Books for University Press Week

Emphasizing the role that university presses play in elevating authors, subjects, and whole disciplines that bring new perspectives, ideas, and voices to readers around the globe, the Association of University Presses (AUPresses) has chosen “Raise UP” as the theme for this year’s University Press Week. University Press Week (UP Week) runs November 9-15.

“Raise UP” is a particularly apt theme in a time when information moves at faster speeds than ever before across a multiplicity of platforms and access points. It is critical that scholarship about wide-ranging perspectives on important concepts and sociopolitical challenges is nurtured, championed, and made widely available to inform public debate and understanding. 

To that end, here is a list of Canadian books for any reader who wants to learn more.

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Otter’s Journey through Indigenous Language and Law, by Lindsay Keegitah Borrows

About the book: Storytelling has the capacity to address feelings and demonstrate themes—to illuminate beyond argument and theoretical exposition. In Otter’s Journey, Borrows makes use of the Anishinaabe tradition of storytelling to explore how the work in Indigenous language revitalization can inform the emerging field of Indigenous legal revitalization. She follows Otter, a dodem (clan) relation from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, on a journey across Anishinaabe, Inuit, Maori, Coast Salish, and Abenaki territories, through a narrative of Indigenous resurgence. In doing so, she reveals that the processes, philosophies, and practices flowing from Indigenous languages and laws can emerge from under the layers of colonial laws, policies, and languages to become guiding principles in people’s contemporary lives.

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An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading, by Dionne Brand

About the book: The geopolitics of empire had already prepared me for this…coloniality constructs outsides and insides—worlds to be chosen, disturbed, interpreted, and navigated—in order to live something like a real self.

Internationally acclaimed poet and novelist Dionne Brand reflects on her early reading of colonial literature and how it makes Black being inanimate. She explores her encounters with colonial, imperialist, and racist tropes; the ways that practices of reading and writing are shaped by those narrative structures; and the challenges of writing a narrative of Black life that attends to its own expression and its own consciousness.

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Creating Indigenous Property: Power, Rights, and Relationships, edited by Angela Cameron; Sari Graben & Val Napoleon

About the book: While colonial imposition of the Canadian legal order has undermined Indigenous law, creating gaps and sometimes distortions, Indigenous peoples have taken up the challenge of rebuilding their laws, governance, and economies. Indigenous conceptions of land and property are central to this project.

Creating Indigenous Property identifies how contemporary Indigenous conceptions of property are rooted in and informed by their societally specific norms, meanings, and ethics. Through detailed analysis, the authors illustrate that unexamined and unresolved contradictions between the historic and the present have created powerful competing versions of Indigenous law, legal authorities, and practices that reverberate through Indigenous communities. They have identified the contradictions and conflicts within Indigenous communities about relationships to land and non-human life forms, about responsibilities to one another, about environmental decisions, and about wealth distribution. Creating Indigenous Property contributes to identifying the way that Indigenous discourses, processes, and institutions can empower the use of Indigenous law.

The book explores different questions generated by these dynamics, including: Where is the public/private divide in Indigenous and Canadian law, and why should it matter? How do land and property shape local economies? Whose voices are heard in debates over property and why are certain voices missing? How does gender matter to the conceptualization of property and the Indigenous legal imagination? What is the role and promise of Indigenous law in negotiating new relationships between Indigenous peoples and Canada? In grappling with these questions, readers will join the authors in exploring the conditions under which Canadian and Indigenous legal orders can productively co-exist.

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Canada at a Crossroads: Boundaries, Bridges, and Laissez-Faire Racism in Indigenous-Settler Relations, by Jeffrey Denis

About the book: Drawing on group position theory, settler colonial studies, critical race theory, and Indigenous theorizing, Canada at a Crossroads emphasizes the social psychological barriers to transforming white settler ideologies and practices and working towards decolonization.

After tracing settlers’ sense of group superiority and entitlement to historical and ongoing colonial processes, Denis illustrates how contemporary Indigenous and settler residents think about and relate to one another. He highlights how, despite often having close cross-group relationships, residents maintain conflicting perspectives on land, culture, history, and treaties, and Indigenous residents frequently experience interpersonal and systemic racism. Denis then critically assesses the promise and pitfalls of commonly proposed solutions, including intergroup contact, education, apologies, and collective action, and concludes that genuine reconciliation will require radically restructuring Canadian society and perpetually fulfilling treaty responsibilities.

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Settler City Limits: Indigenous Resurgence and Colonial Violence in the Urban Prairie West, edited by Heather Dorries; Robert Henry; David Hugill; Tyler McCreary & Julie Tomiak

About the book: While cities like Winnipeg, Minneapolis, Saskatoon, Rapid City, Edmonton, Missoula, Regina, and Tulsa are places where Indigenous marginalization has been most acute, they have also long been sites of Indigenous placemaking and resistance to settler colonialism.

Although such cities have been denigrated as “ordinary” or banal in the broader urban literature, they are exceptional sites to study Indigenous resurgence. The urban centres of the continental plains have featured Indigenous housing and food co-operatives, social service agencies, and schools. The American Indian Movement initially developed in Minneapolis in 1968, and Idle No More emerged in Saskatoon in 2013.

The editors and authors of Settler City Limits, both Indigenous and settler, address urban struggles involving Anishinaabek, Cree, Creek, Dakota, Flathead, Lakota, and Métis peoples. Collectively, these studies showcase how Indigenous people in the city resist ongoing processes of colonial dispossession and create spaces for themselves and their families.

Working at intersections of Indigenous studies, settler colonial studies, urban studies, geography, and sociology, this book examines how the historical and political conditions of settler colonialism have shaped urban development in the Canadian Prairies and American Plains. Settler City Limits frames cities as Indigenous spaces and places, both in terms of the historical geographies of the regions in which they are embedded, and with respect to ongoing struggles for land, life, and self-determination.

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Our Hearts Are as One Fire: An Ojibway-Anishinabe Vision for the Future, by Jerry Fontaine

About the book: A vision shared. A manifesto. This remarkable work argues that Anishinabeg need to reconnect with non-colonized modes of thinking, social organization, and decision making in order to achieve genuine sovereignty. In Our Hearts Are as One Fire, Jerry Fontaine recounts the stories of three Ota’wa, Shawnee, and Ojibway-Anishinabe leaders who challenged aggressive colonial expansion—Obwandiac, Tecumtha, and Shingwauk. He weaves Ojibwaymowin language and knowledge with conversations with elders and descendants of the three leaders. The result is a book that reframes the history of Manitou Aki, sharing a vision of how Anishinabe spiritual, cultural, legal, and political principles will support the leaders of today and tomorrow.

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From Turtle Island to Gaza, by David A. Groulx

About the book: With a sure voice, Groulx, an Anishnaabee writer, artistically weaves together the experiences of Indigenous peoples in settler Canada with those of the people of Palestine, revealing a shared understanding of colonial pasts and presents.

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Black Racialization and Resistance at an Elite University, by rosalind hampton

About the book: The presence and experiences of Black people at elite universities have been largely underrepresented and erased from institutional histories. This book engages with a collection of these experiences that span half a century and reflect differences in class, gender, and national identifications among Black scholars. By mapping Black people’s experiences of studying and teaching at McGill University, this book reveals how the "whiteness" of the university both includes and exceeds the racial identities of students and professors.

It highlights the specific functions of Blackness and of anti-Blackness within society in general and within the institution of higher education in particular, demonstrating how structures and practices of the university reproduce interlocking systems of oppression that uphold racial capitalism, reproduce colonial relations, and promote settler nationalism. Critically engaging the work of Black learners, academics, organizers, and activists within this dynamic political context, this book underscores the importance of Black Studies across North America.

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Literatures, Communities, and Learning: Conversations with Indigenous Writers, by Aubrey Jean Hanson

About the book: Literatures, Communities, and Learning: Conversations with Indigenous Writers gathers nine conversations with Indigenous writers about the relationship between Indigenous literatures and learning, and how their writing relates to communities.
Relevant, reflexive, and critical, these conversations explore the pressing topic of Indigenous writings and its importance to the well-being of Indigenous Peoples and to Canadian education. It offers readers a chance to listen to authors’ perspectives in their own words.

This book presents conversations shared with nine Indigenous writers in what is now Canada: Tenille Campbell, Warren Cariou, Marilyn Dumont, Daniel Heath Justice, Lee Maracle, Sharron Proulx-Turner, David Alexander Robertson, Richard Van Camp, and Katherena Vermette. Influenced by generations of colonization, surrounded by discourses of Indigenization, reconciliation, appropriation, and representation, and swept up in the rapid growth of Indigenous publishing and Indigenous literary studies, these writers have thought a great deal about their work.

Each conversation is a nuanced examination of one writer’s concerns, critiques, and craft. In their own ways, these writers are navigating the beautiful challenge of storying their communities within politically charged terrain. This book considers the pedagogical dimensions of stories, serving as an Indigenous literary and education project.

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Dissonant Methods: Undoing Discipline in the Humanities Classroom, edited by Ada S. Jaarsma and Kit Dobson

About the book: Dissonant Methods is an innovative collection that probes how, by approaching teaching creatively, postsecondary instructors can resist the constrictions of neoliberalism. Based on the foundations of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, whereby educators are asked to explore teaching as scholarship, these essays offer concrete and practical meditations on resistant and sustainable teaching. The contributors seek to undermine forms of oppression frequently found in higher education, and instead advance a vision of the university that upholds ideals such as critical thinking, creativity, and inclusivity. Essential reading for faculty and graduate students in the humanities, Dissonant Methods offers urgent, galvanizing ideas for anyone currently teaching in a college or university.

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I Am a Damn Savage; What Have You Done to My Country? / Eukuan nin matshi-manitu innushkueu; Tanite nene etutamin nitassi? by An Antane Kapesh, translated by Sarah Henzi

About the book: Quebec author An Antane Kapesh's two books, Je suis une maudite sauvagesse (1976) and Qu'as-tu fait de mon pays? (1979), are among the foregrounding works by Indigenous women in Canada. This English translation of these works, each page presented facing the revised Innu text, makes them available for the first time to a broader readership.

In I Am a Damn Savage, Antane Kapesh wrote to preserve and share her culture, experience, and knowledge, all of which, she felt, were disappearing at an alarming rate because many Elders—like herself—were aged or dying. She wanted to publicly denounce the conditions in which she and the Innu were made to live, and to address the changes she was witnessing due to land dispossession and loss of hunting territory, police brutality, and the effects of the residential school system. What Have You Done to My Country? is a fictional account by a young boy of the arrival of les Polichinelles (referring to White settlers) and their subsequent assault on the land and on native language and culture.

Through these stories Antane Kapesh asserts that settler society will eventually have to take responsibility and recognize its faults, and accept that the Innu—as well as all the other nations—are not going anywhere, that they are not a problem settlers can make disappear.

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The Law is (Not) for Kids: A Legal Rights Guide for Canadian Children and Teens, by Ned Lecic & Marvin A. Zuker

About the book: In this practical guide to the law for young people of Canada, Ned Lecic and Marvin Zuker provide an all-encompassing manual meant to empower and educate children and youth and those that serve them. The authors address questions about how rights and laws affect the lives of young people at home, at school, at work, and in their relationships as they draw attention to the many ways in which a person’s life can intersect with the law. Deliberately refraining from taking a moral approach, the authors instead advocate for the rights of children and provide examples of how young people can get their legal rights enforced. In addition to being critical information for youth about citizenship, The Law is (Not) for Kids is a valuable resource for teachers, counsellors, lawyers, and all those who support youth in their encounters with the law.

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Dammed: The Politics of Loss and Survival in Anishinaabe Territory, by Brittany Luby

About the book: Dammed: The Politics of Loss and Survival in Anishinaabe Territory explores Canada’s hydroelectric boom in the Lake of the Woods area. It complicates narratives of increasing affluence in postwar Canada, revealing that the inverse was true for Indigenous communities along the Winnipeg River.

Dammed makes clear that hydroelectric generating stations were designed to serve settler populations. Governments and developers excluded the Anishinabeg from planning and operations and failed to consider how power production might influence the health and economy of their communities. By so doing, Canada and Ontario thwarted a future that aligned with the terms of treaty, a future in which both settlers and the Anishinabeg might thrive in shared territories.

The same hydroelectric development that powered settler communities flooded manomin fields, washed away roads, and compromised fish populations. Anishinaabe families responded creatively to manage the government-sanctioned environmental change and survive the resulting economic loss. Luby reveals these responses to dam development, inviting readers to consider how resistance might be expressed by individuals and families, and across gendered and generational lines.

Luby weaves text, testimony, and experience together, grounding this historical work in the territory of her paternal ancestors, lands she calls home. With evidence drawn from archival material, oral history, and environmental observation, Dammed invites readers to confront Canadian colonialism in the twentieth century.

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The Hands' Measure: Essays Honouring Leah Aksaajuq Otak's Contribution to Arctic Science, by John MacDonald & Nancy Wachowich

About the book: This is an eclectic collection of essays written and compiled in recognition of Leah Aksaajuq Otak. The essays explore a wide variety of topics broadly related to cultural renewal and representation, oral history, heritage, and social change among the Inuit of Igloolik, in Nunavut's northern Qikiqtani Region. Leah was a skilled oral historian and linguist from Igloolik, whose essential contribution to scientific research in Nunavut inspired those who knew and worked with her.

During the last two decades of her life, Leah Otak worked at the Igloolik Research Centre, where she played a crucial role facilitating the fieldwork of visiting researchers from near and far. Her collaboration with researchers, particularly in the social sciences, together with her extensive work documenting Inuit oral histories, ensured that Inuit traditional knowledge and perspectives informed and were reflected in much of the resulting research.

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Spirit of the Grassroots People: Seeking Justice for Indigenous Survivors of Canada's Colonial Education System, by Raymond Mason, edited by Jackson Pind & Theodore Michael Christou

About the book: Raymond Mason is an Ojibway activist who campaigns for the rights of residential school survivors and a founder of Spirit Wind, an organization that played a key role in the development of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. This memoir offers a firsthand account of the personal and political challenges Mason confronted on this journey. A riveting and at times harrowing read, Spirit of the Grassroots People describes the author's experiences in Indian day and residential schools in Manitoba and his struggles to find meaning in life after trauma and abuse.

Mason details the work that he and his colleagues did over many years to gain recognition and compensation for their suffering. Drawing from Indigenous oral traditions as well as Western historiography, the work applies the concept of two-eyed seeing to the histories of colonialism and education in Canada. The memoir is supplemented by a final chapter in which Theodore Michael Christou and Jackson Pind put Mason's story into a historical and educational context. An essential key to understanding the legacy of Indian residential and day schools, this text is both a documentation of history and a deeply personal story of a human experience.

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Finding Refuge in Canada: Narratives of Dislocation, edited by George Melnyk & Christina Parker

About the book: Millions of people are displaced each year by war, persecution, and famine and the global refugee population continues to grow. Canada has often been regarded as a benevolent country, welcoming refugees from around the globe. However, refugees have encountered varying kinds of reception in Canada.

Finding Refuge in Canada: Narratives of Dislocation is a collection of personal narratives about the refugee experience in Canada. It includes critical perspectives from authors from diverse backgrounds, including refugees, advocates, front-line workers, private sponsors, and civil servants. The narratives collected here confront dominant public discourse about refugee identities and histories and provide deep insight into the social, political, and cultural challenges and opportunities that refugees experience in Canada. Contributors consider Canada’s response to various groups of refugees and how Canadian perspectives on war, conflict, and peace are constructed through the refugee support experience. These individual stories humanize the global refugee crisis and challenge readers to reflect on the transformative potential of more equitable policies and processes. 

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The Way Home, by David A. Neel

About the book: David Neel was an infant when his father, a traditional Kwakiutl artist, returned to the ancestors, triggering a series of events that would separate David from his homeland and its rich cultural traditions for twenty-five years. When the aspiring photographer saw a mask carved by an ancestor in a Texas museum, the encounter inspired him to return home and follow in his father’s footsteps.

Drawing on memory, legend, and his own art, Neel recounts his struggle to reconnect with his culture and become an accomplished Kwakwa_ka_’wakw artist. His memoir is a testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome great obstacles and to the power and endurance of Indigenous culture and art.

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Hunter with Harpoon, by Markoosie Patsauq, translated by Valerie Henitiuk & Marc-Antoine Mahieu

About the book: Published fifty years ago under the title Harpoon of the Hunter, Markoosie Patsauq's novel helped establish the genre of Indigenous fiction in Canada. This new English translation unfolds the story of Kamik, a young hero who comes to manhood while on a perilous hunt for a wounded polar bear. In this astonishing tale of a people struggling for survival in a brutal environment, Patsauq describes a life in the Canadian Arctic as one that is reliant on cooperation and vigilance.

In collaboration with the author, Valerie Henitiuk and Marc-Antoine Mahieu return to the original Inuktitut text to provide English readers with a more accurate translation. With a preface by Patsauq and an afterword from the translators, this edition offers a fresh and contextualized interpretation of a cultural milestone. Whether revisiting this classic or discovering it for the first time, readers will find in Hunter with Harpoon a sophisticated coming-of-age tale illustrating a way of life not as it appeared to southerners, but as it has survived in the memory of the Inuit themselves.

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The Qaggiq Model: Toward a Theory of Inuktut Knowledge Renewal, by Janet Tamalik McGrath

About the book: A qaggiq, or large communal iglu, is a place of community renewal and celebration. In The Qaggiq Model, Janet Tamalik McGrath considers how the structure and symbolism of the Qaggiq can be used to understand Inuit-centred methodologies toward enhanced wellbeing in Inuit communities.

Drawing on interviews with the late philosopher and Inuit elder Mariano Aupilarjuk, along with her own lifelong experiences, McGrath bridges Inuktut and Western academic ways of knowing. She addresses the question of how Inuktut knowledge renewal can be supported on its own terms. It is through an understanding of Inuktut knowledge renewal, McGrath argues, that the impacts of colonialism and capitalism can be more effectively critiqued in Inuit Nunangat.

The Qaggiq Model offers new ways of seeing how Inuit-centred spaces can be created and supported toward communal well-being. This wide-ranging work will be of interest to scholars of epistemology, Indigenous studies, and Canadian studies, as well as all readers with an interest in Inuit worldviews.

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Indigenous Education: New Directions in Theory and Practice, edited by Huia Tomlins-Jahnke et. al.

About the book: For Indigenous students and teachers alike, formal teaching and learning occurs in contested places. In Indigenous Education, leading scholars in contemporary Indigenous education from North America, New Zealand, and Hawaii disentangle aspects of colonialism from education to advance alternative philosophies of instruction. From multiple disciplines, contributors explore Indigenous education from theoretical and applied perspectives and invite readers to embrace new, informed ways of schooling. Part of a growing body of research, this is an exciting, powerful volume for Indigenous and non-Indigenous teachers, researchers, policy makers, and scholars, and a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the contested spaces of contemporary education.

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Plants, People, and Places: The Roles of Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology in Indigenous Peoples' Land Rights in Canada and Beyond, edited by Nancy J. Turner

About: For millennia, plants and their habitats have been fundamental to the lives of Indigenous Peoples—as sources of food and nutrition, medicines, and technological materials—and central to ceremonial traditions, spiritual beliefs, narratives, and language. While the First Peoples of Canada and other parts of the world have developed deep cultural understandings of plants and their environments, this knowledge is often underrecognized in debates about land rights and title, reconciliation, treaty negotiations, and traditional territories. Plants, People, and Places argues that the time is long past due to recognize and accommodate Indigenous Peoples' relationships with plants and their ecosystems.

Essays in this volume, by leading voices in philosophy, Indigenous law, and environmental sustainability, consider the critical importance of botanical and ecological knowledge to land rights and related legal and government policy, planning, and decision making in Canada, the United States, Sweden, and New Zealand. Analyzing specific cases in which Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights to the environment have been denied or restricted, this collection promotes future prosperity through more effective and just recognition of the historical use of and care for plants in Indigenous cultures.

A timely book featuring Indigenous perspectives on reconciliation, environmental sustainability, and pathways toward ethnoecological restoration, Plants, People, and Places reveals how much there is to learn from the history of human relationships with nature.

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The Black Prairie Archives: An Anthology, edited by Karina Vernon

About the book: The Black Prairie Archives: An Anthology recovers a new regional archive of “Black prairie” literature, and includes writing that ranges from work by nineteenth-century Black fur traders and pioneers, all of it published here for the first time, to contemporary writing of the twenty-first century. 

This anthology establishes a new Black prairie literary tradition and transforms inherited understandings of what prairie literature looks and sounds like. It collects varied and unique work by writers who were both conscious and unconscious of themselves as black writers or as “prairie” people. Their letters, recipes, oral literature, autobiographies, rap, and poetry provide vivid glimpses into the reality of their lived experiences and give meaning to them.

The book includes introductory notes for each writer in non-specialist language, and notes to assist readers in their engagement with the literature. This archive and its supporting text offer new scholarly and pedagogical possibilities by expanding the nation’s and the region’s archives. They enrich our understanding of Black Canada by bringing to light the prairies' black histories, cultures, and presences.

November 12, 2020
Books mentioned in this post
Otter’s Journey through Indigenous Language and Law

Otter’s Journey through Indigenous Language and Law

edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
More Info
Creating Indigenous Property

Creating Indigenous Property

Power, Rights, and Relationships
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback
More Info
Canada at a Crossroads

Canada at a Crossroads

Boundaries, Bridges, and Laissez-Faire Racism in Indigenous-Settler Relations
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback
More Info
Settler City Limits

Settler City Limits

Indigenous Resurgence and Colonial Violence in the Urban Prairie West
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Hardcover
More Info
Our Hearts Are as One Fire

Our Hearts Are as One Fire

An Ojibway-Anishinabe Vision for the Future
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback eBook
More Info
Dissonant Methods

Dissonant Methods

Undoing Discipline in the Humanities Classroom
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : higher
More Info
The Law is (Not) for Kids

The Law is (Not) for Kids

A Legal Rights Guide for Canadian Children and Teens
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
More Info

edition:
also available: Hardcover Book Book
tagged :
More Info
The Hands' Measure

The Hands' Measure

Essays Honouring Leah Aksaajuq Otak's Contribution to Arctic Science
edition:Paperback
tagged :
More Info
Spirit of the Grassroots People

Spirit of the Grassroots People

Seeking Justice for Indigenous Survivors of Canada's Colonial Education System
edition:Hardcover
More Info
Finding Refuge in Canada

Finding Refuge in Canada

Narratives of Dislocation
edition:Paperback
More Info
The Way Home

The Way Home

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
More Info
The Qaggiq Model

The Qaggiq Model

Toward a Theory of Inuktut Knowledge Renewal
edition:Paperback
More Info
Plants, People, and Places

Plants, People, and Places

The Roles of Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology in Indigenous Peoples' Land Rights in Canada and Beyond
edited by Nancy J. Turner
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover
More Info
The Black Prairie Archives

The Black Prairie Archives

An Anthology
edited by Karina Vernon
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
More Info
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