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Join us in celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day with 15 incredible reads – from poetry, to essays, to fiction, to younger readers, to drama… there’s something for everyone here.
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Finalist for the 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction
Longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Winner of the 2022 Indigenous Voices Awards’ Published Prose in English Prize
Shortlisted for the 2022 Amazon Canada First Novel Award
Longlisted for CBC Canada Reads 2022
Longlisted for First Nations Community Reads 2022
An Indigo Top 100 Book of 2021
An Indigo Top 10 Best Canadian Fiction Book of 2021
“What a welcome debut. Young Eddie Toma’s passage through the truly ugly parts of this world is met, like an antidote, or perhaps a compensation, by his remarkable awareness of its beauty. This is a writer who understands youth, and how to tell a story.” —Gil Adamson, winner of the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for Ridgerunner
Brian Isaac’s powerful debut novel All the Quiet Places is the coming-of-age story of Eddie Toma, an Indigenous (Syilx) boy, told through the young narrator’s wide-eyed observations of the world around him.
It’s 1956, and six-year-old Eddie Toma lives with his mother, Grace, and his little brother, Lewis, near the Salmon River on the far edge of the Okanagan Indian Reserve in the British Columbia Southern Interior. Grace, her friend Isabel, Isabel’s husband Ray, and his nephew Gregory cross the border to work as summer farm labourers in Washington state. There Eddie is free to spend long days with Gregory exploring the farm: climbing a hill to watch the sunset and listening to the wind in the grass. The boys learn from Ray’s funny and dark stories. But when tragedy strikes, Eddie returns home grief-stricken, confused, and lonely.
Eddie’s life is governed by the decisions of the adults around him. Grace is determined to have him learn the ways of the white world by sending him to school in the small community of Falkland. On Eddie”s first day of school, as he crosses the reserve boundary at the Salmon River bridge, he leaves behind his world. Grace challenges the Indian Agent and writes futile letters to Ottawa to protest the sparse resources in their community. His father returns to the family after years away only to bring chaos and instability. Isabel and Ray join them in an overcrowded house. Only in his grandmother’s company does he find solace and true companionship.
In his teens, Eddie’s future seems more secure—he finds a job, and his long-time crush on his white neighbour Eva is finally reciprocated. But every time things look up, circumstances beyond his control crash down around him. The cumulative effects of guilt, grief, and despair threaten everything Eddie has ever known or loved.
All the Quiet Places is the story of what can happen when every adult in a person’s life has been affected by colonialism; it tells of the acute separation from culture that can occur even at home in a loved familiar landscape. Its narrative power relies on the unguarded, unsentimental witness provided by Eddie.
A collection of words and imagery from diverse voices grounded in the land that explore community in relation to time. Filmmaker/writer, Darlene Naponse, curates a gathering of expression about time that has passed, time that is now and time that comes.
Bent Back Tongue is a raw examination of love, identity, politics, masculinity, and vulnerability. Through sharp honesty and revealing satire, Gottfriedson delves into Canadian colonialism and the religious political paradigms shaping experiences of a Secwépemc First Nations man. This is a book that tears through deceptions that both Canada and the church impose on their citizens. Gottfriedson tackles the darkest layers of a shared colonial history; at the same time, the poems in Bent Back Tongue are a celebration of love, land, family, and the self.
In D.A. Lockhart’s Breaking Right ordinary Hoosiers experience extraordinary moments that reveal the complicated correlations between their beliefs, their relationships and the land beneath their feet.
John Brady McDonald has lived in Kistahpinanihk, an area that includes Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, for nearly all his life. A member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and a descendent of Metis leader Jim Brady, John Brady has worked to move carefully between these two nations – to learn their stories, honour their traditions and reclaim their languages, all of which were nearly lost to him. In this wide-ranging collection the author looks at everything from the city of Prince Albert to his experience of residential school, to northern firefighting, to his time in the United Kingdom, where he “discovered” and “claimed” the island for the First People of the Americas. These are essays filled with history, much careful observation and some hard-learned lessons about racism, about recovery, about the ongoing tragedies facing Indigenous peoples. With honesty, a poet’s turn of phrase and a bit of sly humour, John Brady pulls us deep into the life he has lived in Kistahpinanihk and asks us to consider what life could be like in a New North Territory.
You’re the clump of blackened spruce
that lights my gasoline-soaked heart
It’s just impossible you won’t be back
to quench yourself in my crème-soda
Irreverent and transcendent, lyrical and slang, Heating the Outdoors is an endlessly surprising new work from award-winning poet Marie-Andrée Gill.
In these micropoems, writing and love are acts of decolonial resilience. Rooted in Nitassinan, the territory and ancestral home of the Ilnu Nation, they echo the Ilnu oral tradition in Gill’s interrogation and reclamation of the language, land, and interpersonal intimacies distorted by imperialism. They navigate her interior landscape—of heartbreak, humor, and, ultimately, unrelenting light—amidst the boreal geography.
Heating the Outdoors describes the yearnings for love, the domestic monotony of post-breakup malaise, and the awkward meeting of exes. As the lines between interior and exterior begin to blur, Gill’s poems, here translated by Kristen Renee Miller, become a record of the daily rituals and ancient landscapes that inform her identity not only as a lover, then ex, but also as an Ilnu and Québécoise woman.
Sales and Market Bullets
Winner of the Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award at the 2016 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!
Memory Serves gathers together the oratories award-winning author Lee Maracle has delivered and performed over a twenty-year period. Revised for publication, the lectures hold the features and style of oratory intrinsic to the Salish people in general and the Sto: lo in particular. From her Coast Salish perspective and with great eloquence, Maracle shares her knowledge of Sto: lo history, memory, philosophy, law, spirituality, feminism and the colonial condition of her people.
Powerful and inspiring, Memory Serves is an extremely timely book, not only because it is the first collection of oratories by one of the most important Indigenous authors in Canada, but also because it offers all Canadians, in Maracle’s own words, “another way to be, to think, to know,” a way that holds the promise of a “journey toward a common consciousness.”
Translated from the French into English by Phyllis Aronoff.
This bilingual work (English and Innu-aimun) is an invitation to dialogue. Message sticks are the signs that allow the nomadic Innu to orient themselves inland and find their way. The poetry brings the language of the nutshimit (the back country) to life again, recalling the sound of the drum. Simple and beautiful, Joséphine Bacon’s poetry is an homage to the land, the ancestors, and the Innu-aimun language. Charting unwritten history, it provides a vision into the intensity of the elders’ words.
Shortlisted for the Leacock Medal for Humour
The hilarious story of an unlikely group of Indigenous dancers who find themselves thrown together on a performance tour of Europe
The Tour is all prepared. The Prairie Chicken dance troupe is all set for a fifteen-day trek through Europe, performing at festivals and cultural events. But then the performers all come down with the flu. And John Greyeyes, a retired cowboy who hasn’t danced in fifteen years, finds himself abruptly thrust into the position of leading a hastily-assembled group of replacement dancers.
A group of expert dancers they are not. There’s a middle-aged woman with advanced arthritis, her nineteen-year-old niece who is far more interested in flirtations than pow-wow, and an enigmatic man from the U.S. — all being chased by Nadine, the organizer of the original tour who is determined to be a part of the action, and the handsome man she picked up in a gas-station bathroom. They’re all looking to John, who has never left the continent, to guide them through a world that he knows nothing about. As the gang makes its way from one stop to another, absolutely nothing goes as planned and the tour becomes a string of madcap adventures.
The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour is loosely based — like, hospital-gown loose — on the true story of a group of Indigenous dancers who left Saskatchewan and toured through Europe in the 1970s. Dawn Dumont brings her signature razor-sharp wit and impeccable comedic timing to this hilarious, warm, and wildly entertaining novel.
After a hunting trip one fall, a family in the far reaches of so-called Canada’s north return to nothing but an empty space where their home once stood. Finding themselves suddenly homeless, they have no choice but to assimilate into settler-colonial society in a mining town that has encroached on their freedom.
An intergenerational coming-of-age novel, This House Is Not a Home follows Kǫ̀, a Dene man who grew up entirely on the land before being taken to residential school. When he finally returns home, he struggles to connect with his family: his younger brother whom he has never met, his mother because he has lost his language, and an absent father whose disappearance he is too afraid to question.
The third book from acclaimed Dene, Cree and Metis writer Katłįà, This House Is Not a Home is a fictional story based on true events. Visceral and embodied, heartbreaking and spirited, this book presents a clear trajectory of how settlers dispossessed Indigenous Peoples of their land — and how Indigenous communities, with dignity and resilience, continue to live and honour their culture, values, inherent knowledge systems, and Indigenous rights towards re-establishing sovereignty. Fierce and unflinching, this story is a call for land back.