Ahenakew, Edward (Cree). Voices of the Plains Cree. University of Regina Press, 1995. Oral tradition/short stories.

39. Voices of the Plains Cree (Ahenakew)

Publisher’s description: When buffalo were many on the western Plains, when Cree and Blackfoot warred in unrelenting enmity, when the Sun Dance and the shaking tent were still a way of life—these were the days of Chief Thunderchild, who roamed the Saskatchewan Plains, fought and hunted, lived and sometimes nearly starved there. His stories of a fierce and vanished freedom are reprinted here, exactly as he told them to Edward Ahenakew in 1923. Chief Thunderchild was born in 1849 and died in 1927, four years after recounting his tales to Edward Ahenakew. In the second half of Voices of the Plains Cree, Old Keyam, a fictional character created by Ahenakew, tells stories about the changes Cree people experienced in the reserve era of the late 19th and early 20th century.

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.

Loring, Kevin (Nlaka’pamux). Where the Blood Mixes. Talonbooks, 2009. Drama.

29. Where the Blood Mixes (Loring)

Publisher’s description: Though torn down years ago, the memories of their Residential School still live deep inside the hearts of those who spent their childhoods there. For some, like Floyd, the legacy of that trauma has been passed down through families for generations. But what is the greater story, what lies untold beneath Floyd’s alcoholism, under the pain and isolation of the play’s main character? Can a person survive their past; can a people survive their history? Irreverently funny and brutally honest, Where the Blood Mixes is a story about loss and redemption. Caught in a shadowy pool of alcoholic pain and guilt, Floyd is a man who has lost everyone he holds most dear. Now after more than two decades, his daughter Christine returns home to confront her father. Set during the salmon run, Where the Blood Mixes takes us to the bottom of the river, to the heart of a People.

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.

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.