Indigenous Books of 2022…so far! Part 1

We’re only five months into 2022 and we’ve already seen some great new releases by Indigenous authors. In fact, there have been so many we can’t even highlight them all in one post, so stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll go over a few more books.

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  1. Deep House: A DreadfulWater Mystery, Thomas King (January 15, 2022)

Deep House is the sixth book in the DreadfulWater Mystery series. For the first time since the pandemic, Thumps DreadfulWater has finally found some peace in small-town Chinook. Sure, his beloved cat is still missing and his relationship with Claire is more than uncertain, but at least he can relax in the comfort of his home. And now that local businesses are starting to open their doors again, everything can go back to normal.

But when Thumps unintentionally discovers a body at the bottom of a treacherous canyon, he becomes entangled once again in an inexplicable mystery. As more puzzling details come to the surface, Thumps begins to question whom he can truly trust--especially when an unexpected visitor walks back into his life.

For more information about Thomas King’s books, you can reference Goodreads.

 

2. Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science, Jessica Hernandez (January 17, 2022)

An Indigenous environmental scientist breaks down why western conservationism isn't working--and offers Indigenous models informed by case studies, personal stories, and family histories that center the voices of Latin American women and land protectors. Despite the undeniable fact that Indigenous communities are among the most affected by climate devastation, Indigenous science is nowhere to be found in mainstream environmental policy or discourse.

 Find out more about the book on Goodreads.

 

 

  1. Di-bayn-di-zi-win (To Own Ourselves): Embodying Ojibway-Anishinabe Ways, Jerry Fontaine and Don McCaskill (February 22, 2022)

Di-bayn-di-zi-win: An Ojibway-Anishinabe Pedagogy is a collaboration exploring the importance of the Ojibway-Anishinabe worldview, use of ceremony, and language in living a good life, attaining true reconciliation, and resisting the notions of indigenization and colonialization inherent in Western institutions.

Indigenization within the academy and the idea of truth and reconciliation within Canada have been seen as the remedy to correct the relationship between Indigenous people and Canadian society. While honourable, they are difficult to achieve given the Western nature of institutions of the country and the collective memory of its citizens and the burden of proof has always been the responsibility of Anishinabeg.

Authors makwa ogimaa (Jerry Fontaine) and ka-pi-ta-aht (Don McCaskill) tell their di-bah-ji-mo-wi-nan (personal stories) to understand the cultural, political, social, and academic events of the past fifty years of Ojibway-Anishinabe resistance in Canada. They suggest that Ojibway-Anishinabe i-zhi-gay-win zhigo-dah-so-win (Anishinabe ways of doing and knowing) can provide an alternative way of living sustainably in the world. This distinctive worldview, as well as values, language, and ceremonial practices can provide an alternative to Western political and academic institutions.

You can find out more on Goodreads.

 

 

  1. My Privilege, My Responsibility: A Memoir, Sheila North (February 23, 2022)

 In September 2015, Sheila North was declared the Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), the first woman elected to the position. Known as a “bridge-builder,” North is a member of Bunibonibee Cree Nation. North’s work in advocacy journalism, communications, and economic development harnessed her passion for drawing focus to systemic racism faced by Indigenous women and girls. She is the creator of the widely used hashtag #MMIW. In her memoir, Sheila North shares the stories of the events that shaped her, and the violence that nearly stood in the way of her achieving her dreams. Through perseverance and resilience, she not only survived, she flourished.

For more information, see Goodreads.  

 

 

 5. The Boy from Buzwah: A Life in Indian Education, Cecil King (February 25, 2022)

Cecil King grew up in the small settlement of Buzwah, Ontario, situated on Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island. This moving memoir shares King's life on reserve in the 1930s and '40s and describes a vibrant community full of interesting characters who shared knowledge, warmth, affection, and humour. King also describes his experiences attending Buzwah Indian Day School and St. Charles Garnier Residential School.

 After furthering his education, King returned home to Buzwah as a teacher. He quickly became disillusioned with the Ontario curriculum and how inadequately it resonated with on-reserve youth and the realities of Indigenous life. It was then that King began his unparalleled legacy to ensure Indian Control of Indian Education in Canada.

King helped create curriculum that connected to traditional Indigenous cultures and established First Nation language courses in elementary and secondary schools. Over the course of his fifty-year career in education, he would found the Indian Teacher Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan, become the first director of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program at Queen's University, and develop Ojibwe language courses across North America.

A remarkable story about a remarkable man, The Boy from Buzwah is a powerful testament to Dr. Cecil King's work and legacy.

You can find out more on Goodreads.

 

 

  1. Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk, Sasha Lapointe (March 7, 2022)

 An Indigenous artist blends the aesthetics of punk rock with the traditional spiritual practices of the women in her lineage in this bold, contemporary journey to reclaim her heritage and unleash her power and voice while searching for a permanent home.

Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe has always longed for a sense of home. When she was a child, her family moved around frequently, often staying in barely habitable church attics and trailers, dangerous places for young Sasha.

With little more to guide her than a passion for the thriving punk scene of the Pacific Northwest and a desire to live up to the responsibility of being the namesake of her beloved great-grandmother—a linguist who helped preserve her Indigenous language of Lushootseed—Sasha throws herself headlong into the world, determined to build a better future for herself and her people.

Set against a backdrop of the breathtaking beauty of Coast Salish ancestral land and imbued with the universal spirit of punk, Red Paint is ultimately a story of the ways we learn to find our true selves while fighting for our right to claim a place of our own.

Examining what it means to be vulnerable in love and in art, Sasha offers up an unblinking reckoning with personal traumas amplified by the collective historical traumas of colonialism and genocide that continue to haunt native peoples. Red Paint is an intersectional autobiography of lineage, resilience, and, above all, the ability to heal.

See Goodreads for more information.

 

 

  1. Amplifying Indigenous Voices in Business: Indigenization, Reconciliation, and Entrepreneurship, Priscilla Omulo (March 14, 2022)

Some of the common questions businesses, educational institutions, and communities ask are: “Do we need an Indigenization strategy? If so, why; what is it really?; and, how do we do it?” Amplifying Indigenous Voices in Business is for organizations and allies who would like to make a positive difference by learning how to amplify Indigenous voices, Indigenize businesses, and support Indigenous entrepreneurship, all in the bigger spirit of reconciliation. Author Priscilla Omulo addresses Canada’s complicated history with Indigenous peoples and how that contributes to today’s challenges in the business realm. While the challenge is real, so is the opportunity, and Omulo’s step-by-step guide explains how any organization can make immediate plans to improve the way they do business by doing the research, consulting the right people, and formulating a strategy to move forward. Omulo shows readers how a commitment to doing the right thing will lead to a more sustainable and inclusive place for all, and a stronger foundation for businesses and other organizations.

You can find the book at Indigo.

 

  1. White Magic, Elissa Washuta (March 14, 2022)

Throughout her life, Elissa Washuta has been surrounded by cheap facsimiles of Native spiritual tools and occult trends, “starter witch kits” of sage, rose quartz, and tarot cards packaged together in paper and plastic. Following a decade of abuse, addiction, PTSD, and heavy-duty drug treatment for a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder, she felt drawn to the real spirits and powers her dispossessed and discarded ancestors knew, while she undertook necessary work to find love and meaning.

In this collection of intertwined essays, she writes about land, heartbreak, and colonization, about life without the escape hatch of intoxication, and about how she became a powerful witch. She interlaces stories from her forebears with cultural artifacts from her own life—Twin Peaks, the Oregon Trail II video game, a Claymation Satan, a YouTube video of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham—to explore questions of cultural inheritance and the particular danger, as a Native woman, of relaxing into romantic love under colonial rule.

More information about the book is available on Goodreads.

 

 

 

  1. Medicine Wheel Workbook: Finding Your Healthy Balance, Carrie Armstrong (March 19, 2022)

Many Indigenous cultures on Turtle Island recognize the Medicine Wheel as a sacred symbol. The Medicine Wheel has four equal areas; black, white, red and yellow. These areas represent the four directions, four seasons, four elements, four stages of life and four sacred plants. The Medicine Wheel represents unity and balance between all things, including living a healthy life mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. By understanding the teachings of the Medicine Wheel we can gain a deeper understanding of our holistic health. Through a careful selection of teachings, followed by interactive activities, the Medicine Wheel Workbook: Finding Your Healthy Balance will encourage children to live well and find their healthy balance. This workbook can be used as a teacher resource in your classroom or by parents teaching their children at home. Lessons and activities may be photocopied to use within your classroom or home.

You can find the book at Indigo.

 

 

  1. The Red Canoe, Wayne Johnson (March 24, 2022)

Buck, government name Michael Fineday, Ojibwe name Miskwa’ doden (Red Deer) has just been served divorce papers by his wife Naomi, who is fed up with his savior complex and the danger it often attracts to their door and is on the brink of suicide. Living on the border of Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community reservation—thus back on the edge of his origins—Buck makes a good living as a boatbuilder and carpenter. He spends his days alone, trying to win the trust of a feral cat…until a semi-feral girl shows up, attracted by the canoe Buck’s building.

Lucy, Ojibwe name Gage’ bineh, (Everlasting Bird), lives in a trailer alone with her father, a local policeman struggling with PTSD from the Iraq war, compounded by the loss of Lucy’s mother. She's also mostly alone. Just barely fifteen, since her mother's death she’s been systematically molested and raped by her father's colleagues on the force without his knowledge. Threatened that if she ever spoke out, her father would bear the consequences.

Buck senses Lucy is in trouble and doesn't hesitate to plunge into it head-first as usual. On the foundation of their shared Ojibwe heritage, together they build more than a canoe, but a friendship, and together trace Lucy’s abuse to a ring that extends farther than either of them ever imagined.

Find more information on Goodreads.