Book List

Publishers from across Canada have been generously supporting From the Heart by sending us copies of their books written by Aboriginal authors and by non-Aboriginal authors who write on the work of decolonizing.  We have received dozens of fiction and non-fiction titles, poetry, plays, artbooks, children’s books, comic books, and graphic novels. The cast has been learning from these resources as we create the script for the show. We will have these books available for the audience members to browse through in the “Heart” chamber at the centre of the labyrinth. You will be invited to sip your tea as you leaf through the pages of these books and we’ll provide note cards in case you want to jot down the names of books and authors you want to spend more time with on your own. 

Here is a list of books you may use to start your reading journey right away. Click on the titles to go to each publisher’s website page for that book. From the Heart is partnering with the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL), and during Aboriginal History Month in June you can look for displays of Aboriginal materials in every library branch. Many of the books on this list can be found in their collection as well as in the UVic library where you can get a Community Card to borrow books even if you’re not one of their students. Where you see the links (GVPL, UVic), click on them to visit the library catalogue page for that book.

If there is a book that had an important influence on you, that opened your eyes to understanding Aboriginal cultural perspectives in a new way, let us know what it is and we’ll add it to the list so that others may find it here.

Aboriginal Healing Foundation

     Speaking My Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation and Residential Schools edited by Shelagh Rogers, Mike DeGagné and Jonathan Dewar

Drawing from the Aboriginal Healing Foundation’s three-volume series Truth and Reconciliation—which comprises the titles From Truth to Reconciliation; Response, Responsibility, and Renewal; and Cultivating Canada—acclaimed veteran broadcast-journalist and host of The Next Chapter on CBC Radio Shelagh Rogers joins series editors Mike DeGagné and Jonathan Dewar to present these selected reflections, in reader format, on the lived and living experiences and legacies of Residential Schools and, more broadly, reconciliation in Canada. This collection of essays returns us to the proper work of dialogue, answering some questions but inevitably, and necessarily, provoking more.   

 Adaawx Publishing 

     First Nations 101 by Lynda Gray

Author Lynda Gray endeavours to leave readers with a better understanding of the shared history of First Nations and non-First Nations people, and ultimately calls upon all of us – individuals, communities, and governments – to play active roles in bringing about true reconciliation between First Nations and non-First Nations people.  GVPL   UVic   

Anchor Canada        

     Keeper’n Me by Richard Wagamese

By turns funny, poignant and mystical, Keeper’n Me reflects a positive view of Native life and philosophy — as well as casting fresh light on the redemptive power of one’s community and traditions.  GVPL   UVic

     Our Story: Aboriginal Voices on Canada’s Past  by Maria Campbell • Tantoo Cardinal •  Tomson Highway • Drew Hayden Taylor • Basil Johnston • Thomas King •  Brian Maracle • Lee Maracle • Jovette Marchessault • Rachel Qitsualik      

A collection of original stories written by some of the country’s most celebrated Aboriginal writers, and inspired by pivotal events in the country’s history.  GVPL   UVic

Annick Press

     Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes     

The moving memoir of an Inuit girl who emerges from a residential school with her spirit intact. A perfect companion to the study of First Nations issues, this story helps readers empathize with a real person whose determination never waivers in the face of adversity.  GVPL   UVic  

Arbeiter Ring           

     Dancing On Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence by Leanne Simpson        

Challenging and original, Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back provides a valuable new perspective on the struggles of Indigenous Peoples. This work is alive with insight and creativity. Simpson’s words dance through the heart of Anishinaabe resurgence with hope, grace and beauty. It is a must read for everyone interested in re-energizing Indigenous movement throughout Turtle Island.  GVPL   UVic  

     Lighting The Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence, and Protection of Indigenous Nations edited by Leanne Simpson 

This remarkable collection of essays by leading Indigenous scholars focuses on the themes of freedom, liberation and Indigenous resurgence as they relate to the land. They analyze treaties, political culture, governance, environmental issues, economy, and radical social movements from an anti-colonial Indigenous perspective in a Canadian context.  UVic  

     This Is An Honour Song: Twenty Years Since the Blockades by Leanne Simpson and Kiera L. Ladner    

This is an Honour Song is a collection of narratives, poetry, and essays exploring the broad impact of the 1990 resistance at Kanehsatà:ke, otherwise known as the “Oka Crisis.” The book is written by leading Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, scholars, activists and traditional people, and is sung as an Honour Song celebrating the commitment, sacrifices, and achievements of the Kanien’kehaka individuals and communities involved.  GVPL   UVic  

     The Red Indians: An Episodic, Informal Collection of Tales from the History of Aboriginal People’s Struggles in Canada by Peter Kulchyski

The Red Indians is a theoretically nuanced, frank, and accessible book about Aboriginal resistance in Canada, historical and contemporary. In the manner of Eduardo Galeano’s famous trilogy Memories of Fire, the book uncovers a critical, living history of conflict. The book introduces readers to the history of colonial oppression in Canada, and looks at contemporary examples of resistance. Kulchyski clarifies the unique and specific politics of Aboriginal resistance in Canada.  GVPL   UVic

     Dishonour of the Crown: The Ontario Resource Regime in the Valley of the Kiji Sibi  by Paula Sherman

The territory of the Omàmìwinini (Algonquin) peoples of southern Ontario is rich with natural resources. Yet for more than four centuries, the Algonquin have been economically and politically marginalized, while corporate and foreign interests profited from their land. In 2006, one community discovered that 26,000 acres had been staked for uranium exploration — land they never surrendered to the Crown through any treaty or negotiations. Facing a development process that included no consultation nor environmental assessment the Algonquin people began working with a broad-based coalition to oppose the project. The government and the exploration company have never provided scientific or scholarly evidence that the uranium project is safe. The community began conducting its own research and in this book, tells its side of the story.  UVic  

     Aboriginal, Northern, and Community Economic Development: Papers and Retrospectives by John Loxley

John Loxley has worked in community economic development as a practitioner, advisor, teacher and scholar for over 30 years. The wealth of that experience is reflected in this book, which grapples with the conceptual and political complexities of addressing northern and Aboriginal poverty. Loxley examines a number of possible approaches to economic development, placing each within a broader theoretical and policy perspective, and considering its growth potential and class impact. Accessible and theoretically sophisticated, the book blends international development theory with northern Canadian and Aboriginal realities. It includes an important chapter on traditional Aboriginal values and culture and their relationship to the land. 

Arsenal Pulp Press

     The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book by Gord Hill

This powerful and historically accurate graphic portrayal of Indigenous resistance to the European colonization of the Americas, begins with the Spanish invasion under Christopher Columbus and ends with the Six Nations land reclamation in Ontario in 2006. Gord Hill spent two years unearthing images and researching historical information to create The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book, which presents the story of Aboriginal resistance in a far-reaching format. With strong, plain language and evocative illustrations, The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book documents the fighting spirit and ongoing resistance of Indigenous peoples through 500 years of genocide, massacres, torture, rape, displacement, and assimilation: a necessary antidote to the conventional history of the Americas.  GVPL   UVic  

Borealis Press

     My Heart Shook Like A Drum What I Learned at the Indian Mission Schools, Northwest Territories by Alice Blondin-Perrin

Like many Aboriginal children, Alice Blondin-Perrin was taken from her family and placed, in accordance with government policy, in a church-run Indian residential school. Alice was four years old when she was taken from her home, and spent the next six years at school, not even going home for the summer. She has, with courage and generosity, written her story in the hope of helping other former students deal with the trauma—which for many included physical and sexual abuse—of the residential school system. She devotes the last part of the book to speak directly to other former students, encouraging them to seek help and providing advice on how to do so.  UVic  

Brick Books

     A Really Good Brown Girl by Marilyn Dumont                                                     

Marilyn Dumont’s Metis heritage offers her challenges that few of us welcome. Here she turns them to opportunities: in a voice that is fierce, direct, and true, she explores and transcends the multiple boundaries imposed by society of the self. These are Indian poems; Canadian poems; human poems.  GVPL   UVic

Broadview Press

     Native Poetry In Canada: A Contemporary Anthology edited by Jeannette Armstrong and Lally Grauer 

This book is the only collection of its kind.  It brings together the poetry of many authors whose work has not previously been published in book form alongside that of critically-acclaimed poets, thus offering a record of Native cultural revival as it emerged through poetry from the 1960s to the present.  The poets included here adapt English oratory and, above all, a sense of play.  Native Poetry in Canada suggests both a history of struggle to be heard and the wealth of Native cultures in Canada today.  GVPL   UVic

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives 

     Feminism FOR REAL: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism by Jessica Yee           

Jessica Yee is a self-described “Two Spirit multi-racial Indigenous hip hop feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter”. Against a backdrop exposing a 500+ year legacy of colonization and oppression, Feminism FOR REAL explores what has led us to the existence of “feminism”, who gets to decide what it is, and why. With stories that make the walls of academia come tumbling down, it deals head-on with the conflicts of what feminism means in theory as opposed to real life, the frustrations of trying to relate to definitions of feminism that never fit no matter how much you try to  change yourself to fit them, and the anger of changing a system while  being in the system yourself.  UVic

     The Gifts Within: Carrying Each Other Forward in Aboriginal Education by Rebecca Priegert Coulter

This timely volume explores Aboriginal education from the perspectives of those who work within it. The book covers a range of topics relevant to discussions about First Nation education in Canada today and is written in an accessible style by educators for teachers, parents and others interested in the education of Aboriginal children and youth. The collection includes stories from Elders about their experiences of schooling, reflections on and practical materials for language reclamation and revitalization, examples of positive approaches to teaching in First Nation classrooms, and descriptions of successful programming in secondary schools.  UVic

Canadian Scholars’ Press/The Women’s Press

     Enough is Enough: Aboriginal Women Speak Out as told to Janet Silman

A small group of women from a reserve called Tobique embarrassed the Canadian government in front of the world and brought the plight of Native women and Native experience to the eyes of millions. These are their stories about growing up Native and female. It is the story of a struggle to end one hundred years of legislated sexual discrimination against Native women in Canada. Their struggle started with the occupation of a band office, continued with a hundred-mile march to Ottawa, and ended up in the United Nations.  GVPL   UVic

Codasat Canada/University of Nebraska Press

     Halfbreed by Maria Campbell

For Maria Campbell, a Métis (“Halfbreed”) in Canada, the brutal realities of poverty, pain, and degradation intruded early and followed her every step. Her story is a harsh one, but it is told without bitterness or self-pity. It is a story that begins in 1940 in northern Saskatchewan and moves across Canada’s West, where Maria roamed in the rootless existence of day-to-day jobs, drug addiction, and alcoholism. Her path strayed ever near hospital doors and prison walls. It was Cheechum, her Cree great-grandmother, whose indomitable spirit sustained Maria Campbell through her most desperate times. Cheechum’s stubborn dignity eventually led the author to take pride in her Métis heritage, and Cheechum’s image inspired her in her drive for her own life, dignity; and purpose.  GVPL   UVic

Coteau Books           

     The Strength of Women, Âhkamêyimowak by Priscilla Settee

Âhkamêyimowak is a Cree word which embodies the strength that drives women to persevere, flourish, and work for change within their communities. Women are the unsung heroes of their communities, often using minimal resources to challenge oppressive structures and create powerful alternatives in the arts, education, and the workplace.

The stories included here are by women with vision, who inspire and lead those who have lived in their midst. Stories are a means of transmitting vital information from within community as well as to outside communities. Priscilla Settee, an Aboriginal scholar, educator, writer, and activist in Saskatchewan, has created a thought-provoking page turner which is a must-read for women of all beginnings.  UVic

     Bear Bones & Feathers by Louise Halfe

First Nations Cree writer Louise Bernice Halfe sets out to heal the past in this powerful first book of poetry.  Among her healing arts are Native symbolism and history, the memories of her childhood on the reserve, and her own dark brand of humour. Like Tomson Highway and Thomas King, Halfe is actively involved in reclaiming the long overlooked Native comedic tradition.  UVic

     Blue Marrow by Louise Halfe

Louise Halfe has listened with reverent attention to the beautiful, strong voices of her Cree grandmothers and has allowed her own voice to dance with theirs. Exuberant, disturbing, and always deeply moving, the resulting poems roar, whisper and sing on the page.  UVic

     The Crooked Good by Louise Halfe 

Louise Halfe revisits familiar aboriginal themes, but pushes them farther than she has before, in this third collection of her moving, powerful poetry. The ancestors speak through a Mother’s fireside stories, and the figure of Rolling Head recurs everywhere on the path – as nightmare, as conscience, as maternal lover.  UVic

     At Geronimo’s Grave  by Armand Ruffo

A collection of powerful, touching poems about aboriginal realities and consciousness.  With affection and concern, Armand Ruffo uses blunt, direct, language to examine the lives and experiences of people who struggle to make their way in a world that has no place for them. At Geronimo’s Grave is a love letter to a people trapped in the slow-moving vehicle of another culture which is taking them nowhere.                                                      

Douglas & Mcintyre

     Riel’s People: How the Métis Lived by Maria Campbell 

Noted Metis author Maria Campbell wrote the text for this children’s book about her ancestors. The text covers the history and origin of the Metis, hunting and trapping, the fur trade, family life, shelter, clothing, household articles, food, transportation, and the Riel Rebellions of 1869 and 1885. The text is well written and is organized for easy access for elementary level students. Campbell’s straightforward writing about her people and their history is well suited for young readers. This book is recommended for students in grades 3 to 8. (Note: out of print. Check your libraries and used bookstores).  UVic

     The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp

The Lesser Blessed is an eye-opening depiction of what it is to be a young Dogrib man in the age of AIDS, disillusionment with Catholicism and a growing world consciousness. Now a new Canadian motion pictureGVPL   UVic

     Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese  

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.  GVPL   UVic

     Inuit Modern: Art from the Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection     

A gorgeous retrospective on the transformation of Inuit art in the 20th century, mirroring the vast and poignant cultural changes in the North. Inuit art in the latter half of the 20th century reflects the reciprocal stimulus of contact with Euro-Canadians and embodies the evolution of a modern Inuit aesthetic that springs from an ancient cultural context, creating an exciting new hybridized art form.  GVPL   UVic

     One Native Life by Richard Wagamese

In One Native Life, Wagamese looks back down the road he has travelled in reclaiming his identity and talks about the things he has learned as a human being, a man and an Ojibway in his fifty-two years. Free of rhetoric and anger despite the horrors he has faced, Wagamese’s prose resonates with a peace that has come from acceptance. Acceptance is an Aboriginal principle, and he has come to see that we are all neighbours here. One Native Life is his tribute to the people, the places and the events that have allowed him to stand in the sunshine and celebrate being alive.  GVPL   UVic

     Maps and Dreams by Hugh Brody

Fascinating descriptions of daily life and the Indians’ dreams of hunting trails and of heaven alternate with a perceptive commentary on the history, politics and social conditions of northeastern British Columbia. Drawing on the author’s experiences of living with Beaver Indians, this book makes a significant contribution to social science and history, without depriving the reader of the pure enjoyment of fine writing and storytelling.  GVPL   UVic

     The Unjust Society by Harold Cardinal

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.  GVPL   UVic

     The Raven Steals The Light by Robert Bringhurst and Bill Reid

Ten masterful, complex drawings by Bill Reid are accompanied by ten episodes from Haida mythology told by Bill Reid and Robert Bringhurst. The result brings Haida art and mythology alive as never before in an English-speaking world.  GVPL   UVic

     Red: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

An innovative graphic novel, here is the epic tale of a Haida hero, his rage and his quest for retribution. Red blends traditional Haida imagery into a Japanese manga–styled story. Tragic and timeless, it is reminiscent of such classic stories as Oedipus RexMacbeth and King LearGVPL   UVic

 D & M Publishers/Greystone Books

     Flight Of The Hummingbird: A Parable for the Environment by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

The hummingbird parable, with origins in the Quechuan people of South America, has become a talisman for environmentalists and activists who are committed to making meaningful change in the world. This courageous little book features artwork by internationally renowned artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. His distinct and lively Haida Manga style engages perfectly with this inspirational story that encourages every individual to act on behalf of the world’s limited and precious resources.  GVPL   UVic

Dragon Heart Enterprises

     Canada’s War of Extermination on the Pacific by Tom Swanky

In Canada’s greatest catastrophe, perhaps 100,000 British Columbia natives died from smallpox during 1862/63. Before then, the First Nations were still sovereign. Afterward, British Columbia subjugated and dispossessed the depopulated First Nations through small wars billed as policing and by hanging several natives resisting colonialism. This is a detective story. It begins with the last action of the smallpox period, the hanging of five Tsilhqot’in Chiefs ambushed at a peace conference in 1864. The book then follows the smallpox trail back though the Tsilhqot’in War seeking its origin. It describes the smallpox carnage everywhere while seeking evidence of deliberate disease spreading. Does this trail lead to the Governor’s office as alleged?  GVPL   UVic

Drawn & Quarterly

     Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography by Chester Brown

Chester Brown reinvents the comic book medium to create the critically acclaimed historical biography Louis Riel, winning the Harvey Awards for best writing and best graphic novel for his compelling, meticulous, and dispassionate retelling of the charismatic, and perhaps insane, nineteenth-century Metis leader. Brown coolly documents with dramatic subtlety the violent rebellion on the Canadian prairie led by Riel, who some regard a martyr who died in the name freedom, while others consider him a treacherous murderer.  GVPL   UVic

Éditions Hurtubise

     Eshi Uapataman Nukum (How I see life, grandmother) by Rita Mestokosho

Rita Mestokosho was born in Ekuanitshit, which means, “Take care of the place where you are.” She wrote her first verses of poetry when she was only 16. Since then, this young Innu from Mingan has used writing to speak of her life, her values and her people. An intimate poet of great sensibility, Rita Mestokosho writes in French and is one of few Aboriginal poets to have published in Quebec.

Fernwood Publishing

     In Their Own Voices: Building Urban Aboriginal Communities by  Parvin Ghorayshi • Peter Gorzen • Joan Hay • Cyril Keeper • Darlene Klyne • Michael MacKenzie • Jim Silver • Freeman Simard

In Their Own Voices is an examination of the urban Aboriginal experience, based on the voices of Aboriginal people. It is set in Winnipeg’s inner city, but has implications for urban Aboriginal people across Canada. While not glossing over the problems that confront urban Aboriginal people, the book focuses primarily on innovative community-based solutions being created and run by and for urban Aboriginal people. In cities with significant Aboriginal populations, these strategies are the basis of a better future, for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike.  UVic

Fifth House Publishers/Fitzhenry & Whiteside

     Prison of Grass: Canada from a Native Point of View by Howard Adams

Originally published in 1975, this important book is now back in print in a revised and updated edition.  Since its first publication it has become a classic of revisionist history.  Bringing a Native viewpoint to the settlement of the West, Howard Adam’s book shook its readers.  What Native people had to say for themselves was quite different from the convenient picture of history that even the most sympathetic books by white authors had presented.  Until Adams’s book, the cultural, historical, and psychological aspects of colonialism for Native people had not been explored in depth.  GVPL   UVic

     The Rez Sisters by Tomson Highway          

This award-winning play by Native playwright Tomson Highway is a powerful and moving portrayal of seven women from a reserve attempting to beat the odds by winning at bingo.   And not just any bingo.  It is THE BIGGEST BINGO IN THE WORLD and a chance to win a way out of a tortured life. The Rez Sisters is hilarious, shocking, mystical and powerful, and clearly establishes the creative voice of Native theatre and writing in Canada today.  GVPL   UVic

     Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing by Tomson Highway

Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing tells another story of the mythical Wasaychigan Hill Indian Reserve, also the setting for Tomson Highway’s award winning play The Rez Sisters.  Wherein The Rez Sisters the focus was on seven “Wasy” women and the game of bingo, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasingfeatures seven “Wasy” men and the game of hockey.  It is a fast-paced story of tragedy, comedy, and hope.  GVPL   UVic

     Toronto at Dreamer’s Rock & Education is Our Right: Two One-Act Plays by Drew Hayden Taylor      

In these two one-act plays, Drew Taylor delves into the past and speculates about the future as he examines the dilemmas facing young Native Canadians today. Toronto at Dreamer’s Rock is a moving portrayal of a teenage boy who is torn between the traditions of his people, which he only vaguely understands, and the lure of modern life.  His magical encounters with two members of his tribe – one from 400 years in the past and one from the future – make him aware of how little he has thought about what it means to be an Indian. Education is Our Right borrows from the familiar story of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but in this version the spirits of Education Past, Present and Future attempt to show the Minister of Indian Affairs the error of his ways.  GVPL   UVic

Flanker Press

     Mi’sel Joe: An Aboriginal Chief’s Journey edited By Raoul R. Andersen and John K. Crellin

Mi’sel Joe is the traditional and administrative chief of Newfoundland’s Conne River Mi’kmaq Reserve. Through a series of taped interviews Mi’sel Joe tells his life story, including his unorthodox education through the many migratory jobs that took him as far west as Alberta. Mi’sel Joe also speaks of a community fighting for the right to determine its own future. He tells of the struggle to revitalize traditional values in the face of racial prejudice. He reveals the steps being taken by aboriginal leaders, both in this province and elsewhere, to help their people gain respect in a white man’s world without losing their own identity. Mi’sel Joe’s story is his own, but it is also a window into Mi’kmaq history, culture, and traditions.  UVic

Gabriel Dumont Institute

     The Stories Of The Road Allowance People  by Maria Campbell

A beautifully woven tapestry of Métis remembrances and story telling by Métis elders. Carefully translated into print, Campbell captures the true nature of the Métis people and their culture through stories that are delightfully illustrated with paintings by Sherry Farrell Racette. By retelling these stories using phonetically-correct vernacular of the Métis culture, Campbell is able to recreate a place and time in history.  UVic

     Howard Adams: OTAPAWY! By Hartmut Lutz

Visceral, passionate, and engaging, “Howard Adams: Otapawy!” provides an immense contribution to our knowledge of modern Metis political consciousness and activism. Howard Adams was a Metis icon. He will forever be remembered for developing Indigenous colonization theory for a Canadian context and for challenging how Canadian society perceives its relationship with Aboriginal peoples. To date, his books and essays are perhaps the most searing indictment of Canada’s failed colonial policy towards its First Peoples.

     Relatives With Roots written and illustrated by Leah Marie Dorion, translated by Rita Flamand  

This is a lovely story about a Grandmother and her Granddaughter leaving their bush camp to go out and pick medicine, all while learning about Métis traditions. It focuses on the harmony that exists in Métis tradition between people and the earth, specifically how respect must be given to our “relatives with roots”. It includes a couple of little stories about Wisakechak (the Cree trickster) that help to further the ancestral teachings that this book is based on. Dorion’s paintings are alive with colour, authenticity, and a timeless simplicity that will delight children and amaze adults.  GVPL  

     Stories of Our People/Lii zistwayr di la naasyoon di Michif: A Métis Graphic Novel Anthology by Norman Fleury • Gilbert Pelletier • Jeanne Pelletier • Joe Welsh • Norma Welsh • Janice DePeel • Carrie Saganace

Five illustrated stories in this graphic novel anthology mix Michif and English to blend Cree, Ojibway, and French-Canadian folklore. This anthology seeks to create a bridge between the oral storytelling tradition and print with illustrated stories, retold in prose versions, followed by transcripts of interviews with the storytellers. As well, two essays provide an introduction to the cultural stories, and references suggest further resources.

Groundwood Books

     Shi-Shi-Etko by Nicola I. Campbell, illustrated by Kim Lafave

A gently moving and poetic account of a child who finds solace all around her even though she is on the verge of great loss. For ages 4 to 7.  GVPL   UVIC

     Shin-chi’s Canoe by Nicola I. Campbell, illustrated by Kim Lafave

This moving sequel to the award-winning Shi-shi-etko tells the story of two children’s experience at residential school. Shi-shi-etko is about to return for her second year, but this time her six-year-old brother, Shin-chi, is going, too.  GVPL   UVic

     Ancient Thunder by Leo Yerxa

A beautiful and visionary book, Ancient Thunder celebrates wild horses and the natural world of the prairies. Using an extraordinary technique, Leo Yerxa, an artist of Ojibway ancestry, makes paper look like leather, so that his illustrations seem to be painted on leather shirts. The art is accompanied by a rich song of praise for the wild horses that came to play such an important role in the lives of the First Peoples. For ages 4 and up. Winner of the Governor General’s Award.  GVPL   UVic

     A Coyote Solstice Tale by Thomas King, illustrated by Gary Clement

Trickster Coyote experiences the pitfalls of excessive consumption in this comically irreverent solstice tale. Ages 5 to 8. Winner of the American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Awards, Best Picture Book.  GVPL

     As Long As The Rivers Flow by Lawrence A. Loyie and Constance Brissenden,   illustrated by Heather Holmlund

As Long as the Rivers Flow is the story of Larry Loyie’s last summer before entering residential school. It is a time of learning and adventure. He cares for an abandoned baby owl and watches his grandmother make winter moccasins. He helps the family prepare for a hunting and gathering trip. For Ages 8 and up. Winner of the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction.  UVic

     Alego Written and illustrated by Ningeokuluk Teeve

A beautifully simple story, written in Inuktitut and English, about a young Inuit girl who goes to the shore with her grandmother to collect clams for supper. Written and illustrated by Ningeokuluk Teevee, one of the most interesting young artists in Cape Dorset, home to the great tradition of Inuit art. This is an enchanting and utterly authentic introduction to the life of an Inuit child and her world. For ages 3 to 7.  GVPL  

Hancock House Publishers

     My Heart Soars by Chief Dan George, drawings by Helmut Hirnschall

A collection of memories, life stories, wisdom and poetry from the perspective of one of the nations most influential First Nation’s Chiefs.  GVPL  UVic

Harper Collins Canada

    Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King

Strong, sassy women and hard-luck, hard-headed men, all searching for the middle ground between Native American tradition and the modern world, perform an elaborate dance of approach and avoidance in this magical, rollicking tale by award-winning author Thomas King.  GVPL   UVic

     A Short History of Indians in Canada by Thomas King

Acclaimed author Thomas King is in fabulous, fantastical form in this bestselling short story collection. From the surreal migrations of the title story to the misadventures of Coyote in the modern world and the chaos of a baby’s unexpected arrival by airmail, King’s tales are deft, hilarious and provocative.  GVPL   UVic

The Healthy Aboriginal Network

     It Takes a Village by Zoe Hopkins, illustrated by Amancay Nahuelpan

This maternal child health book is about Lara, a young mom-to-be that is visited by Danis, a stranger. Danis teaches Lara the importance of eating healthy foods, avoiding alcohol, breastfeeding, keeping dad involved and bonding with your baby.

     An Invited Threat  by Steven Keewatin Sanderson

An Invited Threat is about a family’s realization that the food they eat and make available to their community is not good for them. It’s about making healthy decisions now, rather than waiting until it’s too late.

These are just two in a series of comic books produced by the Canada-based Healthy Aboriginal Network (HAN), a non-profit endeavour that promotes the health, literacy, and wellness of First Nations youth through the use of visual art as a medium to effect change. For more comic books published by The Healthy Aboriginal Network, click here        

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

     River Thieves by Michael Crummey

River Thieves is the riveting story of a group of European settlers of the New World in the early nineteenth century. Their misunderstandings and compromises have tragic consequences not only for their own community but also for the Beothuk, a people on the verge of extinction. With penetrating insight, Michael Crummey captures both the vast sweep of history and the intimate lives of those caught in its wake.  GVPL   UVic

House of Anansi Press

     The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative by Thomas King

Beginning with a traditional Native oral story, King weaves his way through literature and history, religion and politics, popular culture and social protest, gracefully elucidating North America’s relationship with its Native peoples. With keen perception and wit, King illustrates that stories are the key to, and only hope for, human understanding. He compels us to listen well. The essays that appear in the book are from the CBC Massey Lectures series, which are available on CD read by the author.  GVPL   UVic

Inanna Publications

     First Voices: An Aboriginal Women’s Reader edited by Patricia A. Monture and Patricia D. McGuire

This volume brings us the stories of wisdom keepers and artists, academics and activists, the women who have carried us, and the women who have fought for our freedom, who are working in different ways to bring about justice and healing for our people and our land. It is a work of love, and of great beauty.  GVPL   UVic

J. Gordon Shillingford

     fareWel by Ian Ross

Winner of the Governor General’s Award. Life is tense on the Partridge Crop Reserve. The Chief is in Las Vegas (again), the band is in receivership, and there’s a move on to unilaterally declare self–government. And now that the welfare cheques have gone missing, the people of this Fictional First Nation are forced to take control of their lives. fareWel is a raw and funny look at a group of ordinary people tackling some extraordinarily big issues.  UVic

     They Call Me Chief: Warriors on Ice by Don Marks           

They Call Me Chief tells the fascinating stories of Native athletes who overcame tremendous obstacles to star in the National Hockey League. From Fred Sasakamoose (Chief Running Deer on Skates), who emerged from the abuse of Canada’s residential school system to become the first Indian to play in the NHL, to Reggie Leach (The Riverton Rifle), whose battle with the bottle kept him out of the Hockey Hall of Fame, They Call Me Chief chronicles the journeys of North America’s most famous ”warriors on ice” as they battle racism, culture shock, isolation and other roadblocks to success.  GVPL

James Lorimer & Company

     The Life And Death Of Anna Mae Aquash by Johanna Brand

In February 1976, the body of a woman was found on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The official autopsy attributed her death to exposure. Both hands were severed and sent to Washington for fingerprinting, and the body was hastily buried without legal documents. When the FBI identified the woman as Anna Mae Aquash, a Canadian Mi’kmaq active in the American Indian Movement, her family and friends demanded a second autopsy. It revealed that Anna Mae had been killed by a bullet fired execution-style into the back of her head. Anna Mae Aquash worked alongside Leonard Peltier and other leading members of the American Indian Movement. Like Peltier, whose case is now a cause célèbre, Aquash was targeted by the FBI. No serious investigation has ever been undertaken to determine the identities of her murderers, but evidence points to the involvement of American law enforcement officials. In this second edition of this book, former federal Member of Parliament Warren Allmand contributed a foreword, explaining the links between Peltier and Aquash’s cases. Though some of the information in this book has become outdated as more information became available in 2001 and later about the complex facts surrounding Aquash’s death, this book stands as the only publication that tells the story of her life and the puzzling circumstances of her murder.  GVPL   UVic

Kegedonce Press

     That Tongued Belonging by Marilyn Dumont

The newest book from award-winning Metis poet Marilyn Dumont, is a collection of poems which search for acceptance in language, culture, love and geographical land- scapes. These poems celebrate the humour and tenacity of Aboriginal women, lament the death of a mother and recall the degradation of Aboriginal women, while challenging accepted ideas of love, age and femininity.

     skins: contemporary Indigenous writing compiled and edited by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm & Josie Douglas

First Nations writing from North America, Australia and New Zealand, including Sherman Alexie’s satiric dystopian narrative poem on how Indians provided the cure to cancer; Alootook Ipellie’s story of a struggle between Innu shamans over a matter of adultery; Kimberly Blaeser’s story about feuding brothers which ends with their re-union while facing a fire and a rogue a skunk at a fancy dog contest; and Louise Erdrich’s story “Gramp Kaspaw’s Ghost” (from Love Medicine), which like much of her other writing, addresses the links between spirit, earth and the self. Skins mixes traditional tales such as Joseph Bruchac’s “The Hungry One” with more contemporary stories including Thomas King’s “Border” which considers the clash between native traditions and Eurocentric oppression.  GVPL   UVic

     Think Indian: Languages are Beyond Price by Basil Johnston.

A collection of essays and presentations. “Basil Johnston proves once again that he is the dean of Canadian Native writers with this indispensable collection of his best and most entertaining essays.  Beautiful, lucid, sometimes hilarious and always thought-provoking, Think Indian is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand contemporary Native experience.  It will make you think again about what you thought you knew.” Warren Carioul.  GVPL   UVic     

     The Recklessness of Love by Al Hunter

the latest book of poetry from Al Hunter is a collection of beautifully crafted poems that are at times erotic, brooding and world-weary. There is edginess, passion, and, at times, desperation to these poems. Some are irreverent, some dreamlike, some filled with a mixture of sex and spirituality and in others pop icons appear. Hunter brilliantly conveys the frustration, surrender, longing, pain and loving that go with being human.

Lancelot Press

     Nine Micmac Legends by Alden Nowlan 

This is a retelling of some of the best-known Mi’kmaq legends, including the Star Brides, the Invisible Boy, and the Snow Vampire. Alden Nowlan’s artful storytelling is accompanied by stunning line drawings by renowned First Nation artist Shirley Bear. First published in 1983, this book continues to be a cherished classic. (Note: out of print. Check your libraries and used bookstores).  Uvic

Lee & Low Books

     What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know about Horses? by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by George Littlechild

It’s forty below in the little town of Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories of Canada—so cold that the ravens refuse to fly and author Richard Van Camp can’t go outside. He belongs to the Dogrib tribe, whose people traditionally haven’t used horses. To help pass the time, he decides to pose the question, “What’s the most beautiful thing you know about horses?” to family members, friends, and artist George Littlechild, who is Plains Cree and knows a lot about horses. The answers range from zany to profound: Horses can run sideways; they have secrets; they can always find their way home. In this delightful book, Littlechild’s fanciful paintings perfectly capture Van Camp’s gentle world-view. Together, they inspire readers to see the world in entirely new ways. (Note: out of print. Check your libraries and used bookstores).  GVPL   UVic

Little Spirit Bear

     Rabbit And Bear Paws books

The Adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws is a graphic novel series for the young and the young at heart. The stories are set in colonized North America during the 1750s and feature the comical adventures of two brothers, Rabbit and Bear Paws, with traditional native teachings sprinkled throughout.

    The Sugar Bush by Chad Solomon and Christopher Meyer   GVPL

    Bear Walker    by Chad Solomon and Christopher Meyer     GVPL

    True Hearts  by Chad Solomon and Christopher Meyer        GVPL   

    Tall Tale   by Chad Solomon and Christopher Meyer              GVPL   

    The Voyageurs  by Chad Solomon and Christopher Meyer    GVPL

 

McArthur & Co

     The Dispossessed: Life and Death in Native Canada by Geoffrey York

The author presents an overview of the challenging issues effecting First Nations Peoples, including: gasoline sniffing, unrepresentative school systems, poverty due to land appropriation, suicide, land claims, alcohol, the justice system and alienation. Further, there is an attempt to explain these problems by putting them into the context of the larger Canadian society which ‘strips Aboriginal people of their land, their culture, their spiritual beliefs, and their life.’ In focusing on the accounts of ordinary communities, this book illustrates the cultural resilience of aboriginal communities, by looking to their various coping strategies and solutions in dealing with past and present government injustices. This highly readable book is recommended as a basic primer for anyone interested in Canada’s native people. For Grades 10 and older.  GVPL   UVic

McClelland & Stewart

     Distant Relations: How My Ancestors Colonized North America by Victoria Freeman

An original and very moving history, Distant Relations is nothing less than a deep meditation on what it is to be a North American. Victoria Freeman explores families and nations with rigour, sensitivity, passion, lively writing, and a fine moral compass.  GVPL   UVic

     Ojibway Heritage by Basil Johnston

Rarely accessible beyond the limits of its people, Ojibway mythology is as rich in meaning and mystery, as broad, as deep, and as innately appealing as the mythologies of Greece, Rome, Egypt, and other civilizations. In Ojibway Heritage, Basil Johnston sets forth the broad spectrum of his people’s life, legends, and beliefs.  UVic

     Lost In The Barrens by Farley Mowat

Awasin, a Cree Indian boy, and Jamie, a Canadian orphan living with his uncle, the trapper Angus Macnair, are enchanted by the magic of the great Arctic wastes. They set out on an adventure that proves longer and more dangerous than they could have imagined.  GVPL   UVic

     The Beothuk Saga by Bernard Assiniwi, translated by Wayne Grady         

The Beothuk were the original native people of Newfoundland, and thus the first North American natives encountered by European sailors. Filled with stories of war and peace, fights to the death, long nights of lovemaking, the rise of local clan chiefs and the silent fall of great distant empires, this unforgettable book is something much more than a work of fiction; it is an imaginative reconstruction of 800 years of history.

McClelland & Stewart/New Canadian Library

     The Temptations Of Big Bear by Rudy Wiebe

Acclaimed as one of Canada’s foremost novelists, Rudy Wiebe has encompassed in one creative sweep not only his hero’s struggle for integrity, but the whole range and richness of the Plains Cree culture. Here is the giant circle of the prairie horizon, and the joy, the sorrow, the pain and the triumph and the violence of unconquerable human beings faced with destruction.  UVic                                

McClelland & Stewart/Douglas Gibson Books

     Raisin Wine: A Boyhood in a Different Muskoka by James K. Bartleman

This memoir recalls the boyhood years of Ontario’s future lieutenant-governor, living in a dilapidated old house complete with outdoor toilet and coal oil-lamp lighting. But why “a different Muskoka?” Because the boy was a half-breed kid. Visits to his mother’s reserve showed him that he was caught between two worlds.   GVPL   UVic

McGill-Queen’s University Press

     Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights  by Tom Flanagan, Christopher Alcantara and André Le Dressay

While land claims made by Canada’s aboriginal peoples continue to attract attention and controversy, there has been almost no discussion of the ways in which First Nations lands are managed and the property rights that have been in place since the Indian Act of 1876. Beyond the Indian Act looks at these issues and questions whether present land practices have benefited Canada’s aboriginal peoples. Challenging current laws and management, this illuminating work proposes the creation of a new system that would allow First Nations to choose to have full ownership of property, both individually and collectively.  GVPL   UVic                                                              

The Mercury Press  

     Sweetgrass II by Wayne Keon          

Passionately lyrical poetry is Keon’s forte. He fuses the shamanistic chant with free verse. These songs of grief and recovery, depression and revenge, evolve in an elliptical narrative of transformation that is as vital as it is expressive.  UVic

NeWest Press           

     Writing the Circle: Native Women of Western Canada compiled and edited by Jean Perreault and Sylvia Vance

This anthology of stories, poetry, essays, and biographical pieces from western and northwestern Canadian Native women makes available seldom-heard voices. “The voices of Native women in this anthology transcend western literary genres and carry us to worlds and realities—traditional and contemporary, spiritual and secular—that have been all but invisible in Canadian writing.” Thomas King.  GVPL   UVic

New Star Books

     Exercises In Lip Pointing by Annharte

A collection of poems by respected Anishinabe writer Annharte. She uses oral sounds and written signs to probe and prod the reader, to ask the right questions, to lay bare the contradictions and delights in the serendipities of her experience.  UVic

     Indigena Awry by Annharte

NDN word warrior Marie Annharte Baker’s fourth book of poems, Indigena Awry, is her largest and wildest yet. It collects a decade’s worth of verse — fifty–nine poems. _In Indigena Awry, you can find fictitious girl gangs coexisting with real boy ones. NDN grannies may be found flirting salaciously in some internet chat room. One might use duct tape to prevent a war. You might be worried that hand–signalling for a Timbit on an airplane flight will be considered a terrorist act.

     Ningwake Learning Press

     A is for Assimilation: The ABC’s of Canada’s Aboriginal People and Residential Schools by Len Fortune

Although blunt in its approach, this mini book is not meant to be accusatory. It is aimed at teens and anyone who isn’t familiar with the basic history of the nation’s First People, putting the basic facts and truths down in simple words and design, providing an Aboriginal primer.

     Laughter is Good Medicine ~ Don Burnstick by Waubgeshig Rice  

Don Burnstick, world-famous Aboriginal comedian, has travelled to far off corners of the world, telling jokes and motivating people to overcome adversity in their lives. He’s headlined sold-out theatres and spoken at community gyms in remote reserves. His message has always been constant: laugh, stay positive, and never give up. Don has been a catalyst in the healing and wellness movement for the past twenty years and has used humour and performance to provide a holistic approach to healing. His message speaks to a proud heritage, the importance of healing through humour and his continuing desire to leave a better world for our future generations.         

Oberon Press           

     Dance Me Outside by W.P. Kinsella

Dance Me Outside is a rare book. W.P. Kinsella writes about Indians without pain, guilt or embarrassment. He refuses to take a tragic (he would call it sentimental) view of Indian life. His view is unrepentantly comic and his stories are extremely funny. Not that he laughs at the Indians. On the contrary: it’s the white man and his civilization that are seen to be absurd. Kinsella is known for such books as Scars and Born Indian, but Dance Me Outside, his first, remains a classic of its kind, chaste, infectious, irresistible. Now in its sixty-second printing and the subject of a major motion-pictureGVPL   UVic

Oolichan Books

     Green Girl Dreams Mountains by Marilyn Dumont

This new collection of poems by Marilyn Dumont is about place and family, about a mother’s love for her daughter, about a father’s sense of loss and disenfranchisement, about belonging and separation. It is a book about place, rural and urban, and the powerful way landscapes define our character, our perceptions and the future. It is a book of love poems, of extraordinary sensuality. It is a book that celebrates language and the songs we are compelled to sing.  GVPL   UVic

Oxford University Press Canada

     Aboriginal History: A Reader  edited by Kristin Burnett and Geoff Read

Combining contemporary articles with historical documents, this engaging reader examines the rich history of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. The 30 articles – half of which are original to this volume – explore a diverse range of topics, including spirituality, colonialism, self-identity, federal policy, residential schools, labour, and women’s rights. With in-depth coverage of events and processes from the earliest times through to the modern day, it offers students a new appreciation for the long and complex history of Canada’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.

     An Anthology Of Canadian Native Literature In English edited by Daniel David Moses and Terry Goldie

This volume is a wide-ranging survey of writing in English by Canadian Native authors. Beginning with traditional songs and works by early Native writers such as Joseph Brant and John Brant-Sero, George Copway and Pauline Johnson, the anthology turns to a selection of short stories, plays, poems, and essays by contemporary writers drawn from a wide range of peoples and nations across Canada. The editors have also attempted to showcase a diversity of opinions, voices, and styles.  GVPL   UVic

     Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto by Taiaiake Alfred          

This visionary manifesto, first published in 1999, has significantly improved our understanding of First Nations’ issues. Taiaiake Alfred calls for the indigenous peoples of North America to move beyond their 500-year history of pain, loss, and colonization, and move forward to the reality of self-determination. A leading Kanien’kehaka scholar and activist with intimate knowledge of both Native and Western traditions of thought, Alfred is uniquely placed to write this inspiring book. His account of the history and future of the indigenous peoples of North America is at once a bold and forceful critique of Indigenous leaders and politics, and a sensitive reflection on the traumas of colonization that shape our existence. 

This new edition of Alfred’s important manifesto is thoroughly updated in the context of current issues related to government policy and First Nations politics today. In addition to new examples of indigenous-state relations, it includes the latest court cases and updated evaluations of key negotiations over land and self-government. A new preface incorporates an original, previously unpublished dialogue with the influential Dakota author, historian, and activist Vine Deloria Jr, recorded shortly before his death in 2005.  GVPL   UVic

     Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times by Olive Dickason and David T. McNab

Canada’s First Nations is a comprehensive history of Canada’s original inhabitants. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines techniques from history, anthropology, archaeology, biology, sociology, and political science, the story of the more than 50 First Nations of Canada is carefully woven together. A central argument in the text is that Amerindians and Inuit have responded to persistent colonial pressures through attempts at co-operation, episodes of resistance, and politically sophisticated efforts to preserve their territory and culture. The fourth edition has been fully updated to include current topics such as the effects of global warming on the Innu, the Ipperwash Inquiry, and the Caledonia land claims dispute. This is a text that transcends the familiar and narrow focus on Native-White relations to identify the history of the First Nations as a separate and proud tradition.  GVPL   UVic

     First Nations in the Twenty-First Century by James F. Frideres

A concise yet comprehensive introduction to the continuing repercussions of colonialism in Canada. Focusing exclusively on First Nations peoples, this innovative new text addresses crucial issues such as the legacy of residential schools; intergenerational trauma; Aboriginal languages and culture; health and well-being on reserves; self-government and federal responsibility; the political economy of First Nations; and the federal Indian Affairs bureaucracy. Through an in-depth treatment of historical and contemporary topics, including recent court decisions and government legislations, students will learn about the experiences of First Nations peoples and their complex, evolving relationship with the rest of Canada.

Pedlar Press 

     Skin Room by Sara Tilley

“Skin Room is an unflinching love letter to heartache, the far north, late nights in downtown St. John’s, family dysfunction and the slim possibility of redemption. Sara Tilley manages despair, slapstick and all registers in between with equal skill and grace. A completely convincing voice and a terrific book.” Michael Crummey.  GVPL

Pemmican Publications

Pemmican Publications is a book publisher with a mandate to promote Metis authors, illustrators and stories, publishing about five to six new titles per year, with titles ranging from cultural studies and autobiographies to illustrated titles for children. In all, they have published close to 150 books. To see their catalogue, click here.

Penguin Canada      

     Medicine River by Thomas King

When Will returns to Medicine River, he thinks he is simply attending his mother’s funeral. He doesn’t count on Harlen Bigbear and his unique brand of community planning. Harlen tries to sell Will on the idea of returning to Medicine River to open shop as the town’s only Native photographer. Somehow, that’s exactly what happens. Through Will’s gentle and humorous narrative, we come to know Medicine River, a small Albertan town bordering a Blackfoot reserve.  GVPL   UVic

     A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada by John Ralston Saul

In this startlingly original vision of Canada, renowned thinker John Ralston Saul argues that Canada is a Métis nation, heavily influenced and shaped by Aboriginal ideas. “A Fair Country has the potential to change the way Canadians see themselves forever.”
 —Winnipeg Free Press.  GVPL   UVic
  

Persea Books

     On The Trail Of Elder Brother: Glous’gap Stories of the Micmac Indians by Michael B. Runningwolf and Patricia Clark Smith

A delightful collection of traditional Native American tales. Devoted to the adventures of Glous’gap, embodiment of the Great Spirit, the sixteen stories in On the Trail of Elder Brother have been told by many Algonquin tribes—among them the Micmac of Maine, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces—and are retold here in traditional Micmac versions by two Micmac authors. With their pipe-smoking whales and irascible porcupines, the stories are wondrous and magical; they are also wise, as Glous’gap teaches his people what it means to be fully human in a fragile world.  UVic 

Penumbra Press

     Sacred Legends by Carl Ray (1942-1978) and James R. Stevens

James R. Stevens revisits and completely revises his original publication, Sacred Legends of the Sandy Lake Cree, which was widely known for its accurate presentation of myths and legends from the boreal forest south of Hudson Bay.

     Legends From The Forest Told by Chief Thomas Fiddler edited by James R. Stevens

An indispensable text for understanding the boreal culture of the North, Legends from the Forest is a collection of foundation stories and other legends as passed down through generations by the Sandy Lake Cree. For Grades 9–12.  (Note: Temporarily out of print: Check your libraries and used bookstores).  UVic

Playwrights Canada Press

     Staging Coyote’s Dream :An Anthology of First Nations Drama in English, Volume I edited by Monica Mojica and Ric Knowles.  UVic

     Staging Coyote’s Dream :An Anthology of First Nations Drama in English, Volume II edited by Monica Mojica and Ric Knowles

Portage and Main Press/HighWater Press           

     Stone by David Alexander Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson    UVic

For Grades 9-12. Stone introduces Edwin, a young man who must discover his family’s past if he is to have any future. Edwin learns of his ancestor Stone, a young Plains Cree man, who came of age in the early 18th century. Following a vision quest, Stone aspires to be like his older brother, Bear, a member of the Warrior Society. But when Bear is tragically killed during a Blackfoot raid, Stone, the best shot and rider in his encampment, must overcome his grief and avenge his brother’s death. Only then can he begin a new life with his bride, Nahoway. It is Stone’s story that drives Edwin to embark on his own quest. Stone is the first book in the graphic novel series, 7 Generations. Named to the Best Books for Kids & Teens 2012 list by The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Other books in the series include:
     Book 2: Scars by David Alexander Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson  UVic
     Book 3: Ends/Begins by David Alexander Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson  UVic
     Book 4: The Pact David Alexander Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson  UVic

     Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story by David Alexander Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson

A school assignment to interview a residential school survivor leads Daniel to Betsy, his friend’s grandmother, who tells Daniel 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. Based on a true story.

     Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water edited by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair and Warren Cariou

This anthology of Aboriginal writings from Manitoba takes readers back through the millennia and forward to the present day, painting a dynamic picture of a territory interconnected through words, ideas, and experiences. Created in the spirit of the Anishinaabe concept debwe (to speak the truth), The Debwe Series is a collection of exceptional Aboriginal writings from across Canada. Manitowapow, a one-of-a-kind anthology, is the first book in The Debwe Series. Manitowapow is the traditional name that became Manitoba, a word that describes the sounds of beauty and power that created the province.

Portage and Main Press

     The Life of Helen Betty Osborne: A Graphic Novel by David Alexander Robertson

Helen Betty Osborne dreamed of becoming a teacher. Sadly, her dream never came true. Helen left her home in Norway House, Manitoba, to attend Guy Hill Residential School in 1969. In September 1971, she entered Margaret Barbour Collegiate in The Pas, Manitoba. Two months later, on November 13, 1971, she was brutally murdered by four young, white men. Years later, the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry concluded that her murder was the result of racism, sexism, and indifference. The Life of Helen Betty Osborne is a graphic novel about Betty’s life up to that tragic November day. Her story is told by a young boy named Daniel. The events in Betty’s story are true. The events in Daniel’s story represent our ability to change, learn, and grow. For Grades 9–12.  UVic

     April Raintree by Beatrice Mosionier           

A revised version of the novel In Search of April Raintree, written specifically for students in grades 9 through 12. Through her characterization of two young sisters who are removed from their family, the author poignantly illustrates the difficulties that many Aboriginal people face in maintaining a positive self-identity.  GVPL   UVic

     Come Walk With Me: A Memoir by Beatrice Mosionier

In 1983, the book In Search of April Raintree was published to great acclaim, heralding the voice of an important new writer, Beatrice Mosionier (then Culleton). With honesty and clarity, Mosionier explored the story of two Métis sisters as they struggle with loss, identity, and racism. Yet readers have long asked: How much of April’s story comes from the author’s own life? Come Walk With Me, Beatrice’s answer to that question, is a moving memoir that follows a bewildered three-year-old through a dramatic journey to adulthood. She recounts a life that, at times, parallels that of her most memorable fictional character, and at others, diverges from it. Mosionier searches to make sense of her losses—her sundered family, her innocence, and her dignity—to triumph as a woman and as a writer, fulfilled artistically, politically, and personally.

     I Can’t Have Bannock But the Beaver Has a Dam by Bernelda Wheeler

A boy patiently listens to his mother’s reasons for not making bannock—all the result of a beaver’s need to make a dam. Includes a bannock recipe! For young children. Bernelda Wheeler was an award-winning author, journalist, radio host, and broadcaster. She also worked in the field of alcoholism as a rehabilitation counsellor. Shortly before her death in 2005, she was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anskohk Aboriginal Literacy Festival.  UVic

     Where Did You Get Your Moccasins? by Bernelda Wheeler

Children in an urban school are curious about a classmate’s moccasins. For Grades K–3.  UVic

Purich Publishing   

     Beyond Blood: Re-Thinking Indigenous Identity by Pamela D. Palmater

Author Pamela Palmater argues that the Indian Act’s registration provisions will lead to the extinguishment of First Nations as legal and constitutional entities. The author examines contemporary court rulings dealing with Aboriginal rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in relation to Indigenous identity. She also examines various band membership codes to determine how they affect Indigenous identity, and how their reliance on status criteria perpetuates discrimination. She offers suggestions for a better way of determining Indigenous identity and citizenship and argues that First Nations themselves must determine their citizenship based on ties to the community, not blood or status.

Random House of Canada

     As Long As The Rivers Flow by James Bartleman

An extremely poignant novel that exposes the short-term and long-term damage of the residential school system. James Bartleman has skillfully illustrated an unpleasant but inescapable episode in Canadian and Native history and deserves recognition for shedding necessary light into the darkness.  GVPL   UVic

     1491: New Revelations of The Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

A groundbreaking study that radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans in 1492.  GVPL   UVic

     Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson

In the first English-language novel to be published by a Haisla writer, Eden Robinson offers a rich celebration of life in the Native settlement of Kitamaat, on the coast of British Columbia. Monkey Beach is beautifully written, in prose that is simple and subtle, bold and vivid, and pervaded by humour.  GVPL   UVic

Ronsdale Press

     Whiskey Bullets: Cowboy and Indian Heritage Poems by Garry Gottfriedson

Shattering the cowboy’s code of ethics, Gottfriedson’s collection of poetry unveils hidden truths, unspoken and often ignored, bringing to the fore inescapable issues of gender, sexuality, race and politics, infused with aboriginal attitude. Form and content are carefully conceived to celebrate the distinctive aboriginal individuality, the “shape-shifting” attitudes that are required when one lives simultaneously in two cultures — Secwepemc and white — and their two languages. Candid and challenging, Whiskey Bullets is thought-provoking and engaging.  GVPL

Simply Read Books 

     Owls See Clearly at Night (Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer): A Michif Alphabet (L’alfabet di Michif) by Julie Flett

From Atayookee! to Lii Zyeu: this simply, elegantly illustrated picture book introduces young and old alike to the unique Michif language of the Métis people.  GVPL   UVic

Sister Vision Press/Black Women and Women of Colour Press

     Bineshiinh dibaajmowin = Bird talk by Lenore Keeshig-Tobias, illustrated by Polly Keeshig-Tobias, translated by Shirley Pheasant Williams.

When Momma and her two daughters move from an Ojibway reservation to a city, young Polly has a bad day at school when her classmates play cowboys and Indians and tease her about being an Indian. Momma manages to soothe Polly’s hurt feelings and restore her sense of pride by reminding her of some of the things Mishomis (grandfather) taught her about her heritage. Told in first-person from the point of view of Polly’s older sister, the bilingual (Ojibway/English) text is accompanied by simple black-and-white line drawings. The straightforward, poignant story is based on a childhood experience of the book’s young illustrator. Picture book for ages 5-9  (Note: out of print. Check your libraries and used bookstores).  UVic

Talonbooks

     Where the Blood Mixes by Kevin Loring

 [This play]  “. . . illuminates the complex aftermath of the residential school system and the circumstances of contemporary Aboriginal history through compelling, sympathetic and humorous characters who live as best they can, with courage and strength.”  — Canada Council.  GVPL   UVic

     Discovery Passages by Garry Thomas Morse

With breathtaking virtuosity, Garry Thomas Morse sets out to recover the appropriated, stolen and scattered world of his ancestral people from Alert Bay to Quadra Island to Vancouver, retracing Captain Vancouver’s original sailing route. These poems draw upon both written history and oral tradition to reflect all of the respective stories of the community, which vocally weave in and out of the dialogics of the text.  GVPL   UVic

     Only Drunks And Children Tell The Truth by Drew Hayden Taylor

This play is about a woman’s struggle to acknowledge her birth family. Grace, a Native girl adopted by a white family, is asked by her birth sister to return to the Reserve for their mother’s funeral. Afraid of opening old wounds, Grace must find a place where the culture of her past can feed the truth of her present.  GVPL   UVic                                              

     The Ecstasy Of Rita Joe by George Ryga with a preface by Chief Dan George

Rita Joe is a Native girl who leaves the reservation for the city, only to die on skid row as a victim of white men’s violence and paternalistic attitudes towards First Nations peoples. As perhaps the best-known contemporary Canadian play and a poetic drama of enormous theatrical power, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe had a major influence in awakening consciousness to the “Indian problem” both in whites and Natives themselves.  GVPL   UVic

Theytus Books

     The Gathering Tree by Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden, illustrated by Heather D. Holmlund

The Gathering Tree is a beautifully illustrated children’s book about HIV/AIDS. Written by award-winning First Nations author Larry Loyie and co-author Constance Brissenden, it is a gentle, positive story of a First Nations family facing HIV. After eleven-year-old Tyler and his younger sister Shay-Lyn learn their favourite cousin Robert has HIV, they discover that knowledge brings understanding and self-awareness. Aspects of physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health are addressed.  GVPL   UVic

     Chuck In The City by Jordan Wheeler, illustrated by Christopher Auchter

Chuck loves a good adventure. He proved that in Just a Walk. Now Chuck and his mom are heading to the city to visit his grandmother in her new condo. He knows he shouldn’t wander off, but the lure of the lively city streets proves too much for a curious little boy to resist. A rhythmic ebbing and flowing of words and phrases punctuates Chuck’s exciting escapade as he befriends and provokes some furry, four-legged city critters, dodges skaters and bladers on bustling sidewalks, gets lost and then uses his wiles to find his way back home. For ages 3 to 5.

     Slash by Jeannette Armstrong

Slash is Jeannette Armstrong’s first novel. It poignantly traces the struggles, pain and alienation of a young Okanagan man who searches for truth and meaning in his life.  GVPL   UVic

     Midnight Sweatlodge by Waubgeshig Rice

Midnight Sweatlodge tells the tale of family members, friends and strangers who gather together to partake in this ancient healing ceremony. Each person seeks traditional wisdom and insight to overcome pain and hardship, and the characters give us glimpses into their lives that are both tearful and true. Rice captures the raw emotion and unique challenges of modern Aboriginal life. It’s a hard-hitting and genuine look at the struggles First Nations people face.  UVic

     Deadly Loyalties by Jennifer Storm

Blaise is a fairly average Native girl growing up in Winnipeg and dealing with the normal triggers of teenage angst—parents, school, friends. Then her best friend is murdered by the Reds, a local gang, and she is the only witness. For protection, she turns to a rival gang called the West Bloods and her life changes forever. She must quickly learn to navigate the violent and often volatile world of street gangs to survive or succumb to the same fate as her friend.

     Red Rooms by Cherie Dimaline

Naomi, a Native chambermaid in a busy downtown hotel, amuses herself by imagining the past, present and future lives of five hotel guests, whom she observed in passing, in the hotel lobby and through relics left in their rooms. Struck by their remains, their footprints and their clues, Naomi patches them together to weave tales of infatuation, love, infidelity, illness, death and family.  GVPL   UVic

     We Get Our Living Like Milk From The Land edited by Jeannette Armstrong, Greg Young-Ing and Delphine Derickson

This first historical overview of the Okanagan Nation starts with the Creation Story, moves through the first contact of colonization and ends in the present. (Note: out of stock. Check your libraries and used bookstores).  UVic

     The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada by Roland Chrisjohn and Sherri Young

Was the residential school era a misguided feature of Canada’s generous humanitarian inclinations toward Aboriginal peoples? Were the notorious brutal acts of the operators of these schools the sporadic and isolated deeds of a few malign individuals? The authors of The Circle Game shout a resounding “No!” to these and related questions, arguing that existing accounts in various Canadian and Aboriginal media systematically obscure and misinform about the facts and their interpretation.  GVPL   UVic

     Entering the Warzone: A Mohawk Perspective on Resisting Invasions by Donna Goodleaf

Entering the Warzone is the first book to deal with the Oka crisis from a Mohawk viewpoint. Goodleaf was directly involved in the standoff between the Mohawks and the Canadian army in the summer of 1990. She provides firsthand insight into the experience and an in-depth look at Mohawk sovereignty. (Note: out of stock. Check your libraries and used bookstores)

     Arctic Dreams and Nightmares by Alootook Ipellie

An intricate blending of written and visual imagery, this book is an Arctic journey interpreted through the mythological world of Inuit. With twenty short stories and accompanying pen ink drawings, it is the first publication to exclusively feature the writing and artwork of Alootook Ipellie. (Note: out of stock. Check your libraries and used bookstores).  GVPL   UVic

Three O’ Clock Press/Canadian Scholars’ Press

     Princess Pocahontas and The Blue Spots by Monica Mojica           

This play artfully weaves together past and present, North and South America, history, documentary, and myth. Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots is a satire of colonization that celebrates Native women as creators and healers. It has become a classic in Canadian theatre. The radio play Birdwoman and the Suffragettes: A Story of Sacajawea is also included.  UVic     

     A Gathering Of Spirit: A Collection by North American Indian Women edited by Beth Brant     

Beth Brant is a Bay of Quinte Mohawk from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Reserve in Ontario. This first anthology of its kind demonstraties the vibrancy and breadth of Native women’s writing.  UVic

Three O’ Clock Press/Sumach Press

     Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival 
edited by Kim Anderson and Bonita Lawrence

This collection of seventeen essays presents original and critical perspectives from writers, scholars and activists on issues that are pertinent to Aboriginal women and their communities in both rural and urban settings in Canada. Their contributions explore the critical issues facing Native women as they rebuild and revive their communities. Through topics such as the role of tradition, reclaiming identities and protecting Native children and the environment, they identify the restraints that shape their actions and the inspirations that feed their visions.

“… valuable reading for anyone who wants to understand the complexities of how colonialism affects Aboriginal women in today’s world and what role Aboriginal women have in forging change.” — Women & Environments.  GVPL   UVic

Trafford Publishing

     Message to Chileans by Elicura Chihuailaf Nahuelpán

With the distinct voice of his People–the Mapuche, People of the Earth, through poems, folktales, and legends Elicura Chihuailaf tries to establish the bases for a serious and friendly conversation with Chileans; a conversation about the plight of his People, about the way to heal the wounds of the past, and redress present injustices. He assumes, correctly, that Chileans are misinformed about the Mapuche, and in his book he tells about his childhood, and about the beliefs, religious ceremonies, and customs of his People. He also tells about the tenderness he experienced among his relatives, and his People’s love of Nature. He presents a moving defence of the Earth, Mother Earth, whom the Mapuche see threatened by the dominant culture: post-modern capitalism. The Mapuche culture includes beliefs, knowledge, principles, and worldviews, which can help humanity to protect the Earth: protection of forests and rivers, opposition to large-scale planting of exotic trees, and rejection of the greed of post-modern capitalism. Considering the current financial and environmental crisis, Elicura Chihuailaf’s message is a wise message from an ancient culture that should be listened to, not only by Chileans but everybody.  UVic

     Living From The Heart by Louise Milburn

It is with joy that I share the gift of spirit with you. The intention of this collection of thoughts, reflections, poems, and songs is to assist in awakening the heart and spirit of humanity, and to reconnect people with their innate wisdom. It is in living from the heart that we as a species, and the rest of creation, may heal. By reconnecting with our innate wisdom, we receive direction from the Creator, and can live our lives in truth, integrity, and unconditional love; our purpose and mission for our time here on Mother Earth becomes clear, and we can express ourselves to our fullest potential. In Love and Unity in the Mission of Global Healing, Louise Shingwauk Niibana Noodinan (Tall Pine, Many Winds). Louise is a traditional Anishinaabe teacher/elder of mixed ancestry, from the Bear and Eagle Clans. After many years of international speaking, she currently resides in Victoria, B.C. where she teachers First Nations awareness. Her school presentations incorporate traditional teachings and wisdom, ceremonies and wellness experiences. The intent of her experiential presentations is to help our young people become more aware of their social and environmental responsibilities, and to help them heal.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

     They Came for the Children: Canada, Aboriginal Peoples, and Residential Schools

This report is a highly organized and thorough analysis of the impact residential schools have had upon Canada’s aboriginal community. Published by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the report is divided into several chapters which investigate the reasons behind the Canadian government’s initiative to implement the residential school system, and detailed accounts of the experiences lived and witnessed by several former residential school students are provided. Furthermore, the report examines the long-term implications that the residential school system carries for the aboriginal community and demonstrates that the effects are still felt long after the residential school system was abolished in the 1980s. Available to download as a pdf file here.

UBC Press

            First Nations, First Thoughts: The Impact of Indigenous Thought in Canada by Annis May Timpson

This innovative, thought-provoking collection encourages us to imagine a stronger, fairer Canada, one in which Aboriginal self-government and expression can be fully realized. Countless books and articles have traced the impact of colonialism and public policy on Canada’s First Nations, but few have explored the impact of Aboriginal thought on public discourse and policy development in Canada. First Nations, First Thoughts brings together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal scholars who cut through the prevailing orthodoxy to reveal Indigenous thinkers and activists as a pervasive presence in diverse political, historical, constitutional, and cultural debates.  UVic

     “Real” Indians and Others: Mixed-Blood Urban Native Peoples and Indigenous Nationhood by Bonita Lawrence

Mixed-blood urban Native people in Canada are profoundly affected by federal legislation that divides Aboriginal people into different legal categories. In this pioneering book, Bonita Lawrence reveals the ways in which mixed-blood urban Native people understand their identities and struggle to survive in a world that, more often than not, fails to recognize them.  GVPL   UVic

     Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada by Paulette Regan

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.  GVPL   UVic

University of Calgary Press

     As Long As This Land Shall Last: A History of Treaty 8 and Treaty 11, 1870-1939 by Rene Fumoleau, with an epilogue by Joanne Barnaby

A historically accurate study that takes no sides, this book is the first complete document of Treaties 8 and 11 between the Canadian government and the Native people at the turn of the nineteenth century. On the basis of those treaties, contested in the Mackenzie Pipeline debate, white fur-traders, trappers, and corporations gave themselves privileges of ownership with no regard to the Native claim and to the promise made to the Natives that they could live and hunt there “as long as the sun rises, as long as the river flows, as long as this land shall last.” Historian René Fumoleau has delved into church and government sources to afford a clear picture of the negotiations for the treaties beginning in 1870 and their aftermath up to 1939.  GVPL   UVic

     Cultural Memories and Imagined Futures: The Art of Jane Ash Poitras by Pamela McCallum

In the past decade, Jane Ash Poitras, a First Nations woman from northern Alberta, has emerged as one of the most important Canadian artists of her generation. Raised by a German widow who powdered her dark skin and tried to make her straight hair curl, Poitras did not begin to fully explore her indigenous roots until adulthood. Seeking out her extended family and participating in profound cultural experiences, she began to discover the side of herself that she was denied as a child. At the same time, she made a commitment to her art. With the opportunity to pursue a masters degree at Columbia University in New York, Poitras was at the centre of the North American contemporary art scene. Together, these dual influences shaped Poitras unique style, one that combines representational strategies of postmodern art – collage, layering, overpainting, incorporation of found objects – with a deep commitment to the politics and issues common to indigenous peoples. Cultural Memories and Imagined Futures situates Poitrass work in the national context of Canadian First Nations art during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the period when she began to receive wide recognition. It is the first book-length study to examine Poitrass career as a whole, recounting her development as an artist, participation in major exhibitions, and recognition as a significant Canadian and international artist.  GVPL   UVic

     Nunavik: Inuit-Controlled Education in Arctic Quebec by Ann Vick-Westgate

Nunavik provides a uniquely Native perspective on school change in indigenous communities. As a history of the development of self-government in education, Nunavik provides Native perspectives on formal education in Nunavik while offering readers a unique view into contemporary Inuit society. This book documents the development of education from the arrival of the first traders and missionaries in the mid-nineteenth century through the creation of the Kativik School Board and the evaluation of its operations by the Nunavik Education Task Force in the 1990s. Nunavik takes a detailed look at the complex debate of the Inuit of Northern Quebec about the purposes, achievements, and failures of the public schools in their communities, the first Inuit-controlled school district in Canada. Participants in these debates included elders who were educated traditionally, their children with a few years of education in mission and government schools, their grandchildren who attended southern high schools or residential schools, and current students and recent graduates of the Kativik schools. Qallunaat (non-Inuit) were also participants, as residents of Nunavik communities, parents of Inuit children, teachers, administrators, and expert consultants.  GVPL   UVic

University of Manitoba Press         

     Restoring the Balance: First Nations Women, Community, and Culture edited by Eric Guimond, Gail Guthrie Valaskakis, and Madeline Dion Stout

First Nations peoples believe the eagle flies with a female wing and a male wing, showing the importance of balance between the feminine and the masculine in all aspects of individual and community experiences. Centuries of colonization, however, have devalued the traditional roles of First Nations women, causing a great gender imbalance that limits the abilities of men, women, and their communities in achieving self-actualization. Written by fifteen Aboriginal scholars, activists, and community leaders, Restoring the Balance Restoring the Balance brings to light the work First Nations women have performed, and continue to perform, in cultural continuity and community development. It illustrates the challenges and successes they have had in the areas of law, politics, education, community healing, language, and art, while suggesting significant options for sustained improvement of individual, family, and community well-being.  GVPL   UVic

     Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine by Kim Anderson

The process of “digging up medicines”—of rediscovering the stories of the past—serves as a powerful healing force in the decolonization and recovery of Aboriginal communities. In this rare and inspiring guide to the health and well-being of Aboriginal women and their communities, Kim Anderson shares the teachings of fourteen elders from the Canadian prairies and Ontario to illustrate how different life stages were experienced by Métis, Cree, and Anishinaabe girls and women during the mid-twentieth century. Through their teachings, we learn how evolving responsibilities from infancy to adulthood shaped women’s identities and place within Indigenous society, and were integral to the health and well-being of their communities. By understanding how healthy communities were created in the past, Anderson explains how this traditional knowledge can be applied toward rebuilding healthy Indigenous communities today.  GVPL   UVic

     Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers by Mark Cronlund Anderson and Carmen L. Robertson

The first book to examine the role of Canada’s newspapers in perpetuating the myth of Native inferiority, Seeing Red is a groundbreaking study of how Canadian English-language newspapers have portrayed Aboriginal peoples from 1869 to the present day. The authors uncover overwhelming evidence that the colonial imaginary not only thrives, but dominates depictions of Aboriginal peoples in mainstream newspapers. The colonial constructs ingrained in the news media perpetuate an imagined Native inferiority that contributes significantly to the marginalization of Indigenous people in Canada.  GVPL   UVic

     When the Other Is Me: Native Resistance Discourse, 1850 – 1990 by Emma LaRocque

In this long-awaited book from one of the most recognized and respected scholars in Native Studies today, Emma LaRocque presents a powerful interdisciplinary study of the Native literary response to racist writing in the Canadian historical and literary record from 1850 to 1990. She outlines the overwhelming evidence of dehumanization in Canadian historical and literary writing, its effects on both popular culture and Canadian intellectual development, and Native and non-Native intellectual responses to it in light of the interlayered mix of romanticism, exaggeration of Native difference, and the continuing problem of internalization that challenges our understanding of the colonizer/colonized relationship.  UVic

     A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986 by John S. Milloy

Using previously unreleased government documents, historian John S. Milloy provides a full picture of the history and reality of the residential school system. “The most definitive account of how the Canadian government and churches conspired to turn a blind eye to the failings of the residential system for aboriginal children.” – National Post. “One of the 100 most important Canadian books ever written.”– Literary Review of Canada.  GVPL   UVic

University of Toronto Press

     Drawing Out Law: A Spirit’s Guide by John Borrows

The Anishinabek Nation’s legal traditions are deeply embedded in many aspects of customary life. In Drawing Out Law, John Borrows (Kegedonce) skillfully juxtaposes Canadian legal policy and practice with the more broadly defined Anishinabek perception of law as it applies to community life, nature, and individuals. This innovative work combines fictional and non-fictional elements in a series of connected short stories that symbolize different ways of Anishinabek engagement with the world. Drawing on oral traditions, pictographic scrolls, dreams, common law case analysis, and philosophical reflection, Borrows’ narrative explores issues of pressing importance to the future of indigenous law and offers readers new ways to think about the direction of Canadian law.  GVPL   UVic

     Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law by John Borrows  

Canada is covered by a system of law and governance that largely obscures and ignores the presence of pre-existing Indigenous regimes. Indigenous law, however, has continuing relevance for both Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian state. In his in-depth examination of the continued existence and application of Indigenous legal values, John Borrows suggests how First Nations laws could be applied by Canadian courts, and tempers this by pointing out the many difficulties that would occur if the courts attempted to follow such an approach. By contrasting and comparing Aboriginal stories and Canadian case law, and interweaving political commentary, Borrows argues that there is a better way to constitute Aboriginal / Crown relations in Canada.  UVic          

     Canada’s Indigenous Constitution by John Borrows

Canada’s Indigenous Constitution reflects on the nature and sources of law in Canada, beginning with the conviction that the Canadian legal system has helped to engender the high level of wealth and security enjoyed by people across the country. However, longstanding disputes about the origins, legitimacy, and applicability of certain aspects of the legal system have led John Borrows to argue that Canada’s constitution is incomplete without a broader acceptance of Indigenous legal traditions. This is a major work by one of Canada’s leading legal scholars, and an essential companion to Drawing Out Law: A Spirit’s Guide.  GVPL   UVic

     We are not You: First Nations and Canadian Modernity by Claude Denis              

What guidelines should we follow when the laws of the modern state and the laws of Aboriginal peoples collide? What do such cases reveal about the underlying spiritual and material orientations of aboriginal and dominant societies? What do they have to say about the corrosive issue of relativism? The author tackles all these questions with insight and perception—explores as well the dimension of gender, which sheds light both on this case and on the more general issues from a different angle.  UVic  

     This Is Not a Peace Pipe: Towards a Critical Indigenous Philosophy by Dale Turner

How can indigenous people best assert their legal and political distinctiveness? In This is Not a Peace Pipe, Dale Turner explores indigenous intellectual culture and its relationship to, and within, the dominant Euro-American culture. He contends that indigenous intellectuals need to engage the legal and political discourses of the state, respecting both indigenous philosophies and Western European intellectual traditions.  UVic

     Ending Denial: Understanding Aboriginal Issues by Wayne Warry

There is an unconscious racism at work in Canada—an ignorance of Aboriginal peoples and culture that breeds indifference to, and ambivalence about, Aboriginal poverty and ill health. Warry examines conservative arguments and mainstream views that promote assimilation and integration as the solution to Aboriginal marginalization. He argues that we must acknowledge our denial of colonialism in order to reach a deeper understanding of contemporary Aboriginal culture and identity, both on and off the reserve. Only then can we fully recognize Aboriginal peoples’ rights and the path to self-determination.  GVPL   UVic

     Hidden in Plain Sight: Contributions of Aboriginal Peoples to Canadian Identity and Culture, Volume 1 by David Newhouse and Cora J. Voyageur

he history of Aboriginal people in Canada taught in schools and depicted in the media tends to focus on Aboriginal displacement from native lands and the consequent social and cultural disruptions they have endured. Collectively, they are portrayed as passive victims of European colonization and government policy, and, even when well intentioned, these depictions are demeaning and do little to truly represent the role Aboriginal peoples have played in Canadian life. Hidden in Plain Sight adds another dimension to the story, showing the extraordinary contributions Aboriginal peoples have made – and continue to make – to the Canadian experience.  UVic

     Alliances: Re/Envisioning Indigenous-Non-Indigenous Relationships edited by Lynne Davis

When Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists work together, what are the ends that they seek, and how do they negotiate their relationships while pursuing social change? Alliances brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders, activists, and scholars in order to examine their experiences of alliance-building for Indigenous rights and self-determination and for social and environmental justice.  UVic

     Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways Of Action and Freedom by Taiaiake Alfred

The word Wasáse is the Kanienkeha (Mohawk) word for the ancient war dance ceremony of unity, strength, and commitment to action. This book traces the journey of those Indigenous people who have found a way to transcend the colonial identities which are the legacy of our history and live as Onkwehonwe, original people. It is dialogue and reflection on the process of transcending colonialism in a personal and collective sense: making meaningful change in our lives and transforming society by recreating our personalities, regenerating our cultures, and surging against forces that keep us bound to our colonial past.  GVPL   UVic

University of Washington Press

     Spirits of Our Whaling Ancestors: Revitalizing Makah and Nuu-chah-nulth Traditions by Charlotte Coté           

As a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, Charlotte Coté offers a valuable perspective on the issues surrounding indigenous whaling, past and present.

“An excellent and timely book that chronicles the revitalization of the honored whaling tradition among the Makah and Nuu-chah-nulth but also raises broader issues of eco-colonialism, identity, and self-determination within the cultural nexus and political ecology of modern environmentalism and indigenous hunting economies.” -Thomas Thornton, author of Being and Place among the Tlingit. GVPL   UVic

     A Long And Terrible Shadow: White Values and Native Rights in the Americas since 1492 by Thomas R. Berger

When Christopher Columbus first encountered the original inhabitants of the New World, he remarked they were “So tractable, so peaceable . . . that I swear . . . there is not in the world a better nation.” Yet wave after wave of European arrivals sought to wipe those nations from the earth. By what right did one race seize the land belonging to another and subjugate its people? Distinguished jurist and Native rights advocate Thomas Berger surveys the history of the Americas since their “discovery” by Europeans and examines how the colonizing powers wrestled with the moral issues. Accounts of the slaughter and disenfranchisement of indigenous peoples throughout North, Central, and South America reveal a searing pattern of almost unimaginable duplicity and inhumanity. Five centuries later, Native Americans still embrace ancient values and cultural ways. Berger recounts this tenacious struggle to defy the odds and re-emerge as distinct cultures.  GVPL

Western Canada Wilderness Committee        

     The Last Voyage Of The Black Ship by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

This Haida Manga graphic novel tells the story of the salmon, the forest and the Peoples of the North Pacific. In this mythical journey, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas reveals the complex interrelationships in the coastal redcedar ecosystem and explores the effects of the unsound logging practices. A Haida woman, a supernatural being and a young blue bear team up to save their home – the ancient redcedar forest.  UVic

Wilfrid Laurier University Press   

     Aboriginal Peoples In Canadian Cities: Transformations and Continuities edited by Heather A. Howard and Craig Proulx

Since the 1970s, Aboriginal people have been more likely to live in Canadian cities than on reserves or in rural areas. Aboriginal rural-to-urban migration and the development of urban Aboriginal communities represent one of the most significant shifts in the histories and cultures of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. These essays provide innovative perspectives on cultural transformation and continuity and demonstrate how comparative examinations of the diversity within and across urban Aboriginal experiences contribute to broader understandings of the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian state and to theoretical debates about power dynamics in the production of community and in processes of identity formation.  GVPL   UVic

Zed Books

     Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith

To the colonized, the term ‘research’ is conflated with European colonialism; the ways in which academic research has been implicated in the throes of imperialism remains a painful memory. This essential volume explores intersections of imperialism and research – specifically, the ways in which imperialism is embedded in disciplines of knowledge and tradition as ‘regimes of truth.’ Concepts such as ‘discovery’ and ‘claiming’ are discussed and an argument presented that the decolonization of research methods will help to reclaim control over indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Now in its eagerly awaited second edition, this bestselling book has been substantially revised, with new case-studies and examples and important additions on new indigenous literature, the role of research in indigenous struggles for social justice, which brings this essential volume urgently up-to-date.  UVic                                                             

                                                                         

Additional resources:

From the Aboriginal Health Program at the University of Calgary

Aboriginal Literatures in Canada: A Teacher’s Resource Guide