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An indigenous writes : top reads to give you indigenous wisdom

POSTED June 21, 2023

An indigenous writes : top reads to give you indigenous wisdom

“We are the old people, the first people, the ancient ones”

By Simran Bhatia, digital content services manager, Canada 


National Indigenous Day, also known as National Indigenous Peoples Day, is a day in Canada that celebrates and honours the diverse cultures, heritage, and contributions of Indigenous peoples. It is recognized on June 21st each year. The day provides an opportunity for all Canadians to learn about and appreciate the rich history, cultures, languages, and traditions of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

We are the old people, the first people, the ancient ones. We were here in the beginning, and we are still here. And we will be here for as long as the grass grows and the rivers flow” – Ojibwe Proverb

Here are some top reads that you might consider for Indigenous Day, focusing on Indigenous peoples and their experiences:

  • “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer: This book beautifully weaves together Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and ecological insights, exploring the reciprocal relationship between humans and the natural world.
  • “The Song That Called Them Home by David A. Robertson” : From the award-winning author of On the Trapline comes a cinematic fantasy-adventure story inspired by Indigenous legends.
  • “The Break” by Katherena Vermette: This novel follows the lives of a group of Indigenous women in Winnipeg, Manitoba, exploring themes of resilience, family, and community, while shedding light on the experiences of urban Indigenous communities.
  • “Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada” by Chelsea Vowel: This book offers an overview of Indigenous history, culture, and contemporary issues, addressing topics such as identity, land and resource rights, stereotypes, and more.
  • “The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America” by Thomas King: This critically acclaimed book combines history, personal anecdotes, and satire to examine the relationship between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous society in North America.
  • “A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada” by John Ralston Saul: This book challenges traditional narratives about Canada and argues for a more inclusive and accurate understanding of the country’s history, including the important contributions of Indigenous peoples.
  • “Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life” by James Daschuk: This book explores the history of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian Plains and examines the devastating impact of disease, government policies, and the loss of traditional lands and resources.

These books represent a diverse range of Indigenous experiences and perspectives and are highly regarded for their literary merit and cultural significance. Reading them can provide valuable insights into Indigenous cultures, histories, and contemporary issues.

To conclude, it is a day to promote understanding, reconciliation, and respect for Indigenous peoples and their contributions to Canada’s social, cultural, and economic fabric. Preserving Indigenous communities requires a multifaceted approach that recognizes and respects their rights, cultures, and unique perspectives. 

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