Canada’s new holiday on September 30th is supposed to be a day when we recognize the tragedy of residential schools, fulfilling one of the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It’s designated ‘National Day for Truth and Reconciliation’ and is intended to give Canadians a day to reflect on the legacy of residential schools.
Much was made of the government’s refusal not to make it a statutory holiday. Most provinces are giving mixed or partial recognition by giving public sector employees the day off, while others (Alberta) are not. It’s nice to think people will actually take the time to reflect on the treatment of Indigenous peoples, but let’s be honest, some will, most won’t.
#Indigenous Reads encourages reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples by sharing Indigenous literature. I offer this brief list of Indigenous writers. Perhaps listening to their stories is a way to honour those who never came home, those who did, and all their loved ones who had to bear witness to such suffering.
Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
Namwayut, We Are All One: A Pathway to Reconciliation by Chief Robert Joseph (non-fiction)
21 Things You Might Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph
Moccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van Camp (short stories)
The Audacity of his Enterprise: Louis Riel and the Metis Nation That Canada Never Was by M. Max Hamon (non-fiction)
Richard Wagamese: A Perfect Likeness: Two Novellas , Indian Horse, Medicine Walk, Embers, Starlight, An Unfinished Novel
Katherena Vermette: The Break, The Strangers
Before the Usual Time Ed. By Darlene Naponse (a collection of stories and poems)
The Shoe Boy, A Trapline Memoir by Duncan McCue (memoir)
How I Survived: Four Nights on the Ice by Serapio Ittusardjuat (graphic novel)
Breakdown by David A. Robertson (graphic novel)
Words Like Thunder: New and Used Anishinaabe Prayers by Lois Bearslee (poems)
Bone Black by Carol Rose Goldeneagle
Bearskin Diary by Carol Daniels
Arctic Dreams and Nightmares by Alootook Ipelle (short stories)
Bad Endings by Carleigh Baker (short stories)
Creating Space: My Life and Work in Indigenous Education by Verna J. Kirkness
Digital Ogichida by Jordan Wheeler
Firewater by Harold R. Johnson (non-fiction)
Halfbreed by Maria Campbell (memoir)
Invisible Victims: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women by Katherine McCarthy (non-fiction)
Moose Meat & Wild Rice by Basil Johnston
The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew (memoir)
Eden Robinson: Son of a Trickster, Monkey Beach
Tomson Highway: The Rez Sisters (play), Kiss of the Fur Queen, A Short History of Indians in Canada (short stories), The Inconvenient Indian (non-fiction), Indians on Vacation, Laughing With the Trickster
Thomas King: Green Grass, Running Water, The Inconvenient Indian, Indians on Vacation
They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars (memoir)
Treaty Promises, Indian Reality: Life on a Reserve by Harold LeRat (non-fiction)
Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction, Grace L. Dillon, editor
In Search of April Raintree by Beatrice Mosionier
Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal, Kiera L. Ladner & Myra J. Tait (non-fiction)
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. Canadians are incredibly lucky to have such a wealth of talented Indigenous writers. It is long past time their voices are heard, their stories are told. Do yourself a favour: buy them, read them. All year long.
In the meantime, happy reading!