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By Danielle Geller. 2021
A daughter returns home to the Navajo reservation to retrace her mother&’s life in a memoir that is both a…narrative and an archive of one family&’s troubled history &“An honest, intimate, and heart-wrenching memoir that explores the fractured family, the damaging effects of alcoholism and poverty, and what it means to seek healing from the legacies of trauma.&”—Kali Fajardo-Anstine, author of the National Book Award finalist Sabrina & Corina When Danielle Geller&’s mother dies of alcohol withdrawal during an attempt to get sober, Geller returns to Florida and finds her mother&’s life packed into eight suitcases. Most were filled with clothes, except for the last one, which contained 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. Geller, an archivist and a writer, uses these pieces of her mother&’s life to try and understand her mother&’s relationship to home, and their shared need to leave it. Geller embarks on a journey where she confronts her family's history and the decisions that she herself had been forced to make while growing up, a journey that will end at her mother's home: the Navajo reservation. Dog Flowers is an arresting memoir that examines mothers and mothering, sisters and caretaking, and colonized bodies. Exploring loss and inheritance, beauty and balance, Danielle Geller pays homage to our pasts, traditions, and heritage, to the families we are given and the families we choose
By Kliph Nesteroff. 2021
From Kliph Nesteroff, &“the human encyclopedia of comedy&” (VICE), comes the important and underappreciated story of Native Americans and comedy.It…was one of the most reliable jokes in Charlie Hill&’s stand-up routine: &“My people are from Wisconsin. We used to be from New York. We had a little real estate problem.&” In We Had a Little Real Estate Problem, acclaimed comedy historian Kliph Nesteroff focuses on one of comedy&’s most significant and little-known stories: how, despite having been denied representation in the entertainment industry, Native Americans have influenced and advanced the art form. The account begins in the late 1880s, when Native Americans were forced to tour in wild west shows as an alternative to prison. (One modern comedian said it was as &“if a Guantanamo detainee suddenly had to appear on X-Factor.&”) This is followed by a detailed look at the life and work of seminal figures such as Cherokee humorist Will Rogers and Hill, who in the 1970s was the first Native American comedian to appear The Tonight Show. Also profiled are several contemporary comedians, including Jonny Roberts, a social worker from the Red Lake Nation who drives five hours to the closest comedy club to pursue his stand-up dreams; Kiowa-Apache comic Adrianne Chalepah, who formed the touring group the Native Ladies of Comedy; and the 1491s, a sketch troupe whose satire is smashing stereotypes to critical acclaim. As Ryan Red Corn, the Osage member of the 1491s, says: &“The American narrative dictates that Indians are supposed to be sad. It&’s not really true and it&’s not indicative of the community experience itself…Laughter and joy is very much a part of Native culture.&” Featuring dozens of original interviews and the exhaustive research that is Nesteroff&’s trademark, We Had a Little Real Estate Problem is a powerful tribute to a neglected legacy.
The Black Hawk War was the final conflict east of the Mississippi River between American Indian communities and the United…States regular troops and militia. Exploring the museums, wayside markers and parks relating to that struggle is not just a journey of historic significance through beautiful natural scenery. It is also an amazing convergence of legendary personalities, from Abraham Lincoln to Jefferson Davis. Follow the fallout of the war from the Quad Cities on the Illinois/Iowa border, through the "Trembling Lands" along the Kettle Morraine and into the Driftless Area of southern Wisconsin. Pairing local insight with big-picture perspective, Ben Strand charts an overlooked quadrant of America's frontier heritage.
By Peter McFarlane, Doreen Manuel. 2020
Charged with fresh material and new perspectives, this updated edition of the groundbreaking biography From Brotherhood to Nationhood brings George…Manuel and his fighting tradition into the present. George Manuel (1920–1989) was the strategist and visionary behind the modern Indigenous movement in Canada. A three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, he laid the groundwork for what would become the Assembly of First Nations and was the founding president of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. Authors Peter McFarlane and Doreen Manuel follow him on a riveting journey from his childhood on a Shuswap reserve through three decades of fierce and dedicated activism. In these pages, an all-new foreword by celebrated Mi'kmaq lawyer and activist Pam Palmater is joined by an afterword from Manuel’s granddaughter, land defender Kanahus Manuel. This edition features new photos and previously untold stories of the pivotal roles that the women of the Manuel family played – and continue to play – in the battle for Indigenous rights.
By Antoine Bear Mountain. 2019
In this poetic, poignant memoir, Dene artist and social activist Antoine Mountain paints an unforgettable picture of his journey from…residential school to art school—and his path to healing. In 1949, Antoine Mountain was born on the land near Radelie Koe, Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. At the tender age of seven, he was stolen away from his home and sent to a residential school—run by the Roman Catholic Church in collusion with the Government of Canada—three hundred kilometres away. Over the next twelve years, the three residential schools Mountain was forced to attend systematically worked to erase his language and culture, the very roots of his identity.While reconnecting to that which had been taken from him, he had a disturbing and painful revelation of the bitter depths of colonialism and its legacy of cultural genocide. Canada has its own holocaust, Mountain argues.As a celebrated artist and social activist today, Mountain shares this moving, personal story of healing and the reclamation of his Dene identity.
By Danielle Geller. 2021
A daughter returns home to the Navajo reservation to retrace her mother&’s life in a memoir that is both a…narrative and an archive of one family&’s troubled history &“An honest, intimate, and heart-wrenching memoir that explores the fractured family, the damaging effects of alcoholism and poverty, and what it means to seek healing from the legacies of trauma.&”—Kali Fajardo-Anstine, author of the National Book Award finalist Sabrina & Corina When Danielle Geller&’s mother dies of alcohol withdrawal during an attempt to get sober, Geller returns to Florida and finds her mother&’s life packed into eight suitcases. Most were filled with clothes, except for the last one, which contained 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. Geller, an archivist and a writer, uses these pieces of her mother&’s life to try and understand her mother&’s relationship to home, and their shared need to leave it. Geller embarks on a journey where she confronts her family's history and the decisions that she herself had been forced to make while growing up, a journey that will end at her mother's home: the Navajo reservation. Dog Flowers is an arresting, 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, beauty and balance, Danielle Geller pays homage to our pasts, traditions, and heritage, to the families we are given and the families we choose.
By Billy-Ray Belcourt. 2020
NATIONAL BESTSELLER The youngest ever winner of the Griffin Prize mines his own personal history to reconcile the world he…was born into with the world that could be.Billy-Ray Belcourt's debut memoir opens with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life in the hamlet of Joussard, Alberta, and on the Driftpile First Nation. From there, it expands to encompass the big and broken world around him, in all its complexity and contradictions: a legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it, first loves and first loves lost, sexual exploration and intimacy, and the act of writing as a survival instinct and a way to grieve. What emerges is not only a profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward. With startling honesty, and in a voice distinctly and assuredly his own, Belcourt situates his life experiences within a constellation of seminal queer texts, among which this book is sure to earn its place. Eye-opening, intensely emotional, and excessively quotable, A History of My Brief Body demonstrates over and over again the power of words to both devastate and console us.
By Harold R. Johnson. 2019
An urgent, informed, intimate condemnation of the Canadian state and its failure to deliver justice to Indigenous people by national…bestselling author and former Crown prosecutor Harold R. Johnson."The night of the decision in the Gerald Stanley trial for the murder of Colten Boushie, I received a text message from a retired provincial court judge. He was feeling ashamed for his time in a system that was so badly tilted. I too feel this way about my time as both defence counsel and as a Crown prosecutor; that I didn't have the courage to stand up in the court room and shout 'Enough is enough.' This book is my act of taking responsibility for what I did, for my actions and inactions." --Harold R. JohnsonIn early 2018, the failures of Canada's justice system were sharply and painfully revealed in the verdicts issued in the deaths of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine. The outrage and confusion that followed those verdicts inspired former Crown prosecutor and bestselling author Harold R. Johnson to make the case against Canada for its failure to fulfill its duty under Treaty to effectively deliver justice to Indigenous people, worsening the situation and ensuring long-term damage to Indigenous communities. In this direct, concise, and essential volume, Harold R. Johnson examines the justice system's failures to deliver "peace and good order" to Indigenous people. He explores the part that he understands himself to have played in that mismanagement, drawing on insights he has gained from the experience; insights into the roots and immediate effects of how the justice system has failed Indigenous people, in all the communities in which they live; and insights into the struggle for peace and good order for Indigenous people now.
By Richard Wagamese. 2019
The heartfelt memoir from one of Canada's most beloved writers.Staring the modern world in the eye, Richard Wagamese confronts its…snares and perils. He sees people coveting without knowing why, looking for roots without understanding what constitutes home, searching for acceptance without extending reciprocal respect, and longing for love without knowing how to offer it. He sees this because he lived it. For Joshua Wagamese's love letter to his estranged son. Ojibway tradition calls for fathers to walk their children through the world and teach them their place in it. To teach them they belong. In this intimate memoir, Wagamese describes his own tumultuous journey--though childhood trauma, racism, and substance abuse--and his fight to emerge stronger. His road to self-knowledge has been long and treacherous, but this has furnished him, if not with a complete set of answers, then at least with a profound understanding of the questions. Hoping to impart his newfound understanding of the world onto his beloved son, Wagamese shares his search for happiness and the choices he has made to open himself up to it.
By Wab Kinew. 2017
A moving father-son reconciliation told by a charismatic First Nations broadcaster, musician and activist. When his father was given a…diagnosis of terminal cancer, Winnipeg broadcaster and musician Wab Kinew decided to spend a year reconnecting with the accomplished but distant aboriginal man who'd raised him. The Reason You Walk spans the year 2012, chronicling painful moments in the past and celebrating renewed hopes and dreams for the future. As Kinew revisits his own childhood in Winnipeg and on a reserve in Northern Ontario, he learns more about his father's traumatic childhood at residential school. An intriguing doubleness marks The Reason You Walk, a reference to an Anishinaabe ceremonial song. Born to an Anishinaabe father and a non-native mother, he has a foot in both cultures. He is a Sundancer, an academic, a former rapper, a hereditary chief, and an urban activist. His father, Tobasonakwut, was both a beloved traditional chief and a respected elected leader who engaged directly with Ottawa. Internally divided, his father embraced both traditional native religion and Catholicism, the religion that was inculcated into him at the residential school where he was physically and sexually abused. In a grand gesture of reconciliation, Kinew's father invited the Roman Catholic bishop of Winnipeg to a Sundance ceremony in which he adopted him as his brother. Kinew writes affectingly of his own struggles in his twenties to find the right path, eventually giving up a self-destructive lifestyle to passionately pursue music and martial arts. From his unique vantage point, he offers an inside view of what it means to be an educated aboriginal living in a country that is just beginning to wake up to its aboriginal history and living presence. Invoking hope, healing and forgiveness, The Reason You Walk is a poignant story of a towering but damaged father and his son as they embark on a journey to repair their family bond. By turns lighthearted and solemn, Kinew gives us an inspiring vision for family and cross-cultural reconciliation, and a wider conversation about the future of aboriginal peoples.
By Alicia Elliott. 2019
#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 HILARY WESTON WRITERS' TRUST PRIZE FOR NONFICTIONNAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF…2019 BY THE GLOBE AND MAIL • CBC • CHATELAINE • QUILL & QUIRE • THE HILL TIMES • POP MATTERSA bold and profound meditation on trauma, legacy, oppression and racism in North America from award-winning Haudenosaunee writer Alicia Elliott.In an urgent and visceral work that asks essential questions about the treatment of Native people in North America while drawing on intimate details of her own life and experience with intergenerational trauma, Alicia Elliott offers indispensable insight into the ongoing legacy of colonialism. She engages with such wide-ranging topics as race, parenthood, love, mental illness, poverty, sexual assault, gentrifcation, writing and representation, and in the process makes connections both large and small between the past and present, the personal and political—from overcoming a years-long battle with head lice to the way Native writers are treated within the Canadian literary industry; her unplanned teenage pregnancy to the history of dark matter and how it relates to racism in the court system; her childhood diet of Kraft Dinner to how systemic oppression is directly linked to health problems in Native communities. With deep consideration and searing prose, Elliott provides a candid look at our past, an illuminating portrait of our present and a powerful tool for a better future.
By Gregory Scofield. 2019
Gregory Scofield's Thunder Through My Veins is the heartbreakingly beautiful memoir of one man's journey toward self-discovery, acceptance, and the…healing power of art.Few people can justify a memoir at the age of thirty-three. Gregory Scofield is the exception, a young man who has inhabited several lives in the time most of us can manage only one. Born into a Métis family of Cree, Scottish, English and French descent but never told of his heritage, Gregory knew he was different. His father disappeared after he was born, and at five he was separated from his mother and sent to live with strangers and extended family. There began a childhood marked by constant loss, poverty, violence and self-hatred. Only his love for his sensitive but battered mother and his Aunty Georgina, a neighbor who befriended him, kept him alive. It wasn't until he set out to search for his roots and began to chronicle his life in evocative, award-winning poetry, that he found himself released from the burdens of the past and able to draw upon the wisdom of those who went before him. Thunder Through My Veins is Gregory's traumatic, tender and hopeful story of his fight to rediscover and accept himself in the face of a heritage with diametrically opposed backgrounds.
By Tom Wilson. 2017
"I'm scared and scarred but I’ve survived" Tom Wilson was raised in the rough-and-tumble world of Hamilton—Steeltown— in the company…of World War II vets, factory workers, fall-guy wrestlers and the deeply guarded secrets kept by his parents, Bunny and George. For decades Tom carved out a life for himself in shadows. He built an international music career and became a father, he battled demons and addiction, and he waited, hoping for the lies to cease and the truth to emerge. It would. And when it did, it would sweep up the St. Lawrence River to the Mohawk reserves of Quebec, on to the heights of the Manhattan skyline. With a rare gift for storytelling and an astonishing story to tell, Tom writes with unflinching honesty and extraordinary compassion about his search for the truth. It's a story about scars, about the ones that hurt us, and the ones that make us who we are. From Beautiful Scars: Even as a kid my existence as the son of Bunny and George Wilson seemed far-fetched to me. When I went over it in my head, none of it added up. The other kids on East 36th Street in Hamilton used to tell me stories of their mothers being pregnant and their newborn siblings coming home from the hospital. Nobody ever talked about Bunny's and my return from the hospital. In my mind my birth was like the nativity, only with gnarly dogs and dirty snow and a chipped picket fence and old blind people with short tempers and dim lights, ashtrays full of Export Plain cigarette butts and bottles of rum. Once, when I was about four, I asked Bunny, "How come I don't look anything like you and George? How come you are old and the other moms are young?" "There are secrets I know about you that I’ll take to my grave," she responded. And that pretty well finished that. Bunny built up a wall to protect her secrets, and as a result I built a wall to protect myself.
By Maria Campbell. 2019
A new, fully restored edition of the essential Canadian classic.An unflinchingly honest memoir of her experience as a Métis woman…in Canada, Maria Campbell's Halfbreed depicts the realities that she endured and, above all, overcame. Maria was born in Northern Saskatchewan, her father the grandson of a Scottish businessman and Métis woman--a niece of Gabriel Dumont whose family fought alongside Riel and Dumont in the 1885 Rebellion; her mother the daughter of a Cree woman and French-American man. This extraordinary account, originally published in 1973, bravely explores the poverty, oppression, alcoholism, addiction, and tragedy Maria endured throughout her childhood and into her early adult life, underscored by living in the margins of a country pervaded by hatred, discrimination, and mistrust. Laced with spare moments of love and joy, this is a memoir of family ties and finding an identity in a heritage that is neither wholly Indigenous or Anglo; of strength and resilience; of indominatable spirit.This edition of Halfbreed includes a new introduction written by Indigenous (Métis) scholar Dr. Kim Anderson detailing the extraordinary work that Maria has been doing since its original publication 46 years ago, and an afterword by the author looking at what has changed, and also what has not, for Indigenous people in Canada today. Restored are the recently discovered missing pages from the original text of this groundbreaking and significant work.
By Antoine Bear Mountain. 2019
In this poetic, poignant memoir, Dene artist and social activist Antoine Mountain paints an unforgettable picture of his journey from…residential school to art school—and his path to healing.In 1949, Antoine Mountain was born on the land near Radelie Koe, Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. At the tender age of seven, he was stolen away from his home and sent to a residential school—run by the Roman Catholic Church in collusion with the Government of Canada—three hundred kilometres away. Over the next twelve years, the three residential schools Mountain was forced to attend systematically worked to erase his language and culture, the very roots of his identity.While reconnecting to that which had been taken from him, he had a disturbing and painful revelation of the bitter depths of colonialism and its legacy of cultural genocide. Canada has its own holocaust, Mountain argues.As a celebrated artist and social activist today, Mountain shares this moving, personal story of healing and the reclamation of his Dene identity.
By Philip F. Gura. 2015
The Pequot Indian intellectual, author, and itinerant preacher William Apess (1798-1839) was one the most important voices of the nineteenth…century. Here, Philip F. Gura offers the first book-length chronicle of Apess's fascinating and consequential life. After an impoverished childhood marked by abuse, Apess soldiered with American troops during the War of 1812, converted to Methodism, and rose to fame as a lecturer who lifted a powerful voice of protest against the plight of Native Americans in New England and beyond. His 1829 autobiography, A Son of the Forest, stands as the first published by a Native American writer. Placing Apess's activism on behalf of Native American people in the context of the era's rising tide of abolitionism, Gura argues that this founding figure of Native intellectual history deserves greater recognition in the pantheon of antebellum reformers. Following Apess from his early life through the development of his political radicalism to his tragic early death and enduring legacy, this much-needed biography showcases the accomplishments of an extraordinary Native American.
By Jesse Thistle. 2019
Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers,…cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, but their tough-love attitudes meant conflicts became commonplace. And the ghost of Jesse's drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. One day, he finally realized he would die unless he turned his life around. 2019.
By Paul Seesequasis. 2019
A revelatory portrait of eight Indigenous communities from across North America, shown through never-before-published archival photographs--a gorgeous extension of Paul…Seesequasis's popular social media project.In 2015, writer and journalist Paul Seesequasis found himself grappling with the devastating findings of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission report on the residential school system. He sought understanding and inspiration in the stories of his mother, herself a residential school survivor. Gradually, Paul realized that another, mostly untold history existed alongside the official one: that of how Indigenous peoples and communities had held together during even the most difficult times. He embarked on a social media project to collect archival photos capturing everyday life in First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities from the 1920s through the 1970s. As he scoured archives and libraries, Paul uncovered a trove of candid images and began to post these on social media, where they sparked an extraordinary reaction. Friends and relatives of the individuals in the photographs commented online, and through this dialogue, rich histories came to light for the first time.Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun collects some of the most arresting images and stories from Paul's project. While many of the photographs live in public archives, most have never been shown to the people in the communities they represent. As such, Blanket Toss is not only an invaluable historical record, it is a meaningful act of reclamation, showing the ongoing resilience of Indigenous communities, past, present--and future.
By Ray Young Bear. 2015
The definitive collection from a groundbreaking Native American poet whose work traces the fault lines between past and present, real…and surreal, comedy and tragedy to unveil a transcendent new vision of the world Hailed by the Bloomsbury Review as "the nation's foremost contemporary Native American poet" and by Sherman Alexie as "the best poet in Indian Country," Ray Young Bear draws on ancient Meskwaki tradition and modern popular culture to create poems that provoke, astound, and heal. This indispensable volume, which contains three previously published collections--Winter of the Salamander (1979), The Invisible Musician (1990), and The Rock Island Hiking Club (2001)--as well as Manifestation Wolverine, a brilliant series of new pieces inspired by animistic beliefs, a Lazy-Boy recliner, and the word songs Young Bear sang to his children, is a testament to the singularity of the poet's talent and the astonishing range of his voice.
By Peter Cozzens. 2020
"An insightful, unflinching portrayal of the remarkable siblings who came closer to altering the course of American history than any…other Indian leaders."--Professor H.W. Brands, author of The Zealot and the Emancipator and Heirs of the FoundersThe first biography of the great Shawnee leader in more than twenty years, and the first to make clear that his misunderstood younger brother, Tenskwatawa, was an equal partner in the last great pan-Indian alliance against the United States. Until the Americans killed Tecumseh in 1813, he and his brother Tenskwatawa were the co-architects of the broadest pan-Indian confederation in United States history. In previous accounts of Tecumseh's life, Tenskwatawa has been dismissed as a talentless charlatan and a drunk. But award-winning historian Peter Cozzens now shows us that while Tecumseh was a brilliant diplomat and war leader--admired by the same white Americans he opposed--it was Tenskwatawa, called the "Shawnee Prophet," who created a vital doctrine of religious and cultural revitalization that unified the disparate tribes of the Old Northwest. Detailed research of Native American society and customs provides a window into a world often erased from history books and reveals how both men came to power in different but no less important ways.Cozzens brings us to the forefront of the chaos and violence that characterized the young American Republic, when settlers spilled across the Appalachians to bloody effect in their haste to exploit lands won from the British in the War of Independence, disregarding their rightful Indian owners. Tecumseh and the Prophet presents the untold story of the Shawnee brothers who retaliated against this threat--the two most significant siblings in Native American history, who, Cozzens helps us understand, should be writ large in the annals of America.