Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
Earlier this week, I posted about Tanya Talaga’s Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City. It’s a gripping story, bound to appeal to readers who appreciate elements of true crime, history, memoir, social justice and narrative-driven journalism.
The students whose deaths are at the heart of this book were attending an Indigenous-run high school in Thunder Bay, Ontario. To understand the importance of this educational opportunity (even with the challenges of students’ adjustments to city life and the embedded racism in the community), it’s useful to have some understanding of the residential school system, which was wielded like a weapon against Indigenous communities from the later nineteenth-century until 1996.
Subtitled A Residential School Memoir. This slim volume presents the author’s experiences, simply and boldly. Also a great back-story about the author’s struggle to get this story into print and the determination on his part to pursue willing readers/listeners. (Written with David Carpenter)
Subtitled A Chief’s Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, this book explores residential schools through personal experience and the historical record, following the process through the legal system in the appendices (to see where/what charges were laid as crimes were exposed). Compelling reading. (Click text for review.)
In the Stacks
Maria Campbell’s Half-Breed (1973)
Howard Adams’ Prison of Grass: Canada from a Native Point of View (1975)
Mini Aodla Freeman’s Life Among the Qallunaat (1978)
Lee Maracle’s Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel (1990)
I have some newer books on the stacks right now, too (like Eddy Weetaltuk’s From the Tundra to the Trenches and Chelsea Vowel’s Indigenous Writes, if you’re curious), but I also want to make time for some of these classic texts as well.