residential school system. Begun in the 1870s, it was intended, in the words of government officials, to bring these children into the “circle of civilization,” the results, however, were far different. More often, the schools provided an inferior education in an atmosphere of neglect, disease, and often abuse.

Using previously unreleased government documents, historian John S. Milloy provides a full picture of the history and reality of the residential school system. He begins by tracing the ideological roots of the system, and follows the paper trail of internal memoranda, reports from field inspectors, and letters of complaint. In the early decades, the system grew without planning or restraint. Despite numerous critical commissions and reports, it persisted into the 1970s, when it transformed itself into a social welfare system without improving conditions for its thousands of wards. A National Crime shows that the residential system was chronically underfunded and often mismanaged, and documents in detail and how this affected the health, education, and well-being of entire generations of Aboriginal children.

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A Night for the Lady
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

A Night for the Lady explores the terrain of poetry conversation. Each poem arises from conversations with poets, colleagues and intimate friends. They range from a 1998 conversation on healing programs and the fundamentals of world change to a sequence of recent indigenous literary events on the prairies. Within the context of these conversations, an exploration emerges of the roles of woman within local as well as historic literary and global situations. The poems draw together diverse figures from world literature, world religions and myths to lay open the experience of human beings within the “brown-feminine.” Identifying and synthesizing connections across a wide palette of human experience, this collection challenges the divisions of personal and global, indigenous and “everyone else,” all the while celebrating both the humanity and the divinity of the Lady. Playful, erotic and occasionally harrowing, this collection bundles together experimental and inspirational work from a longstanding voice of conscience in Canadian letters. Once again, Arnott carries us into the most intimate terrain, casts her net widely, catches us up.

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A Really Good Brown Girl
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Deluxe redesign of the Gerald Lampert Award-winning classic.

This edition of A Really Good Brown Girl features a new Introduction by Lee Maracle, a new Afterword by the author, and a new cover and design by the renowned typographer Robert Bringhurst.

First published in 1996, A Really Good Brown Girl is a fierce, honest and courageous account of what it takes to grow into one's self and one's Métis heritage in the face of myriad institutional and cultural obstacles. It is an indispensable contribution to Canadian literature.

"No other book so exonerates us, elevates us and at the same time indicts Canada in language so eloquent it almost hurts to hear it." --Lee Maracle, from the Introduction

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112 pages | 6.00" x 8.50"

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$20.00

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