Akiwenzie-Damm, Kateri (Anishinaabe). The Stone Collection. Portage and Main Press, 2015. Short stories.

1. The Stone Collection (Akiwenzie-Damm)

Publisher’s description: In these 14 unique stories, Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm takes on complex and dangerous emotions, exploring the gamut of modern Anishnaabe experience. Through unforgettable characters, these stories—about love and lust, suicide and survival, illness and wholeness—illuminate the strange workings of the human heart. Trailer for the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilgX9Ls099U.

 

 

Bird-Wilson, Lisa (Métis). Just Pretending. Coteau Books, 2013. Short stories.

48. Just Pretending (Bird-Wilson)

Publisher’s description: From one of Canada’s most exciting new Métis voices comes a book whose recurring themes include the complexities of identity, belonging/not belonging, Aboriginal adoption, loss and abandonment, regret and insecurity. A deadbeat dad tries to reconnect with his daughter after 22 years away. A selfish poet has been scarred by an upbringing that leaves him emotionally distant from his children and spouse. A pot-smoking middle-aged man undertakes a modest quest for meaning following a brush with mortality. A fourteen-year-old girl struggles to come to terms with her feelings of abandonment. At the centre of the stories are notions of identity and belonging, and the complex relationships between children and parents, both those who are real and those who are just pretending.

Hungry Wolf, Beverly (Blackfoot). The Ways of My Grandmothers. HarperCollinsCanada, 1998. Memoir/oral tradition.

46. The Ways of My Grandmothers (Hungry Wolf)

Publisher’s description: A young Blackfoot woman creates a hauntingly beautiful tribute to an age-old way of life in this fascinating portrait of the women of the Blackfoot people. A captivating tapestry of personal and tribal history, legends and myths, and the wisdom passed down through generations of women, this extraordinary book is also a priceless record of the traditional skills and ways of an ancient culture. Including many rare photographs, The Ways of My Grandmothers is an authentic contribution to our knowledge and understanding of Blackfoot traditions—and a classic that will speak to women everywhere.

Justice, Daniel Heath (Cherokee). The Way of Thorn and Thunder: The Kynship Chronicles. University of Mexico Press. Fantasy/Trilogy of novels.

42. The Way of Thorn and Thunder (Justice)

Publisher’s description: Taking fantasy literature beyond the stereotypes, Daniel Heath Justice’s acclaimed Thorn and Thunder novels are set in a world resembling eighteenth-century North America. The original trilogy is available here for the first time as a fully revised one-volume novel. The story of the struggle for the green world of the Everland, home of the forest-dwelling Kyn, is an adventure tale that bends genre and gender.

Lindberg, Tracey (Cree). Birdie. HarperCollinsCanada, 2016. Novel.

40. Birdie (Lindberg)

Publisher’s description: Bernice Meetoos will not be broken. A big, beautiful Cree woman with a dark secret in her past, Bernice (“Birdie”) has left her home in northern Alberta to travel to Gibsons, B.C. She is on something of a vision quest, looking for family, for home, for understanding. She is also driven by the leftover teenaged desire to meet Pat Johns–Jesse from The Beachcombers–because he is, as she says, a working, healthy Indian man. Birdie heads for Molly’s Reach to find answers, but they are not the ones she expected. With the arrival in Gibsons of her Auntie Val and her cousin Skinny Freda, Birdie begins to draw from her dreams the lessons she was never fully taught in life. Informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions, Birdie is a darkly comic and moving first novel about the universal experience of recovering from tragedy. At heart, it is the story of an extraordinary woman who travels to the deepest part of herself to find the strength to face the past and to build a new life.

Mosionier, Beatrice (Métis). In Search of April Raintree. 25th Anniversary Edition. Portage & Main Press, 2008 (1983). Novel.

27. In Search of April Raintree (Mosionier)

Publisher’s description: Two young sisters are taken from their home and family. Powerless to change their fortunes, they are separated, and each put into different foster homes. Yet over the years, the bond between them grows. As they each make their way in a society that is, at times, indifferent, hostile, and violent, one embraces her Métis identity, while the other tries to leave it behind. In the end, out of tragedy, comes an unexpected legacy of triumph and reclamation.

Peeteetuce, Curtis (Cree). Nicimos: The Last Rez Christmas Story. Scirocco Drama, 2015. Drama.

32. Nicimos (Peeteetuce)

Publisher’s description: This Christmas season, things have gone awry for the kohkoms of Kiwetinohk. Clare Bear is engaged to be married, Zula Merasty is moving off-reserve and Sihkos Sinclare is in jail. It all comes to fruition at Clare’s stagette. As the Saskatoon Star Phoenix writes, “Nicimos means sweetheart in Cree and that’s what this play is. A warm-hearted sweetheart with depth and charm and a great sense of humour. The final instalment of the Rez Christmas series finds Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company director-writer Curtis Peeteetuce in outstanding form.”

Rice, Waubgeshig (Anishinaabe). Legacy. Theytus Books, 2014. Novel.

47. Legacy (Rice)

Publisher’s description: Legacy is the first novel by Waubgeshig Rice, whose collection of stories, Midnight Sweatlodge, was the Gold Medal Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Awards, 2012 for Adult Multicultural Fiction. Set in the 1990s, Legacy deals with violence against a young Indigenous woman and its lingering after-shocks on an Anishnawbe family in Ontario. Its themes of injustice, privilege and those denied it, reconciliation and revenge, are as timely as today’s headlines.

Robinson, Eden (Haisla/Heiltsuk). Monkey Beach. Vintage Canada, 2001. Novel.

7. Monkey Beach (Robinson)

Publisher’s description: Monkey Beach combines both joy and tragedy in a harrowing yet restrained story of grief and survival, and of a family on the edge of heartbreak. In the first English-language novel to be published by a Haisla writer, Eden Robinson offers a rich celebration of life in the Native settlement of Kitamaat, on the coast of British Columbia. The story grips the reader from the beginning. It is the morning after the narrator’s brother has gone missing at sea; the mood is tense in the family house, as speculations remain unspoken. Jimmy is a prospective Olympic swimmer, seventeen years old and on the edge of proposing to his beautiful girlfriend Karaoke. As his elder sister, Lisa, faces possible disaster, she chain-smokes and drifts into thoughts of their lives so far…. We watch Lisa leave her teenage years behind as she waits for news of her younger brother. She reflects on the many rich episodes of their lives – so many of which take place around the water, reminding us of the news she fears, and revealing the menacing power of nature. But Lisa has a special recourse – a “gift” that enables her to see and hear spirits, and ask for their help.

Robertson, David Alexander (Cree). 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga. HighWater Press, 2012. Graphic novel/young adult fiction.

23. 7 Generations (Robertson)

Publisher’s description: Edwin is facing an uncertain future. Only by learning about his family’s past—as warriors, survivors of a smallpox epidemic, casualties of a residential school—will he be able to face the present and embrace the future. 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga is an epic 4-part graphic novel. Illustrated in vivid colour, the story follows one Aboriginal family over three centuries and seven generations. 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga includes the four graphic novels: Stone, Scars, Ends/Begins, and The Pact.