New Year, New Me: Explore Indigenous Lit

Is one of your reading goals in 2023 to read more Indigenous lit? Try these six New Year, New Me picks – a mix of fiction, drama, poetry, creative anthology, and YA non-fic – to help you get started.


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Bent Back Tongue by Garry Gottfriedson (Caitlin Press)

This latest collection by Secwépemc poet Garry Gottfriedson digs into Canada’s unique “brand” of colonial practice and how religion and political forces shaped Garry’s own life. Bev Sellars said of the book that “Bent Back Tongue is hard hitting and powerful and I hope people are open to hearing and learning from it.” – the perfect read to kick off a year of Indigenous writing.

Okinum by Émilie Monnet (Scirocco Drama / J. Gordon Shillingford)

French Anishinaabe/Algonquin playwright Émilie Monnet crafts experiential performances, including Okinum, a piece rooted in issues surrounding colonialism and language reclamation, delivered in three languages. The play is designed to break down cultural and linguistic barriers between groups, toward healing. It won an Indigenous Voices Award in 2021.

Before the Usual Time, edited by Darlene Naponse (Latitude 46)

The editor of this creative anthology, Darlene Naponse, is an Anishinaabe multidisciplinary artist – a writer, independent film director, video artist, and community activist. That same approach could be said about this book, a collection of stories and poems from Indigenous contributors that Waubgeshig Rice says “demonstrates the beautiful diversity of Indigenous voices and experiences throughout this land, and the common threads of strength and resilience that bind them through time.”

Blood by Tyler Pennock (Brick Books)

Tyler Pennock is a Two-Spirit poet from Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, and Blood, a followup to 2020’s critically-acclaimed collection Bones, investigates the urban environment, queerness, and their own grappling with colonial history.

Ghost Lake by Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler (Kegedonce Press)

Recommended by ALU Editor Lauren: “Literary horror is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, and Anishinaabe writer Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler’s short story collection Ghost Lake (Kegedonce Press) runs with the best of it: these tales are nuanced, some genuinely creepy, and featuring a community of characters you’ll love discovering story to story.”

Killing the Wittigo by Suzanne Methot (ECW Press)

Nehiyaw writer Suzanne Methot has reimagined her 2019 book Legacy: Trauma, Story, and Indigenous Healing for a younger generation of readers, bringing Indigenous-led healing especially to reluctant readers, and literacy learners. This book will release in June 2023 and will have an accessible edition in our ebooks for Everyone collection.

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Plan on adding any of these New Year, New Me picks to your TBR? Let us know in the comments or on social @alllitupcanada. And catch up on all of our recommendations here.