Reading outdoors on a summer’s day is one of my favourite activities and this year one of my goals is to read more books from the perspective of Indigenous Peoples so I can better understand my students and our community. Today I’ll share a few books by Indigenous authors for learning and pleasure.
Both Braiding Sweetgrass and the TRC Summary are books I am rereading because they are packed full of information and stories that are valuable to teachers. These texts are very helpful if you’re like me, a settler who had very little exposure or education about Indigenous ways of knowing and/or residential schools.
Daughters of the Deer was recently recommended by a friend. I have read the author’s picture book, Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox to many classes so I’m very excited to read her first novel. When doing research for this blog I saw that Danielle Daniel has a new picture book, Sometimes I Feel Like a River, so I’ll be reading that one too!
Miichi Saagiig Nishnaabeg: This is Our Territory is a book that really speaks to me because I have lived in this territory all my life. I’m sure readers around the world will enjoy this book but also check and see if you there is a book published specifically about the territory where you live.
These books and many more are available from Goodminds which is a First Nations owned bookstore in the Six Nations of the Grand River in Brantford. Please check out their website and follow on your socials.Goodminds – First Nations Métis and Inuit Books
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (2015) by Robin Wall Kimmerer Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. Milkweed Press
Daughters of the Deer (2022) by Danielle Daniel In this haunting and groundbreaking historical novel, Danielle Daniel imagines the lives of women in the Algonquin territories of the 1600s, a story inspired by her family’s ancestral link to a young girl who was murdered by French settlers. Penguin Random House
Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Volume One Summary Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015) by The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
This is the Final Report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its six-year investigation of the residential school system for Aboriginal youth and the legacy of these schools. This report, the summary volume, includes the history of residential schools, the legacy of that school system, and the full text of the Commission’s 94 recommendations for action to address that legacy. James Lorimer and Company Ltd.
Miichi Saagiig Nishnaabeg: This is Our Territory (2018) by Gidigaa Migizi (Doug Williams) In this deeply engaging oral history, Gidigaa Migizi (Doug Williams), Anishinaabe elder, teacher, and mentor to Leanne Betasamosake Simpson recounts the history of the Michi Saagiig Nisnaabeg, tracing through personal and historical events, and presenting what manifests as a crucial historical document that confronts entrenched institutional narratives of the history of the region. ARP Books
Whatever you choose to read, enjoy your summer reading, I know I will!