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Indigenous Studies

Celebrate the powerful stories and rich history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and North America with these books.

There are of course hundreds, if not thousands of titles that we could include in this list, however we wanted to focus primarily on recent titles as well as those that have a strong legacy.

We are also continually updating this list as we discover new books by or about Indigenous Peoples, and if you feel that we should include a particular title or author we encourage you to contact us with more information.


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Gather

- by Richard Van Camp

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Stories are medicine. During a time of heightened isolation, bestselling author Richard Van Camp shares what he knows about the power of storytelling--and offers some of his own favourite stories from Elders, friends, and family.

Gathering around a campfire, or the dinner table, we humans have always told stories. Through them, we define our identities and shape our understanding of the world.
 
Master storyteller and bestselling author Richard Van Camp writes of the power of storytelling and its potential to transform speakers and audiences alike.
 
In Gather, Van Camp shares what elements make a compelling story and offers insights into basic storytelling techniques, such as how to read a room and how to capture the attention of listeners. And he delves further into the impact storytelling can have, helping readers understand how to create community and how to banish loneliness through their tales. A member of the Tlicho Dene First Nation, Van Camp also includes stories from Elders whose wisdom influenced him.
 
During a time of uncertainty and disconnection, stories reach across vast distances to offer connection. Gather is a joyful reminder of this for storytellers: all of us.
 

Firekeeper's Daughter

- by Angeline Boulley

Young adult hardcover $25.99 - Add to Cart
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A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB YA PICK

An Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

Soon to be adapted at Netflix for TV with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground.

"One of this year's most buzzed about young adult novels." --Good Morning America

A 2021 Kids' Indie Next List Selection
An Amazon Best Book of the Month for March Selection
An Entertainment Weekly Most Anticipated Books of 2021 Selection
A PopSugar Best March 2021 YA Book Selection


With four starred reviews, Angeline Boulley's debut novel, Firekeeper's Daughter, is a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, perfect for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.

Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi's hockey team.

Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.

Now, as the deceptions--and deaths--keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she'll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she's ever known.

Road Allowance Era

- by Katherena Vermette

Young adult softcover $19.95 - Add to Cart
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In Road Allowance Era, Echo's story picks up again when she travels back in time to 1885.

The government has not fulfilled its promise of land for the Métis, and many flee to the Northwest. As part of the fallout from the Northwest Resistance, their advocate and champion Louis Riel is executed. As new legislation corrodes Métis land rights, and unscrupulous land speculators and swindlers take advantage, many Métis settle on road allowances and railway land, often on the fringes of urban centres.

For Echo, the plight of her family is apparent. Burnt out of their home in Ste. Madeleine, they make their way to Rooster Town, a shanty community on the southwest edges of Winnipeg. In this final instalment of her story, Echo is reminded of the strength and resilience of her people, forged through the loss and pain of the past, as she faces a triumphant future.

Breakdown

- by David A. Robertson

Young adult softcover $21.95 - Add to Cart
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Acclaimed writer, David A. Robertson, delivers suspense, adventure, and humour in this stunningly illustrated graphic novel continuation of The Reckoner trilogy.

After the events in Wounded Sky, Cole and Eva arrive in Winnipeg, the headquarters of Mihko Laboratories. They are intent on destroying the company once and for all, but their plans are thwarted when a new threat surfaces. When Cole becomes mired in terrifying visions, Eva must harness her newly discovered powers to investigate Mihko without him. Are Cole's visions just troubled dreams or are they leading him to a horrible truth?

Perfect for fans of superheroes, The Bloodhound Gang returns in this all-new graphic novel series, The Reckoner Rises.

The Case of the Burgled Bundle

- by Michael Hutchinson

Children's paperback $10.95 - Add to Cart
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The National Assembly of Cree Peoples has gathered together in the Windy Lake First Nation, home to the Mighty Muskrats--cousins Chickadee, Atim, Otter, and Sam. But when the treaty bundle, the center of a four-day-long ceremony, is taken, the four mystery-solving cousins set out to catch those responsible and help protect Windy Lake's reputation!

What's worse, prime suspect Pearl takes off to the city with her older brother and known troublemaker, Eddie. If they have the burgled bundle with them, the Mighty Muskrats fear it may be lost for good. With clues pointing in too many different directions, the cousins need to find and return the missing bundle before the assembly comes to an end. The history and knowledge passed down to each generation through the bundle is at stake.

Ancestor Approved

- by Cynthia Leitic Smith

Children's hardcover $21.00 - Add to Cart
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Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog). They are the heroes of their own stories. Featuring stories and poems by:
Joseph Bruchac
Art Coulson
Christine Day
Eric Gansworth
Carole Lindstrom
Dawn Quigley
Rebecca Roanhorse
David A. Robertson
Andrea L. Rogers
Kim Rogers
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Monique Gray Smith
Traci Sorell,
Tim Tingle
Erika T. Wurth
Brian Young In partnership with We Need Diverse Books

We Dream Medicine Dreams

- by Lisa Boivin

Children's hardcover $21.95 - Add to Cart
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From Dene artist and bioethicist Lisa Boivin comes this healing story of hope, dreams, and the special bond between grandfather and granddaughter.

When a little girl dreams about a bear, her grandfather explains how we connect with the knowledge of our ancestors through dreams. Bear, Hawk, Caribou, and Wolf all have teachings to share to help us live a good life. But when Grampa gets sick and falls into a coma, the little girl must lean on his teachings as she learns to say goodbye.

Masterful prose and stunning collage weave a gentle story about animal teachings, the power of dreams, and the death of a loved one.

When We Are Kind

- by Monique Gray Smith

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When We Are Kind celebrates simple acts of everyday kindness and encourages children to explore how they feel when they initiate and receive acts of kindness in their lives. Celebrated author Monique Gray Smith has written many books on the topics of resilience and reconciliation and communicates an important message through carefully chosen words for readers of all ages. Beautifully illustrated by artist Nicole Neidhardt, this book encourages children to be kind to others and to themselves.

I Sang You Down from the Stars

- by Tas Spillett-sumner

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A New York Times and CBC Books bestselling #OwnVoices love letter from an Indigenous mother to her new baby, new from celebrated author Tasha Spillett-Sumner and 2021 Caldecott winning illustrator Michaela Goade, that honors the beauty of a little one's arrival Drawing from Indigenous creation stories and traditional teachings and illustrated in dazzling watercolors, I Sang You Down from the Stars is a tribute to the bond between mother and child. The narrator gathers gifts for a medicine bundle in anticipation of her baby's birth; a fluffy white eagle plume, bunches of cedar and sage, a quilted star blanket, and a small stone from the river. When the baby arrives, the mother shares the bundle with her child and reveals the importance of each item inside. But when her family comes to meet the new arrival, she realizes the baby arrived with gifts of its own and that the baby is also a sacred bundle: a baby bundle. Writing in simple, lyrical text, author Tasha Spillett-Sumner draws from her cultural heritage in order to celebrate Indigenous traditions and the universal nature of a mother's love, with stunning art by the 2021 Caldecott medal winner for We Are Water Protectors, Michela Goade.

We All Play

- by Julie Flett

Children's hardcover $22.95 - Add to Cart
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From Julie Flett, the beloved author and illustrator of Birdsong, comes a joyous new book about playtime for babies, toddlers, and kids up to age 7. 

Animals and kids love to play! This wonderful Own Voices book celebrates playtime and the connection between children and the natural world. Beautiful illustrations show:birds who chase and chirp!bears who wiggle and wobblewhales who swim and squirt!owls who peek and peep!and a diverse group of kids who love to do the same, shouting: We play too! / kimêtawânaw mîna

At the end of the book, animals and children gently fall asleep after a fun day of playing outside, making this book a great bedtime story. A beautiful ode to the animals and humans we share our world with, We All Play belongs on every bookshelf.

This book also includes:A glossary of Cree words for wild animals in the bookA pronunciation guide and link to audio pronunciation recordingsPraise for Julie Flett's previous book, Birdsong: 

An American Indian Youth Literature Honor Title 

A 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Title 

A Best Book of 2019 in Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Horn Book. 

"Cree-Métis author/illustrator Julie Flett's smooth and lyrical words and gorgeous... images truly capture the warmth and solidarity of the female protagonists in this tender intergenerational friendship story."--The Horn Book 

"Emotionally stunning."--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"Simple and profound, this tender story is a reminder that finding a new friend can make a new place feel like home. Highly recommended for purchase."--School Library Journal (Starred Review)

"Flett's subtle, sensitive story delicately traces filaments of growth and loss through intergenerational friendship, art making, and changing moons and seasons."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

On the Trapline

- by David A. Robertson

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A picture book celebrating Indigenous culture and traditions. The Governor General Award--winning team behind When We Were Alone shares a story that honors our connections to our past and our grandfathers and fathers.

A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, "Is this your trapline?" Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago -- a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child's wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.

mahikan ka onot

- by Duncan Mercredi

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mahikan ka onot collects the finest work of accomplished Indigenous poet Duncan Mercredi, from his first book in 1991 to recent unpublished poems. These are poems of life on the land as well as life in the city, vibrant with the rhythms of traditional Cree and Métis storytelling but also with the clamour and the music of the streets. This book brings the work of Duncan Mercredi (Cree/Métis) back into the public eye, providing a new generation of readers with the opportunity to experience his unique artistry. Mercredi brings to these poems the sensibility of a Cree speaker and a renowned oral storyteller, revealing a deep attachment to the land and a nuanced understanding of the complexities of contemporary Indigenous life. In startlingly direct, plainspoken language, the poet explores themes of cultural resurgence and steadfast connections among the generations, even amid the unfolding tragedies wrought by colonialism. Some of these poems are memories of traditional life on the land, especially in the time before Manitoba Hydro radically altered Mercredi's home community of Grand Rapids, Manitoba. Others focus on the urban Indigenous experience, based upon Mercredi's longstanding and intimate knowledge of Winnipeg. Like mahikan, the wolf, Mercredi's characters are often outsiders in certain contexts, but the poems reveal other perspectives that allow us to understand their loyalty and their love of community. The volume includes an afterword by Duncan Mercredi and an introduction by Métis scholar Warren Cariou, both of which provide resources for deeper study of the poems.

Storying Violence

- by Dallas Hunt

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In August of 2016, Cree youth Colten Boushie was shot dead by Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley. Using colonial and socio-political narratives that underlie white rural settler life, the authors position the death of Boushie and trial of Stanley in relation to Indigenous histories and experiences in Saskatchewan. They point to the Stanley case as just one instance of Indigenous peoples? presence being seen as a threat to settler colonial security, then used to sanction the exclusion, violent treatment, and death of Indigenous peoples and communities.

Nishga

- by Jordan Abel

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From Griffin Poetry Prize winner Jordan Abel comes a groundbreaking, deeply personal, and devastating autobiographical meditation that attempts to address the complicated legacies of Canada's residential school system and contemporary Indigenous existence.

As a Nisga'a writer, Jordan Abel often finds himself in a position where he is asked to explain his relationship to Nisga'a language, Nisga'a community, and Nisga'a cultural knowledge. However, as an intergenerational survivor of residential school--both of his grandparents attended the same residential school--his relationship to his own Indigenous identity is complicated to say the least.

NISHGA explores those complications and is invested in understanding how the colonial violence originating at the Coqualeetza Indian Residential School impacted his grandparents' generation, then his father's generation, and ultimately his own. The project is rooted in a desire to illuminate the realities of intergenerational survivors of residential school, but sheds light on Indigenous experiences that may not seem to be immediately (or inherently) Indigenous.

Drawing on autobiography and a series of interconnected documents (including pieces of memoir, transcriptions of talks, and photography), NISHGA is a book about confronting difficult truths and it is about how both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples engage with a history of colonial violence that is quite often rendered invisible.

The Politics of the Canoe

- by Bruce Erickson

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Popularly thought of as a recreational vehicle and one of the key ingredients of an ideal wilderness getaway, the canoe is also a political vessel. A potent symbol and practice of Indigenous cultures and traditions, the canoe has also been adopted to assert conservation ideals, feminist empowerment, citizenship practices, and multicultural goals. Documenting many of these various uses, this book asserts that the canoe is not merely a matter of leisure and pleasure; it is folded into many facets of our political life. Taking a critical stance on the canoe, The Politics of the Canoe expands and enlarges the stories that we tell about the canoe's relationship to, for example, colonialism, nationalism, environmentalism, and resource politics. To think about the canoe as a political vessel is to recognize how intertwined canoes are in the public life, governance, authority, social conditions, and ideologies of particular cultures, nations, and states. Almost everywhere we turn, and any way we look at it, the canoe both affects and is affected by complex political and cultural histories. Across Canada and the U.S., canoeing cultures have been born of activism and resistance as much as of adherence to the mythologies of wilderness and nation building. The essays in this volume show that canoes can enhance how we engage with and interpret not only our physical environments, but also our histories and present-day societies.

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