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Get the Facts: Indigenous & Black Non-Fiction
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Get the Facts: Indigenous & Black Non-Fiction

By barbaramcveigh
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At the 2018 edition of The FOLD (Festival of Literary Diversity), Robyn Maynard said: "The facts don't actually speak for themselves." It matters who is telling the story, and with what lens the story is being told. A couple of additional titles to look for: -"Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People" by Anne Bishop -"Viola Desmond's Canada: a history of blacks and racial segregation in the promised land" by Graham Reynolds
Indigenous Writes

Indigenous Writes

A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

Delgamuukw. Sixties Scoop. Bill C-31. Blood quantum. Appropriation. Two-Spirit. Tsilhqot’in. Status. TRC. RCAP. FNPOA. Pass and permit. Numbered Treaties. Terra nullius. The Great Peace…

Are you familiar with the terms listed above? In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel, writer, lawyer, and intellectual, opens an important dialogue about these (and more) concepts and the wider social beliefs associated with the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. In 31 essays, Chelsea explores t …

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Policing Black Lives

Policing Black Lives

State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

 

Delving behind Canada’s veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance, Policing Black Lives traces the violent realities of anti-blackness from the slave ships to prisons, classrooms and beyond. Robyn Maynard provides readers with the first comprehensive account of nearly four hundred years of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization and punishment of Black lives in Canada.

While highlighting the ubiquity of Black resistance, Policing Black Lives traces the still-living legacy of slavery acro …

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Seven Fallen Feathers

Seven Fallen Feathers

Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

Finalist, 2017 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction

Finalist, 2017 Speaker's Book Award

Finalist, 2018 B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction

In 1966, twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack froze to death on the railway tracks after running away from residential school. An inquest was called and four recommendations were made to prevent another tragedy. None of those recommendations were applied.

More than a quarter of a century later, from 2000 to 2011, seven Indigenous high school stu …

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Excerpt

It’s early April and the 2011 federal election is in full swing. All over Canada, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are duking it out with Jack Layton’s New Democrats and the struggling Liberals in a bid to win a majority government.

I’m in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to see Stan Beardy, the Nishawbe-Aski Nation’s grand chief, to interview him for a story on why it is indigenous people never seem to vote.

The receptionist at the NAN’s office greets me and ushers me into a large, common meeting room to wait for Stan. Everything in the room is grey — the walls, the tubular plastic tables, the carpets. The only splash of colour is a large white flag with a bear on it that has been tacked to the wall.

The Great White Bear stands in the centre of a red circle, in the middle of the flag. The white bear is the traditional symbol of the life of the North American Indian. The red circle background is symbolic of the Red Man. His feet are standing, planted firmly on the bottom line, representing the Earth while his head touches the top line, symbolic to his relationship to the Great Spirit in the sky. The bear is stretched out, arms and feet open wide, to show he has nothing to hide.

There are circles joining the bear’s rib cage. They are the souls of the people, indigenous songs, and legends. The circles are the ties that bind all the clans together.

These circles also offer protection. Without them, the ribcage would expose the great bear’s beating heart and leave it open to harm.

Stan walks in and greets me warmly, his brown eyes twinkling as he takes a seat.

Stan is pensive, quiet, and patient. He says nothing as he wearily leans back in his chair and waits for me to explain why exactly I flew 2,400 km north from Toronto to see him and talk about the federal election.

I launch into my spiel, trying not to sound like a salesperson or an interloper into his world, someone who kind of belongs here and kind of does not. This is the curse of my mixed blood. I am the daughter of a half-Anish mom and a Polish father.

I ramble off abysmal voting pattern statistics across Canada, while pointing out that in many ridings indigenous people could act as a swing vote, influencing that riding and hence the trajectory of the election.

Stan stares at me impassively. Non-plussed.

So I start firing off some questions.

It doesn’t go well. Every time I try to engage him, asking him about why indigenous people won’t get in the game and vote, he begins talking about the disappearance of fifteen-year-old Jordan Wabasse.

It was a frustrating exchange, like we were speaking two different languages.

“Indigenous voters could influence fifty seats across the country if they got out and voted but they don’t. Why?” I ask.

“Why aren’t you writing a story on Jordan Wabasse? He has been gone seventy-one days now,” replies Stan.

“Stephen Harper has been no friend to indigenous people yet if everyone voted, they could swing the course of this election,” I continue, hoping he’ll bite at the sound of Harper’s name. The man is no friend of the Indians.

“They found a shoe down by the water. Police think it might have been his,” replies Stan.

This went on for a good fifteen minutes. I was annoyed. I knew a missing Grade 9 indigenous student in Thunder Bay would not make news in urban Toronto at Canada’s largest daily newspaper. I could practically see that election bus rolling away without me.

Then I remembered my manners and where I was.

I was sitting with the elected grand chief of 23,000 people and he was clearly trying to tell me something.

I tried a new tactic. I’d ask about Jordan and then I’d swing around and get him to talk about elections.

Then Stan said: “Jordan is the seventh student to go missing or die while at school.”

Seven.

Stan says their names: “Reggie Bushie. Jethro Anderson. Paul Panacheese. Curran Strang. Robyn Harper. Kyle Morrisseau. And now, Jordan Wabasse.”

He then tells me the seven were hundreds of miles away from their home communities and families.

Each was forced to leave their reserve simply because there was no high school for them to attend.

“Going to high school is the right of every Canadian child,” says Stan, adding that these children are no different.

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The Inconvenient Indian Illustrated

The Inconvenient Indian Illustrated

A Curious Account of Native People in North America
edition:Hardcover

An illustrated edition of the award-winning, bestselling Canadian classic, featuring over 150 images that add colour and context to this extraordinary work.

"Every Canadian should read [this] book." —Toronto Star

Since its publication in 2012, The Inconvenient Indian has become an award-winning bestseller and a modern classic. In its pages, Thomas King tells the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Native and Indigenous people in the centuries since the two first encountered …

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A Knock on the Door

A Knock on the Door

The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Edited and Abridged
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

“It can start with a knock on the door one morning. It is the local Indian agent, or the parish priest, or, perhaps, a Mounted Police officer.” So began the school experience of many Indigenous children in Canada for more than a hundred years, and so begins the history of residential schools prepared by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). Between 2008 and 2015, the TRC provided opportunities for individuals, families, and communities to share their experiences of residenti …

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The Reconciliation Manifesto

The Reconciliation Manifesto

Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

In this book Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson challenge virtually everything that non-Indigenous Canadians believe about their relationship with Indigenous Peoples and the steps that are needed to place this relationship on a healthy and honourable footing.

Manuel and Derrickson show how governments are attempting to reconcile with Indigenous Peoples without touching the basic colonial structures that dominate and distort the relationship. They review the current state of land clai …

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In the Black

In the Black

My Life
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover

A remarkable memoir about achieving prosperity in the face of relentless prejudice

In the Black traces B. Denham Jolly’s personal and professional struggle for a place in a country where Black Canadians have faced systematic discrimination. He arrived from Jamaica to attend university in the mid-1950s and worked as a high school teacher before going into the nursing and retirement-home business. Though he was ultimately successful in his business ventures, Jolly faced both overt and covert disc …

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Black Ice

Black Ice

The Val James Story
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
tagged : hockey

The first Black American in the NHL tells his story — now in trade paper

Val James received his first pair of skates for his 13th birthday and by 16, he left his home in New York to play in Canada, where he was the only black person on his junior team and, often, in the whole town. While popular for his tough play and winning personality, the teenager faced racist taunts at opposing arenas. The prejudice he encountered continued at all levels of the game. He became the first African American NH …

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