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September 30 is Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada: a day to mourn the Indigenous children lost to and abused in Canada’s residential school system, and a resounding call to know and action the 94 Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s report. These books, from personal memoirs to essays to novels to poetry collections, are a place to get started.
Showing 17–25 of 25 results
Resisting Canada gathers together poets for a conversation bigger than poetic trends. The book’s organizing principle is Canada–the Canada that established residential schools; the Canada grappling with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; the Canada that has been visible in its welcome of Syrian refugees, yet the not-always-tolerant place where the children of those refugees will grow up; the Canada eager to re-establish its global leadership on the environment while struggling to acknowledge Indigenous sovereignty on resource-rich land and enabling further colonization of that land. In the face of global conflicts due to climate change, scarcity, mass migrations, and the rise of xenophobic populisms, Canada still works with a surface understanding of its democratic values–both at their noblest and most deceptive.
The work included in Resisting Canada–by celebrated poets such as Lee Maracle, Jordan Abel, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Louise Bernice Halfe, Michael Prior, and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson–addresses, among other things, Indigenous agency, cultural belonging, environmental anxieties, and racial privilege. These poems ask us to judge and resist a statecraft that refuses to acknowledge past and present wrongs. Think of Resisting Canada as a poetic letter to Canada’s politicians and leaders.
Faced with a constant stream of news reports of standoffs and confrontations, Canada’s “reconciliation project” has obviously gone off the rails. In this series of concise and thoughtful essays, lawyer and historian Bruce McIvor explains why reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is failing and what needs to be done to fix it.Widely known as a passionate advocate for Indigenous rights, McIvor reports from the front lines of legal and political disputes that have gripped the nation. From Wet’suwet’en opposition to a pipeline in northern British Columbia, to Mi’kmaw exercising their fishing rights in Nova Scotia, McIvor has been actively involved in advising First Nation clients, fielding industry and non-Indigenous opposition to true reconciliation, and explaining to government officials why their policies are failing.McIvor’s essays are honest and heartfelt. In clear, plain language he explains the historical and social forces that underpin the development of Indigenous law, criticizes the current legal shortcomings and charts a practical, principled way forward.By weaving in personal stories of growing up Métis on the fringes of the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba and representing First Nations in court and negotiations, McIvor brings to life the human side of the law and politics surrounding Indigenous peoples’ ongoing struggle for fairness and justice. His writing covers many of the most important issues that have become part of a national dialogue, including systemic racism, treaty rights, violence against Indigenous people, Métis identity, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) and the duty to consult.McIvor’s message is consistent and powerful: if Canadians are brave enough to confront the reality of the country’s colonialist past and present and insist that politicians replace empty promises with concrete, meaningful change, there is a realistic path forward based on respect, recognition and the implementation of Indigenous rights.
The elders in Those Who Know have devoted their lives to preserving the wisdom and spirituality of their ancestors. Despite insult and oppression, they have maintained sometimes forbidden practices for the betterment of not just their people, but all humankind.First published in 1991, Dianne Meili’s book remains an essential portrait of men and women who have lived on the trapline, in the army, in a camp on the move, in jail, in residential schools, and on the reserve, all the while counselling, praying, fasting, healing, and helping to birth further generations.In this 20th anniversary edition of Those Who Know, Meili supplements her original text with new profiles and interviews that further the collective story of these elders as they guide us to a necessary future, one that values Mother Earth and the importance of community above all else.
A treaty is a contract. A treaty is enduring. A treaty is an act of faith. A treaty at its best is justice. It is a document and an undertaking. It is connected to place, people and self. It is built on the past, but it also indicates how the future may unfold. Armand Garnet Ruffo’s TREATY # is all of these. In this far-ranging work, Ruffo documents his observations on life &ndash and in the process, his own life &ndash as he sets out to restructure relationships and address obligations nation-to-nation, human to human, human to nature. Now, he undertakes a new phase in its restoration. He has written his TREATY # like a palimpsest over past representations of Indigenous bodies and beliefs, built powerful connections to his predecessors, and discovered new ways to bear witness and build a place for them, and all of us, in his poems. This is a major new work from an important, original voice.
An updated edition of Herb Belcourt’s remarkable life story with a brand-new foreword by the author.
The eldest of ten children, Belcourt grew up in a small log home near the Métis settlement of Lac Ste. Anne during the Depression. His father purchased furs from local First Nations and Métis trappers and, with arduous work, began a family fur trading business that survives to this day. When Belcourt left home at 15 to become a labourer in coal mines and sawmills, his father told him to save his money so he could work for himself. Over the next three decades, Belcourt began a number of small Alberta businesses that prospered and eventually enabled him to make significant contributions to the Métis community in Alberta.
Belcourt has devoted over 30 years of his life to improving access to affordable housing and further education for Aboriginal Albertans. In 1971, he co-founded CanNative Housing Corporation, a nonprofit agency charged with providing homes for urban Aboriginal people who confronted housing discrimination in Edmonton and Calgary. In 2004, Belcourt and his colleagues established the Belcourt Brosseau Métis Awards Fund, a $13-million endowment with a mandate to support the educational dreams of Métis youth and mature students in Alberta and to make a permanent difference in the lives of Métis Albertans.
The generation to which Joe and Josephine Crowshoe belonged spanned more than the length of their lifetimes. That generation fought heroically in world wars and at the same time raised children under a paternalistic federal regime that denied both a culture and a heritage. The Crowshoes regained their heritage and shared it with the larger community, gaining respect from all the people with whom they were in contact and becoming articulate representatives and the holders of stories, legends, and customs. The interviews in Weasel Tail track not just their personal stories but the stories of a people who insisted on being recognized and a culture born out of the land of southern Alberta. Paralleling the interviews, Mike Ross has included historical photographs and documentation of a world and people who are a rich part of Alberta’s history.
Miskozi is searching for something…
There’s something missing.
And she’s not sure what it is.
She goes on a search for herself and her culture, accompanied by her inner white girl, Waabishkizi, and guided by Ziibi, a manifestation of an ancestral river, both provoking her to try and find the answers.
She begins the journey back before she was even born, right at the seeds of colonization when her ancestors were forced to hide their culture anywhere they could.
Burying their language.
White Girls in Moccasins is a hilarious and poignant reclamation story that world-hops between dreams, memories, and a surreal game show. Miskozi recounts her life and is forced to grapple with her own truth, while existing in a society steeped in white supremacy.
A love letter to brown kids born in the 80s, surviving in the 90s and all those continuing to deeply reclaim.