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Cree (Nehiyawak)

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Lightfinder
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Lightfinder is a Young Adult fantasy novel about Aisling, a young Cree woman who sets out into the wilderness with her Kokum (grandmother), Aunty and two young men she barely knows.

They have to find and rescue her runaway younger brother, Eric. Along the way she learns that the legends of her people might be real and that she has a growing power of her own. The story follows the paths of Aisling and Eric, siblings unwittingly thrust into a millennia-old struggle for the future of life on earth. It deals with growing up, love and loss, and the choices life puts in our path. Love and confusion are in store, as are loss and pain. Things are not always what they seem and danger surrounds them at every turn. Will Raven's mysterious purposes prevail? With darkness closing in how will they find the light to guide them? Will Aisling find Eric in time?

Set in the Alberta landscape with references to real-world challenges faced by youth today, Lightfinder has proven to be a hit with young adults and adults alike. Lightfinder spent over 60 days in Amazon's Top 100 Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels in 2014.

Awards

  • Winner of the 2015 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature!

Reviews
"With an artist's eye and a storyteller's soaring imagination, Aaron Paquette has written a page-turner. I found myself rooting hard for Aisling, Eric and their beloved Kokum. This book is a hugely engaging cautionary tale: the stakes are high if we keep giving in to our appetites. But there is great light in Lightfinder. Congratulations, Aaron, on this strong debut." - Shelagh Rogers 

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 11-18

Additional Information
240 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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$22.00

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mâci-nêhiyawêwin: Beginning Cree
Format: Coil Bound
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Designed as an introduction for Cree language learners, Beginning Cree acts as a self-study aid--a much-needed resource in today's world where most students cannot speak Cree fluently. Basic grammar units and everyday vocabulary items guide the student through the building blocks of the language, and expansion drills and exercises reinforce lessons and prepare the student for further study. With over 100 delightful illustrations, Beginning Cree grounds the language in traditional and contemporary contexts.

Educator Information
This book is recommended for ages 12+.

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Nouns
Chapter Three: Prepositions and Pronouns
Chapter Four: Animate Intransitive Verbs
Chapter Five: Inanimate Intransitive Verbs
Chapter Six: Possessives: Kinship Terms
Chapter Seven: Transitive Inanimate Verbs
Chapter Eight: Transitive Animate Verbs
Verb Charts
Conjugation Patterns
Vocabulary List
Bibliography
Notes

The Canadian Indigenous Books for School list recommends this resource for Grades 1-12 for these subject areas: Indigenous Language Studies, Language Studies.

Additional Information
165 pages | 8.50" x 11.00" | black and white illustrations | spiral bound

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$34.95

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Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

A powerful story of resilience—a must-read for all Canadians.

Growing up in the tiny village of Smith, Alberta, Darrel J. McLeod was surrounded by his Cree family’s history. In shifting and unpredictable stories, his mother, Bertha, shared narratives of their culture, their family and the cruelty that she and her sisters endured in residential school. McLeod was comforted by her presence and that of his many siblings and cousins, the smells of moose stew and wild peppermint tea, and his deep love of the landscape. Bertha taught him to be fiercely proud of his heritage and to listen to the birds that would return to watch over and guide him at key junctures of his life. 

However, in a spiral of events, Darrel’s mother turned wild and unstable, and their home life became chaotic. Sweet and innocent by nature, Darrel struggled to maintain his grades and pursue an interest in music while changing homes many times, witnessing violence, caring for his younger siblings and suffering abuse at the hands of his surrogate father. Meanwhile, his sibling’s gender transition provoked Darrel to deeply question his own sexual identity. 

The fractured narrative of Mamaskatch mirrors Bertha’s attempts to reckon with the trauma and abuse she faced in her own life, and captures an intensely moving portrait of a family of strong personalities, deep ties and the shared history that both binds and haunts them. 

Beautifully written, honest and thought-provoking, Mamaskatch—named for the Cree word used as a response to dreams shared—is ultimately an uplifting account of overcoming personal and societal obstacles. In spite of the traumas of Darrel’s childhood, deep and mysterious forces handed down by his mother helped him survive and thrive: her love and strength stayed with him to build the foundation of what would come to be a very fulfilling and adventurous life.

Reviews
“Honestly stunning. McLeod’s clear writing lays bare his complicated ties to his family, his lovers and his country in a memoir that moved and haunted me. If you loved Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed, you will love Mamaskatch.” — Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster and Monkey Beach

“Reading the text was like diving into the eternity of dreams and being paralyzed by a nightmare. However, there is sunrise. Told candidly and with heartbreaking honesty, McLeod’s memoir shows how survival beckoned and he held on to the spirit of his ancestors—the love that no one can ever sever. He lives for all of us.— Louise Bernice Halfe, author of Burning in this Midnight Dream

“A compelling read that shows the heartbreaking results of imposed oppression. Darrel has identity problems of many kinds and the result is a life full of chaos. The gradual climb out of that dark place is touching.”— Bev Sellars, former councillor and chief of the Xat’sull First Nation and author of Price Paid.

“Mamaskatch is a profound and tender love song, an elegy to a wounded family, and an unsparing, exquisitely moving chronicle of growing up “Nehiyaw” (Cree). Like the birdsong his mother taught him to understand, McLeod’s voice is magical; it will lift and carry you through bone-breaking grief with grit, optimism and wry, life-saving humour. You will not leave this book unchanged.”— Denise Ryan, journalist, Vancouver Sun

"Darrel McLeod’s Mamaskatch is a heart-wrenching mîwâsin memoir full of vignettes that are so intricately woven that they guide you through with grace, sâkihiwêwin, humour, and maskihkîy. This is a narrative built through continuums that detail the lives of the McLeod family through their queer travails, trans realities, bannock and stew conversations, and a plethora of intergenerational traumas and triumphs. I can feel the warm embrace of the Three Sisters wrapping around me as I read this, that heart-drum beat resounding beneath its literary cadences, the frigidity of the Athabasca kissing my heels, and a narrator who teaches me from his very first passage in this novel that a good story is a medicine song that re-members and re-animates, in true nehiyawewin fashion, those who have paved the way for us and those who for whom we pave.  Ay-hay, Darrel, for this lovely work that lulls me back into those old-fashioned country songs that nearly every prairie kokôm raised us on. Mâmaskâc!"— Joshua Whitehead, author of Full-Metal Indigiqueer and Jonny Appleseed

Additional Information
240 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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$29.95

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Meet a Veterinarian: Candace Grier-Lowe
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

The inspiration Candace found in her parents allowed her to pursue her goal of becoming a veterinarian. She was raised in a strong Cree family on the Norway House Cree Nation, with the belief that family was the most important aspect of life. It is this strong sense of family, which Candace credits in helping her to understand the amazing bonds between families and their pets.

Perfect for high school guidance departments.

Series Information
The Career Path Choices series showcases young Canadian First Nation, Métis and Inuit people engaged in interesting careers. The series highlights these peoples' hard work and determination and some interesting facts about their profession.

Additional Information
15 pages

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$14.95

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Neechie Hustle
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

Neechie Hustle takes place largely on the fictitious Broken Elbow First Nation in Saskatchewan. The novel provides a satirical look at the Indian Act and also looks at the emergence of neechie swagger of the late 1960s and 1970s. The rise of Pinokineechie, a wooden Indian, sees the expansion of Chief's Fried Chicken, with Crees dancing at Studio 54. The Senator, who narrates the story, helps bring balance back to the bannock force and to the Broken Elbow reserve.

Neechie Hustle is based on characters McLeod wrote and created for the “Crow Hop Café” which was a showcase for Indigenous talent that ran in Saskatchewan from 2000 to 2004.

Reviews
"An entertaining mix of Indian Act critique and Indigenous humour makes Neechie Hustle an insightful romp through the living memory of reserve life from the 1940s to the 1970s, in a Cree storytelling style that recalls the guidance of the Old Keyam stories, but in McLeod’s unique and contemporary voice, which speaks to the resilience of our First Nations communities. In Bobby Boy’s words, 'You can take the neechie out of the hustle, but you can never take the hustle out of the neechie.'" - Jesse Archibald-Barber, editor of Kisiskâciwan: An Anthology of Saskatchewan Indigenous Literature.

Additional Information
200 pages | 5.50" x 8.00"

 

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$22.00

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Nobody Cries at Bingo
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

In Nobody Cries At Bingo, the narrator, Dawn, invites the reader to witness first hand Dumont family life on the Okanese First Nation. Beyond the sterotypes and clichés of Rez dogs, drinking, and bingos, the story of a girl who loved to read begins to unfold. It is her hopes, dreams, and indomitable humour that lay bear the beauty and love within her family. It is her unerring eye that reveals the great bond of family expressed in the actions and affections of her sisters, aunties, uncles, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, and ultimately her ancestors.

It’s all here — life on the Rez in rich technicolour — as Dawn emerges from home life, through school life, and into the promise of a great future. Nobody Cries At Bingo embraces cultural differences and does it with the great traditional medicine of laughter.

Educator Information
Young adult fiction.

Recommended English First Peoples resource for grades 11-12 in the unit What Creates Family.

Additional Information
136 pages | 5.48" x 8.48"

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$15.95

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Ohpikiihaakan-ohpihmeh — Raised Somewhere Else: A 60s Scoop Adoptee's Story of Coming Home
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

During the 60s Scoop, over 20,000 Indigenous children in Canada were removed from their biological families, lands and culture and trafficked across provinces, borders and overseas to be raised in non-Indigenous households. 

Ohpikiihaakan-ohpihmeh — Raised Somewhere Else delves into the personal and provocative narrative of Colleen Cardinal’s journey growing up in a non- Indigenous household as a 60s Scoop adoptee. Cardinal speaks frankly and intimately about instances of violence and abuse throughout her life, but this book is not a story of tragedy. It is a story of empowerment, reclamation and, ultimately, personal reconciliation. It is a form of Indigenous resistance through truth-telling, a story that informs the narrative on missing and murdered Indigenous women, colonial violence, racism and the Indigenous child welfare system.

Reviews
“With Canadians slowly awakening to the reality of the 60s Scoop and its ongoing repercussions, Cardinal’s inspiring work here is essential reading and will be an integral resource for generations to come.”— Waubgeshig Rice, author of Legacy

“Offers a window through which readers can see why cultural suppression is such a dark chapter in Canada’s history.”— Winnipeg Free Press

“I highly recommend reading this story for anyone interested in learning more about the Sixties Scoop and understanding what’s really happening under the stereotypes put on many Indigenous by those who do not truly understand.” — All Booked

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

Additional Information
214 pages | 6.00" x 9.00" | Foreward by Raven Sinclair

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$20.00

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Portraits of the North
Authors:
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

This gorgeous book offers an incomparable glimpse into the experiences and history of more than one hundred First Nations and Métis elders from Canada’s North —“the last generation born on the land.” These stunning graphite pencil portraits are rendered with love, respect, and painstaking detail, along with gripping intimate profiles assembled from oral accounts and anecdotes. Their poignant facial features, lines, and creases, weathered by the harsh outdoors and a lifetime of challenges, are like badges of their remarkable achievements, sustained resolve, inspired patience, and deep-set defiance to the hardships their people have endured for generations. The masterful realism of Kuehl’s work helps uncover the tales of these seasoned individuals—their many triumphs and trials revealing in turn a greater portrait of life in the communities of Northern Canada, a compelling homage, and an enduring historical legacy. The portraits capture images of Cree, Ojibway, Oji-Cree, Dene and Métis peoples.

Additional Information
236 pages | 10.03" x 10.03"

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$29.95

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Rez Rebel
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
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.

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$12.95

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Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 10; 11;

The powerful, major book, acclaimed across Canada, from the great-great-granddaughter of Chief Big Bear and Rudy Wiebe, twice winner of the Governor General''s Award for Fiction. A story of justice and social injustices, of murder and morality, and of finding spiritual strength in events that might break us, told with redeeming compassion and poetic eloquence. Stolen Life is a raw, honest, and beautifully written account of the troubled society we live in, and a deeply moving affirmation of spiritual healing.

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$23.00

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Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

BASED ON A TRUE STORY!

A school assignment to interview a residential school survivor leads Daniel to Betsy, his friend's grandmother, who tells him her story. Abandoned as a young child, Betsy was soon adopted into a loving family. A few short years later, at the age of 8, everything changed. Betsy was taken away to a residential school. There she was forced to endure abuse and indignity, but Betsy recalled the words her father spoke to her at Sugar Falls — words that gave her the resilience, strength, and determination to survive.

Sugar Falls is based on the true story of Betty Ross, Elder from Cross Lake First Nation. We wish to achnowledge, with the utmost gratitude, Betty's generosity in sharing her story.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Sugar Falls goes to support the bursary program for The Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Foundation.

Reviews
"With the 7 Generations series, David Robertson and Scott Henderson burst onto the Canadian graphic novel scene with beautiful storytelling, scenes of brutal honesty, and messages of truth. With Sugar Falls they do it again, narrating a graceful and unforgettable story of resilience and power." - Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba

"…does an excellent job of handing difficult material. It’s important for youth to understand the struggles that Aboriginal people have faced in order to survive and to read survival stories. This is based on a true story and the main character, Betsy, is definitely a role model. I would include this book in my classroom at the secondary level. Whether or not you choose to include this material depends on your own ability to navigate the policies in your district regarding difficult material in the classroom and your own comfort level…" - Starleigh Grass, Educator, South Interior, BC

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 9-12.

Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples Resource for various units.

Saskatchewan Ministry of Education has approved this resource for English Language Arts.

Additional Information
40 pages | 6.50" x 10.00"

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$16.00

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Surviving the City
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Tasha Spillett’s graphic novel debut, Surviving the City, is a story about womanhood, friendship, colonialism, and the anguish of a missing loved one.

Miikwan and Dez are best friends. Miikwan is Anishinaabe; Dez is Inninew. Together, the teens navigate the challenges of growing up in an urban landscape – they’re so close, they even completed their Berry Fast together. However, when Dez’s grandmother becomes too sick, Dez is told she can’t stay with her anymore. With the threat of a group home looming, Dez can’t bring herself to go home and disappears. Miikwan is devastated, and the wound of her missing mother resurfaces. Will Dez’s community find her before it’s too late? Will Miikwan be able to cope if they don’t?

Awards

  • Winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award for Works in an Alternative Format
  • Co-winner of the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book by a Manitoba Author
  • Winner of the Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Award, Graphic Novel category

Educator & Series Information
Recommended Grades: 7-12.

This graphic novel is part of the Debwe Series.

Additional Information
56 pages | 6.50" x 10.00" 

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$18.95

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The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

The Education of Augie Merasty offers a courageous and intimate chronicle of life in a residential school.

Now a retired fisherman and trapper, Joseph A. (Augie) Merasty was one of an estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children who were taken from their families and sent to government-funded, church-run schools, where they were subjected to a policy of "aggressive assimiliation."

As Merasty recounts, these schools did more than attempt to mold children in the ways of white society. They were taught to be ashamed of their native heritage and, as he experienced, often suffered physical and sexual abuse.

Even as he looks back on this painful part of his childhood, Merasty’s generous and authentic voice shines through.

Awards

  • 2016 Burt Award Second Place Winner

Educator Information
The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 9-12 English Language Arts and Social Studies.

Caution: Mature subject matter and descriptions of discrimination, sexual/physical violence, and substance abuse.

Additional Information
105 pages | 4.25" x 6.50"

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$21.95

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Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Tilly has always known she’s part Lakota on her dad’s side. She’s grown up with the traditional teachings of her grandma, relishing the life lessons of her beloved mentor. But it isn’t until an angry man shouts something on the street that Tilly realizes her mom is Aboriginal, too—a Cree woman taken from her own parents as a baby.

Tilly feels her mother’s pain deeply. She’s always had trouble fitting in at school, and when her grandma dies unexpectedly, her anchor is gone. Then Abby, a grade seven classmate, invites her home for lunch and offers her “something special” to drink. Nothing has prepared Tilly for the tingling in her legs, the buzz in her head and the awesome feeling that she can do anything. From then on, partying seems to offer an escape from her insecurities. But after one dangerously drunken evening, Tilly knows she has to change. Summoning her courage, she begins the long journey to finding pride in herself and her heritage. Just when she needs it most, a mysterious stranger offers some wise counsel: “Never question who you are or who your people are. It’s in your eyes. I know it’s in your heart.”

Loosely based on author Monique Gray Smith’s own life, this revealing, important work of creative non-fiction tells the story of a young Indigenous woman coming of age in Canada in the 1980s. With compassion, insight and humour, Gray Smith illuminates the 20th-century history of Canada’s First Peoples—forced displacement, residen­tial schools, tuberculosis hospitals, the Sixties Scoop. In a spirit of hope, this unique story captures the irrepressible resilience of Tilly, and of Indigenous peoples everywhere.

Awards

  • 2014 Burt Award Winner

Reviews
“What a gorgeous read! Reminiscent of Lee Maracle’s Will’s Garden and Ruby Slipperjack’s Little Voice, Tilly will bring strength, comfort and peace to all who read it. Let it discover and inspire you, too. Wow! I've been waiting for a book like this for years. Mahsi cho, Monique Gray Smith, for digging so deep to create something so loving and nurturing for the world.” —Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed and The Moon of Letting Go

"Gray Smith intricately pieces together stories, traditional teachings and hard-earned personal wisdom, creating a hand-stitched quilt you can’t help but wrap yourself in—a quilt filled with optimism and the assurance that no matter how lost we are, hope, love and guidance surround us at every turn. Delicate with the handling of mature details, but fiercely candid with emotion, Tilly is an ideal resource not only for youth, but also for those who are easily triggered, while its universality will be appreciated by a wider audience. A brave new voice ready to take her place among the great contemporary storytellers, Gray Smith breaks her own trails as she explores what it means to be Indigenous in a modern world." —Christy Jordan-Fenton, author of Fatty Legs, A Stranger at Home and When I Was Eight

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 15-18.

Grades 10-12 English First Peoples resource for units on Childhood through the Eyes of Indigenous Writers and Exploring Text through Local Landscape.

Additional Information
208 pages | Ages 14+

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$19.95

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Tipiskawi Kisik: Night Sky Star Stories
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Like the night sky above, Tipiskawi Kisik holds a myriad of tales rooted in an Ininew (Cree) perspective. An exploration of stars and constellations—and their associated mythologies—will greet you with age-old knowledge held by Indigenous people prior to European contact. Through Wilfred Buck’s creative, spiritual, and intelligent understanding of the stars, it will be easy to imagine yourself flying inside the Milky Way with Niska (the Goose) or chasing Mista Muskwa (the Great Bear), just like Tepakoop Pinesisuk (the Seven Birds). Above all, these stories can be passed on to the next generation, so they will know of the rich history, science practices, and culture of the Ininew people.

Additional Information
This is a collection of short stories (approximately 25 pages long) with supporting artwork/illustrations. While not aimed at young readers in terms of reading level, this book would support educators in their teaching of Indigenous astronomy to younger audiences, especially since each short story would work well as a read aloud and includes useful illustrations/diagrams of the night sky.

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$9.95

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