In House with Kegedonce Press for Indigenous History Month

June 22, 2021

For Indigenous History Month we're featuring books written by Indigenous authors and the people behind them. Today we celebrate Kegedonce Press, an Indigenous-owned and -operated publisher based on the traditional territory of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation publishing beautifully crafted books that involve Indigenous Peoples at all levels of production. Learn more about Kegedonce Press and check out a sampling of books published by the press. 

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Kegedonce Press is an independent Indigenous publisher based in Owen Sound and Neyaashiinigmiing, Ontario. It is one of only a handful of dedicated Indigenous publishers in Canada. It was founded in 1993 by Anishinaabe poet, writer, and educator Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm. Kateri wanted to provide publishing support and services to Indigenous writers, from a company that understood the experiences and concerns of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Kegedonce Press crafts beautiful books that support the enterprises of Indigenous writers, artists, graphic illustrators, designers, editors, printers and others in related fields. It has published works by some of the most widely known contemporary Indigenous writers in Canada, including Joanne Arnott, Cherie Dimaline, Marilyn Dumont, Louise Bernice Halfe, Daniel Health Justice, Aaron Paquette, Sharron Proulx-Turner, Gregory Scofield, and Richard Van Camp, among many others.

Honours include the Indigenous Voices Award for Published Poetry in English (You are Enough by Smokii Sumac, 2019); the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature (Lightfinder by Aaron Paquette, 2015); the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award and the Anskohk Aboriginal Poetry Book of the Year (That Tongued Belonging, 2007), among many others. This spring, Kateri Akiwenzie-Dam was nominated for the 2021 Ontario Arts Council Indigenous Arts Award.

Kegedonce had the honour of publishing the first wonderworks (fantasy) trilogy by a North American Indigenous author (The Way of Thorn and Thunder by Daniel Heath Justice). Several Kegedonce titles uplift two-spirit content, including those by Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler, Sharron Proulx-Turner, Smokii Sumac, and Tunchai Redvers. In 2020 the press was thrilled to publish its first graphic novel, The Krillian Key by Neal Shannacappo. 2020 was also the 20th anniversary of Richard Van Camp’s first short story collection, Angel Wing Splash Pattern, celebrated with the publication of a beautifully redesigned new edition last fall. And in 2020 and 2021, Kegedonce was greatly honoured to put back into print two of Louise Bernice Halfe’s critically-acclaimed poetry collections, Blue Marrow and The Crooked Good.

Indigenous owned and operated, Kegedonce Press is based on the traditional territory of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation. Publisher and managing editor Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm is of the Chippewas of Nawash and publishing manager Renee K. Abram is of the Oneida Nation (Onyota’a:ka), Wolf clan.

 

 

Check out some recent books by Kegedonce Press

 

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Photo credit William Au

Angel Wing Splash Pattern, 20th Anniversary Edition 
by Richard Van Camp

Angel Wing Splash Pattern is Richard Van Camp’s first published short story collection, where many of his beloved recurring characters got their start. Van Camp’s masterful storytelling weaves themes of hope, friendship and hunger through the insightful voices of its narrators, each of whom seeks their personal truths. This 20th anniversary edition is beautifully redesigned, with a new introduction by the author, and two new graphic novel style stories.

 

 

 

 

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Ghost Lake by Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler

In Ghost Lake, an interconnected cast of characters experience brushes with the mysterious, the paranormal, and the monstrous. Thirteen stories explore the meanings of monstrosity, violence, tragedy, and justice. Shortlisted for the 2021 Eric Hoffer da Vinci Eye Award in Book Design and shortlisted for the 2021 Indigenous Voices Award in Published English Fiction.

 

 

 

 

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Photo credit Kimball Regier

Blue Marrow, third edition by Louise Bernice Halfe

In the poems of Blue Marrow the voices of the Grandmothers share their wisdom, their lives, their dreams. They proclaim the injustice of colonialism, the violence of proselytism, and the horrors of the residential school system with an honesty that cuts to the marrow. Speaking in both English and Cree, these are voices of hopefulness, strength, and survivance. More than twenty years since its first publication, this critically acclaimed collection is available in a redesigned edition, including an all-new interview with its celebrated author, Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer.

 

 

 

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Photo credit Kimball Regier

The Crooked Good, third edition by Louise Bernice Halfe
(forthcoming July) 

Poetic tales that unfold through the voice of ê-kwêskît, Turn-Around Woman, personal stories framed within the fireside tales of Rolling Head Woman, who is both nightmare and culture hero. Evocative, moving, and powerful poetry from a master poet. This new edition features artwork by Kevin Peeace and a foreword by Dr. Kimberley Anderson, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Relationships, University of Guelph.

 

 

 

 

Shannacappo

The Krillian Key: Salamander Run
by Neal Shannacappo

An immortal faces a dystopic future in this action-packed graphic novel. Pursued by warring human/alien hybrids, the immortal Kyrill, an Indigenous man also known as Salamander, is the key to open a prison forged by the seven gods of creation. While one of the warring factions moves to protect him, the other seeks to use him to open the prison. The Krillian Key: Salamander Run is a fast-paced graphic novel set in post-apocalyptic Neo-New York circa 2242, with flashbacks to modern day Canada.

 

 

 

Sumac

Photo credit Sweetmoon Photography

You are Enough: love poems for the end of the world
by Smokii Sumac

Brilliant, raw, moving poetry that draws on deeply personal experiences of addiction and recovery, coming home through ceremony, and falling in and out of love. Sumac shares profound insights and occasionally hilarious musings on sex, gender, and identity, and helps us come to know that we are enough, just as we are. Winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award in Published Poetry in English.

 

 

 

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Photo credit Alex Usquiano

The Trail of Nenaboozhoo by Isaac Murdoch
(with illustrations by Christi Belcourt)

The Trail of Nenaboozhoo is a powerful collection of sacred Ojibwe creation stories transcribed from Isaac Murdoch’s oral storytelling. The collection is strikingly illustrated by Murdoch and renowned Métis artist Christi Belcourt. Many of the stories appear in both English and Anishinaabemowin. Moving, profound and beautiful, this text is a vitally important contribution to Indigenous literature and to the preservation of Anishinaabe language and culture.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks to Patricia at Kegedonce Press for sharing the history of the press with us, and for this roundup of fantastic books! 

 

 

 

 


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