Recent Books with Indigenous Representation

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Blanket toss under midnight sun : portraits of everday life in eight Indigenous communities

Blanket toss under midnight sun : portraits of everday life in eight Indigenous communities

Seesequasis, Paul, author
2019

A revelatory portrait of eight Indigenous communities from across North America, shown through never-before-published archival photographs--a gorgeous extension of Paul Seesequasis's popular social media project.

In 2015, writer and journalist Paul Seesequasis found himself grappling with the devastating findings of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission report on the residential school system. He sought understanding and inspiration in the stories of his mother, herself a residential school survivor. Gradually, Paul realized that another, mostly untold history existed alongside the official one: that of how Indigenous peoples and communities had held together during even the most difficult times. He embarked on a social media project to collect archival photos capturing everyday life in First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities from the 1920s through the 1970s. As he scoured archives and libraries, Paul uncovered a trove of candid images and began to post these on social media, where they sparked an extraordinary reaction. Friends and relatives of the individuals in the photographs commented online, and through this dialogue, rich histories came to light for the first time.

Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun collects some of the most arresting images and stories from Paul's project. While many of the photographs live in public archives, most have never been shown to the people in the communities they represent. As such, Blanket Toss is not only an invaluable historical record, it is a meaningful act of reclamation, showing the ongoing resilience of Indigenous communities, past, present--and future.

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The case of Windy Lake

The case of Windy Lake

Hutchinson, Michael, 1971- author
2019

Sam, Otter, Atim, and Chickadee are four inseparable cousins growing up on the Windy Lake First Nation. Nicknamed the Mighty Muskrats for their habit of laughing, fighting, and exploring together, the cousins find that each new adventure adds to their reputation. When a visiting archeologist goes missing, the cousins decide to solve the mystery of his disappearance. In the midst of community conflict, family concerns, and environmental protests, the four get busy following every lead. From their base of operations in a fort made out of an old school bus, the Mighty Muskrats won't let anything stop them from solving their case!

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Dene First Nations

Dene First Nations

Hudak, Heather C., 1975- author
2019

Provides insight into the lives of the Dene people, both past and present, that includes their unique history, language, and cultural practices.

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Disintegrate/dissociate : poems ;

Disintegrate/dissociate : poems ;

Twist, Arielle, 1994- author, poet
2019

In her powerful debut collection of poetry, Arielle Twist unravels the complexities of human relationships after death and metamorphosis. In these spare yet powerful poems, she explores, with both rage and tenderness, the parameters of grief, trauma, displacement, and identity. Weaving together a past made murky by uncertainty and a present which exists in multitudes, Arielle Twist poetically navigates through what it means to be an Indigenous trans woman, discovering the possibilities of a hopeful future and a transcendent, beautiful path to regaining softness.

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From Bear Rock Mountain : the life and times of a Dene residential school survivor

From Bear Rock Mountain : the life and times of a Dene residential school survivor

Mountain, Antoine, 1949- author.
2019

In 1949, Antoine Mountain was born on the land near Radelie Koe (Fort Good Hope) in the Northwest Territories just south of the Arctic Circle. At the tender age of seven, he was stolen away from his home and sent to a residential school--run by the Roman Catholic Church in collusion with the Government of Canada--three hundred kilometres away. Over the next twelve years, the three residential schools Mountain was forced to attend systematically worked to erase his language and culture, the very roots of his identity.

While reconnecting to that which had been taken from him, he had a disturbing and painful revelation of the bitter depths of colonialism and its legacy of cultural genocide. Canada has its own holocaust, Mountain argues.

As a celebrated artist and social activist today, Mountain shares this moving, personal story of healing and the reclamation of his Dene identity.

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From where I stand : rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a stronger Canada

From where I stand : rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a stronger Canada

Wilson-Raybould, Jody, 1971- author
2019

An Indigenous leader who has dedicated her life to Indigenous Rights, Jody Wilson-Raybould has represented both First Nations and the Crown at the highest levels. And she is not afraid to give Canadians what they need most - straight talk on what has to be done to move beyond our colonial legacy and achieve true reconciliation in Canada. In this powerful book, drawn from speeches and other writings, she urges all Canadians - both Indigenous and non-Indigenous - to build upon the momentum already gained or risk hard-won progress being lost. The good news is that Indigenous Nations already have the solutions. But now is time to act and build a shared postcolonial future based on the foundations of trust, cooperation, recognition, and good governance.

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Ghosts

Ghosts

Robertson, David, 1977- author
2019

Mysterious murders, shadowy figures, and high school. Life can be hard, death can be harder.

Cole Harper is dead. Reynold McCabe is alive and free. Mihko Laboratories has reopened the research facility and works to manufacture and weaponize the illness that previously plagued Wounded Sky. People are missing. The community has been quarantined. What deal did Eva strike with Choch? Who will defeat Reynold and Mihko? Time is running out.

This is the final novel in David A. Robertson's The Reckoner trilogy.

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A girl called Echo. Vol. 2, Red River Resistance

A girl called Echo. Vol. 2, Red River Resistance

Vermette, Katherena, 1977- author
2018

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

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Highway of Tears : a true story of racism, indifference and the pursuit of justice for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls

Highway of Tears : a true story of racism, indifference and the pursuit of justice for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls

McDiarmid, Jessica, author
2019

A searing and revelatory account of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls of Highway 16, and an indictment of the society that failed them.

For decades, Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or been found murdered along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern British Columbia. The highway is known as the Highway of Tears, and it has come to symbolize a national crisis.

Journalist Jessica McDiarmid investigates the devastating effect these tragedies have had on the families of the victims and their communities, and how systemic racism and indifference have created a climate where Indigenous women and girls are over-policed, yet under-protected. Through interviews with those closest to the victims--mothers and fathers, siblings and friends--McDiarmid offers an intimate, first-hand account of their loss and relentless fight for justice. Examining the historically fraught social and cultural tensions between settlers and Indigenous peoples in the region, McDiarmid links these cases to others across Canada--now estimated to number up to 4,000--contextualizing them within a broader examination of the undervaluing of Indigenous lives in this country.

Highway of Tears is a powerful story about our ongoing failure to provide justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and a testament to their families and communities' unwavering determination to find it.

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In my own moccasins : a memoir of resilience

In my own moccasins : a memoir of resilience

Knott, Helen, author
2019

A nationally bestselling book on the struggle of addiction and the power of Indigenous resilience. Helen Knott, a highly accomplished Indigenous woman, seems to have it all. But in her memoir, she offers a different perspective. This is an unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption. With gripping moments of withdrawal, times of spiritual awareness, and historical insights going back to the signing of Treaty 8 by her great-great grandfather, Chief Bigfoot, her journey exposes the legacy of colonialism, while reclaiming her spirit. "In My Own Moccasins never flinches. The story goes dark, and then darker. We live in an era where Indigenous women routinely go missing, our youth are killed and disposed of like trash, and the road to justice doesn't seem to run through the rez. Knott's journey is familiar, filled with the fallout of residential school, racial injustice, alcoholism, drugs, and despair. But she skillfully draws us along and opens up her life, her family, and her communities to show us a way forward. It's the best kind of memoir: clear-eyed, generous, and glorious Bear witness to the emergence of one of the most powerful voices of her generation." -- Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster and Monkey Beach (from the foreword).

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Indigenous Relations : insights, tips & suggestions to make reconciliation a reality

Indigenous Relations : insights, tips & suggestions to make reconciliation a reality

Joseph, Robert P. C., 1963- author
2019

A timely sequel to the bestselling 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act - and an invaluable guide for anyone seeking to work more effectively with Indigenous Peoples.

We are all treaty people. But what are the everyday impacts of treaties, and how can we effectively work toward reconciliation if we're worried our words and actions will unintentionally cause harm?

Hereditary chief and leading Indigenous relations trainer Bob Joseph is your guide to respecting cultural differences and improving your personal relationships and business interactions with Indigenous Peoples. Practical and inclusive, Indigenous Relations interprets the difference between hereditary and elected leadership, and why it matters; explains the intricacies of Aboriginal Rights and Title, and the treaty process; and demonstrates the lasting impact of the Indian Act , including the barriers that Indigenous communities face and the truth behind common myths and stereotypes perpetuated since Confederation.

Indigenous Relations equips you with the necessary knowledge to respectfully avoid missteps in your work and daily life, and offers an eight-part process to help business and government work more effectively with Indigenous Peoples - benefitting workplace culture as well as the bottom line. Indigenous Relations is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to improve their cultural competency and undo the legacy of the Indian Act .

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Kimotinâniwiw itwêwina = Stolen words

Kimotinâniwiw itwêwina = Stolen words

Florence, Melanie, author
2019

The dual language edition, in Plains Cree and English, of Stolen Words, the award-winning story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in Cree, he tells her that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again. This sensitive and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families. The story recognizes the pain of those whose culture and language were taken from them, how that pain is passed down, and how healing can also be shared.

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Legacy : trauma, story, and Indigenous healing

Legacy : trauma, story, and Indigenous healing

Methot, Suzanne, author
2019

Five hundred years of colonization have taken an incalculable toll on the Indigenous peoples of the Americas: substance use disorders and shockingly high rates of depression, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions brought on by genocide and colonial control. With passionate logic and chillingly clear prose, author and educator Suzanne Methot uses history, human development, and her own and others' stories to trace the roots of Indigenous cultural dislocation and community breakdown in an original and provocative examination of the long-term effects of colonization. But all is not lost. Methot also shows how we can come back from this with Indigenous ways of knowing lighting the way.

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A mind spread out on the ground

A mind spread out on the ground

Elliott, Alicia, author
2019

A bold and profound meditation on trauma, legacy, oppression and racism in North America from award-winning Haudenosaunee writer Alicia Elliott.

In an urgent and visceral work that asks essential questions about the treatment of Native people in North America while drawing on intimate details of her own life and experience with intergenerational trauma, Alicia Elliott offers indispensable insight into the ongoing legacy of colonialism. She engages with such wide-ranging topics as race, parenthood, love, mental illness, poverty, sexual assault, gentrifcation, writing and representation, and in the process makes connections both large and small between the past and present, the personal and political--from overcoming a years-long battle with head lice to the way Native writers are treated within the Canadian literary industry; her unplanned teenage pregnancy to the history of dark matter and how it relates to racism in the court system; her childhood diet of Kraft Dinner to how systemic oppression is directly linked to health problems in Native communities.

With deep consideration and searing prose, Elliott provides a candid look at our past, an illuminating portrait of our present and a powerful tool for a better future.

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Moccasin Square Gardens : short stories

Moccasin Square Gardens : short stories

Van Camp, Richard, author
2019

The characters of Moccasin Square Gardens inhabit Denendeh, the land of the people north of the sixtieth parallel. These stories are filled with in-laws, outlaws and common-laws. Get ready for illegal wrestling moves ("The Camel Clutch"), pinky promises, a doctored casino, extraterrestrials or "Sky People," love, lust and prayers for peace.

While this is Van Camp's most hilarious short story collection, it's also haunted by the lurking presence of the Wheetago, human-devouring monsters of legend that have returned due to global warming and the greed of humanity. The stories in Moccasin Square Gardens show that medicine power always comes with a price.

To counteract this darkness, Van Camp weaves a funny and loving portrayal of the Tłı̨chǫ Dene and other communities of the North, drawing from oral history techniques to perfectly capture the character and texture of everyday small-town life. "Moccasin Square Gardens" is the nickname of a dance hall in the town of Fort Smith that serves as a meeting place for a small but diverse community. In the same way, the collection functions as a meeting place for an assortment of characters, from shamans and time-travelling goddess warriors to pop-culture-obsessed pencil pushers, to con artists, archivists and men who just need to grow up, all seeking some form of connection.

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NDN coping mechanisms : notes from the field

NDN coping mechanisms : notes from the field

Belcourt, Billy-Ray, author
2019

In the follow-up to his Griffin Poetry Prize-winning collection, This Wound is a World, Billy-Ray Belcourt writes using the modes of accusation and interrogation. He aims an anthropological eye at the realities of everyday life to show how they house the violence that continues to reverberate from the long twentieth century. In a genre-bending constellation of poetry, photography, redaction, and poetics, Belcourt ultimately argues that if signifiers of Indigenous suffering are everywhere, so too is evidence of Indigenous peoples' rogue possibility, their utopian drive.

In NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field, the poet takes on the political demands of queerness, mainstream portrayals of Indigenous life, love and its discontents, and the limits and uses of poetry as a vehicle for Indigenous liberation. In the process, Belcourt once again demonstrates his extraordinary craft, guile, and audacity, and the sheer dexterity of his imagination.

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Nibi emosaawdang = the water walker

Nibi emosaawdang = the water walker

Robertson, Joanne, 1960- author, illustrator
2019

The dual language edition, in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) and English, of The Water Walker, the award-winning story of a determined Ojibwe Nokomis (Grandmother) Josephine-ba Mandamin and her great love for Nibi (water). Nokomis walked to raise awareness of our need to protect Nibi for future generations, and for all life on the planet. She, along with other women, men, and youth, have walked around all the Great Lakes from the four salt waters, or oceans, to Lake Superior. The walks are full of challenges, and by her example Josephine-ba invites us all to take up our responsibility to protect our water, the giver of life, and to protect our planet for all generations.

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One drum : stories and ceremonies for a planet

One drum : stories and ceremonies for a planet

Wagamese, Richard, author
2019

"The most profound truth in the universe is this: that we are all one drum and we need each other." --Richard Wagamese, One Drum

Fans of Richard Wagamese's writing will be heartened by the news that the bestselling author left behind a manuscript he'd been working on until shortly before his death in 2017. One Drum welcomes readers to unite in ceremony to heal themselves and bring harmony to their lives and communities.

In One Drum, Wagamese wrote, "I am not a shaman. Nor am I an elder, a pipe carrier, or a celebrated traditionalist. I am merely one who has trudged the same path many of this human family has--the path of the seeker, called forward by a yearning I have not always understood."

One Drum draws from the foundational teachings of Ojibway tradition, the Grandfather Teachings. Focusing specifically on the lessons of humility, respect and courage, the volume contains simple ceremonies that anyone anywhere can do, alone or in a group, to foster harmony and connection. Wagamese believed that there is a shaman in each of us, and we are all teachers and in the world of the spirit there is no right way or wrong way.

Writing of neglect, abuse and loss of identity, Wagamese recalled living on the street, going to jail, drinking too much, feeling rootless and afraid, and then the feeling of hope he gained from connecting with the spiritual ways of his people. He expressed the belief that ceremony has the power to unify and to heal for people of all backgrounds. "When that happens," he wrote, "we truly become one song and one drum beating together in a common purpose--and we are on the path to being healed."

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Phyllis's orange shirt

Phyllis's orange shirt

Webstad, Phyllis, author
2019

Phyllis's Orange Shirt is an adaptaion of The Orange Shirt Story which was the best selling children's book in Canada for several weeks in September 2018(Book manager). This true story also inspired the movement of Orange Shirt Day which could become a federal statuatory holiday.When Phyllis was a little girl she was excited to go to residential school for the first time. Her Granny bought her a bright orange shirt that she loved and she wore it to school for her first day. When she arrived at school her bright orange shirt was taken away. This is both Phyllis Webstad's true story and the story behind Orange Shirt Day which is a day for us all to reflect upon the treatment of First Nations people and the message that 'Every Child Matters'. Adapted for ages 4-6.

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Picking up the pieces : residential school memories and the making of the Witness Blanket

Picking up the pieces : residential school memories and the making of the Witness Blanket

Newman, Carey, 1975- author
2019

Picking Up the Pieces tells the story of the making of the Witness Blanket, a living work of art conceived and created by Indigenous artist Carey Newman. It includes hundreds of items collected from residential schools across Canada, everything from bricks, photos and letters to hockey skates, dolls and braids. Every object tells a story.

Carey takes the reader on a journey from the initial idea behind the Witness Blanket to the challenges in making it work to its completion. The story is told through the objects and the Survivors who donated them to the project. At every step in this important journey for children and adults alike, Carey is a guide, sharing his process and motivation behind the art. It's a very personal project. Carey's father is a residential school Survivor. Like the Blanket itself, Picking Up the Pieces calls on readers of all ages to bear witness to the residential school experience, a tragic piece of Canada's history.

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Red River girl : the life and death of Tina Fontaine

Red River girl : the life and death of Tina Fontaine

Jolly, Joanna, author
2019

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

A gripping account of the unsolved death of an Indigenous teenager, and the detective determined to find her killer, set against the backdrop of a troubled city.

On August 17, 2014, the body of fifteen-year old runaway Tina Fontaine was found in Winnipeg's Red River. It was wrapped in material and weighted down with rocks. Red River Girl is a gripping account of that murder investigation and the unusual police detective who pursued the killer with every legal means at his disposal. The book, like the movie Spotlight , will chronicle the behind-the-scenes stages of a lengthy and meticulously planned investigation. It reveals characters and social tensions that bring vivid life to a story that made national headlines.

Award-winning BBC reporter and documentary maker Joanna Jolly delves into the troubled life of Tina Fontaine, the half-Ojibway, half-Cree murder victim, starting with her childhood on the Sagkeeng First Nation Reserve. Tina's journey to the capital city is a harrowing one, culminating in drug abuse, sexual exploitation, and death.

Aware of the reality of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Jolly has chronicled Tina Fontaine's life as a reminder that she was more than a statistic. Raised by her father, and then by her great-aunt, Tina was a good student. But the violent death of her father hit Tina hard. She ran away, was found and put into the care of Child and Family Services, which she also sought to escape from. That choice left her in danger.

Red River Girl focuses not on the grisly event itself, but on the efforts to seek justice. In December 2015, the police charged Raymond Cormier, a drifter, with second-degree murder. Jolly's book will cover the trial, which resulted in an acquittal. The verdict caused dismay across the country.

The book is not only a true crime story, but a portrait of a community where Indigenous women are disproportionately more likely to be hurt or killed. Jolly asks questions about how Indigenous women, sex workers, community leaders, and activists are fighting back to protect themselves and change perceptions. Most importantly, the book will chronicle whether Tina's family will find justice.

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Storm of locusts

Storm of locusts

Roanhorse, Rebecca, author
2019

Kai and Caleb Goodacre have been kidnapped just as rumors of a cult sweeping across the reservation leads Maggie and Hastiin to investigate an outpost, and what they find there will challenge everything they've come to know in this action-packed sequel to Trail of Lightning .

It's been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she's lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she's somehow found herself responsible for a girl with a strange clan power.

Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie's door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai's a true believer, but Maggie suspects there's more to Kai's new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, then rescue Kai and make things right between them.

Her search leads her beyond the Walls of Dinétah and straight into the horrors of the Big Water world outside. With the aid of a motley collection of allies, Maggie must battle body harvesters, newborn casino gods and, ultimately, the White Locust himself. But the cult leader is nothing like she suspected, and Kai might not need rescuing after all. When the full scope of the White Locust's plans are revealed, Maggie's burgeoning trust in her friends, and herself, will be pushed to the breaking point, and not everyone will survive.

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This place : 150 years retold

This place : 150 years retold

2019

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts' New Chapter initiative. With this $35M initiative, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

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Words have a past : the English language, colonialism, and the newspapers of Indian boarding school

Words have a past : the English language, colonialism, and the newspapers of Indian boarding school

Griffith, Jane, 1983- author
2019

For nearly 100 years, Indian boarding schools in Canada and the US produced newspapers read by white settlers, government officials, and Indigenous parents. These newspapers were used as a settler colonial tool, yet within these tightly controlled narratives there also existed sites of resistance. This book traces colonial narratives of language, time, and place from the nineteenth-century to the present day, post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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