Anahareo (Mohawk). Devil in Deerskins. Ed. Sophie McCall. University of Manitoba Press, 2014 (1972). Memoir.

24. Devil_in_Deerskins (Anahareo)

Publisher’s description: Anahareo (1906-1985) was a Mohawk writer, environmentalist, and activist. She was also the wife of Grey Owl, aka Archie Belaney, the internationally celebrated writer and speaker who claimed to be of Scottish and Apache descent, but whose true ancestry as a white Englishman only became known after his death. Devil in Deerskins is Anahareo’s autobiography up to and including her marriage to Grey Owl. In vivid prose she captures their extensive travels through the bush and their work towards environmental and wildlife protection. Here we see the daily life of an extraordinary Mohawk woman whose independence, intellect, and moral conviction had direct influence on Grey Owl’s conversion from trapper to conservationist. Though first published in 1972, Devil in Deerskins’s observations on indigeneity, culture, and land speak directly to contemporary audiences.

 

Campbell, Maria (Métis). Half-breed. Goodread Biographies, 1983 (1973). Autobiography.

6. Halfbreed (Campbell)

Publisher’s description: Maria Campbell’s [auto]biography is a classic, vital account of a young Métis woman’s struggle to come to terms with the joys, sorrows, loves and tragedies of her northern Saskatchewan childhood. Maria was a strong and sensitive child who lived in a community robbed of its pride and dignity by the dominant culture. At 15 she tried in vain to escape by marrying a white man, only to find herself trapped in the slums of Vancouver—addicted to drugs, tempted by suicide, close to death. But the inspiration of her Cree great-grandmother, Cheechum, gives her confidence in herself and in her people, confidence she needs to survive and to thrive. Half-Breed offers an unparalleled understanding of the Métis people and of the racism and hatred they face. Maria Campbell’s story cannot be denied and it cannot be forgotten: it stands as a challenge to all Canadians who believe in human rights and human dignity.

Cariou, Warren (Métis). Lake of the Prairies: A Story of Belonging. Anchor Canada, 2003. Memoir.

5. Lake of the Prairies (Cariou)

Publisher’s description: Powerful, funny, moving and personal, Lake of the Prairies is a richly layered exploration of the ubiquitous childhood question: where do I come from? Warren Cariou’s story of origin begins in the boreal Saskatchewan landscape of rock, water and muskeg that is Meadow Lake—ensconced in the ethos of the north, where there is magic in a story and fiction is worth much more than fact. Grounded in the fertile soil of Meadow Lake are two historical traditions—Native and settler. Though the tragic story of how these traditions came to share the same home would remain buried from Warren until much later, history’s painful legacy was much in view. In the schoolyard and on the street corners Warren witnessed the discrimination, anger and fear directed at the town’s Cree and Métis populations—prejudices he absorbed as his own. As an adult, Warren Cariou has been forced to confront the politics of race in Meadow Lake. He learned that a rambunctious Native schoolmate could be involved in a torture and murder that would shock the world. And then Warren discovered family secrets kept hidden for generations, secrets that would alter forever Warren’s sense of identity and belonging in Meadow Lake.

Copway, George (Kahgegagahbowh) (Anishinaabe). Life, Letters and Speeches. Ed. A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff and Donald B. Smith. University of Nebraska Press, 2006. Autobiography/Speeches.

38. Life, Letters and Speeches (Copway)

Publisher’s description: George Copway (Kahgegagahbowh, 1818–69), an Ojibwe writer and lecturer, rose to prominence in American literary, political, and social circles during the mid-nineteenth century. His colorful, kaleidoscopic life took him from the tiny Ojibwe village of his youth [in Canada] to the halls of state legislatures throughout the eastern United States and eventually overseas. Copway converted to Methodism as a teenager and traveled throughout the Midwest as a missionary, becoming a forceful and energetic spokesperson for temperance and the rights and sovereignty of Indians, lecturing to large crowds in the United States and Europe, and founding a newspaper devoted to Native issues. One of the first Native American autobiographies, Life, Letters and Speeches chronicles Copway’s unique and often difficult cultural journey, vividly portraying the freedom of his early childhood, the dramatic moment of his spiritual awakening to Methodism, the rewards and frustrations of missionary work, his desperate race home to warn of a pending Sioux attack, and the harrowing rescue of his son from drowning.

Freeman, Minnie Aodla (Inuit). Life Among the Qallunaat. University of Manitoba Press, 2015. Ed. Keavy Martin, Julie Rak, & Norma Dunning. Memoir.

41. Life Among the Qallunaat (Freeman)

Publisher’s description: 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 humorous 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. Mini Aodla Freeman was born in 1936 on Cape Hope Island in James Bay. Life Among the Qallunaat was first published in 1978 and is the third book in the First Voices, First Texts series, which publishes lost or underappreciated texts by Indigenous writers. This critical edition of Mini Aodla Freeman’s groundbreaking work includes revisions based on the original typescript, an interview with the author, and an afterword by Keavy Martin, Julie Rak, and Norma Dunning.

Johnson, E. Pauline (Tekahionwake) (Mohawk). Collected Poems and Selected Prose. Ed. Carole Gerson & Veronica Strong-Boag. University of British Columbia, 2002. Poetry/Short Stories/Essays.

22. Collected Poems and Selected Prose (Johnson)

Publisher’s description: E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) was a Native advocate of part-Mohawk ancestry, an independent woman during the period of first-wave feminism, a Canadian nationalist who also advocated strengthening the link to imperial England, a popular and versatile prose writer, and one of modern Canada’s best-selling poets. Johnson longed to see the publication of a complete collection of her verse, but that wish remained unfulfilled during her life. Nine decades after her death, the first complete collection of all of Johnson’s known poems, many painstakingly culled from newspapers, magazines, and archives, is now available. In response to the current recognition of Johnson’s historical position as an immensely popular and influential figure of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this volume also presents a representative selection of her prose, including fiction about native-settler relations, journalism about women and recreation, and discussions of gender roles and racial stereotypes.

Maracle, Lee (Stó:lō). Ravensong: A Novel. Women’s Press, 2017 (1993). Novel.

4. Ravensong (Maracle)

Publisher’s description: Set along the Pacific Northwest Coast in the 1950s, Ravensong tells the story of a Native [Coast Salish] community devastated by an influenza epidemic. Stacey, a 17-year-old Native [Coast Salish] girl, struggles with the clash between white society’s values and her family’s traditional ways, knowing that her future lies somewhere in between. Celia, her sister, has visions from the past, while Raven warns of an impending catastrophe before there is any reconciliation between the two cultures. In this passionate story about a young woman’s quest for answers, author Lee Maracle speaks unflinchingly of the gulf between two cultures: a gulf that Raven says must be bridged. Ravensong is a moving drama that includes elements of prophecy, mythology, cultural critique, and humour. Featuring a preface by Lee Maracle and cover art by Métis artist Christi Belcourt, this revitalized edition is ideal for use in Literature and Gender and Women’s Studies programs.