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Browse Bookville’s selection of Indigenous-authored books to get a sense of the diversity of voices and tremendous talent these writers have: perfect for gifting or to read yourself (or both!).
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Deluxe redesign of the Gerald Lampert Award-winning classic.
On the occasion of the press’s 40th anniversary, Brick Books is proud to present the fourth of six new editions of classic books from our back catalogue. This edition of A Really Good Brown Girl features a new Introduction by Lee Maracle, a new Afterword by the author and a new cover and design by the renowned typographer Robert Bringhurst.
First published in 1996, A Really Good Brown Girl is a fierce, honest and courageous account of what it takes to grow into one’s self and one’s Métis heritage in the face of myriad institutional and cultural obstacles. It is an indispensable contribution to Canadian literature.
I am looking at a school picture, grade five, I am smiling easily … I look poised, settled, like I belong. I won an award that year for most improved student. I learned to follow really well. –from “Memoirs of a Really Good Brown Girl”
“No other book so exonerates us, elevates us and at the same time indicts Canada in language so eloquent it almost hurts to hear it.” –Lee Maracle, from the Introduction
A gender-fluid trickster character leaps from Cree stories to inhabit this racous and rebellious new work by award-winning poet Louise Bernice Halfe.
There are no pronouns in Cree for gender; awâsis (which means illuminated child) reveals herself through shape-shifting, adopting different genders, exploring the English language with merriment, and sharing his journey of mishaps with humor, mystery, and spirituality. Opening with a joyful and intimate Introduction from Elder Maria Campbell, awâsis – kinky and dishevelled is a force of Indigenous resurgence, resistance, and soul-healing laughter.
If you’ve read Halfe’s previous books, prepared to be surprised by this one. Raging in the dark, uncovering the painful facts wrought on her and her people’s lives by colonialism, racism, religion, and residential schools, she has walked us through raw realities with unabashed courage and intense, precise lyricism. But for her fifth book, another choice presented itself. Would she carve her way with determined ferocity into the still-powerful destructive forces of colonialism, despite Canada’s official, hollow promises to make things better? After a soul-searching Truth and Reconciliation process, the drinking water still hasn’t improved, and Louise began to wonder whether inspiration had deserted her.
Then awâsis showed up–a trickster, teacher, healer, wheeler-dealer, shapeshifter, woman, man, nuisance, inspiration. A Holy Fool with their fly open, speaking Cree, awâsis came to Louise out of the ancient stories of her people, her Elders, from community input (through tears and laughter), from her own full heart and her three-dimensional dreams. Following awâsis’s lead, Louise has flipped her blanket over, revealing a joking, mischievous, unapologetic alter ego–right on time.
“Louise Halfe knows, without question, how to make miyo-iskotêw, a beautiful fire with her kindling of words and moss gathered from a sacred place known only to her, to the Old Ones. These poems, sharp and crackling, are among one of the most beautiful fires I’ve ever sat beside.” –Gregory Scofield, author of Witness, I Am
“Louise makes awâsis out of irreverent sacred text. The darkness enlightens. She uses humor as a scalpel and sometimes as a butcher knife, to cut away, or hack off, our hurts, our pain, our grief and our traumas. In the end we laugh and laugh and laugh.” –Harold R. Johnson, author of Peace and Good Order: The Case for Indigenous Justice in Canada
“This is all about Indigenizing and reconciliation among ourselves. It’s the kind of funny, shake up, poking, smacking and farting we all need while laughing our guts out. It’s beautiful, gentle and loving.” –Maria Campbell, author of Halfbreed (from the Introduction)
“There really isn’t any template for telling stories as experienced from within Indigenous minds. In her book awâsis – kinky and dishevelled, Cree poet Louise Bernice Halfe – Skydancer presents a whole new way to experience story poems. It’s kinda like she writes in English but thinks in Cree. Lovely, revealing, funny, stunning. A whole new way to write!” –Buffy Sainte-Marie
A collection of letter and prayer poems in which an Indigenous speaker engages with non-Indigenous famous Canadians.
D.A. Lockhart’s stunning and subversive fourth collection gives us the words, thoughts, and experiences of an Anishinaabe guy from Central Ontario and the manner in which he interacts with central aspects and icons of settler Canadian culture. Riffing off Richard Hugo’s 31 Letters and 13 Dreams, the work utilizes contemporary Indigenous poetics to carve out space for often ignored voices in dominant Canadian discourse (and in particular for a response to this dominance through the cultural background of an Indigenous person living on land that has been fundamentally changed by settler culture).
The letter poems comprise a large portion of this collection and are each addressed to specific key public figures–from Sarah Polley to Pierre Berton, k.d. lang to Robertson Davies, Don Cherry to Emily Carr. The second portion of the pieces are prayer poems, which tenderly illustrate hybrid notions of faith that have developed in contemporary Indigenous societies in response to modern and historical realities of life in Canada. Together, these poems act as a lyric whole to push back against the dominant view of Canadian political and pop-culture history and offer a view of a decolonized nation.
Because free double-doubles…
tease us like bureaucratic promises
of medical coverage and housing
not given to black mold and torn-
off siding. Oh Lord, let us sing anew,
in this pre-dawn light, a chorus
that shall not repeat Please Play Again. (from “Roll Up the Rim Prayer”)
In Ojibwe cosmology there are thirteen moons, and in these pages are thirteen offerings from Ghost Lake, an interrelated cast of characters and their brushes with the mysterious. Issa lives in fear of having her secret discovered, Aanzheyaawin haunts the roads seeking vengeance, Zaude searches for clues to her brother’s death, Fanon struggles against an unexpected winter storm, Eadie and Mushkeg share a magical night, Tyner faces brutal violence, and Tyler, Clay, and Dare must make amends to the spirits before it’s too late. Here the precolonial past is not so distant, and nothing is ever truly lost or destroyed because the land remembers. Ghost Lake is a companion volume to Adler’s Indigenous horror novel, Wrist (2016, Kegedonce Press). It was the winner of the 2021 Indigenous Voices Award in Published English Fiction, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Eric Hoffer da Vinci Eye Award in Book Design.
The Neyhiyawak (Plains Cree) word “Kitotam” translates into English as, “He Speaks to It.” This is a collection of free-verse poetry by Indigenous poet and artist John McDonald. Written in two parts, these poems chronicle John’s life and experiences as an urban Indigenous youth during the 1980s. The second half of the book is a look into the inspirations and events, that shaped John’s career as an internationally known spoken word artist, beat poet, monologist and performance artist.
***2022 ATLANTIC BOOK AWARDS: APMA BEST ATLANTIC-PUBLISHED BOOK AWARD – SHORTLIST***
***2022 BMO WINTERSET AWARD – LONGLIST***
***2022-2023 HACKMATACK AWARD: ENGLISH FICTION – SHORTLIST***
***2022 IPPY AWARDS: MULTICULTURAL FICTION: JUV/YA – SILVER***
In 1822, William Epps Cormack sought the expertise of a guide who could lead him across Newfoundland in search of the last remaining Beothuk camps on the island. In his journals, Cormack refers to his guide only as “My Indian.”
Now, almost two hundred years later, Mi’sel Joe and Sheila O’Neill reclaim the story of Sylvester Joe, the Mi’kmaw guide engaged by Cormack. In a remarkable feat of historical fiction, My Indian follows Sylvester Joe from his birth (in what is now known as Miawpukek First Nation) and early life in his community to his journey across the island with Cormack. But will Sylvester Joe lead Cormack to the Beothuk, or will he protect the Beothuk and lead his colonial explorer away?
In rewriting the narrative of Cormack’s journey from the perspective of his Mi’kmaw guide, My Indian reclaims Sylvester Joe’s identity.
When Carol Rose GoldenEagle was a child, attending Easter church services, she recalls the annual ritual of the priest presenting plaques depicting the stages of Christ’s persecution to his resurrection, referred to as the “stations of the cross”. Using these early teachings as a springboard for critical reflections, poems look back, but more importantly, look forward to reclaiming the gifts given by Creator within Indigenous culture. GoldenEagle’s searing new poetry collection examines the dark legacy of the residential school system, church and government doctrine, and the ongoing impacts on Indigenous peoples’ lives across Turtle Island.
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.