Browse Books for Teens

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Content Territory: Nisga'a
Award-winning Nisga’a poet Jordan Abel’s second collection of poetry, Un/inhabited, maps the terrain of the public domain to create a layered investigation of the interconnections between language and land.

Abel constructed the book’s source text by compiling in their entirety ninety-one western novels found on the website Project Gutenberg, an online archive of works whose copyright has expired. Using his word processor’s Ctrl-F function, he searched the compilation for words that relate to the political and social aspects of land, territory, and ownership. Each search query represents a study in context (How was this word deployed? What surrounded it? What is left over once that word is removed?) accumulating toward a representation of the public domain as a discoverable and inhabitable body of land.

Featuring a text by independent curator Kathleen Ritter – the first piece of scholarship on Abel’s work – Un/inhabited reminds us of the power of language as material and invites us to reflect on what is present in the empty space when we see nothing.

Uncommon Clay: The Labradoria Mural
Author: Dorrie Brown
Format: Paperback
In November of 2006, the Labrador Creative Arts Festival invited Lynda Faulks, a national award-winning art educator, to teach a short course in bas relief clay work.

In four days, nineteen inspired students had created nineteen Labrador-inspired tiles, something that usually takes a month to achieve. From January to June, 2007, Dorrie Brown, an art teacher in her own right, continued this project, carrying clay, tools and more inspiration to thirty-five other young Labrador artists, age twelve to eighteen, spread from Nain in the north to Cartwright in the south.

Uncommon Clay gives life to images, which gives life to stories, which whisper and breathe from walls that remember and celebrate.

Fifty-four young artists. Fifty-four tiles. Thirteen communities. Images of Innu, Metis and European heritage intermingled. This is the Labradoria Mural. This is the mosaic that is Labrador.

Each image has a story. These images, these stories, now in common clay, are forever. And these images, these stories, will be admired, considered, treasured, and heard by all who understand their uncommon nature.

Understanding Wetlands: A Wetland Handbook for British Columbia's Interior
Format: Coil Bound
Wetlands, considered some of the most productive ecological systems on earth, provide habitat for a remarkable variety of wildlife and perfom ecological functions which are vital to sustaining healthy landscapes. Understanding Wetlands was produced to meet the growing need of land managers and the general public for information on British Columbia's Interior wetlands. This handbook provides basic information on the values and functions of wetlands, focusing on 42 key wetland and riparian plants, and identifies plants which are indicators of health or degraded habitat. Striving to give the reader a better understanding of wetland plant communities and the habitat they provide for wildlife, this volume describes the breeding and feeding habitat of wetland-dependent birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, fish and invertebrates. Understanding Wetlands includes over 190 colour photographs and illustrations.

Unikkaaqtuat: An Introduction to Inuit Myths and Legends
Format: Paperback
This exhaustive story collection makes the rich tradition of Inuit storytelling accessible to the rest of Canada for the first time. From creation myths to animal fables, Unikkaaqtuat gives non-Inuit readers a thorough introduction to the world of Inuit traditional stories. This definitive collection of legends and myths is thoughtfully introduced and carefully annotated to provide the historical and cultural context in which to understand this rich oral tradition.

Unjust Society
Author: Harold Cardinal
Format: Paperback
Aboriginal people in Canada took hope with the election of Trudeau’s Liberals in 1968. They were outraged when the Paper introduced by Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Jean Chretien a year later amounted to an assimilation program: repeal of the Indian Act, the transfer of Indian affairs to the provinces, the elimination of separate legal status for native people. The Unjust Society, Cree leader Harold Cardinal’s stinging rebuttal, was an immediate best-seller, and it remains one of the most important ever published. Possessed of a wicked gift for satire, Cardinal summed up the government’s approach as “The only good Indian is a non-Indian.” He coined the term “buckskin curtain” to describe the barriers that indifference, ignorance and bigotry had placed in the way of his people. He insisted on his right to remain “a red tile in the Canadian mosaic. Above all, he called for radical changes in policy on aboriginal rights, education, social programs and economic development.

Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada
Author: Paulette Regan
Format: Paperback
In 2008 the Canadian government apologized to the victims of the notorious Indian residential school system, and established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose goal was to mend the deep rifts between Aboriginal peoples and the settler society that engineered the system. In Unsettling the Settler Within, Paulette Regan, a former residential-schools-claims manager, argues that in order to truly participate in the transformative possibilities of reconciliation, non-Aboriginal Canadians must undergo their own process of decolonization. They must relinquish the persistent myth of themselves as peacemakers and acknowledge the destructive legacy of a society that has stubbornly ignored and devalued Indigenous experience. With former students offering their stories as part of the truth and reconciliation processes, Regan advocates for an ethos that learns from the past, making space for an Indigenous historical counter-narrative to avoid perpetuating a colonial relationship between Aboriginal and settler peoples. A powerful and compassionate call to action, Unsettling the Settler Within inspires with its thoughtful and personal account of Regan's own journey, and offers all Canadians -- Indigenous and non-Indigenous policymakers, politicians, teachers, and students -- a new way of approaching the critical task of healing the wounds left by the residential school system.

Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History
Format: Paperback

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

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

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

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

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

Urban Tribes: Native Americans in the City
Content Territory: Various
Format: Paperback
The majority of Natives in North America live "off the rez." How do they stay rooted to their culture? How do they connect with their community?

Urban Tribes offers unique insight into this growing and often misperceived group. This anthology profiles young urban Natives and how they connect with Native culture and values in their contemporary lives.

Their stories are as diverse as they are. From a young Dene woman pursuing an MBA at Stanford University to a Pima photographer in Phoenix to a Mohawk actress in New York City, these urban Natives share their unique insight to bridge the divide between their past and their future, their cultural home, and their adopted cities.

Unflinchingly honest and deeply moving, the contributors explore a wide range of topics: from the trials and tribulations of dating in the city to the alienating experience of leaving a remote reserve to attend high school in the city, from the mainstream success of the Electric Pow Wow music genre to the humiliation of racist school mascots.

Each of the personal perspectives helps to illuminate larger political issues. An innovative and highly visual design offers a dynamic reading experience.

Ages 11 - 18

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