I had meant to get this together during the month when we were reading Braiding Sweetgrass, but things got away from me.

In the last couple of years I’ve been begun looking a bit more intentionally at reading more Indigenous authors. There are so many reasons (learning, reconciliation, a different perspective, educating yourself), but for a lot of fiction, they’re just really good stories.

Here are a few from my recent past. I sometimes share what I’m reading on social media, and I love hearing what you’ve thought about different books.

Seven Fallen Feathers is non-fiction and is about seven Indigenous youths found dead in northern Canada. It’s absolutely heart-breaking to hear these stories, as well as incredibly eye-opening to learn about both the history and current reality of many Indigenous communities in Canada today. I couldn’t recommend this book more. We have a long way to go.

Another perspective is One Native Life, which is a memoir by Indigenous author Richard Wagamese. In a life filled with trauma and loss, he also accomplished a lot, reclaimed a lot, and celebrated much. I think I read somewhere that he felt like so much of the narrative around Indigenous communities and life was completely negative, just horror-filled and traumatizing. He wanted to not forget about all of the history and damage, but also to share what it meant for his One Native Life to thrive in the midst of it.

Lots of great fiction out there. The library in Toronto and I’m sure many other libraries and bookstores are helping to highlight Indigenous titles or authors. My favourite of all these above in the photo is probably Thomas King’s The Back of the Turtle. A story of environmental disaster, loss, friendship, Indigenous mythology, a little mystery. Very funny, dark, heart-warming. Very good, a nice long read, which I’m all about. I also recommend Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian (non-fiction), which I recall as being quite good, but it’s been several years since I’ve read it, so I may need to pick it up again.

And of course I still highly recommend Braiding Sweetgrass. Here was my blog post on it from July. The book has so much wisdom, grace, history, knowledge, science. Such a necessary way to consider looking at the world.

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August 05, 2020 — wonderpens

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