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.

 

Armstrong, Jeannette (Syilx). Slash. Theytus Books, 2007 (1985). Novel/young adult fiction.

Slash front cv

Publisher’s description: Slash is Jeannette Armstrong’s first novel. It poignantly traces the struggles, pain and alienation of a young Okanagan man who searches for truth and meaning in his life. Recognized as an important work of literature, Slash is used in high schools, colleges and universities.

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.

Clements, Marie (Métis). Burning Vision. Talonbooks, 2003. Drama.

26. Burning Vision

Publisher’s description: Marie Clements’s latest play sears a dramatic swath through the reactionary identity politics of race, gender and class, using the penetrating yellow-white light, the false sun of uranium and radium, derived from a coal black rock known as pitchblende, as a metaphor for the invisible, malignant evils everywhere poisoning our relationship to the earth and to each other. Burning Vision unmasks both the great lies of the imperialist power-elite (telling the miners they are digging for a substance to “cure cancer” while secretly using it to build the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki); and the seemingly small rationalizations and accommodations people of all cultures construct to make their personal circumstances yield the greatest benefit to themselves for the least amount of effort or change on their part. It is also a scathing attack on the “public apology” as yet another mask, as a manipulative device, which always seeks to conceal the maintenance and furtherance of the self-interest of its wearer.

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.

Dumont, Marilyn (Cree/Métis). The Pemmican Eaters. ECW Press, 2015. Poetry.

15. The Pemmican Eaters (Dumont)

Publisher’s description: With a title derived from John A. Macdonald’s moniker for the Métis, The Pemmican Eaters explores Marilyn Dumont’s sense of history as the dynamic present. Combining free verse and metered poems, her latest collection aims to recreate a palpable sense of the Riel Resistance period and evoke the geographical, linguistic/cultural, and political situation of Batoche during this time through the eyes of those who experienced the battles, as well as through the eyes of Gabriel and Madeleine Dumont and Louis Riel. Included in this collection are poems about the bison, seed beadwork, and the Red River Cart, and some poems employ elements of the Michif language, which, along with French and Cree, was spoken by Dumont’s ancestors. In Dumont’s The Pemmican Eaters, a multiplicity of identities is a strengthening rather than a weakening or diluting force in culture.

Francis, Marvin (Cree). city treaty: a long poem. Turnstone Press, 2002. Poetry.

16. city treat (Francis)

Publisher’s description: Gritty and fresh, Marvin Francis’s long poem, city treaty, tackles the tough issues of cultural assimilation and the challenges faced by a traditional community trying to locate itself in the urban context. Marvin Francis’s poetry breaks linguistic conventions and leaps off the page.

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.

Nolan, Yvette (Algonquian). Annie Mae’s Movement. Playwrights Canada Press, 2006. Drama.

28. Annie Mae's Movement (Nolan)

Publisher’s description: Dying under mysterious circumstances, it is still unclear what really happened to Anna Mae back in the late 70s. Instead of recounting cold facts, this play looks for the truth in examining the life and death of this remarkable Aboriginal woman; that we cannot know the consequences of our actions; that we live on in the work that we do and the people we affect long after we have passed from this world. Annie Mae’s Movement explores what it must have been like to be Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, a woman in a man’s movement [the American Indian Movement], a Canadian in America, and an Aboriginal person in a white-dominant culture at a time when it felt like we could really change the world.

Ross, Ian (Métis). fareWel. Scirocco Drama, 1998. Drama.

11. fareWel (Ross)

Publisher’s description: Life is tense on the Partridge Crop Reserve. The Chief is in Las Vegas (again), the band is in receivership, and there’s a move on to unilaterally declare self-government. And now that the welfare cheques have gone missing, the people of this fictional First Nation are forced to take control of their lives. fareWel is a raw and funny look at a group of ordinary people tackling some extraordinarily big issues.