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Books to read during Aboriginal Storytelling Month

Curl up with these books as part of Aboriginal Storytelling Month
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Books (Shutterstock)

February is Aboriginal Storytelling Month. This is the perfect opportunity to explore works by Aboriginal authors. The following list was compiled by the Moose Jaw Public Library. Of course, this is just a sample to get your started. If you want to explore further, contact the library online or by calling 306-692-2787. 

Palliser Regional Library is also hosting a series of events with Kim Soo Goodtrack, an author and artist. She is a member of the Lakota Wood Mountain Reserve. Kim Soo Goodtrack will make presentations throughout the region later this month. Her schedule includes stops at:

  • Willow Bunch Library on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.
  • Moose Jaw Public Library on Feb. 26 at 10 a.m.
  • Rouleau Library on Feb. 26 at 2 p.m.
  • Assiniboia Library on Feb. 28 at 10 a.m.

For more information on Kim Soo Goodtrack, visit her website.

Non Fiction

Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People (And Yours) by Harold Johnson. A frank and honest look the history of alcohol and the effects it has had on Indigenous people. 

Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith. This book examines the history of residential schools and how they have impacted survivors. This book is extremely accessible. Although it is written for younger audiences, adults will find it very informative. It was named one of the five finalists for the 2018 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award.

Adult Fiction

The Raven Steals the Light by Bill Reid and Robert Bringhurst. A classic collection of Haida stories and art.

The Break by Katherena Vermette. An examination of the people living in Winnipeg's North End, told through different perspectives. An excellent story from an award-winning author.

Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King. This book was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Fiction in 1993. King is a renowned storyteller. This book takes place in the fictional town of Blossom and tells the story of five Aboriginal individuals. 

Books for Younger Readers

Eaglecrest Readers series. This is a beautiful series of early readers at a variety of reading stages featuring pictures of contemporary West Coast Indigenous peoples in their daily lives. All Books are on the North American Reading Recovery Book List.

Fatty Legs / When I Was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton. Both the novel (Fatty Legs) and the picture book, When I Was Eight, tell a true story from a residential school in which a plucky young Indigenous girl displays bravery and stands up to her tormentors.

Nala's Magical Mitsiaq by Jennifer Noah.This is a sweet tale of Inuit families, and of a mother's love for her two daughters: "One who grew in her belly, and one who grew in her heart." The author is a youth health researcher who worked to develop an evidence-based model of health and wellness and empowerment programs in Nunavut that reflect Nunavummiat voices and Inuit values. She and her husband have two children, one of whom was traditionally custom adopted through family.

Siuluk The Last Tuniq by Nadia Sammurtok. This is the sweet and unassuming story and legend of Siuluk, a quiet giant who shows his true strength in the face of mockery and challenge. The book finishes with a photo of the author's father and the rock chiselled by Siuluk. Nadia Sammurtok is an Inuit writer from Rankin Inlet who is passionate about preserving Inuit culture.  

My Day at the Exhibition by Danielle Poulin. This is an early reader that narrates the exciting events for a young child attending an exhibition in Prince Albert. Danielle is a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.