In House with Bookland Press for Indigenous History Month

As we close our week of publisher highlights for Indigenous History Month, we recognize Bookland Press, an independent publisher with a strong commitment to publishing and promoting books written or translated by emerging and established Indigenous authors, with a focus on preserving Indigenous languages, literature and culture.The books highlighted below share lived experiences of trauma, personal struggles to reconnect with ones Indigenous culture following forced assimilation, and the hope for truth and identity to be recognized both here in Canada and globally.If you missed any of this week’s Indigenous History Month highlights, please find them here. You can also find the Indigenous Litspace on the All Lit Up website—a permanent feature and commitment towards supporting Indigenous publishers and amplifying the voices of Indigenous writers on the path towards truth and reconciliation.


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BookLand Press is strongly committed to publishing and promoting books written or translated by emerging and established Indigenous authors in English, French, Cree, Ojibwa, Mohawk and other Indigenous languages to ensure preservation, inter-generational transmission, and advancement of Indigenous literature and culture in Canada. BookLand has been publishing Indigenous authors in English and translating their books from English to Cree, Ojibwa, Mohawk and other Indigenous languages since 2013.During recent years, we have published books by such prominent Indigenous authors as Rosanna Deerchild, Norma Dunning, David Groulx, Joséphine Bacon, Joseph Dandurand, Janet Rogers, and others. Indigenous language translators we have recently published include Jeremy Green (Mohawk), Shirley Ida Williams (Ojibway), Randy Morin (Cree), Solomon Ratt (Cree) and others. One of BookLand’s recent poetry books, Eskimo Pie: A Poetics of Inuit Identity by Norma Dunning, has been shortlisted for the 2021 Indigenous Voices Awards. 

Check out some recent books by Bookland Press

Iskotew Iskwew:  Poetry of a Northern Rez Girl by Francine Merasty

Forthcoming, July 2021 Iskotew Iskwew: Poetry of a Northern Rez Girl is a poetry collection written during a period of trauma while the author was working as a statement taker and Counsel to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in 2017. This book portrays the author’s lived experience as an Indigenous woman raised on the Pelican Narrows Reserve in the 1980s, her memories of the wilderness, and her experiences as a residential school survivor. With this collection, the author seeks to teach and inform Canadians of her foundational truth, growing up as an Indigenous woman on the land in a remote area of Northern Saskatchewan.

Eskimo Pie: A Poetics of Inuit Identity by Norma Dunning

Eskimo Pie: A Poetics of Inuit Identity examines the author’s lived history as an Inuk who was born, raised and continues to live south of sixty. Her writing takes into account the many assimilative practices that Inuit continue to face and the expectations of mainstream as to what an Inuk person can and should be. Her words
examine what it is like to feel the constant rejection of her work from non-Inuit people and how she must in some way find the spirit to carry through with what she holds to be true demonstrating the importance of standing tall and close to her words as an Indigenous woman.

Childhood Thoughts and Water by John McDonald

Photo credit Kymber Rae Photography Childhood Thoughts and Water is a collection of Beat Poetry, Spoken Word, Performance Art and Lyrical Verse. This is a work that journeys into the memories and events of an Urban Indigenous warrior’s struggles to reconnect with a language and culture that are seemingly always almost out of his reach. The common theme of reconnecting with nature and with water is interspersed with the imagery of childhood recollections and anecdotes about life and love, aspirations and defeats, and the desire to achieve greatness in spite of the obstacles and barriers inherent in a life lived on the fringes, in the shadows and on the streets, in the spotlight and behind the backstage curtain. 

Going Back Home by Marie Hess

 Written by a Mohawk Institute residential school survivor, Going Back Home is a gripping and truthful portrayal of the Canadian residential school system’s atrocities. It is a compelling and candid story that reveals the heartbreaking trauma of this tragic time in our country’s history. In this book, the author describes how the ongoing impact of the residential schools’ confinements has affected Indigenous communities over several generations and has contributed to many physical, mental and social problems that continue to exist today. By exploring this devastating history, Marie Hess finds and celebrates the resilient and hopeful spirit that many residential school survivors, like herself, have managed to retain in the face of horror and torment. Going Back Home is an important story that allows readers to understand the true modern history of this land and to honour the people who have survived it. 

As Long as the Sun Shines by Janet Rogers

As Long as the Sun Shines creatively reveals the beautiful and bitter essences of the world from a distinctive Indigenous female voice. Inspired by her recent global travels, experiences, relationships and Haudenosaunee perspective, the poet unapologetically sings words of midlife wisdom and cultural confidence. By using this
creative foundation to unite distinctive communities, the author expresses raw emotion throughout her journey toward inner peace from a uniquely Indigenous point of view. It is this strong expression that the poet hopes will become a global guide for her communities to follow and interpret while encountering their truths and identity.

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Thanks to Robert at Bookland Press for sharing this roundup of books with us!