National Indigenous History Month

Take some time in June to celebrate the cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Indigenous peoples of Canada by reading some of these great titles honouring Indigenous history.

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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

Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun consists of approximately 80 archival black-and-white and colour photographs of Indigenous family life from 1925 to 1985, a period of sixty years. The images will portray the resilience and resourcefulness of Indigenous communities across Canada, and will illustrate a way of life that has been diminished or lost in modern times and is little known today. The high-resolution photos will be selected from the works of 12 photographers who spent significant time in each region: Cape Dorset (Kinngait) in Nunavut; Lake Superior Region in Ontario; Plains (Medicine Line) in Southern Alberta, Southern Saskatchewan and Northern Montana; Fort Rae (Bechoko) in the Northwest Territories, and Teslin - Old Crow in the Yukon. The narrative essay for each community will focus on exploration of its history, its families, and its cultural characteristics; including anecdotal stories, profiles of significant individuals, and analysis of how the community adapted to change.

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Call me Indian : from the trauma of residential school to becoming the NHL's first Treaty Indigenous player

Call me Indian : from the trauma of residential school to becoming the NHL's first Treaty Indigenous player

Sasakamoose, Fred, 1933- author
2021

Fred Sasakamoose, torn from his home at the age of seven, endured the horrors of residential school for a decade before becoming one of 120 players in the most elite hockey league in the world. When people tell his story, this is usually where they end it. Sasakamoose's story was far from over. He paved a way for youth to find solace and meaning in sports for generations to come. This ground breaking memoir intersects Canadian history and Indigenous politics, and follows his journey to reclaim pride in an identity that had previously been used against him.

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First peoples in Canada

First peoples in Canada

McMillan, Alan D. (Alan Daniel), 1945-, author
2004



For king and Kanata : Canadian Indians and the First World War

For king and Kanata : Canadian Indians and the First World War

Winegard, Timothy C. (Timothy Charles), 1977- author
2012






Mamaskatch : a Cree coming of age

Mamaskatch : a Cree coming of age

McLeod, Darrel J., author
2018

Growing up in the tiny village of Smith, Alberta, Darrel J. McLeod was surrounded by his Cree family's history. In shifting and unpredictable stories, his mother, Bertha, shared narratives of their culture, their family and the cruelty that she and her sisters endured in residential school. Darrel was comforted by her presence and that of his many siblings and cousins, the smells of moose stew and wild peppermint tea, and his deep love of the landscape. Bertha taught him to be fiercely proud of his heritage and to listen to the birds that would return to watch over and guide him at key junctures of his life. However, in a spiral of events, Darrel's mother turned wild and unstable, and their home life became chaotic. Sweet and innocent by nature, Darrel struggled to maintain his grades and pursue an interest in music while changing homes many times, witnessing violence, caring for his younger siblings and suffering abuse at the hands of his surrogate father. Meanwhile, his older brother's gender transition provoked Darrel to deeply question his own sexual identity. In spite of the traumas of Darrel's childhood, deep and mysterious forces handed down by his mother helped him survive and thrive: her love and strength stay with him to build the foundation of what would come to be a very fulfilling and adventurous life

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A mind spread out on the ground

A mind spread out on the ground

Elliott, Alicia, author
2019

In an urgent and visceral work that asks essential questions about Native people in North America while drawing on intimate details of her own life and experience with intergenerational trauma, Alicia Elliott offers indispensable insight and understanding to the ongoing legacy of colonialism. What are the links between depression, colonialism and loss of language--both figurative and literal? How does white privilege operate in different contexts? How do we navigate the painful contours of mental illness in loved ones without turning them into their sickness? How does colonialism operate on the level of literary criticism? A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is Alicia Elliott's attempt to answer these questions and more.

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Nishga

Nishga

Abel, Jordan, 1985- author
2020

An autobiographical meditation that attempts to address the complicated legacies of Canada's residential school system and contemporary Indigenous existence.

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No surrender : the land remains indigenous

No surrender : the land remains indigenous

Krasowski, Sheldon, 1968- author
2019

Between 1869 and 1877 the government of Canada negotiated Treaties One through Seven with the Indigenous peoples of the Great Plains. Many historians argue that the negotiations suffered from cultural misunderstandings between the treaty commissioners and Indigenous chiefs, but newly uncovered eyewitness accounts show that the Canadian government had a strategic plan to deceive over the "surrender clause" and land sharing. According to Sheldon Krasowski's research, Canada understood that the Cree, Anishnabeg, Saulteaux, Assiniboine, Siksika, Piikani, Kainaa, Stoney and Tsuu T'ina nations wanted to share the land with newcomers--with conditions--but were misled over governance, reserved lands, and resource sharing.

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Peace and good order : the case for Indigenous justice in Canada

Peace and good order : the case for Indigenous justice in Canada

Johnson, Harold, 1957- author
2019

In early 2018, the failures of Canada's justice system were sharply and painfully revealed in the verdicts issued in the deaths of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine. The outrage and confusion that followed those verdicts inspired former Crown prosecutor and bestselling author Harold R. Johnson to make the case against Canada for its failure to fulfill its duty under Treaty to effectively deliver justice to Indigenous people, worsening the situation and ensuring long-term damage to Indigenous communities. In this direct, concise, and essential volume, Harold R. Johnson examines the justice system's failures to deliver "peace and good order" to Indigenous people.

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Seven fallen feathers : racism, death, and hard truths in a northern city

Seven fallen feathers : racism, death, and hard truths in a northern city

Talaga, Tanya, author
2017

Over the span of ten years, seven high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave their reserve because there was no high school there for them to attend. Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this northern city that has come to manifest, and struggle with, human rights violations past and present against aboriginal communities.

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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.

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