Source: http://tinyurl.com/ydbvm3f8 Credit: unknown
It’s BookFest this Saturday at Millennium Library – a day packed with engaging and fun content, with a focus on Manitoba-based publishers. This is my second year participating as one of the Library staff offering up “Book Tastings”. Under the category of “Canada 150+: great reads about our past and present” (2-2:30 p.m.) I’ll be highlighting titles that address the “plus”. As most people know there is a real explosion of Indigenous literary talent happening right now or, rather, an increase in the acknowledgement and celebration of that talent by so-called mainstream Canada. About time! It was difficult to choose just a few titles – a good problem to have. I look forward to highlighting these titles and more this Saturday and beyond.
When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson. Illustrated by Julie Flett.
Winner of a 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award.
“When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.”
Pīsim Finds Her Miskanow by William Dumas. Illustrated by Leonard Paul.
“In 1993, the remains of a young woman were discovered at Nagami Bay, South Indian Lake, Manitoba. Out of that important archeological discovery came this unique story about a week in the life of Pisim, a young Cree woman, who lived in the Mid 1600s. In the story, created by renowned storyteller William Dumas, Pisim begins to recognize her miskanow – her life’s journey – and to develop her gifts for fulfilling that path. The story is brought to life by the rich imagery of Leonard Paul, and is accompanied by sidebars on Cree language and culture, archaeology and history, maps, songs, and more.”
“…from 2000 to 2011, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred Indigenous site. Jordan Wabasse, a gentle boy and star hockey player, disappeared into the minus twenty degrees Celsius night. The body of celebrated artist Norval Morrisseau’s grandson, Kyle, was pulled from a river, as was Curran Strang’s. Robyn Harper died in her boarding-house hallway and Paul Panacheese inexplicably collapsed on his kitchen floor. Reggie Bushie’s death finally prompted an inquest, seven years after the discovery of Jethro Anderson, the first boy whose body was found in the water.
Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.”
This classic title has been re-released with a forward by local scholar Mary Jane Logan McCallum.
“For over 100 years, thousands of Aboriginal children passed through the Canadian residential school system. Begun in the 1870s, it was intended, in the words of government officials, to bring these children into the “circle of civilization,” the results, however, were far different. More often, the schools provided an inferior education in an atmosphere of neglect, disease, and often abuse. Using previously unreleased government documents, historian John S. Milloy provides a full picture of the history and reality of the residential school system.”
Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal. by Keira Ladner and Myra Tait
“Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal is a collection of elegant, thoughtful, and powerful reflections about Indigenous Peoples’ complicated, and often frustrating, relationship with Canada, and how – even 150 years after Confederation – the fight for recognition of their treaty and Aboriginal rights continues. Through essays, art, and literature, Surviving Canada examines the struggle for Indigenous Peoples to celebrate their cultures and exercise their right to control their own economic development, lands, water, and lives.”
Fire Starters by Jen Storm. Illustrated by Scott Henderson. Colours by Donavan Yacuik.
“Looking for a little mischief after finding an old flare gun, Ron and Ben find themselves in trouble when the local gas bar on Agamiing Reserve goes up in flames, and they are wrongly accused of arson by the sheriff’s son. As the investigation goes forward, community attitudes are revealed, and the truth slowly comes to light.”
Life Among the Qallunaat by Mini Aodla Freeman. Eds., Keavy Martin, Julie Rak and Norma Dunning
“Life Among the Qallunaat is the story of Mini Aodla Freeman’s experiences growing up in the Inuit communities of James Bay and her journey in the 1950s from her home to the strange land and stranger customs of the Qallunaat, those living south of the Arctic. Her extraordinary story, sometimes humourous and sometimes heartbreaking, illustrates an Inuit woman’s movement between worlds and ways of understanding. It also provides a clear-eyed record of the changes that swept through Inuit communities in the 1940s and 1950s.”