Indigenous Reads - Staff Picks

Sort by:

As long as the rivers flow

As long as the rivers flow

Loyie, Larry, 1933- author
2002


Betty : the Helen Betty Osborne story

Betty : the Helen Betty Osborne story

Robertson, David, 1977- author.
2015

Helen Betty Osborne, known as Betty to her closest friends and family, dreamed of becoming a teacher. She left her home to attend residential school and high school in a small town in Manitoba. On November 13, 1971, Betty was abducted and brutally murdered by four young men. Initially met with silence and indifference, her tragic murder resonates loudly today. Betty represents one of almost 1,200 Indigenous women in Canada who have been murdered or gone missing.

Show More


Fatty legs : a true story

Fatty legs : a true story

Jordan-Fenton, Christy, author
2020

Margaret Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton's powerful story of residential school in the far North has been reissued to commemorate the memoir's 10th anniversary with updates to the text, reflections on the book's impact, and a bonus chapter from the acclaimed follow-up, A Stranger at Home. New content includes a foreword from Dr. Debbie Reese, noted Indigenous scholar and founder of American Indians in Children's Literature, while Christy Jordan-Fenton, mother of Margaret's grandchildren and a key player in helping Margaret share her stories, discusses the impact of the book in a new preface.

Show More


The first mosquito

The first mosquito

Simpson, Caroll, 1951-
2010

Presents the tale of a young boy's narrow escape from the dangers of the forest and a mother's wisdom in her response to her son's bid for independence.

Show More


Five little Indians

Five little Indians

Good, Michelle, author
2020

Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention. Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn't want them. The paths of the five friends cross and crisscross over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the Mission. With compassion and insight, Five Little Indians chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward.

Show More


I am not a number

I am not a number

Dupuis, Jenny Kay, author
2016


Indian Horse : a novel

Indian Horse : a novel

Wagamese, Richard, author
2012

Saul Indian Horse is a child when his family retreats into the woods. But when winter approaches, Saul loses everything: his brother, his parents, his beloved grandmother--and then his home itself. Alone in the world and placed in a horrific boarding school, Saul is surrounded by violence and cruelty. At the urging of a priest, he finds a tentative salvation in hockey. His intuition and vision are unmatched. His speed is remarkable. Together they open doors for him: away from the school, into an all-Ojibway amateur circuit, and finally within grasp of a professional career. Yet as Saul's victories mount, so do the indignities and the taunts, the racism and the hatred--the harshness of a world that will never welcome him, tied inexorably to the sport he loves.

Show More


Ispík kákí péyakoyak = When we were alone

Ispík kákí péyakoyak = When we were alone

Robertson, David, 1977- author
2020

"When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things about her grandmother that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and wear beautifully coloured 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 everything was taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history and, ultimately, a story of empowerment and strength."-- Provided by publisher.

Show More


Jonny Appleseed

Jonny Appleseed

Whitehead, Joshua, author
2018

"You're gonna need a rock and a whole lotta medicine" is a mantra that Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, repeats to himself in this vivid and utterly compelling novel. Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the "rez," and his former life, to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The next seven days are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny's world is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages--and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life. Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of Indigenous life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.

Show More


Kimotinâniwiw itwêwina = Stolen words

Kimotinâniwiw itwêwina = Stolen words

Florence, Melanie, author
2019

"When a little girl comes home from school one day and asks her grandpa how to say something in his Cree langauge, he is sad that he cannot teach her. He tells her that his words were stolen from him when he was taken to live in a residential school as a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandpa find his language again" --Back cover.

Show More


The marrow thieves

The marrow thieves

Dimaline, Cherie, 1975- author
2018

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden - but what they don't know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

Show More


A mind spread out on the ground

A mind spread out on the ground

Elliott, Alicia, author
2019

In an urgent and visceral work that asks essential questions about Native people in North America while drawing on intimate details of her own life and experience with intergenerational trauma, Alicia Elliott offers indispensable insight and understanding to the ongoing legacy of colonialism. What are the links between depression, colonialism and loss of language--both figurative and literal? How does white privilege operate in different contexts? How do we navigate the painful contours of mental illness in loved ones without turning them into their sickness? How does colonialism operate on the level of literary criticism? A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is Alicia Elliott's attempt to answer these questions and more.

Show More


Moon of the crusted snow

Moon of the crusted snow

Rice, Waubgeshig, 1979- author
2018

With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow. The community leadearship loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again.

Show More


My name is Seepeetza

My name is Seepeetza

Sterling, Shirley, author
1992


Not my girl

Not my girl

Jordan-Fenton, Christy, author
2014


Peace pipe dreams : the truth about lies about Indians

Peace pipe dreams : the truth about lies about Indians

Dennis, Darrell (Darrell Michael), author
2014


Shi-shi-etko

Shi-shi-etko

Campbell, Nicola I., author
2017


Son of a trickster

Son of a trickster

Robinson, Eden, author
2017


A stranger at home : a true story

A stranger at home : a true story

Jordan-Fenton, Christy, author
2015


Sugar Falls : a residential school story

Sugar Falls : a residential school story

Robertson, David, 1977-, author
2021

"From Governor-General's Award-winning writer David A. Robertson comes this special edition of the timeless graphic novel that introduced the world to the awe-inspiring resilience of Betty Ross, and shared her story of strength, family, and culture. A school assignment to interview a residential school survivor leads Daniel to Betsy, who tells him her story. Abandoned as a young child, Betsy was soon adopted into a loving family. A few short years later, at the age of 8, everything changed. Betsy was taken away to a residential school. There she was forced to endure abuse and indignity, but Betsy recalled the words her father spoke to her at Sugar Falls--words that gave her the resilience, strength, and determination to survive. Sugar Falls is based on the true story of Betty Ross, Elder from Cross Lake First Nation. We wish to acknowledge, with the utmost gratitude, Betty's generosity in sharing her story. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Sugar Falls goes to support the bursary program for The Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Foundation. This 10th-anniversary edition brings David A. Robertson's national bestseller to life in full colour, with a foreword by Senator Murrary Sinclair, Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and a touching afterword from Elder Betty Ross herself."-- Provided by publisher.

Show More





When I was eight

When I was eight

Jordan-Fenton, Christy, author
2013



chat loading...