June 21 is Indigenous Peoples Day, an opportunity for us to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
As CIBA’s work toward reconciliation includes celebrating the work of Indigenous writers, we’ve curated a list of new or recently released books by Indigenous authors that we encourage you to seek out on this important day – or any other day of the year!
God Isn’t Here Today
By Francine Cunningham
Invisible Publishing (May 2022)
The stories in Francine Cunningham’s debut collection ricochet between form and genre, taking readers on a dark and poignant journey. Driven by desperation into moments of transformation, Cunningham’s characters are presented with moments of choice. These stories remind us of the inherent dualities in human nature and that redemption can arise where we least expect it.
Francine Cunningham is an award-winning Indigenous writer, artist, and educator. Her debut book of poems, On/Me, was nominated for the BC and Yukon Book Prize, the Indigenous Voices Awards, and the Vancouver Book Award. Her fiction has appeared in The Best Canadian Short Stories 2021 and in Grain Magazine, The Malahat Review, The Puritan, and elsewhere.
The Summer of Bitter and Sweet
By Jen Ferguson
HarperCollins Canada (May 2022)
Lou has enough confusion in front of her this summer. She’ll spend it workin alongside her newly ex-boyfriend and her former best friend who is back after disappearing three years ago without a word. Then she gets a letter from her biological father – a man she hoped would stay behind bars for the rest of his life. This emotionally resonant debut novel about a Métis girl living on the Canadian prairies serves up a powerful story about rage, secrets, and all the spectrums that make up a person
Jen Ferguson is Michif/Métis and white, an activist, an intersectional feminist, an auntie, and an accomplice armed with a PhD in English and creative writing.
Dog Flowers: A Memoir, an Archive
By Danielle Geller
Penguin Random House Canada (April 2022)
When her mother dies, Danielle Geller returns to Florida and finds diaries, photos, and letters, a few undeveloped disposable cameras, dried sage, jewelry, and the bandana her mother wore on days she skipped a hair wash. Dog Flowers is photo-lingual memoir that masterfully weaves together images and text to examine mothers and mothering, sisters and caretaking, and colonized bodies. Exploring loss and inheritance, Geller pays homage to our pasts, traditions, and heritage, to the families we are given and the families we choose.
Danielle Geller is a writer of personal essays and memoir. She received her MFA in creative writing for nonfiction at the University of Arizona. She lives with her husband and two cats in British Columbia, where she teaches creative writing at the University of Victoria. She is a member of the Navajo Nation: born to the Tsi'naajinii, born for the white man…
kā-āciwīkicik / The Move
By Doris George, Don K. Philpot, illustrated by Alyssa Koski
Heritage House (May 2022)
Rooted in the relocation of members of the Chemawawin First Nation from their ancestral homeland, this magical children’s picture book, written in Cree and English, depicts the transformation of a barren landscape into a rich natural world where an elderly couple can spend their remaining days.
Doris George is a Cree educator. She is the principal of Chemawawin Schools in Easterville, MB, where she also taught Cree language. She holds a BA and BEd from University College of the North.
Don K. Philpot is an educator specializing in Cree language structures and children’s literature. He holds degrees in Indigenous Studies, Teacher Education, and Literacy education.
Bear Bones & Feathers
By Louise B. Halfe – Sky Dancer
Brick Books (May 2022)
Employing Indigenous spirituality, black comedy, and the memories of her own childhood as healing arts, celebrated poet Louise B. Halfe – Sky Dancer finds an irrepressible source of strength and dignity in her people. In this new edition of her powerful debut, Halfe offers moving portraits of her grandmother, her parents, and the people whose pain she witnessed on the reserve and at residential school.
Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer was raised on Saddle Lake Reserve and attended Blue Quills Residential School. Her books have received several award nominations and wins throughout her career. In 2021, she was appointed the new Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate. She also serves as the Elder at the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
All the Quiet Places
By Brian Thomas Isaac
TouchWood Editions (Oct 2021)
Brian Isaac’s powerful debut novel is the coming-of-age story of Eddie Toma, an Indigenous (Syilx) boy, told through the young narrator’s wide-eyed observations of the world around him. The novel shows what can happen when every adult in a person’s life has been affected by colonialism; it tells of the acute separation from culture that can occur even at home in a loved familiar landscape.
Brian Thomas Isaac was born in 1950 on the Okanagan Indian Reserve, situated in south central British Columbia. Writing is something he has done all of his life. He lives with his wife in the Salmon River Valley near Falkland, BC. All the Quiet Places is Brian's first book.
Tâpwê and the Magic Hat / tâpwê êkwa mamâhtâwastotin
By Buffy Sainte-Marie, with illustrations by Michelle Alynn Clement and translation by Solomon Ratt
Greystone Books (June 2022)
From beloved Indigenous icon Buffy Sainte-Marie comes a chapter book inspired by oral histories and traditions. On a prairie reserve, Tâpwê receives a mysterious gift from Kokhom (grandma) – and finds himself on an unforgettable adventure. The book draws on a rich Indigenous tradition of storytelling and features a memorable cast of characters.
Buffy Sainte-Marie is a world-renowned Cree singer-songwriter, activist, educator, and visual artist. Her picture books for kids include Hey Little Rockabye and the forthcoming Still This Love Goes On And On.
Wolverine and Little Thunder: An Eel Fishing Story
By Alan Syliboy
Nimbus Publishing (June 2022)
From the bestselling creator of The Thundermaker comes another adventure featuring Little Thunder and Wolverine – a trickster who is fierce and loyal. The two are best friends, even though Wolverine can sometimes get them into trouble. Their favourite pastime is eel fishing, but that all changes one night, when they encounter the giant river eel – the eel that hunts people!
Alan Syliboy studied privately with Shirley Bear and attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Alan looks to the indigenous Mi’kmaw petroglyph tradition for inspiration and develops his own artistic vocabulary out of those forms.
Me Tomorrow: Indigenous Views on the Future
By Drew Hayden Taylor
Douglas & McIntyre (October 2021)
Discussing everything from language renewal to sci-fi, this collection is a powerful and important expression of imagination rooted in social critique, cultural experience, traditional knowledge, activism, and the multifaceted experiences of Indigenous people on Turtle Island. For readers who want to imagine the future, and to cultivate a better one, Me Tomorrow is a journey through the visions generously offered by a diverse group of Indigenous thinkers.Drew Hayden Taylor is an award-winning playwright, novelist, scriptwriter, and journalist. He was born and raised on the Curve Lake First Nation and has authored nearly thirty books, including The Night Wander: A Native Gothic Novel about an Anishinaabe vampire. He has been nominated for two Governor General's Awards.
By Matthew James Weigel
Coach House Books (April 2022)
Whitemud Walking is about the land Matthew Weigel was born on and the institutions that occupy that land. Using photos, documents, and recordings that are about or involve his ancestors, Weigel examines the consequences of erasure and sequestration. Whitemud Walking is a genre-bending work of visual and lyric poetry, non-fiction prose, photography, and digital art and design.
Matthew James Weigel is a Dene and Métis poet and artist. He is the designer for Moon Jelly House press and his words and art have been published in Arc, The Polyglot, and The Mamawi Project. His chapbook It Was Treaty / It Was Me is available now. Whitemud Walking is his debut collection.