Proulx-Turner, Sharron (Métis). she walks for days inside a thousand eyes (a two spirit story). Turnstone Press, 2008. Poetry

43. she walks for days (Proulx-Turner)

Publisher’s description: In she walks for days inside a thousand eyes (a two spirit story), Sharron Proulx-Turner combines poetry and history to delve into the little-known lives of two-spirit women. Regarded with both wonder and fear when first encountered by the West, First Nations women living with masculine and feminine principles in the same body had important roles to play in society, as healers and visionaries, before they were suppressed during the colonial invasion. She walks for days inside a thousand eyes (a two-spirit story) creatively juxtaposes first-person narratives and traditional stories with the voices of contemporary two-spirit women, voices taken from nature and the teachings of Water, Air, Fire and Mother Earth. The author restores the reputation of two-spirit woman that had been long under attack from Western culture as she re-appropriates the lives of these individuals from the writings of Western anthropologists and missionaries.

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.

Robinson, Harry (Syilx). Write it on Your Heart: The Epic World of an Okanagan Storyteller. Compiled and edited by Wendy Wickwire. Oral Tradition.

31. Write it on Your Heart (Robinson)

Publisher’s description: Write It on Your Heart is a celebration of the late Harry Robinson, one of the great storytellers of the Interior Salish people of North America. Collected over a ten-year period, the stories selected for this volume tell from a First Nations point of view about the origin of the world; the time of the animal people; the time before the coming of the white man; the stories of power; the prophet cult and its predictions of profound cultural and economic change; and the post-contact world. The collection ends with Robinson’s own version of “Puss in Boots,” true in every psychological detail to the European story, but set in the ranching country of the Similkameen Valley.

Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake (Anishinaabe). Islands of Decolonial Love. ARP, 2013. Short stories/poetry/music.

8. Islands of Decolonial Love (Simpson)Publisher’s description: In her debut collection of short stories, Islands of Decolonial Love, renowned writer and activist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson vividly explores the lives of contemporary Indigenous Peoples and communities, especially those of her own Nishnaabeg nation. Found on reserves, in cities and small towns, in bars and curling rinks, canoes and community centres, doctors’ offices and pickup trucks, Simpson’s characters confront the often heartbreaking challenge of pairing the desire to live loving and observant lives with a constant struggle to simply survive the historical and ongoing injustices of racism and colonialism. Told with voices that are rarely recorded but need to be heard, and incorporating the language and history of her people, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s Islands of Decolonial Love is a profound, important, and beautiful book of fiction.

Wagamese, Richard (Anishinaabe). Medicine Walk. Penguin Canada, 2014. Novel.

34. Medicine Walk (Wagamese)

Publisher’s description: Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, Eldon. He’s sixteen years old and has had the most fleeting of relationships with the man. The rare moments they’ve shared haunt and trouble Frank, but he answers the call, a son’s duty to a father. What ensues is a journey through the rugged and beautiful backcountry, and a journey into the past, as the two men push forward to Eldon’s end. From a poverty-stricken childhood, to the Korean War, and later the derelict houses of mill towns, Eldon relates both the desolate moments of his life and a time of redemption and love, and in doing so offers Frank a history he has never known, the father he has never had, and a connection to himself he never expected. A novel about love, friendship, courage, and the idea that the land has within it powers of healing, Medicine Walk reveals the ultimate goodness of its characters and offers a deeply moving and redemptive conclusion.